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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Power 16: Ringing in the New Year


What better way for the blog to celebrate the new year than with the first Power 16 of the college basketball season!  It's still early and only half the conferences have played a conference game but we're starting to see some separation at the top.  Remember, the Power 16 predicts which teams would earn protective seeds if the NCAA Tournament began today. 
Marquis Teague may be the best freshman
in the country.  He's also the starting PG for
the nation's best team. 

1's
Record
              Top 3 Quality Wins
Kentucky
13-1 (0-0)
   Kanas, UNC, Louisville
North Carolina 
12-2 (0-0)
  Michigan St., Wisconsin, Texas
Indiana
13-1 (1-1)
Kentucky, Ohio St., NC St.
Syracuse
14-0 (1-0)
Florida, Stanford, Seton Hall

Kentucky has been the best team this season; they own the best collection of quality wins and their only loss was suffered at IU.  I expect them to maintain their position all year.  North Carolina looks like another top tier team despite suffering a couple of losses (@UNLV, @Kentucky).  Their non-conference schedule was strong and boosts them to the #2 overall at this point. Indiana has home victories over both Kentucky and Ohio St.  They may not be able to sustain this level all year but they're pretty darn good and it will be a surprise if they lose at home this season.  Despite zero losses Syracuse sits at number four.  Going undefeated this long is impressive but it's slightly less impressive when you see they've only played one true road game, tied with Missouri for the fewest in the country.

2's
Record
               Top 3 Quality Wins 
Ohio St.
13-2 (1-1)
     Florida, Duke, Northwestern
Missouri
13-0 (0-0)
      California, Illinois, Villanova
Michigan St.
13-2 (2-0)
     Indiana, Gonzaga, Florida St.
Duke
11-1 (0-0)
    Michigan St., Kansas, Michigan

Ohio St. would be in the top four if they had managed to win at Indiana Saturday.  Instead, the loss allows Syracuse to slide in but the Buckeyes are the most likely of the four teams here to move up.  Missouri also remains undefeated but haven't played a difficult schedule at all.  We'll see what happens in the rigors of the Big 12.  Michigan St. and Duke are practically tied though I wouldn't argue if you felt Duke should be ahead due to their head-to-head win.  I chose MSU first because they've won thirteen straight including a fifteen point win over Indiana.

3's
Record
               Top 3 Quality Wins
Baylor
13-0 (0-0)
    St. Mary's, BYU, West Virginia
Georgetown
12-1 (2-0)
Louisville, Alabama, Memphis
UNLV
15-2 (0-0)
UNC, Illinois, California
Kansas
10-3 (0-0)
  Ohio St., Georgetown, Long Beach St. 

Seriously, who did the scheduling for the Big 12 this year?  Kansas is the only school who's played a really tough schedule though Baylor's schedule hasn't been a cakewalk and to their credit are undefeated.  Georgetown's quick start in Big East play catapults them up to solid 3 seed consideration.  Kansas has lost three times but those losses occurred on neutral floors to Kentucky, Duke, and Davidson.

4's
Record
              Top 3 Quality Wins
Louisville
12-2 (0-1)
  Memphis, Vanderbilt, Long Beach St.
Connecticut
12-1 (2-0)
Harvard, Florida St., Arkansas
Kansas St.
11-1 (0-0)
  Alabama, West Virginia, Long Beach St.
Wisconsin
12-3 (1-1)
UNLV, BYU, Milwaukee

Louisville and UConn are both off to nice starts but haven't really been tested either.  The Big East is likely to be a big jumbled mess again this year. Kansas St. has been flying under the radar for some reason.  A win on Wednesday at Kansas will likely change all that.

Also considered: Florida, Virginia, Murray St.
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