Spreading The Wealth Out West- College basketball rankings (1/21)

For the first time this season, the North Carolina Tarheels find themselves looking up at others. After holding the top spot for 11 weeks, the heels have dropped to No. 5 in the latest AP poll. Meanwhile, another slain giant(UCLA) fell 4 spots to No. 8, following the home loss to USC.

The nation’s new No. 1 is a team that should have been atop the mountain a long time ago. The Memphis Tigers staked their claim to No. 1, and should have easy sailing, with only tough games remaining with Gonzaga and Tennesse. Unfairly, the Tigers are often judged according to their conference, and impressive out of conference wins are soon forgotten and discredited. Before going into Conference-USA play, the Tigers picked up victories over Richmond, Oklahoma, Connecticut, USC, Cincinnati, Georgetown, and Arizona. The future in-state meeting with Tennessee will test the best in the SEC, before the madness begins. Have the Tigers managed to remain undefeated with a schedule holding less weight? I would say not.

No. 2 Kansas has a legitimate argument for the top spot, as they remain one of only two unbeaten programs in the country. The Jayhawks are separated from the Tigers by just 11 points in the new coaches poll, and will have the tougher road to season perfection, coming out of the Big 12. Depending on which opinions you read or who you talk to, either Kansas or Memphis will be considered the best team in the country. Does anyone else belong in the argument?

AP Top 25

1. Memphis (49) 17-0 1,777

2. Kansas (23) 18-0 1,751

3. Tennessee 16-1 1,591

4. Duke 15-1 1,543

5. North Carolina 18-1 1,536

6. Washington State 16-1 1,442

7. Indiana 16-1 1,351

8. UCLA 16-2 1,312

9. Georgetown 14-2 1,235

10. Michigan State 16-2 1,175

11. Wisconsin 15-2 1,048

12. Texas 14-3 887

13. Pittsburgh 15-3 781

14. Vanderbilt 17-2 748

15. Butler 17-2 742

16. Dayton 14-2 567

17. Mississippi 15-2 529

18. Villanova 13-3 502

18. Texas A&M 15-3 502

20. Stanford 15-3 444

21. Marquette 13-4 332

22. Drake 16-1 313

23. Xavier 15-4 230

24. Arizona State 14-3 182

25. Baylor 15-2 173

Others Receiving Votes

Saint Mary’s 144, Clemson 136, Kansas State 120, West Virginia 90, Florida 49, Massachusetts 47, Gonzaga 32, USC 26, Rhode Island 17, Miami (FL) 15, Louisville 7, Cincinnati 5, South Alabama 5, Oklahoma 4, New Mexico 3, Mississippi State 2, Akron 2, Cleveland State 1, Creighton 1, Maryland 1.

Dropped From Rankings

Miami (FL) 21, Rhode Island 23, Clemson 24.

ESPN/USA Today Poll

1. Memphis (21) 17-0 765

2. Kansas (10) 18-0 754

3. Duke 15-1 682

4. North Carolina 18-1 666

5. Tennessee 16-1 653

6. Washington State 16-1 620

7. UCLA 16-2 581

8. Indiana 16-1 565

9. Georgetown 14-2 543

10. Michigan State 16-2 517

11. Wisconsin 15-2 443

12. Texas 14-3 381

13. Vanderbilt 17-2 336

14. Butler 17-2 316

15. Mississippi 15-2 284

16. Texas A&M 15-3 280

17. Pittsburgh 15-3 267

18. Villanova 13-3 257

19. Dayton 14-2 203

20. Marquette 13-4 158

21. Stanford 15-3 151

22. Xavier 15-4 112

23. Drake 16-1 92

24. Saint Mary’s 15-2 89

25. Clemson 14-4 84

Others Receiving Votes

Arizona State 61, Florida 56, West Virginia 42, Rhode Island 24, Gonzaga 14, USC 12, Baylor 11, Massachusetts 9, Kansas State 8, Louisville 7, San Diego State 7, Connecticut 5, Mississippi State 4, South Alabama 3, UNLV 3, Oregon 2, Miami (FL) 2, Arizona 2, Illinois State 2, Cincinnati 1, Houston 1.

Dropped From Rankings

Rhode Island 21, Miami (FL) 24, Arizona State 25.

The Pac 10 has been rated the top basketball conference in the country for 2007, and though they can put up a strong argument for best conference, it would be more difficult to name the best team. The early favorite to win the Pac was UCLA, but after watching the Bruins fall on their own floor, it’s clear there is no favorite.

4 Pac 10 teams appear in this week’s top 25, with a 5th on the cusp. Surprisingly, Washington State is the highest ranked (6th), and Oregon and Arizona have no rank at all. Arizona State climbed into the top 25 this week, adding more to the conference shake up, and it should be a wild western ride down the stretch. I can’t say who will emerge as the Pac 10 champion, but I’ll say it will probably be one of the least likely preseason selections.
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~ by Anthony on January 22, 2008.

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