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1. Kentucky (61)
As usual, Kentucky looked really good last week. I wouldn’t call them unstoppable, but they’ve certainly shown signs of dominance. For that reason, I think they are going to get upset soon.
Before the matchup with No. 14 Florida, in fact. Because the SEC hasn’t been quite as strong as it looked like it would be in the preseason, the common wisdom will be that Kentucky will cruise through the conference schedule, with only Florida and No. 18 Mississippi State as potential roadblocks.
Conference play never works that cleanly, which means they will lose in the next four games. The best bet for an upset is Tennessee.
2. Missouri (2)
Here’s my analysis: Missouri had the best win last week. Seriously though, that was a really strong win over Baylor. In a surprisingly strong Big 12, the Tigers control their own destiny. I remain skeptical about their ability to beat Kansas (especially at Allen Fieldhouse), but that is an issue for another week.
3. Syracuse (2)
I simultaneously respect and am confused by individuals who give a previously top-ranked squad a No. 1 vote immediately after they’ve suffered a loss. It really shows that the voters don’t totally know what they’re doing.
While many are swayed by the inertia that emerges from the reaction to week-to-week results, others take a more holistic look at who they believe the best teams are, and in what order. While I do respect the decision to vote Syracuse No. 1 this week, my initial reaction was, “Why do those voters have to be so difficult?”
4. Ohio State
A measly win over Nebraska? That’s all the Buckeyes had to show for their efforts last week. At least they didn’t have to go to Lincoln.
Last week was business as usual for the Jayhawks, with wins over No. 6 Baylor and Texas. Strangely, Texas gave them much more trouble. This discrepancy is primarily the result of the Longhorns significantly outrebounding the Jayhawks and being almost perfect from the line while Kansas struggled there.
Texas has been mediocre this year though, so the Jayhawks should be worried about their performance.
7. North Carolina
10. Michigan State
Baylor must feel must feel like they walked into a buzz saw last week. After a drubbing at No. 5 Kansas they came home to lose a nail biter against No. 2 Missouri. That should give them a pretty good sense of where they stand in the Big 12’s hierarchy. On the bright side, they lost both of the week’s game and only fell three spots in the poll.
11. Murray State
13. San Diego State
I bet Florida feels out of place in this quintet. You know what these highly-ranked mid-majors (or in Murray State’s case, a low-major) mean? There will be plenty of high seeds that will be good upset picks in the tournament. Given their high rankings, they are bound to get good seeds.
The switch from semi-irrelevant underdog to high-seeded target is tough for most teams to overcome though. Keep that in mind when Murray State is an undefeated No. 3 seed.
18. Mississippi State
Mississippi State came into the rankings in Week 3, and their rankings each week since have been: 24, 21, 17, 17, 18, 15, 15, 20, 18, and 18. A disproportionate number of teams have passed them in both directions, and I don’t know why. They jumped quickly into the high teens and have barely moved since.
Their ranking has been absurdly consistent, despite the fact they’ve won almost all of their games. I don’t get it, although I feel like Renardo Sidney must be at least partially to blame. He has so much talent, but he is fat and uncomfortably lazy.
He disinterestedly jogs down the floor better than just about anyone I’ve ever seen. I think he gets winded running over to set picks, when he can be bothered enough to set picks that is. NBA players after the ’98-’99 lockout were better conditioned than he is. What a mess.
21. Saint Mary’s
22. Kansas State
23. Florida State
The Huskies are in free fall, having lost four of their last six games. Can I write them off yet?