College Basketball Power Rankings

Last Updated: January 19th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (16-0)
Wake Forest is doing everything right on both ends of the court. The Demon Deacons rank in the top 5 in scoring, rebounding, and shooting percentage becoming one of the first teams to be ranked in the top 5 in those 3 major categories in some time. Wake Forest 85 points per game have proven to be too strong for the rest of the ACC at this point in the season. Sophomore Guard Jeff Teague leads the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game and is averaging 30 points in his last 4 outings making the Demon Deacons that much tougher to beat.

2. Duke Blue Devils (16-1)

Duke has dominated more quality opponents than any other team this season. The Blue Devils blew at the time top ten teams Purdue and Xavier by an average of 17 points. In recent weeks the convincing wins have been from weaker ACC schools, but that all changed with a big win over Georgetown last Saturday 76-67. The Blue Devils defense may be superb to any other team in our power rankings and that makes it very difficult to not give Coach K and company national attention. With the emergence of Gerald Henderson, Duke could be forming into another championship caliber team.

3. Connecticut Huskies (16-1)
Connecticut may not be getting as much national attention as some of the other schools, but beyond the tough loss to Georgetown the Huskies have not done much wrong. All five starters are averaging double figures lead by the huge center Hasheem Thabeet who is averaging a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards per contest. Connecticut will host no. 20 Villanova on Wednesday night with the opportunity to grab their 5th victory over the top 25 this season. The Huskies have beaten more quality opponents than anybody on the board and if the NCAA Tournament was to start today they would be a lock for a number 1 seed.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers (16-1)
Pittsburgh was dominate and impressive before meeting a surging Louisville team. The Panthers sophomore DeJuan Blair is one of the best young talents in the country. Blair’s success in the paint and against the boards runs parallel with Pittsburgh’s success. The Panthers will get a test tonight against #8 Syracuse tonight in yet another huge Big East match-up. The Panthers absolutely can not afford to drop their 2nd conference game in a row and get behind two games in the conference.

5. Oklahoma Sooners (17-1)

No doubt the Sooners are the class of the Big 12 this season. Oklahoma sophomore forward Blake Griffin leads the nation with 13.4 rebounds per game while adding 22 points per contest to support the cause. Oklahoma has got a deep bench with some stellar talent to keep the momentum rolling this season. With one of the easiest remaining schedules of the top teams, Oklahoma has a great chance to capture a Big 12 Title and become a number 1 seed come time for March Madness

6. North Carolina Tarheels (16-2)
The Tarheels may have looked like one of the best teams in the nation earlier this season, but that has been overshadowed by two losses to Boston College and top ranked Wake Forest. With a slow performance in the first half against Miami, I am still not sold the Tarheels are playing up to their capability. North Carolina will play host to the previously unbeaten #9 Clemson Tigers on Wednesday. The Tarheels will have to avoid in sluggish performance when they take on a Talented Clemson team to prevent from losing their 3rd ACC game this season.

7. Michigan State Spartans (15-2)
The Spartans dropped two games to ACC opponents Maryland and North Carolina earlier this year. However, the Spartans have rattled off 11 straight victories since their last loss to the Tarheels. The wins have not been blowout performances, but the streak involves wins over Texas, Minnesota, and Illinois proving the Spartans are among the best around. The Spartans have a fairly light stretch coming up in the next few weeks and the streak will likely continue. Considering the teams ranked ahead of them with tough match-ups, Michigan State will likely climb the ladder over the next few weeks barring any upsets.

8. Louisville Cardinals (13-3)

I know the Cardinals have lost 3 games this season and this ranking seems way too high. Louisville lost to some weaker teams in UNLV, Western Kentucky, and Minnesota. However, pay attention to how they have been playing more recently. The Cardinals have knocked off 3 straight top 20 teams including previous no. 1 Pittsburgh last Saturday and are among only two schools that are undefeated in the Big East. This is the same team that was pre-season ranked no. 3 in the nation, perhaps it just took some time for them to get it together. The Cardinals have taken on some of the most talented scoring teams in American yet still have held opponents to 60 points per game on the season placing them as one of the best scoring defenses across the country. The Cardinals recent surge has grabbed some attention and they have the chance to make a run at the Big East Title.

9. Marquette Golden Eagles (16-2)
The Golden Eagles are a top the standings in the Big East powerhouse with a conference record of 5-0.
Marquette may not be as good as UConn or Pittsburgh, but I believe they have the talent to beat any team on any given night. Wesley Matthews, Lazar Hayward, and Jerel McNeal are among the biggest triple threats in the Big East. The schedule does not get really tough until the last 3 weeks of the season. However, they can really rack up some style points with wins over no. 19 Notre Dame and no. 13 Georgetown in the next two weeks.Wake Forest last Saturday 78-68. Clemson will get the chance to redeem their selves with a big match-up with North Carolina on Wednesday night. Trevor Booker is the foundation for the team holding down 15 points and 9 rebounds each outing. Clemson has a chance to prove their national status if they can pull out the victory over North Carolina this Wednesday.

10. Clemson Tigers (16-1)
Clemson may be the surprise team in the ACC this season and they got off to a perfect 16-0 start. The Tigers fell victim to top ranked

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Monday, January 19th, 2009 @ 6:01 pm (EST)
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