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NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 12/24/2012 - 10:01pm

Greg WhittingtonGreg WhittingtonThis week’s “Game of the Week” should be no mystery to anyone familiar with all seriously they take their hoops in Kentucky:

Oh, my goodness it’s going to be loud in the KFC Yum! Center when the Louisville Cardinals play host to the Kentucky Wildcats.

Two other games that I’ll likely keep on my DVR for a while: UNLV at North Carolina (Saturday) and San Diego State vs. Arizona (Christmas night in Honolulu).

Rank (Last Week)
Record
Comment
1. Michigan (1)
12-0
For the time being, at least, the Wolverines have the leading candidate for Big Ten Player of the year in sophomore guard Trey Burke.
2. Duke (3)
9-0
Barring a significant stunner over the next four games in Durham, the Blue Devils will be 15-0 when they face North Carolina State in Raleigh on Jan. 12.
3. Indiana (4)
11-1
The Jan. 12 Big Ten tilt with Minnesota in Bloomington is shaping up as a biggie.
4. Syracuse (2)
10-1
The Orange should be able to close out 2012 in impressive fashion (Alcorn State and Central Connecticut are the last two on that portion of the schedule).
5. Louisville (5)
11-1
A 23-point road win (vs. Western Kentucky) is certainly a nice way to catapult into Christmas – and preparation for Kentucky.
6. Arizona (7)
11-0
The Wildcats can close the 2012 portion of the ’12-13 season at 12-0 with a win over San Diego State Christmas night.
7. Georgetown (10)
10-1
The Hoyas have a lot of time to prepare for the next game, which is a Jan. 5 Big East opener at Marquette.
8. Kansas (11)
10-1
Ben McLemore – ineligible last season as a freshman – has averaged 20.0 points per game over the past five outings.
9. Illinois (9)
12-1
A Saturday home game vs. Auburn is shaping up as a mild tune-for the Big Ten opener with Purdue on Jan. 2 in West Lafayette.
10. Cincinnati (12)
12-0
Tough to score on – the Bearcats have allowed as many as 70 points just twice.
11. Gonzaga (13)
11-1
A whole lot of cool individual matchups when Baylor visits Spokane Friday night.
12. Ohio State (6)
9-2
The Buckeyes struggled – and then some, at .308 shooting from the field – against the Kansas defense.
13. Oklahoma State (14)
10-1
The Cowboys have more than a week to prep for New Year’s invasion of the Bulldogs of Spokane.
14. Butler (16)
9-2
Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke is 16 of 29 on 3s over the past four games.
15. Florida (8)
8-2

Back-to-back shellackings of Marquette and Florida State followed by two losses in past three games.

16. Missouri (NR)
10-1
The Tigers take on the freshmen-led UCLA Bruins in the “New Pauley Pavilion” Friday night.

On the cusp: (listed alphabetically) Boise State 9-2, Colorado 9-2, Connecticut 9-2, Creighton 11-1, Kansas State 9-2, Maryland 10-1, Michigan State 11-2, Minnesota 12-1, North Carolina State 9-2, Notre Dame 12-1, Oregon 10-2, Pittsburgh 12-1, San Diego State 11-1, UNLV 11-1, Wichita State 11-1 and Wyoming 12-0.

TOP PERFORMANCES OF DEC. 17-23

TEAMS: Temple (topped Syracuse, 83-79, Saturday in Philadelphia to give Coach Jim Boeheim’s club its initial defeat). Missouri (its 82-73 victory over Illinois continued to make the Tigers look like very strong contenders in the program’s first season in the SEC). Kansas (defeated Ohio State in Columbus Saturday, an accomplishment that rates among the most impressive road victories of the season). Cal State Northridge (the Matadors came from 21 points down at intermission in Salt Lake City to stun Utah, 76-71). Cincinnati (the surprising Bearcats improved to 12-0 with in-state victories over Xavier and Wright State).

PLAYERS: Jeff Withey (Kansas).The seven-footer collected 31 points, 23 rebounds and five blocked shots during victories over Richmond and Ohio State. Laurence Bowers (Missouri). The senior forward scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, along with four assists, as the Tigers handed Illinois its first loss Saturday. Derrick Nix (Michigan State). The senior post had 25 points, 11 rebounds and four assists as the Spartans pulled away for a victory over Texas Saturday in East Lansing. Nate Wolters (South Dakota State). The senior guard had 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists to help his team toppled New Mexico in Albuquerque for the Lobos’ first loss. Khaliff Wyatt (Temple). The senior guard scored 33 points (hitting all 15 free throws) with three rebounds and four assists as the Owls handed Syracuse its first loss of 2012-13.

Frank Burlison has been covering hoops for 30+ years for a variety of publications.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at www.burlisononbasketball.com. College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]

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