March Madness Pool

Are you looking for a March Madness pool to join? Check out the Hoops Addict pool over at Yahoo! Sports.

Hoops Addict writers Rashad Mobley, Aaron Torres and myself will all be taking part and are going to give you the chance to try and prove you know more about college hoops than we do.

Click here to join. Good luck!

College Basketball Power Rankings

It’s hard to believe, but we are officially less than a week away from knowing which 65 teams will compose this year’s NCAA Tournament field. Where does the time go?

Before that though, there’s still a lot of basketball to be played, as Championship Week kicked off with a bang this past weekend, and five teams- Cornell, Winthrop, East Tennessee State, Murray State and Northern Iowa- have already claimed their automatic bids.

Make sure to follow Hoops Addict all month long, for continuing coverage of the NCAA Tournament coverage and in-depth analysis. But before that, let’s get to the Final Power Rankings of the 2010 regular season.

1. Kansas (29-2, 15-1): The regular season ends right as it began: With Kansas on top. After convincing wins against Kansas State and Missouri this week, the NCAA Title has officially become the Jayhawks to lose.

2. Kentucky (29-2, 14-2): The little brother that’s been tagging along on Kansas’ backside all season has locked up a No. 1 seed regardless of what happens in the SEC Tournament. But with every game from now on a “lose and you go home,” proposition, is Kentucky ready for the pressure that the next month will bring?

3. Duke (26-5, 13-3): Love or hate Duke, there isn’t a team that plays harder defense for 40 minutes a game. And we all know defense wins championships. The Blue Devils will still need a few other breaks to win the big one, but Saturday’s performance against North Carolina should have wrapped up the school’s first No. 1 seed since 2006.

4. Syracuse (28-3, 15-3): At this point, all Syracuse can hope is that they won’t have to play Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, as they’re 0-2 against the Cardinals and 28-1 against everyone else. Either way, the Orange are the team nobody wants to play going forward, talented but almost pathologically unselfish. As we’ve said before, they’re college basketball’s ultimate team.

5. Ohio State (24-7, 14-4): Speaking of teams no one wants to play, it’s Ohio State, winners of 10 of their last 11 games. Although Purdue and Michigan State are good, the Big 10 Tournament should be the Buckeyes national coming out party.

6. Purdue (26-4, 14-4): Anyone think that obituary we wrote on Purdue’s season might have been a bit premature? While their wins without Robbie Hummel haven’t been pretty, it’s impossible to question this team’s heart, playing without their most important player.

7. New Mexico (28-3, 14-2): This is what New Mexico’s schedule the last week looked like: One game, one win, one Mountain West championship. Not bad huh? And should the Lobos win the MWC Tournament as well, they could be looking at a No. 3 seed come tournament time.

8. West Virginia (24-6, 13-5): Whether you were ready for it or not, West Virginia threw us into the madness of March with their overtime win over Villanova on Saturday afternoon. But despite all the Mountaineers talent down low, do they have enough guard play to make a deep tournament run?

9. Butler (27-4, 18-0): It only took one win for Butler to get to the Horizon League tournament final, which they’ll play Tuesday against Wright State. This team will be in the Big Dance whether they win their conference tournament or not, but could certainly use some momentum after Saturday night’s sloppy win over Milwaukee.

10. Michigan State (24-7, 14-4): On paper the Spartans have everything you want in a contender: Good guard play, size, and experience after last year’s Final Four run. But if you dig deeper and look at their schedule, the Spartans really haven’t beaten all that many good teams this regular season. Nobody could use a strong conference tournament run to boost their national image quite like Michigan State could this week.

11. Kansas State (24-6, 11-5): Don’t look at Kansas State’s loss against Iowa State Saturday as anything besides a (major) letdown after losing to Kansas earlier in the week. Think the Wildcats wouldn’t like to get one more shot at their cross-state rivals in the Big XII Tournament?

12. Villanova (24-6, 13-5): The fear that we’ve had all year for Villanova (their lack of size down low) seems to have finally caught up with them for good, as they lost their fourth of six games to West Virginia Saturday. If this team can’t turn it around in the Big East Tournament, expectations of a return trip to the Final Four might go out the window as well.

13. Gonzaga (25-5, 12-2): If Gonzaga can just make their foul shots, they could very well find themselves in the first Final Four in their school’s history. But first they must get by their biggest conference rival- St. Mary’s- in the WCC Tournament final Monday night. Be sure to tune in.

14. BYU (28-4, 13-3): The Cougars did exactly what they were supposed to do this week, rolling over TCU on the road. This team will be in the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens in the Mountain West Tournament, but would sure like another shot at New Mexico, which has already beaten them twice this season.

15. Tennessee (23-7, 11-5): There was a lot of basketball played this weekend, but maybe not a better performance than Tennessee’s road win at Mississippi State. Despite their doubters, this team still continues to get it done game after game, and will be a tough out in the NCAA’s.

16. Wisconsin (23-7, 13-5): Well, hell froze over Sunday afternoon as Wisconsin finally (FINALLY!) got an impressive road win, in front of the Orange Crush at Illinois. In all seriousness though, the Badgers are coming on strong, especially with Jon Leuer finally healthy. Leuer may be the most underrated big man in the country right now.

17. Temple (26-5, 14-2): Temple emerged from a loaded Atlantic 10 with a regular season conference championship, which is no small feat. But to get a conference tournament title, they’ll need to run through a slew of desperate teams trying to impress the NCAA Tournament committee (Dayton, Rhode Island, Charlotte, St. Louis). Think they’re up to the challenge?

18. Baylor (24-6, 11-5): If you’re looking for an off the radar team who might make some noise in the tournament, Baylor may be your pick. They’ve got all the ingredients needed: An experienced point guard (Tweety Carter), a pure scorer on the wing (LaceDarius Dunn) and two shot blocking big men down low (Ekpe Udoh and Quincy Acy). At this point, I’d be more surprised if Baylor wasn’t playing the second weekend of the tournament than if they were.

19. Pittsburgh (24-7, 11-5): Quick straw poll: Who saw Pittsburgh ending the regular season tied for second place in the Big East? Anyone? Despite going to the Elite Eight last year, this may be Jamie Dixon’s best coaching job yet.

20. Vanderbilt (23-7, 12-4): Saturday’s loss against South Carolina was nothing more than a hiccup for one of college basketball’s most underrated teams. Like Baylor, the Commodores have all the ingredients needed to make a deep run this March.

New to the Power Rankings: Baylor

Dropping Out: Georgetown

(Author’s Note: Aaron will be Tweeting all day Wednesday live from the Big East Tournament, and for all of Championship Week from his couch. To get all his inside thoughts, on everything college hoops, follow him, click here or add him at Twitter.com/Aaron_Torres

Also, to read all Aaron’s writing as we get closer to March Madness, be sure to visit him at www.aarontorres-sports.com)

College Basketball Power Rankings

Just when we thought we were figuring out this whole college basketball thing, we realized in fact we knew nothing at all.

Over the weekend both No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Kansas lost, and No. 4 Purdue was crippled by a devastating, season altering injury.

Yet despite all that, one team remained impressive and then some, and for the first time this season, they headline our Power Rankings…

1. Syracuse (27-2, 14-2): No one in college basketball has had a more dominating victory against a better opponent than Syracuse’s win over Villanova Saturday night. While Kansas and Kentucky get all the love nationally, this is the team that no one wants to play come tournament time.

2. Kansas (27-2, 13-1): Want to know the biggest reason for Kansas’ loss on Saturday to Oklahoma State? The Jayhawks, a team that allows opponents to shoot just 37 percent from the field, allowed the Cowboys to shoot over 60 percent in their game. That won’t happen again Wednesday, against No. 5 Kansas State.

3. Duke (25-4, 12-2): Has any Duke team over flown the farther under the radar, this late in the season? Either way, the Blue Devils have won eight games in a row, and could very well be closing in on their first NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed since 2006.

4. Kentucky (27-2, 12-2): Kentucky hasn’t been playing very good basketball for awhile now, and were finally nipped Saturday afternoon at Tennessee. If the Wildcats aren’t careful, they could get upset again Wednesday night at Georgia, a team that’s just 13-14, but has already beaten three ranked teams this season.

5. Kansas State (24-4, 11-3): With their cross-state rival ranked No. 1 for most of this season, Kansas State continues to just win games, and stay under the radar. We’ll find out whether or not they’re ready for the big-time on Wednesday, when they go to Allen Fieldhouse, to take on that rival, the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks.

6. Ohio State (23-7, 13-4): Ohio State has now won nine of their last 10 games, and is line to win at least a share of the Big 10 title, despite starting off conference play 0-2 without Evan Turner. But for those of you who think this team is simply just Turner, think again. William Buford, Jon Diebler and David Lighty can all play. And they just may be playing in the Final Four in a few weeks.

7. Purdue (24-4, 12-4): The entire Hoops Addict community would like to send our sincerest regards to Purdue, who lost not only one of their best players, but their leader, when Robbie Hummel went down for the year with an ACL injury. This team can still make a deep run in the tournament, but will need everyone- especially E’Twaun Moore- to step up.

8. Villanova (23-5, 12-4): If you’re Villanova, you’ve got to look at Saturday’s loss at Syracuse with a ‘half is glass full approach;’ basically, that there isn’t a team in college basketball (and maybe a few in the NBA too) who would have beaten the Orange the way they played Saturday night. On the other hand, one fact is indisputable after that loss: Villanova simply isn’t good enough inside, to beat the country’s best teams.

9. New Mexico (27-3, 13-2): It cannot be emphasized enough: New Mexico’s win at BYU on Saturday wasn’t a good win, it was a great one. The Lobos have become the proverbial team that no one will want to play come tournament time.

10. West Virginia (22-6, 11-5): West Virginia had a week Bob Huggins would like to forget, as not only did they struggle with Cincinnati on Saturday, but lost to UConn earlier in the week too. The Mountaineers play Georgetown Monday night, and may have caught a major break, as it appears Austin Freeman won’t suit up for the Hoyas.

11. Butler (26-4, 18-0): Butler was able to survive Friday night against Valparaiso, despite having leading scorer Gordon Hayward sit out with a back injury. But for the Bulldogs to win the Horizon League, and more importantly, do damage in the NCAA Tournament, they’ll need everyone- especially Hayward- healthy.

12. Michigan State (22-7, 12-4): You know what’s funny about Michigan State? All year we question them for their inability to beat many of the top teams they’ve played, yet here they are, the first week of March, and they’re No. 12 in the country and in line to share another Big 10 championship. For what might be considered a “down,” year, Michigan State is still playing pretty well, huh?

13. Gonzaga (24-5, 12-2): Like Michigan State, Gonzaga is right where they always are at the end of the season, despite the doubts of many to start the season (Myself included). A home date with Cal-State Bakersfield concludes their regular season on Tuesday, before they play the West Coast Conference tournament this weekend.

14. BYU (26-4, 11-3): We can’t knock the Cougars down too far (if at all) for losing to New Mexico, since the truth is, there aren’t many college basketball teams who can beat the Lobos right now. Could we be headed for a third matchup in this epic trilogy during the Mountain West Tournament?

15. Vanderbilt (22-6, 11-3): With Kentucky and Tennessee getting all the love across the SEC, its Vanderbilt that just keeps winning games. Even with a tricky trip to Florida on Wednesday, expect them to stay hot into the SEC Tournament and beyond.

16. Tennessee (21-7, 9-5): We’re not sure exactly how they do it, but Tennessee just keeps beating good teams, as they’ve now defeated both Kentucky and Kansas this year. Could it be the Magic of Bruce Pearl’s orange blazer?

17. Wisconsin (21-7, 11-5): With only two games left on the schedule, we’re still waiting for Wisconsin to get a quality win away from the Kohl Center. They’ve got one more chance, Sunday at Illinois.

18. Georgetown (19-8, 9-7): We’re not ready to give up on the Hoyas just yet, considering they’re able to beat just about anyone when they’re playing well (see wins earlier in the season against Duke and Villanova). But with Austin Freeman sitting out of Monday night’s showdown with West Virginia, could they be headed for their fourth loss in five games?

19. Temple (24-5, 12-2): While no one who actually watches Temple would call them overly “impressive,” they just keeping wining ballgames. And whether it’s pretty or ugly, going 24-5 in the Atlantic 10 isn’t exactly easy.

20. Pittsburgh (22-7, 11-5): With Notre Dame beating Georgetown on Saturday afternoon, all of a sudden the Panthers loss to the Irish earlier in the week doesn’t seem so bad. The Panthers are good, but might struggle with a high-scoring Providence team which comes to the Peterson Events Center on Thursday.

To read all of Aaron’s writing, make sure to check him out at www.aarontorres-sports.com. And for his thoughts on all things sports, add him on Twitter, @Aaron_Torres

College Basketball Power Rankings

After a relatively quiet week in college basketball, things will certainly heat up this week.

Amongst the must see games are Kentucky-Tennessee, Missouri-Kansas State, BYU-New Mexico and Michigan State-Purdue. Not to mention Saturday’s showdown in the Big East, between No. 7 Villanova and No. 4 Syracuse.

But as much as these College Basketball Power Rankings change, they remain the same, starting with the top team in our poll…

1. Kansas (26-1, 12-0): What can we say about the Jayhawks that hasn’t been said already? As our good friend Seth Davis of CBS Sports tweeted on Monday morning, “If I could put Kansas higher than No. 1, I would.”

2. Kentucky (26-1, 11-1): After beating Mississippi State and Vanderbilt on the road this week (two teams which hadn’t lost a single home game between them this season), we’re really nitpicking to try and find flaws with this team. Kentucky doesn’t play again until Thursday, when they have a chance to avenge their only loss of the season, against South Carolina.

3. Purdue (23-3, 11-3): So Kansas got two more victories, Kentucky won two epic road games, and Syracuse won a thriller at Georgetown, yet it was Purdue who was most impressive last week. After beating Ohio State and Illinois, there’s little reason to think the Boilermakers will lose again for the rest of the regular season.

4. Syracuse (25-2, 11-2): The Orange won the game of the week, and one of the games of the season, at Georgetown Thursday night. As for this week, they’ve got high-scoring Providence on Tuesday, before the game we’ve all been waiting for, against Villanova at the Carrier Dome Saturday night.

5. Duke (23-4, 11-2): Duke used a 29-9 second half run to wrap up an exciting game at Miami, and was even more impressive against Virginia Tech Sunday night. Right now, whatever the Blue Devils are selling, we’re buying.

6. Kansas State (22-4, 9-3): Kansas State continues to just creep, creep, creep up these rankings, and have now won seven of their last eight games. Like Kentucky, they too have a chance to avenge an early season loss, when they host Missouri, in what promises to be an exciting game Saturday. Set your Tivo!

7. Villanova (22-4, 11-3): A week ago, Villanova was a lock for a No. 1 seed, but after two straight losses, that is now in jeopardy. A visit from South Florida on Wednesday night should heal all that ails these Wildcats.

8. West Virginia (21-5, 10-4): If you watched West Virginia’s win over Seton Hall Saturday, you know that while the final score might not have been close, the game itself was. The Mountaineers are talented, but have trouble putting teams away, which is not a good sign as they get set to play at UConn on Monday night.

9. Ohio State (21-7, 11-4): The Big 10 did the Buckeyes no favors by putting Purdue and Michigan State on the schedule in the same week. Even still, after Ohio State’s win at Michigan State Sunday afternoon, it’s time to wonder if this team is a Final Four sleeper.

10. New Mexico (25-3, 11-2): A big win, followed by a poor performance against Utah, put a damper on what should have been a joyous two win week. The Lobos will need a better effort when they host BYU Saturday, a team they beat earlier in the year.

11. Butler (25-4, 17-0): Of everyone who played on Bracket Buster Saturday, nobody had a better win than the Bulldogs, against a very, very good Siena team. Butler has now won 18 games in a row, and will close out their regular season Friday night against Valparaiso.

12. Georgetown (18-7, 8-6): The Hoyas played just once last week, and lost a tight game against Syracuse. With a high NCAA Tournament seed slipping through their fingertips, there’s no margin for error against Louisville and Notre Dame this week.

13. Pittsburgh (21-6, 10-4): Having won five games in a row (including two against top five teams), we couldn’t keep the Panthers out of the Power Rankings any longer. While there are still doubts about this group heading into March, right now, they’re the team that no one in the Big East wants to play.

14. BYU (25-3, 10-2): BYU did what they were supposed to do last week, beating up on two of the Mountain West’s worst teams. They’ll have a much tougher challenge on Saturday, when they visit No. 10 New Mexico.

15. Michigan State (21-7, 11-4): Another week, another loss to a top team, this time to Ohio State at home. While Tom Izzo’s teams have earned the benefit of the doubt over the years, it’s becoming harder and harder to see this team as a real contender.

16. Gonzaga (22-5, 10-2): Every team has bad games now and then, but there is just absolutely no excuse for the Zags loss at Loyola Marymount last week, none. Even still, it’s tough to see Gonzaga losing any of the remaining games on their schedule.

17. Vanderbilt (20-6, 9-3): My oh my, how close the Commodores came to upsetting Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. After that tough loss, will they be able to recover in time to beat a deceptively good Georgia team on Thursday?

18. Wisconsin (20-7, 10-5): Bo Ryan’s boys still don’t have a truly impressive road victory on their resume, after losing at Minnesota Thursday. And with their only quality game away from the Kohl Center at Illinois in two weeks, will these road woes effect their NCAA Tournament seeding?

19. Tennessee (20-6, 8-4): The Vols quietly had a nice week, getting two good wins against Georgia and South Carolina. The question now, is if they can avenge their most recent loss, when they host Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.

20. Temple (22-5, 10-2): The fact that the Owls needed overtime to hold off Temple shows that they are still entirely too inconsistent for a team with as much veteran experience. Will that hurt them Wednesday, when they host Dayton?

New to the Power Rankings: Pittsburgh

Dropping Out: Texas

To read all of Aaron’s writing, please visit him at www.aarontorres-sports.com. And for his thoughts on all things sports, be sure to add him on Twitter, @Aaron_Torres

College Basketball Power Rankings

It may have taken six days, but “Rivalry Week,” finally lived up to the hype, as both Syracuse and Georgetown were upset on a shocking Sunday afternoon.

Which is a weird coincidence, since those two teams face off in this week’s signature game on Thursday night.

Let’s get to this week’s Rankings.

1. Kansas (24-1, 10-0): It was another week and two more wins for a team that seems to be a permanent fixture in our No. 1 spot. But with a tricky road test at Texas A&M Monday night, will they still be here next week?

2. Kentucky (24-1, 9-1): The Cats don’t always win the prettiest of games, but got the job done last week, including a victory over Tennessee. Just like Kansas though, two big road tests await Kentucky this week, at Mississippi State Tuesday, and a big trip to Vanderbilt Saturday. The Commodores haven’t lost a game at Memorial Gymnasium all season.

3. Villanova (22-2, 11-1): A week ago we were worried about the Wildcats, as they’d just gotten run out of the building by Georgetown. A week later, after victories over West Virginia and Providence, we’ve got to wonder if these guys will lose another game the rest of the regular season.

4. Purdue (21-3, 9-3): For the most part “Rivalry Week,” proved to be a dud, as several teams and players didn’t live up to our expectations as fans. Purdue was not one of them however, as they went into the Breslin Center and whopped up on Michigan State pretty good. Next stop, a Big 10 Championship?

5. Syracuse (24-2, 11-2): After losing to Louisville and very near losing to UConn (don’t even get me started on that game), it’s hard to justify keeping the Orange this high. But if you’ve watched Jim Boeheim’s team at all in 2010, you know last week was simply a bump in the road, not a full on collision.

6. Duke (21-4, 9-2): If Saturday’s dominating victory over second place (in the ACC) Maryland proved one thing, it’s that no one is tougher to beat at home than Duke is. But will their road struggles continue Wednesday, when they take a trip to Miami?

7. Kansas State (20-4, 7-3): With their cross-state rivals Kansas getting all the attention, Kansas State is just hanging around, and continuing to win games. They should have no problem doing the same this week with two winnable games against Nebraska on the road, and Oklahoma at home.

8. Ohio State (20-6, 10-3): Hoops Addict has been telling you about Ohio State for weeks, and they’re making us look good, as they’ve won six straight games, which is no small feat in the Big 10. The Buckeyes will prove whether they’re contenders or pretenders this week, with both Purdue and Michigan State on the schedule.

9. Gonzaga (21-4, 9-1): Maybe it’s because their games are on late, or because of their small conference affiliation, but Gonzaga simply isn’t getting the love they should be right now. The Zags absolutely crushed St. Mary’s Thursday night, and it’s safe to say that after the win, nobody in college basketball is playing better.

10. West Virginia (19-5, 8-4): It’s hard to fault the Mountaineers for going 0-2 last week, considering the two losses were to No. 4 Villanova at home and a triple overtime loss to Pittsburgh on the road. Still, if you watched that Pitt game, West Virginia had the chance to put the Panthers away late, and didn’t finish the way championship teams do. Could that be a sign of things to come?

11. Georgetown (18-6, 8-5): Alight, one loss doesn’t make or break a season, and the Hoyas loss at Rutgers Sunday certainly won’t do that. But that is now their second defeat in three games to an unranked team. I guess there’s a reason they call Georgetown’s student section “Hoya Paranoia.” I’d lose my mind rooting for this team too.

12. New Mexico (23-3, 9-2): The Lobos have jumped to No. 12 after not being the Power Rankings two weeks ago. Nice! So how’d they do it? With nine straight wins, including two big ones on the road last week, at UNLV and Utah.

13. Michigan State (20-6, 10-3): Thankfully, mercifully, the Spartans three game losing streak came to an end Saturday afternoon at Penn State. And with Kalin Lucas back at full strength, Michigan State is out of excuses; they need to win remaining games with Purdue and Ohio State to prove they belong with the nation’s elite.

14. Butler (23-4, 16-0): Think it ever gets boring for Butler running through the Horizon League the way they do? The Bulldogs wrapped up another conference title, and haven’t lost a game since before Christmas. Wow!

15. Wisconsin (19-6, 9-4): Wisconsin never loses at the Kohl Center, meaning that what Illinois did to the Badgers Tuesday night made us all stand up and pay attention. With games against Minnesota and Northwestern this week, Wisconsin should go 2-0, but don’t be surprised if one of those desperate teams steals a win against the Badgers.

16. BYU (23-3, 8-2): The Cougars had just one game, and bounced back nicely this week with a resounding victory over the Air Force Academy. While BYU has two winnable games this week, be wary, both are on the road.

17. Vanderbilt (19-5, 8-2): No team got a more resounding win, on a bigger stage, than the Commodores 90-71 victory over Tennessee Tuesday night. Vandy still has yet to lose a game at home all year. But can that streak continue with No. 2 Kentucky coming to town Saturday?

18. Texas (20-5, 6-4): Alright, so the Longhorns followed up a loss to No. 1 Kansas with a nice win over Nebraska on Saturday afternoon. That still puts the Longhorns at just 3-5 over the last month. Is it officially time to give up on this team?

19. Temple (20-5, 8-2): One game, and one win for the Owls, after a one week hiatus from the Power Rankings. With no games left against Xavier, Richmond, Charlotte or Rhode Island, a visit from Dayton next week should be the only thing standing between Temple and running the table from here on out.

20. Tennessee (18-6, 6-4): Honestly, it’s hard to write off a team that just lost games at Vanderbilt and Kentucky, two of the toughest places to play on the road in all of college basketball. But does anyone think that this team may have finally hit a wall after their hot January?

New To The Power Rankings: Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Dropping Out: Northern Iowa, Georgia Tech

(To read all of Aaron’s writing, please visit him at www.aarontorres-sports.com. And for his thoughts on all things sports, be sure to add him on Twitter, @Aaron_Torres)

College Basketball Power Rankings

Hmm, think the folks who run college basketball might know what they’re doing?

Just a day after the NFL season ended, college hoops is set to roll out its most exciting week of action yet. Honestly, look at the schedule:

Villanova-West Virginia and Texas-Kansas on Monday.

Purdue-Michigan State and Tennessee-Vanderbilt on Tuesday

On Wednesday, you’ve got Syracuse-UConn, Duke-North Carolina and New Mexico-UNLV (the totally underrated game of the entire slate)

West Virginia-Pittsburgh on Friday.

And a whole two days of wall to wall excitement on Saturday and Sunday.

If this week doesn’t get you into college basketball season, I’m not sure anything will.

1. Kansas (22-1, 8-0): It wasn’t the prettiest week for the Jayhawks, but they did what they needed to do to beat Colorado and Nebraska and stay atop the Power Rankings. Things will quickly get tricky though, starting with a mega-showdown with Texas on Monday night.

2. Syracuse (23-1, 10-1): Add two more double-digit wins to the resume of college basketball’s hottest team, after Syracuse dominated both Providence College and Cincinnati in the last 10 days. As hard as it may be to believe, after 30 years in business, and over 600 wins to his credit, this is Jim Boeheim’s best coaching job yet.

3. Kentucky (22-1, 7-1): Question: With DeMarcus Cousins recording his sixth straight double-double, and 15th straight game with double figures in scoring, is it time to start talking about Kentucky’s other freshman for the SEC Player of the Year?

4. Villanova (20-2, 9-1): Villanova’s 11 game win streak had to end at some point, but few expected it to come to the screeching halt it did Saturday at Georgetown. With Monday’s trip to West Virginia, can a team who hadn’t lost in close to six weeks now lose twice in a row?

5. West Virginia (19-3, 8-2): To steal a line from the movie Major League, with Syracuse and Villanova ahead of them in the Big East standings, West Virginia is just, “lying in the weeds.” To gain the national respect that the Mountaineers crave, they’ll need a home win against Villanova Monday night.

6. Purdue (19-3, 7-3): Remember a few weeks back when Purdue had lost three in a row and we were wondering what the heck was wrong with the Boilermakers? Well after five straight wins, Purdue is playing fast and loose, but will having their biggest test of the season, Tuesday at Michigan State.

7. Georgetown (17-5, 7-4): Yes, the Hoyas lost to South Florida in the middle of last week, but if Saturday’s win against Villanova proved anything, it’s that this team can beat anyone in the country. They should continue to roll, with two winnable games against Providence and Rutgers this week.

8. Duke (19-4, 7-2): Well, well, well, looks like the Blue Devils might not be left for dead after all. While this team has its deficiencies, Thursday’s win over Georgia Tech proved that Duke might be mentally tougher then we give them credit for.

9. Kansas State (19-4, 6-3): Let’s give some praise to K-State. It’s never easy to win on the road in the Big XII, which is exactly what they did twice last week, with wins at Nebraska and Iowa State. And with Colorado and Nebraska at home coming up, look for them to continue to creep higher in these rankings.

10. Wisconsin (18-5, 6-3): The Badgers once again proved that the Kohl Center is a house of horrors for Big 10 opposition, as Michigan State lost their first conference game of the season last Tuesday in Madison. Once again, Bo Ryan has his team peaking at just the right time.

11. Tennessee (18-4, 6-2): Here’s the good news if you’re a fan of Tennessee basketball: Your team just won two more games, and welcomed back Brian Williams after a month’s suspension. Here’s the bad news: You’ve got trips to Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the next seven days…Uh oh…

12. Michigan State (19-5, 9-2): The Big 10 schedule makers did the Spartans no favors with back to back road trips to Wisconsin and Illinois last week, games that both ended in losses. Although Michigan State will be back at the Breslin Center Tuesday night, it doesn’t get any easier, as No. 6 Purdue comes to town.

13. Ohio State (18-6, 8-3): It seemed like just another ho-hum week for the Buckeyes, as they notched two more wins, both by double-figures. And oh by the way, Evan Turner averaged 29.5 points in those two victories. Can someone say National Player of the Year?

14. Texas (19-4, 5-3): And juuuuust when we were ready to jump back on the Longhorns bandwagon, they got embarrassed Saturday afternoon, by an embarrassing Oklahoma team in its own right. Texas is still looking to regain their early season mojo. Needless to say, a win over No.1 ranked Kansas on Monday night would do just the trick.

15. Gonzaga (17-4, 7-1): I’ve got to admit, as recently as a week ago, nobody was more weary of Gonzaga than I was. But for the Zags to come out on Thursday night, dominate a good Portland team, then fly across country and beat Memphis 36 hours later, I now know that while some teams may have more talent than Gonzaga, no one has more heart.

16. Northern Iowa (21-2, 12-1): It’s still hard to say what exactly we should make of Northern Iowa, as they won two games last week by a combined six points, with both games at home. Then again, dating back to November 21, the Panthers have won 20 of their last 21 games. Maybe we shouldn’t be questioning them at all.

17. New Mexico (21-3, 7-2): If you remember back a few weeks, the Lobos were a fixture in these Power Rankings, until a surprising two game slide in early January. Well, they’ve now won seven games in a row, and could be here to stay. Well, if they can get a win at UNLV on Wednesday night anyway.

18. Butler (20-4, 13-0): Guess who’s baaaaack? After some early season struggles, the Bulldogs are making their usual mid-season romp through the Horizon standings, and have now won 12 in a row. No one in college basketball is hotter right now.

19. Georgia Tech (17-6, 5-4): Some days, Georgia Tech sure looks like they can beat anyone in the country. Last Thursday was not one of those days, as they got run out of the gym at Duke. It’ll be very curious to see what this talented (but young) team does with road trips to Miami and Wake Forest this week.

20. BYU (22-3, 7-2): After getting as high as No. 14 in these rankings two weeks ago, BYU has now lost two of their last four games. While it’s hard to blame the Cougars for losses at New Mexico and UNLV, it is easy to blame their effort on Saturday, as they gave up 56 first half points in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the 88-74 final score might indicate.

New to the Power Rankings: Northern Iowa, New Mexico, Butler

Dropping Out: Baylor, Vanderbilt, Temple

College Basketball Power Rankings

Six weeks.

That’s all that’s left until the NCAA Tournament tips off. Six weeks.

And as we get closer to that date, teams are starting to separate themselves, and show who belongs and who doesn’t.

So while we say goodbye to some familiar faces (it was fun knowing you UConn and North Carolina), it’s time to say hello to a few more.

Which is exactly what we do in this week’s Power Rankings, as we welcome not only a new No. 1 ranked team, but also two new teams that have come to command our respect…

1. Kansas (20-1, 6-0): Wow, wow, wow. The Jayhawks jumped Villanova back to the top of this poll after an unbelievable road win Saturday night against No. 10 Kansas State. Everything that we expected from Kansas earlier this year is slowly coming to fruition, as they’ve won six straight.

2. Villanova (19-1, 8-0): It was a nice, easy, breezy week on the Main Line, as Villanova had just one game, and dominated in a victory over Notre Dame. The task will be much more difficult this week, with Seton Hall at home, and a visit to scorching hot Georgetown Saturday afternoon.

3. Syracuse (21-1, 8-1): Yes, the Orange struggled at DePaul Saturday, but that shouldn’t take away from their total dismantling of Georgetown on Monday night either. This crew is the most unselfish, enjoyable team to watch that we’ve seen in college basketball for some time.

4. Michigan State (19-3, 9-0): Just another week and two more wins for Tom Izzo and the Spartans in East Lansing. But now to the tough part: Can they go to Wisconsin and pull out a victory at the Kohl Center, a place where Duke, Ohio State and Purdue (amongst others) have already lost this year?

5. Kentucky (20-1, 5-1): LeBron James- the King himself- was in Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon, to watch the Wildcats pick apart Vanderbilt, one of the most underrated teams in college basketball. But with John Wall’s recent complaints about coach John Calipari, which way is this team headed as we creep toward March?

6. Georgetown (16-4, 6-3): Don’t let the Hoyas loss to Syracuse Monday night fool you, this team is getting better and better every game. If you don’t believe me, just ask their newest fan, United States President Barack Obama, who was in attendance for their win over Duke on Saturday.

7. West Virginia (17-3, 6-2): Four Big East teams in the top eight? Well after West Virginia’s hard fought, come from behind over Louisville Saturday afternoon, why not?

8. Purdue (18-3, 6-3): Whatever ailed the Boilermakers during their three game swoon earlier in the season seems to be solved, as they’ve now won four games in a row. After a visit to Indiana this week, we get the game everyone’s been waiting for, Purdue’s visit to Michigan State on February 9.

9. Texas (18-3, 4-2): Does Texas have its problems? Absolutely. But their loss to Baylor on Saturday isn’t nearly as bad as it looks either. Baylor may be the most underrated team in college basketball.

10. Kansas State (16-4, 4-3): The Wildcats won the game they were supposed to earlier in the week, but couldn’t hold on to beat top ranked Kansas at home Saturday. As much as things change, they stay the same; Kansas is now 31-2 against Kansas State since the inception of the Big XII conference in 1996.

11. Duke (17-4, 5-2): So are we ready to pull the plug on Duke yet? The Blue Devils failed another test on a national stage, getting run out of the Verizon Center by Georgetown on Saturday afternoon.

12. Wisconsin (16-5, 6-3): Everyone knew it was going to be tough for the Badgers to go to Purdue and get a win without Jon Leuer, and as much as Wisconsin battled, they still feel short by three points. With that loss, it makes it all the more important for them to hold serve Tuesday, when they welcome visiting Michigan State to Madison.

13. Tennessee (16-4, 4-2): There’s no nice way to put it: The Vols looked like they ran out of gas in a loss to Vanderbilt, and in a narrow win over Florida this past week. What’s the prescription for this tired team? How about a game against LSU coming up, an opponent which has yet to win a conference game.

14. Brigham Young (21-2, 6-1): Hoops Addict warned you last week about BYU’s trip to the Pit at New Mexico, and on the cue, the Cougars limped out with a loss Wednesday night. With a visit to UNLV this coming Saturday, things don’t get any easier.

15. Ohio State (16-6, 6-3): Now fully healthy, the Buckeyes are coming on strong late in the season, getting wins against Iowa and Minnesota. And while the John Wall hype machine is still in full gear, it’s Evan Turner who should have your National Player of the Year vote. He’s got mine.

16. Temple (18-4, 6-1): Here’s the bad news: The Owls haven’t been playing their best basketball of late, losing to Charlotte last Wednesday. Here’s the good news: The loss drops them to 18-4 and 6-1 in the Atlantic 10. How many teams would love to change places with them right now?

17. Georgia Tech (16-5, 4-3): Quiet week for the Yellow Jackets, as they beat Wake Forest and some school named Kentucky State in the past seven days. It won’t be quite as easy Wednesday night, when they a trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium to play Duke.

18. Baylor (16-4, 3-3): Please do yourself a favor and watch Baylor the next time they’re on TV. The Bears are athletic, skilled and the best team you don’t know about…Yet.

19. Vanderbilt (16-4, 5-1): Yes the Commodores looked pretty bad against Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. But that shouldn’t take away from their performance the rest of the season, as they’ve already beaten Tennessee and South Carolina in conference play. Quite frankly, Vanderbilt making the Power Rankings for the first time this season has been nothing short of an oversight.

20. Gonzaga (17-4, 6-1): If you’ve been following Gonzaga’s wayward past few games in the West Coast Conference, you probably weren’t surprised that they slipped up against the University of San Francisco Saturday night. Still, San Francisco?

New to the Power Rankings: Baylor, Vanderbilt

Dropping Out: UConn, Pittsburgh

College Basketball Power Rankings

Despite a lot of college basketball action over the last seven days, it was a surprisingly quiet week overall.

While No. 1 Texas did lose twice, everyone else at the top- Kentucky, Villanova, Kansas, Syracuse- held strong, and improved their tournament resumes as we head toward March.

This week, mark your calendar for several big games, starting Monday night when Georgetown visits Syracuse and ending Saturday night when Kansas plays Kansas State.

But in between there will still be a lot of great games, including two by our new No. 1 team…

1. Kentucky (19-0, 4-0): Well, well, well, look who’s the new No. 1 team in the country? In all seriousness though, it cannot be emphasized enough: As good as John Wall is, this team wouldn’t be undefeated without Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins developing the way that they have.

2. Villanova (18-1, 7-0): During Saturday’s game against St. Johns, announcer Doris Burke explained Villanova’s effectiveness better than anyone I’ve heard so far. She said, “While most teams put pressure on you with their defense, the Wildcats are relentless with their offensive pressure.” Which makes sense, since Villanova’s got seven players averaging at least eight points per game.

3. Kansas (18-1, 4-0): No team has looked better over the last two weeks than the Jayhawks have, winning their last four games by an average of 15 points per contest. But with that said, Kansas cannot, and will not survive in March unless freshman Xavier Henry picks up his game. He’s had 15 points or more in just one of the Jayhawks last nine games.

4. Syracuse (19-1, 6-1): There isn’t a team in college basketball that seems to genuinely enjoy playing with each other more than the Orange, and it shows with their nearly unblemished record. Interesting fact: They host old rival Georgetown on Monday, a team they’ve never beaten while ranked in the top five.

5. Michigan State (17-3, 7-0): Somehow, the Spartans survived a thriller at Minnesota Saturday afternoon, escaping with a one point victory after trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half. Tom Izzo coached teams always seem to play their best basketball towards the end of the season, and this team is shaping up to be no different.

6. Duke (16-3, 4-2): What exactly are we supposed to make of Duke? Three days after getting embarrassed by an awful NC State team, they rebounded by blowing down the doors at Clemson. Are you confused? Because I sure am.

7. Texas (17-2, 3-1): It’s way too early to give up on this Texas team, and getting home after two tough road losses will do them a lot of good. But with that said, the problems are still there for the Longhorns, starting with an inconsistent and often times inept half court offense.

8. Georgetown (15-3, 6-2): Look, no one has been more critical of the Hoyas this season than I have, but it looks like finally, maybe they’re figuring it all out. We’ll have a better idea if that’s true by the end of this week, as they play Syracuse and Duke in the next six days.

9. West Virginia (15-3, 4-2): You simply can’t give enough credit to Bob Huggins crew for scratching and clawing their way to a victory over Ohio State Saturday, despite trailing by double-digits early in the game. On paper this looked like the most complete team in the Big East coming into the season, and they’re finally starting to show it.

10. Purdue (16-3, 4-3): Now that’s more like it. After losing three in a row, the Boilermakers shook up their starting lineup, and rebounded with convincing wins over Illinois and Michigan last week.

11. Kansas State (16-3, 3-2): The mark of a great program is the ability to beat the teams you’re supposed to, even when you’re not playing your best basketball. And while Kansas State may have looked great against Texas on Monday, Saturday’s home loss to Oklahoma State showed that they’ve still got a long way to go.

12. Tennessee (15-3, 3-1): The Vols weren’t going to keep winning forever, and crashed hard with a loss at Georgia Saturday afternoon. While Tennessee does return home for their next two games, visits from Vanderbilt and Florida will hardly be easy wins.

13. Wisconsin (16-4, 6-2): Can I ask a question: Who exactly makes the schedule in the Big 10? Because whoever it is, they’re not a Wisconsin fan, as the Badgers have to play Purdue and Michigan State in the same week, for the second time…this MONTH!!!

14. Brigham Young (20-1, 5-0): It wasn’t easy for the Cougars Saturday, as they needed all 40 minutes to hold on and beat San Diego State by just two points Saturday. Even scarier is that the Cougars will hit the road again on Wednesday, this time going to “The Pit,” at New Mexico, maybe the toughest road venue in college basketball that no one knows about.

15. Gonzaga (16-3, 5-0): The names on the uniforms may change, but it’s the end of January and here are the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the top of the WCC standings, and in college basketball’s top 15. Hmm, where’ve we seen this before?

16. Temple (17-3, 5-0): As usual, the Owls went out and dominated two overmatched Atlantic 10 opponents this week, moving their record to 17-3. Nothing new to report here.

17. Pittsburgh (15-4, 5-2): Could reality be settling in for the upstart Panthers? After losses in the last week to Georgetown and Seton Hall, it just might be.

18. UConn (13-6, 3-3): Give the Huskies credit for overcoming the loss of head coach Jim Calhoun, and winning two tough games, including a victory over No. 1 Texas. But at the same time, let’s be realistic. As good as this team looked last week, they’ve still yet to win a game away from home. They better change that at Providence on Wednesday.

19. Georgia Tech (14-5, 3-3): I said it last week and I’ll say it again: This is the most “hit,” or “miss,” team in college basketball. They split their two games again this week, winning a squeaker at Clemson, before losing Sunday at Florida State.

20. Ohio State (14-6, 4-3): The Buckeyes played just once this week and lost at West Virginia. While it was hardly a bad loss, it was certainly one the Buckeyes could have won, as they led by 12 points at halftime and couldn’t close the Mountaineers out.

New to the Power Rankings: UConn

Dropping Out: Clemson

College Basketball Power Rankings

Conference play is under way, and college basketball is heating up.

And there’s a new No. 1 team in the Power Rankings, after four unbeaten teams last week were trimmed to just a remaining two today.

1. Texas (15-0, 1-0): Former high school All-American Avery Bradley showed what all the hype was about Saturday, scoring 29 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a win against Colorado. And that is the scariest part about our No. 1 ranked team: They’re deep, they’re talented, and they’re only getting better as the season goes on.

2. Kentucky (16-0, 1-0): Just like Kansas and Purdue, Kentucky very nearly suffered their first loss of the season Saturday, needing all 40 minutes to hold on against Georgia. Could these talented freshman be hitting a little bit of a wall (No pun intended. I swear)?

3. Villanova (14-1, 3-0): What a weird schedule quirk Villanova had the past 10 days, playing, and needing to hold for dear life, in two games against Marquette. After a visit to Louisville Monday, Villanova may be playing in the biggest game of this coming weekend, at home against Georgetown Sunday.

4. Kansas (14-1, 0-0): Is there really anything to take away from the Jayhawks first loss of the season Sunday afternoon? Probably not, Kansas simply caught an emotional Tennessee team on the wrong day. This group will be fine.

5. Purdue (14-1, 2-1): Take exactly what I just said about Kansas and apply it here to Purdue as well. Wisconsin is never an easy team to play at the Kohl Center, and the Boilermakers found that out the hard way on Saturday.

6. Syracuse (15-1, 2-1): My oh my, is anybody flying under the radar more than the Orange right now? While Wednesday’s game against Rutgers won’t tell us much, Saturday’s grudge match with a physical, defensive minded West Virginia team sure will.

7. Duke (13-2, 1-1): Even though Duke has its biggest frontline in years, they still need to make 3-pointers to beat good teams. They didn’t do that Saturday against Georgia Tech (6-28 as a team), and because of it, lost their second game of the season.

8. Michigan State (13-3, 3-0): In a week where Purdue lost to Wisconsin, the Spartans were able to beat the Badgers for maybe their most impressive win of the year. Three straight home games are to come, meaning the Spartans should continue to roll.

9. Tennessee (12-2, 0-0): So second leading scorer Tyler Smith got kicked off the team Friday, and Tennessee went on to shock No. 1 ranked Kansas on Sunday. Think coach Bruce Pearl might try kicking some more guys off before Saturday’s game at Ole Miss? Maybe?

10. Georgetown (12-2, 3-1): Austin Freeman had the performance of a lifetime Saturday, scoring 28 second half points as Georgetown overcame a 19 point deficit to defeat UConn at home. Unfortunately in the Big East there’s never any rest, as the Hoyas play Seton Hall and No. 3 Villanova this week.

11. West Virginia (12-2, 3-1): The Mountaineers have lost two of their last three games, with the sole win coming against hapless Rutgers. It’s not time for Bob Huggins to start worrying just yet, but in the rugged Big East, things can start to go downhill in a hurry.

12. Kansas State (13-2, 0-1): Even the up-tempo Wildcats can’t outscore everyone, as they learned Saturday in a loss at Missouri. Things don’t get any easier with Texas A&M on the schedule this week.

13. Wisconsin (13-3, 3-1): The Badgers beat another undefeated, top five opponent Saturday, dispatching of Big 10 favorite Purdue 73-66. This may be the under the radar team in the Big 10 that nobody wants to play.

14. North Carolina (12-4, 1-0): Could Will Graves be the answer to North Carolina’s perimeter woes? The senior hit three 3-pointers- two of them in a crucial second half run- as the Tar Heels dispatched of Virginia Tech in their Sunday night ACC opener.

15. UConn (11-4, 2-2): UConn eventually will put “it,” all together, and when they do, they’re going to be a team that nobody wants to play in March. Unfortunately right now, that’s more fantasy than reality, especially after seeing them blow a 19 point lead against Georgetown Saturday.

16. Pitt (13-2, 3-0): We’ve seen this happen before: Pitt losing a bunch of talented players to graduation, and everyone expecting them to fall off; only they never do. Jamie Dixon should be National Coach of the Year at this point.

17. BYU(16-1, 1-0): How ‘bout them Cougs? BYU’s wins over UNLV and UTEP last week might not have meant much to you, but I promise it will matter to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee come March.

18. Baylor (13-1, 1-0): Baylor snuck into last week’s Power Rankings at No. 18 and stay there this week after beating Oklahoma by 31 points (31!!!) to open conference play. For those of you not noticing the trend, be warned, there’s a lot of good basketball being played in the Big XII right now.

19. Georgia Tech (12-3, 1-1): We’ve said all year that Georgia Tech is one of college basketball’s most talented teams, but unfortunately also one of its most erratic. That was certainly the case last week, when the Yellow Jackets lost to woebegone cross-state rival Georgia, before trumping No. 7 Duke Saturday.

20. Temple (13-3, 2-0): Temple and Rhode Island are the two best teams in the Atlantic 10 right now. Chalk up Round 1 to the Owls, who beat URI in overtime Saturday. The two teams will meet again in at Rhodie in February.

New to the Power Rankings: Pitt, Georgia Tech and Temple

Dropping Out: New Mexico, Ole Miss and Rhode Island

College Basketball Power Rankings

It’s been two weeks since the last Power Rankings, and in that time, Kansas has reclaimed its spot on top of the throne.

And with the calendar turning to the New Year, the easy part of the schedule is over, and everybody is entering conference play.

Included in this week’s most exciting games are a pair of Wisconsin tilts, at Michigan State Wednesday, and Purdue at home Saturday. Also, look out for Duke-Georgia Tech, UConn-Georgetown and several other big games Saturday afternoon.

Let’s get to the Rankings!

1. Kansas (13-0, 0-0): Since the last edition of the Power Rankings where we labeled Kansas slightly overrated, they responded with convincing victories over Cal and Temple. This team is just starting to match its preseason expectations, which saw many experts rank them as the top team in college basketball.

2. Texas (13-0, 0-0): It’s never a good thing when your coach says you’ve, “taken a huge step backward,” but that’s exactly what Rick Barnes said after the Longhorns surprisingly tight victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday. But despite the poor performance, there’s still no need to stress if you’re a Texas fan. This is the deepest, and the most overall talented team in the game right now.

3. Kentucky (15-0, 0-0): Even though they got a win over Louisville Saturday, Kentucky’s sloppy performance left a lot to be desired. But with that being said, who thought Kentucky would be 15-0 at this point?

4. Purdue (13-0, 1-0): If you weren’t sure about Purdue, their dominating New Year’s Day performance against West Virginia should have told you everything you needed to know. This team truly is a National Championship contender.

5. Duke (12-1, 1-0): The Blue Devils just continue to roll, dominating Clemson in their ACC opener Saturday. Believe it or not, this may be Coach K’s most talented team since Duke went to the 2004 Final Four.

6. Villanova (12-1, 1-0): The Wildcats had been quiet for the last couple weeks, but nothing was quiet about their come from behind victory at Marquette Saturday. Yes this team has its flaws, but they still seem to be getting better each and every game.

7. West Virginia (11-1, 2-0): Bob Huggins’ boys couldn’t stay undefeated forever, and fell hard on New Year’s Day at Purdue. But with wins over Ole Miss, Seton Hall and Marquette the last two weeks, did anyone have a more impressive holiday season?

8. Syracuse (13-1, 1-1): Another team that fell from the undefeated ranks were the Orange, who lost on Saturday to Pittsburgh. They should rebound nicely however with three winnable games, before a big trip to West Virginia January 16.

9. Michigan State (11-3, 2-0): The Spartans have won a few games in a row now, but the problems continue to mount. The latest? How about the benching of last year’s Big 10 Player of the Year Kalin Lucas?

10. Kansas State (13-1, 0-0): What can we say about this team that hasn’t already been said? They are hands down the best team no one knows about in college basketball right now.

11. North Carolina (11-3, 0-0): Similar to Michigan State, the Tar Heels have won a few games in a row now, but will be unable to mask their deficiencies as time goes on. For North Carolina, their guards are still too turnover prone to do any damage once ACC play starts.

12. Georgetown (11-1, 2-0): After victories over St. John’s and DePaul, the easy part of the Big East schedule is already done for the Hoyas. Their next three games are at Marquette, with UConn and Seton Hall at home. Good luck!

13. UConn (10-3, 1-1): Speaking of UConn, the Huskies have split two Big East games, losing at Cincinnati, and beating Notre Dame at home. This team is athletic and talented, and will be one of college basketball’s scariest teams if they ever start making their foul shots.

14. New Mexico (12-1, 0-0): New Mexico has quietly put together an awesome start, beating Texas Tech and Dayton since the last Power Rankings. Add those wins to victories over Cal and Texas A&M earlier in the season, and you have college basketball’s scariest mid-major team.

15. Ole Miss (11-2, 0-0): Even with a loss at West Virginia on December 23, there’s still a lot to like with Andy Kennedy’s club. There will be a lot more to like if they can beat cross-state rival Mississippi State on Saturday.

16. Wisconsin (12-2, 2-0): The Badgers are 2-0 in conference play, with two convincing, double-digit wins. But, back-to-back games with Michigan State and Purdue this week will prove whether Wisconsin is a Big 10 contender or not.

17. Tennessee (10-2, 0-0): Unfortunately right now, the story surrounding the Vols is the suspension of four players on New Years Day, instead of the fact that they’re playing really good basketball. A trip to No. 1 ranked Kansas Saturday will do nothing to ease Bruce Pearl’s pain.

18. Baylor (11-1, 0-0): Is it too late for Baylor to join the SEC? After victories over Arkansas and South Carolina last week, the Bears are 3-0 vs. SEC teams this year.

19. Rhode Island (11-1, 0-0): Quick, who’s got the best record in the Atlantic 10? It’s not Dayton, Temple or Xavier, but Jim Baron’s crew, who beat Oklahoma State for their best win of the season on Saturday.

20. BYU (12-1, 0-0): Much like their conference counterparts, the Cougars have several nice early season wins. Included, is a sweep of Arizona and Arizona State.

New To The Power Rankings: Wisconsin, Tennessee, Baylor, Rhode Island, BYU

Dropping Out: Ohio State, Florida, UNLV, Washington, Butler

College Basketball Power Rankings

It’s been a quiet couple week’s in college basketball, as most schools and players have seen more time with their textbooks for final exams than time with their teammates on the court.

But don’t worry, that’s about to change as we’re just a week away from conference play kicking off in full-swing.

For those of you who just can’t wait, there are some lovely appetizers this week, including the newly ranked Ole Miss visiting No. 5 West Virginia, and Michigan State and Texas squaring off.

Speaking of Texas, they have leapfrogged Kansas into the top spot in our poll after Saturday’s dominating victory over North Carolina.

And oh, by the way, one more thing…Merry Christmas!!!

1. Texas (10-0): I know, I know, it’s hard to justify dropping Kansas out of the top spot even though they have yet to lose a game. Just know this: Not only is Texas 10-0, but they’ve won those games by an average of 29 points. Wow!

2. Kansas (10-0): Think of the Jayhawks similarly to this year’s Florida Gators football team, they keep winning, but just aren’t as dominant as they should be. Honestly, if Kansas played Texas on a neutral court today, not only would they lose, it likely wouldn’t be close.

3. Kentucky (11-0): Wildcats fans finally have a reason to be thankful this holiday season, mainly John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and John Calipari. And the holiday feasting will continue into the New Year, as Kentucky plays it’s next three games against Drexel, Long Beach State and University of Hartford. Cheers!

4. Purdue (10-0): Purdue beat Ball State to improve to 10-0 Saturday…yawn…Wake me up when they play West Virginia New Year’s Day.

5. West Virginia (8-0): Speaking of West Virginia, nobody loaded up their holiday plate quite like the Mountaineers, who play Ole Miss and Purdue by New Year’s with Big East games against Seton Hall and Marquette in between. Good luck the next couple weeks West Virginia fans, you might need it.

6. Syracuse (11-0): Another week and another win for Syracuse. Enjoy the holidays Orange fans, and check back next Tuesday, when Syracuse opens Big East play at 9-1 Seton Hall.

7. Duke (9-1): Duke 76, Gonzaga 41. Can you say signature victory?

8. Villanova (10-1): Nothing to report this week for the Wildcats, as they played just once, and dominated at that. But as Big East play begins, the question has to be asked: Does Villanova have enough size to truly be a contender?

9. Michigan State (9-2): The Spartans seem to be playing better now that the weight of their absurdly high preseason ranking is off their shoulders. But even after winning four straight, do they have any chance against Texas Tuesday night?

10. Uconn (7-2): Congratulations to coach Jim Calhoun, who signed a new five-year contract that will likely keep him at the school through the middle of the next decade. But with the way his Huskies are playing (lowlighted by a come from behind victory against Central Florida Sunday), who knows if he’ll even want to stick around that long.

11. Kansas State (10-1): Folks, Kansas State is a really, really good team. How good? How about double-digit wins over Xavier, UNLV and Alabama in the last two weeks? Not too shabby, right?

12. North Carolina (8-3): The Tar Heels ran into the Texas buzzsaw Saturday, losing to the Longhorns 103-90 in Cowboys Stadium. Why’d they lose? Texas might be the only team that has a better frontcourt than North Carolina, and it showed Saturday, as the Longhorns outrebounded the Tar Heels 56-36.

13. Georgetown (8-1): Don’t sweat the Hoyas loss to Old Dominion because everybody has a letdown once in awhile. But if Georgetown can’t rebound with a win New Year’s Eve at St. John’s, well, then there might some cause for concern.

14. Ohio State (9-2): The Buckeyes continue to win as their best player, Evan Turner, remains on the sidelines with a back injury. But will they keep pulling out games once the schedule gets tougher?

15. New Mexico (12-0): We told you about the Lobos last week, and they responded by winning two more games since then. Now, if they can win another two games- against Texas Tech and Dayton- New Mexico might be celebrating the New Year with a top 10 ranking.

16. Florida (8-2): With young teams you’re always going to have highs and lows, and the Gators are at a low right now with two straight losses. They should be able to right the ship however, with games against South Alabama and American coming up.

17. UNLV (10-1): The Rebels should have no problem beating a bad SMU team Tuesday. But, it won’t be a happy New Year as they prepare for a January 6 trip to BYU, traditionally one of the toughest places to play in college basketball.

18. Ole Miss (10-1): There was a lot of preseason hype surrounding the Rebels, but I for one didn’t buy it. Until now. The Rebels are skilled and athletic, and can do themselves wonders by beating West Virginia Wednesday.

19. Washington (7-2): The Huskies are 7-2, but looking at their schedule, who exactly is their best win? If this team is to be taken seriously, they need, repeat need to beat Texas A&M at home Tuesday night.

20. Butler (8-3): The Bulldogs may have college basketball’s most controversial win this season, when a shot clock malfunction allowed them to sneak by Xavier Saturday. But a win is a win, and combine that with Butler’s victory over Ohio State a week ago, and the Bulldogs find themselves back in the Power Rankings.

College Basketball Power Rankings

We promised you last week that these College Basketball Power Rankings would fluctuate all season long, and that’s exactly what happened over the past seven days, as we welcome in four new teams.

For you college hoops junkies, it’s going to be a quiet week, as most schools will be in the midst of final exams. But be sure to clear some time on Saturday, when Texas and North Carolina will square off at 2 p.m. and Duke and Gonzaga do battle at 4 p.m., both on neutral courts.

Let’s get to the rankings!

1. Kansas (9-0, 0-0): Has any undefeated and top ranked team ever laid this low a month into the season? The Jayhawks are undefeated, virtually untested and won’t be back in action until Saturday against Michigan.

2. Texas (8-0, 0-0): Speaking of ho-hum, hey look it’s Texas, which won two more games by double-digits this week. No need to worry though, as the Longhorns have North Carolina this week, their first major test of the season.

3. Kentucky (10-0, 0-0): Yours truly was in the Garden Wednesday night and can attest, Kentucky’s game against UConn was as good in person as it came across on TV. And oh, that John Wall kid? He’s pretty good too.

4. Purdue (9-0, 0-0): Give Purdue credit for weathering the storm, and overcoming a nine point halftime deficit at Alabama Saturday night. The Boilermakers should cruise to wins in their last three games before the New Year.

5. West Virginia (7-0, 0-0): Question, how do you follow up tough, 25 points victories against Duquesne and Coppin State? If you’re West Virginia it’s with a trip to 4-6 Cleveland State, that’s how. Hey Bob Huggins, how do those cupcakes taste?

6. Syracuse (9-0, 0-0): The Orange went down to Tampa and got another impressive win Thursday, this one against Florida. Syracuse can now hit cruise control, and should be undefeated when Big East play starts on December 29.

7. Duke (7-1, 0-0): The Blue Devils move up a spot, coming off an impressive…wait a second, Duke didn’t play a game this week! Either way, they’ll be back in action Wednesday, and then play Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden Saturday afternoon.

8. Villanova (9-1, 0-0): Hoops Addict warned you last week that Villanova was due for a letdown against one of their cross-town rivals this week, which is exactly what happened in Sunday night’s loss to Temple. After a few days off, look for Villanova to take out their frustrations on 2-6 Fordham next Saturday.

9. Tennessee (7-1, 0-0): Boy, that win over Middle Tennessee sure showed us, oh wait, it didn’t show us anything at all. Neither will games against Wyoming and Southern Cal this week.

10. North Carolina (8-2, 0-0): With Michigan State and Kentucky on the schedule last week, and Texas up next, Saturday’s game against Presbyterian was a good way to rest the starters and get the backup’s valuable minutes. However, if Marcus Ginyard (foot) and Dexter Strickland (leg) don’t get healthy, the Tar Heels could be in trouble. Not just against Texas, but also for the rest of the season.

11. Florida (8-1, 0-0): It’s hard to drop the Gators too far after losing to a good Syracuse team Thursday. But a problem crept in that game- a lack of big-time rebounders- which might haunt the Gators all season.

12. Georgetown (8-0, 0-0): Uh oh… The Hoyas beat both Butler and Washington convincingly this week, and if Greg Monroe keeps playing like he did against the Bulldogs (24 points, 15 rebounds), the rest of college basketball could be in big trouble.

13. Michigan State (8-2, 0-0): There’s not much to report on the Spartans this week, and there really won’t be until their visit to Texas December 22. However, after losses to Florida and North Carolina already, if Michigan State can’t at least keep it close against the Longhorns, it might be time to start writing them off for good.

14. Kansas State (9-1, 0-0): Is this too high to have the Wildcats make their first appearance in the Power Rankings this year? Maybe. But with double-digit wins against Xavier and UNLV already, Frank Martin is proving that Kansas State isn’t just “The school that Michael Beasley went to once upon a time.”

15. UConn (6-2, 0-0): You can’t fault the Huskies for losing the most competitive and overall best game of the 2009-2010 season to Kentucky last Wednesday. However, some of the things which crept up for them in that loss (mainly poor free throw and three point shooting), could remain problematic all year.

16. New Mexico (10-0, 0-0): Well hello New Mexico! We couldn’t keep the Lobos out of our Power Rankings any more. Especially after they beat Texas A&M Saturday night to improve to 10-0.

17. Texas Tech (9-0, 0-0): Pat Knight (Bobby’s son), has Texas Tech playing its best basketball in years. No word yet though if Knight Jr. has the same chair throwing tendencies his father once did.

18. Gonzaga (8-2, 0-0): The Zags re-enter the Power Rankings just six points away from being undefeated. Even with wins against Wisconsin and Cincinnati in Maui, a win against Saturday against Duke would be their most important of the season.

19. Washington (6-2, 0-0): Alright, here’s the truth: Washington just isn’t as good as we thought they’d be. But in a watered down Pac-10, who exactly is better?

20. Georgia Tech (6-1, 0-0): It’s hard to move the Yellow Jackets any higher than where they were last at week since they haven’t played in that time.. Georgia Tech opens ACC play Sunday against Florida State.

New to the Power Rankings: Kansas State, New Mexico, Texas Tech, Gonzaga
Dropping Out: Ohio State, Wisconsin, UNLV, Texas A&M

College Basketball Power Rankings

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As with any year in college basketball, it is right around the middle of December, and the elite are starting to rise to the top of the sport.

Villanova and Kentucky improved with signature wins last week, while Kansas and Texas continued to roll through the opposition. Michigan State and North Carolina? Well, they’ve got some work to do.

And while the top of these Power Rankings should remain just about the same every week from now through Selection Sunday, expect spots 8-20 to fluctuate between about two dozen good teams all year long.

As for this week’s schedule, be sure to check out two major SEC-Big East matchups, when Kentucky and UConn square off Wednesday night, and Syracuse and Florida do battle Thursday.

Alright, enough chit-chat, let’s get to the Power Rankings:

1. Kansas (7-0, 0-0): The Jayhawks trip to UCLA Sunday was supposed to be a matchup between two of college basketball’s best programs. Instead, it turned into another blowout for this year’s top ranked team.

2. Texas (6-0, 0-0): The Longhorns continue to make their case as the second best team in the sport, after two more double digit wins this week. And with games against Long Beach State and Texas San-Antonio coming up, don’t be surprised if I just copy and paste the first sentence of this paragraph into next week’s Power Rankings.

3. Kentucky (8-0, 0-0): John Wall is The Truth (a nickname I gave him myself), as Kentucky wouldn’t have beaten North Carolina without the freshman’s 16 points and seven assists. The Wildcats now have to avoid complacency, as they have an equally tough game against UConn on Wednesday.

4. Villanova (8-0, 0-0): Maryland got frisky with the Wildcats Sunday night, but like the veteran team they are, Villanova held on for a road victory. With two games against city rivals St. Joe’s and Temple coming up, don’t be surprised to see an “L,” in the loss column in next week’s Power Rankings.

5. Purdue (7-0, 0-0): Purdue is undefeated and should remain so until the start of Big 10 play in late December. A tricky road test awaits the Boilermakers at Alabama Saturday.

6. West Virginia (5-0, 0-0): The Mountaineers haven’t played since last Sunday, apparently taking time to soak in all the glory that is, an Anaheim Classic championship. Begrudgingly, they return to the court Wednesday to play Duquesne.

7. Syracuse (8-0, 0-0): The Orange survived gauntlet wins against Maine and Colgate last week, holding on to beat the two by a combined 80 points (Anyone sense a little sarcasm?). It won’t be quite the same cakewalk this weekend, when they play undefeated Florida in St. Petersburg Thursday.

8. Duke (7-1, 0-0): Yes, the Blue Devils lost at Wisconsin, but the Kohl Center isn’t a place many road teams leave victorious. Duke did rebound nicely with a victory over St. John’s Saturday, and now has 10 days off to do whatever it is that Dukies do with free time.

9. Ohio State (7-1, 0-0): This program is nothing if not snake bitten by injuries, as do-it-all superstar Evan Turner (my early Naismith Player of the Year front runner) is out for two months after breaking his back. Yes, breaking…his back. In maybe unrelated story, former Buckeyes superstar Greg Oden was lost for his NBA season to a knee injury. At this point, I’m honestly not sure if the two events are coincidence or not.

10. Florida (8-0, 0-0): Is anyone else starting to notice that this Gators team is starting to take the shape of the selfless, team-first group that won National Championships in 2006 and 2007? They’re not as talented, but Florida currently has eight players averaging between 14 and eight points. The Gators are nothing if not balanced.

11. Tennessee (6-1, 0-0): East Tennessee was the only game on the Vols schedule last week. This week their only game is Middle Tennessee. Who’s on the schedule next week, Western Tennessee? My suggestion to Bruce Pearl? How about scheduling a pickup game with the Tennessee women’s team, just you know, to get a little competition?

12. North Carolina (7-2, 0-0): The knock on North Carolina all year has been whether or not their guards would hold up against good competition. Sixteen turnovers against Kentucky Saturday tells me the issue is far from resolved.

13. UConn (6-1, 0-0): The matchup to watch in Wednesday’s game with No. 4 Kentucky is Kemba Walker guarding Kentucky superstar John “The Truth,” Wall (See what I did there?). The Huskies 5’10 point guard might be the only player in college basketball quick enough to keep up with Kentucky’s leading man.

14. Wisconsin (6-1, 0-0): The Badgers did what they always seem to do in their win over Duke Wednesday: Play good pressure defense, crash the boards and limit turnovers. Now, can they end a two game losing streak to cross-state rival Marquette this coming Saturday?

15. Georgetown (6-0, 0-0): We can build on this! After a 46-45 win over Temple earlier this year that brought us back to the days of the two-hand set shot and super short shorts, the Hoyas have actually looked like a basketball team of late, winning four straight games by double-digits. Now it’s time to see if they’ll continue to take one step forward, or take two steps back, with games against Butler and Washington this weekend.

16. Washington (6-1, 0-0): Speaking of the Huskies, nobody should really be surprised with their first loss of the year to Texas Tech last week. But there’s something that’s just not right with this group, and they better get it fixed in a hurry if they’re going to compete in the Pac-10.

17. UNLV (7-0, 0-0): With wins already over Arizona and Louisville, UNLV gets another chance to impress, when a very good Kansas State team comes to Vegas on Saturday.

18. Texas A&M (7-1, 0-0): The Aggies snuck into the top 20 last week, and will stay there with good, quality wins over Akron and Prairie View. Ok, so maybe the wins weren’t good…or quality, but two wins are two wins, right?

19. Michigan State (6-2, 0-0): After a third embarrassing loss in less than a year to North Carolina, I’m going to say what we’re all thinking: These guys just aren’t that good. Luckily the Spartans are also a team known for peaking late in the season, so we probably shouldn’t give up on them just yet.

20. Georgia Tech (6-1, 0-0): The Yellow Jackets make their triumphant return to the Power Rankings, after five straight double-digit wins. Whether or not one of college basketball’s most talented- but erratic teams- can stay there, is another story.

New to the Rankings: Wisconsin, Georgia Tech

Dropping Out: Gonzaga, Oklahoma State

College Basketball Power Rankings

For some, the Thanksgiving holiday is filled with massive food and football consumption. But for many, it’s also a chance to see many of college basketball’s top teams battle in some good early season tournaments.

With the results in, here is the newest version of our College Basketball Power Rankings:

1. Kansas (5-0, 0-0): The Jayhawks are undefeated, and with the exception of a close win against Memphis, untested as well. They are also college basketball’s highest scoring team (90 points per game), with six players averaging at least seven points.

2. Texas (5-0, 0-0): You can make a case – and do so pretty convincingly – that the Longhorns have been the best team so far, as all five of their wins have come by double-digits. And despite losing starting guard Varez Ward for the season, Texas is one of the few teams with enough talent and depth to replace him.

3. Villanova (6-0, 0-0): There was sun and fun for Villanova over the holiday weekend, as they beat Dayton and Ole Miss to capture the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic. The Wildcats currently have five double figure scorers.

4. Purdue (5-0, 0-0): The Boilermakers won maybe the best game of the early season so far, a 73-72 victory over Tennessee in the Virgin Islands. If this team and can stay healthy- and that’s always a big if with this group- there’s plenty of reason to believe they’ll be in the National Championship hunt all season long.

5. West Virginia: (5-0, 0-0): The Mountaineers were arguably the most impressive overall team this holiday weekend, winning a talent filled Anaheim Classic by an average of 16 points per game. And with Devin Ebanks back after missing some early action, there’s no reason to believe that Bob Huggins’ group won’t compete with Villanova for a Big East championship.

6. Duke (6-0, 0-0): Keep calling Duke soft and un-athletic, they don’t care, they just keep winning. With a convincing victory over UConn in the NIT Tip-off Classic, the Blue Devils have made their case early as the ACC’s best team.

7. Kentucky (6-0, 0-0): Kentucky is undefeated, but it hasn’t come without some close calls. We’ll find out a lot more about John Wall and Co. over the next 10 days, when they play at North Carolina Saturday, and UConn on a neutral court a week from Wednesday.

8. Michigan State (4-1, 0-0): We know Michigan State has the talent to beat just about anyone in college basketball, they simply haven’t shown it yet, struggling against Gonzaga and losing to Florida. They’ll need to improve quickly with a trip North Carolina Tuesday night.

9. Syracuse (6-0, 0-0): From unranked to No. 8? That’s what happens when you beat Cal and North Carolina by a combined 40 points to win the 2K Sports Classic.

10. North Carolina (6-1, 0-0): Syracuse proved that if you pressure North Carolina’s ball-handlers, the Tar Heels suddenly become a lot more beatable, as the Orange ran them off the court in a 25 point victory. This team will be much better in March than it is now, but with games against Michigan State and Kentucky this week, more losses seem to be looming.

11. Ohio State (5-1, 0-0): Can I interest anyone in a ball-handling 6’7 forward averaging 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists a game? That’s what Ohio State has right now in junior Evan Turner.

12. Tennessee (5-1, 0-0): Beating Austin Peay, East Carolina and College of Charleston is cute, but to be taken seriously the Volunteers will need some wins against the big boys. Unfortunately, their next major test might not come until New Year’s Eve when they play cross-state rival Memphis.

13. Florida (6-0, 0-0): With wins over Florida State, Michigan State and Rutgers already, no one has come off the radar and into our consciousness faster than the Gators this season. Florida may have the second best freshman in college basketball right now (excluding John Wall) in Kenny Boynton, currently averaging 15.8 points per game.

14. Washington (5-0, 0-0): Home cooking has certainly been nice to Washington, which hasn’t left Seattle and hasn’t lost yet either. However, if they want to be real players in this year’s Pac-10 race, they’ll need more than 5.2 points a game and 27 percent shooting from freshman Abdul Gaddy.

15. UConn (4-1, 0-0): The Huskies have been wayward at times and great at others, dominating LSU before losing to Duke in the NIT Tipoff Classic final. The schedule lightens up this week, with a Dec. 9 showdown looming with Kentucky.

16. Gonzaga (5-1, 0-0): Yes, the Maui Invitational field was a little light this year. But the Zags still had to beat three very good teams (Colorado, Wisconsin and Cincinnati) to claim the title.

17. Oklahoma State (6-0, 0-0): A sleeper team to keep an eye on is Oklahoma State featuring high-scoring wing James Anderson (22.8 ppg). Anyone remember the Cowboys shootout with Pitt in the 2nd round of last year’s NCAA Tournament?

18. UNLV (5-0, 0-0): How about a little Mountain West love for the Rebels? UNLV won their first four games by double-digits, before shocking Louisville 76-71 Sunday afternoon.

19. Georgetown (4-0, 0-0): Alright, so the Hoya’s 46-45 victory over Temple may have set basketball back about 30 years. But we had them ranked to start the season, and they haven’t lost yet, so we can’t drop them, can we?

20. Texas A&M (5-1, 0-0): The Aggies beat two ranked teams and lost to another in this weekend’s Anaheim Classic. It’s looking like Texas A&M will again be one of the most overlooked teams in college basketball this year.

Orlando Finds Bosh’s Kryptonite

It was nearly an hour after a tough loss to Orlando and Chris Bosh was still at a loss for why his team failed to secure a win this afternoon.

You can’t blame Bosh for his confusion because looking at the team stats for the Raptors it would be hard to pick out why the team failed to pick up the win after they held one of the better offenses in the NBA to 41% from the field.

Vince Carter was held in check and shot a miserable 37.5% (9-24) from the field while Dwight Howard was held to 30% (4-13).

Not a bad day of the office for Toronto since they had been struggling earlier this season on the defensive end.

Throw in the fact Toronto shot an impressive 44.2% (34-77) from the field while only turning the ball over nine times and those are the kind of numbers that usually get you a win.

“Just looking at the score sheet I don’t know what to say,” a puzzled Bosh admitted to the media after the game. “I really don’t know what to say. We gave up a lot of second chance opportunities but they didn’t have a lot of second chance points which is a mystery to me. I think if we had tightened up the rebounding and knocked down a couple more shots it would have been a different game.”

Despite his confusion Bosh still managed to identify the problem tonight: lack of rebounds.

The funny thing about this is he was part of the problem for the first time this season.

As strong as Toronto’s defense was the stat which stuck is the one rebound Bosh snagged over the final three quarters of the game. This coming from a player who entering he game was second in the NBA in rebounds with 12.2.

After the game when I asked him about went wrong on the glass Bosh joked, “If I could answer that I’d have more (rebounds).”

Even after a quick reflection on the question he still couldn’t find an answer to why Orlando was able to shut him down.

“It just happens some games,” Bosh told me. “We missed a lot of long shots and as a big man sometimes they get away from you. Andrea (Bargnani) picked up the boards today so that was decent. You can’t rebound every night and you’re going to have an off night some nights.”

The suggestion was later throw out by another member of the media that Bosh’s legs gave out after battling in the paint all night against Dwight Howard.

Bosh seemed to warm to the idea but didn’t want to make excuses for his poor performance on the glass.

“(Dwight) Howard is hands down the strongest guy in the league,” Bosh admitted to Michael Grange. “Playing against him you’re really going to have to exert a lot of energy. But it just takes practice. I still felt I had a lot of open jump shots. I missed a couple and I felt I was off-balance a little bit taking it to the basket. It’s going to happen sometimes so I just need to get in better position so next time it will be different.”

While part of this may have been fatigue the real reason likely came from Dwight Howard after the game.

It turns out Orlando’s game plan for dealing with Bosh was to have different Orlando defenders  hit him early and often. And just like a heavyweight boxer this started to take it’s toll after the early rounds, er, first quarter.

“I think the last time we played him we just gave him a free path to the lane and tonight we did a better job of keeping a body on him,” Howard explained to me after the game. “We forced him to stay out of the lane and just not be able to get those easy rebounds. The guy who rebounded well tonight for them was Amir Johnson so the next time we play them we need to hit him and hit Chris (Bosh) to get those guys off the glass.”

After ripping through the first 13 games of the season posting superhuman-esque averages of 27 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, it appears that teams are starting to find ways to slow down the much-improved big men.

So despite adding nearly 30 pounds of muscle and bumping his numbers up across the board it appears that Bosh is still human and has games where he doesn’t respond well when he gets bullied around under the basket.

Now the key for Bosh will be to use his recently added bulk to ensure his Kryptonite this afternoon doesn’t cause other teams to be able to bully him again in the paint.