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)