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February 24, 2009
The List
Week of February 24, 2009

by John Perrotto

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The List runs every Tuesday through the conference tournaments, using our own Ken Pomeroy's Pomeroy Rankings as a barometer to judge teams along with Jerry Palm's RPI rankings, Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings and Kyle Whelliston's Basketball State computer ratings among others. I also look at how the "mainstream" media votes in the Associated Press poll and the coaches (or SIDs) vote in the USA Today/ESPN poll. Finally, I factor my subjective look at teams through the eyes of someone who once was a member of the AP poll board.

1. Pittsburgh (25-2)
Last ranking: 1
Last week: Won at No. 1 Connecticut 76-68, beat DePaul 80-61
This week: at Providence on Tuesday, at Seton Hall on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore center DeJuan Blair averaged 21.0 points and 20.5 rebounds against Connecticut and DePaul to win Big East Player of the Week honors.
Team fact: The Panthers have won eight straight games against Providence.

2. North Carolina (24-3)
Last ranking: 2
Last week: Beat North Carolina State 89-80, lost at Maryland 88-85
This week: vs. Georgia Tech on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior forward Tyler Hansbrough is one made free throw shy of joining Dickie Hemric (Wake Forest, 1952-55) as the second player in Division I history with 900 in a career.
Team fact: The Tar Heels need one victory for their 31st 25-victory season..

3. Connecticut (25-2)
Last ranking: 3
Last week: Lost to No. 4 Pittsburgh 76-68, beat South Florida 64-50
This week: at No. 13 Marquette on Wednesday, vs. Notre Dame on Saturday
Player spotlight: Junior center Hasheem Thabeet had 21 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots against South Florida.
Team fact: The Huskies have won at least 25 games in 11 of the last 15 seasons.

4. Memphis (24-3)
Last ranking: 5
Last week: Beat Southern Methodist 90-47, won at UTEP 70-63
This week: at UAB on Thursday, vs. Southern Miss on Saturday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Tyreke Evans averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots against Southern Methodist and UTEP to win Conference USA Rookie of the Week honors.
Team fact: The Tigers' 18-game winning streak is the longest in the nation.

5. Duke (22-5)
Last ranking: 6
Last week: Won at St. John's 76-69, beat No. 11 Wake Forest 101-91
This week: at Maryland on Wednesday, at Virginia Tech on Saturday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Elliot Williams averaged 31.5 minutes and 11.0 points on 10-for-14 shooting in wins over St. John's and Wake Forest to win ACC Rookie of the Week honors.
Team fact: The Blue Devils have forced at least 15 turnovers in five straight games.

9. Oklahoma (25-3)
Last ranking: 4
Last week: Lost at Texas 73-68
This week: Lost to No. 11 Kansas 87-79 on Monday, at Texas Tech on Saturday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Willie Warren is averaging 20.0 points and shooting 53 percent in road games.
Team fact: The Sooners have shot 50 percent or better in six of the last eight games.

6. Michigan State (21-5)
Last ranking: 7
Last week: Lost at No. 21 Purdue 72-54, beat Wisconsin 61-50
This week: vs. Iowa on Wednesday, at No. 21 Illinois on Sunday
Player spotlight: Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas averaged 15.5 points against Purdue and Wisconsin.
Team fact: The Spartans have had 11 20-win seasons in Tom Izzo's 14 seasons as coach.

7. Louisville (22-5)
Last ranking: 8
Last week: Beat Providence 94-76, won at Cincinnati 72-63
This week: Won at Georgetown 76-58 on Monday, vs. No. 13 Marquette on Sunday
Player spotlight: Senior forward Terrence Williams averaged 18.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.5 steals against Providence and Cincinnati.
Team fact: The Cardinals are 7-1 on the road in the Big East.

8. Clemson (22-4)
Last ranking: 12
Last week: Beat Maryland 93-64, won at Georgia Tech 81-73
This week: vs. Virginia Tech on Wednesday, at No. 25 Florida State on Saturday
Player spotlight: Junior center Trevor Booker had 21 points and 12 rebounds against Georgia Tech.
Team fact: The Tigers' four ACC road wins are their most since 1996-97.

9. Oklahoma (25-3)
Last ranking: 4
Last week: Lost at Texas 73-68
This week: Lost to No. 11 Kansas 87-79 on Monday, at Texas Tech on Saturday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Willie Warren is averaging 20.0 points and shooting 53 percent in road games.
Team fact: The Sooners have shot 50 percent or better in six of the last eight games.

10. Missouri (23-4)
Last ranking: 9
Last week: Won at Colorado 66-53
This week: vs. Kansas State on Wednesday, at No. 11 Kansas on Sunday
Player spotlight: Senior forward Leo Lyons had 13 points and 15 rebounds in 21 minutes against Colorado for his third double-double of the season.
Team fact: The Tigers need one more conference victory to tie the school record for Big 12 wins, 11, set in 1998-99.

11. Kansas (23-5)
Last ranking: 13
Last week: Beat Iowa State 72-55, beat Nebraska 70-53
This week: Won at No. 6 Oklahoma 87-78 on Monday, vs. No. 10 Missouri on Sunday
Player spotlight: Sophomore center Cole Aldrich has four double-doubles in the last seven games and five double-digit rebound games in that span.
Team fact: The Jayhawks have won at least 11 conference games in each season since the Big 12 was formed in 1996-97.

12. Villanova (22-5)
Last ranking: 10
Last week: Beat Rutgers 82-72, won at Syracuse 89-86
This week: at DePaul on Wednesday, vs. Georgetown on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior forward Dwayne Anderson had a career-high 22 points against Syracuse.
Team fact: The Wildcats are averaging a Big East-leading 80.6 points in conference games.

13. Marquette (23-4)
Last ranking: 16
Last week: Beat Seton Hall 79-67, won at Georgetown 78-72
This week: vs. No. 3 Connecticut on Wednesday, at No. 8 Louisville on Sunday
Player spotlight: Senior guard Wesley Matthews averaged 23.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds against Seton Hall and Georgetown.
Team fact: The Golden Eagles are 8-1 in games decided by 10 points or less.

14. Wake Forest (20-5)
Last ranking: 11
Last week: Beat Georgia Tech 87-69, lost at No. 6 Duke 101-91
This week: vs. North Carolina State on Thursday, at Virginia on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore guard Jeff Teague has scored 10 or more points in 29 straight games.
Team fact: The Demon Deacons are 18-2 when they attempt 15 or fewer three-point field goals and 2-3 when they try 16 or more.

15. Arizona State (21-5)
Last ranking: 14
Last week: Beat Arizona 70-68
This week: at No. 20 Washington on Thursday, at Washington State on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior forward Jeff Pendergraph is averaging 15.2 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 69 percent from the field and 77 percent from the foul line in the last six games.
Team fact: The Sun Devils have won four straight games against Arizona, their longest streak since winning nine in a row from 1980-83.

16. West Virginia (19-8)
Last ranking: 18
Last week: Beat Notre Dame 79-68, won at Rutgers 74-56
This week: at Cincinnati on Thursday, at South Florida on Sunday
Player spotlight: Freshman forward Devin Ebanks averaged 12.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists against Notre Dame and Rutgers to win Big East Rookie of the Week honors.
Team fact: The Mountaineers lead the Big East in three-point field goal defense (27.9 percent) and turnover margin (plus-4.59).

17. Purdue (21-6)
Last ranking: 21
Last week: Beat No. 7 Michigan State 72-54, beat Indiana 81-67
This week: at Michigan on Thursday, vs. Ohio State on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore forward JaJuan Johnson averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots against Michigan State and Indiana.
Team fact: The Boilermakers have won 20 games for a third straight season.

18. Gonzaga (21-5)
Last ranking: 20
Last week: Beat Loyola Marymount 91-54, beat Pepperdine 92-58
This week: at Santa Clara on Thursday, at San Diego on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior guard Jeremy Pargo had three assists against Pepperdine to raise his career total to 557 and move past John Stockton into third place on the school's all-time list.
Team fact: The Bulldogs have clinched their ninth straight West Coast Conference title, four away from the Division I record for consecutive conference titles set by UCLA from 1967-79.

19. UCLA (20-7)
Last ranking: 15
Last week: Beat No. 22 Washington 85-76, lost to Washington State 82-81
This week: at Stanford on Thursday, at California on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior center Alfred Aboya had double-doubles with 13 points and 11 rebounds against both Washington and Washington State after missing two days of practice because of the flu.
Team fact: The Bruins have clinched the 45th 20-win season in school history.

20. Washington (20-7)
Last ranking: 22
Last week: Lost at No. 15 UCLA 85-76, won at USC 60-51
This week: vs. No. 15 Arizona State on Thursday, vs. Arizona on Saturday
Player spotlight: Junior forward Quincy Pondexter has scored in double figures in six straight games, shooting 61 percent from the field and averaging 17.7 points and 6.2 rebounds during that span.
Team fact: The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in scoring with a 79.4 average.

21. Illinois (22-6)
Last ranking: 19
Last week: Lost to Penn State 38-33, won at Ohio State 70-68
This week: vs. Minnesota on Thursday, vs. No. 7 Michigan State on Sunday
Player spotlight: Sophomore forward Mike Davis averaged 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 65 percent from the field against Penn State and Ohio State.
Team fact: The Fighting Illini have won nine more games than a year, the second-biggest turnaround behind LSU (10 more win) among schools from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC.

22. Xavier (22-5)
Last ranking: 17
Last week: Lost at Charlotte 65-60, beat George Washington 71-53
This week: at St. Joseph's on Thursday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Brad Redford leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in three-point field goal percentage at 47.9.
Team fact: The Musketeers lead the Atlantic 10 in scoring margin at plus-10.2.

23. Butler (23-4)
Last ranking: 23
Last week: lost at Wisconsin-Milwaukee 63-60, won at Davidson 75-63
This week: vs. Youngstown State on Thursday, vs. Cleveland State on Saturday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Gordon Hayward scored a career-high 27 points against Davidson.
Team fact: The Bulldogs were 7-of-20 from three-point range against Davidson after going a combined 9-for-42 in losing to Loyola (Ill.) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the previous two games.

24. LSU (23-4)
Last ranking: NR
Last week: Won at Arkansas 72-69, beat Auburn 79-72
This week: vs. Florida on Tuesday, at Kentucky on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior guard Marcus Thornton had a team-high 25 points, including making 12 of 13 free throws, against Auburn.
Team fact: The Tigers have clinched the West's top seed for the SEC tournament.

25. Florida State (21-6)
Last ranking: NR
Last week: Beat Miami (Fla.) 80-67, won at Virginia Tech 67-65
This week: at Boston College on Tuesday, vs. No. 9 Clemson on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior guard Toney Douglas is averaging an ACC-best 23.2 points in conference games.
Team fact: The Seminoles have won at least seven ACC games in four straight seasons for the first time in school history.

Dropped out: No. 24 Brigham Young, No. 25 Utah.

Others considered: Brigham Young (20-6), Kentucky (19-8), Miami, Fla. (16-10), Texas (18-8), Utah (19-7).

John Perrotto is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

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