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January 5, 2010
Around the Rim
The List Returns

by John Perrotto


The List is back, just like we promised when we unveiled the pre-season version in November.

However, The List, in essence Basketball Prospectus’ top 25, is returning in a different form. The List will run as the lead item to Around The Rim each Tuesday through the remainder of the regular season. The readers have spoken and they want college basketball notes more than one day a week. Now you have them as ATR will run on Tuesday and Friday.

While we subjectively picked the pre-season top 25, we now go back to using more objective factors when compiling The List. Enough games have been played to make the various power ratings more meaningful and we take a mix of five different ratings to help us formulate the list: Our own Ken Pomeroy’s Pomeroy Ratings at kenpom.com, the venerable Jeff Sagarin ratings for USA Today at usatoday.com, RealTimeRPI at realtimerpi.com, Team Rankings at teamrankings.com and Kyle Whelliston’s State of Basketball rankings at the invaluable basketballstate.com.

The List’s top 25 rarely lines up with the The Associated Press’ media poll or USA Today’s coaches’ poll. That makes for some interesting rankings and debate, starting right at the top this week as I decided to go with Texas at No 1 over Kansas, which tops the media and coaches’ polls, by the slimmest of margins.

Kansas is ranked No. 1 by Pomeroy, Sagarin and RealTimeRPI while Texas is tops according to Team Rankings and Whelliston. I picked the Longhorns because they’ve played a tougher schedule and have been a bit more dominating.

Here is first regular-season installment of The List:

Season-opening ranking:3
Wins:UC Irvine, Western Carolina, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Rice, Southern California, Long Beach State, Texas State, Texas-Pan American, North Carolina, Michigan State, Gardner-Webb, Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
This week:at Arkansas tonight, Colorado on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:1
Wins:Hofstra, Memphis, Central Arkansas, Oakland, Tennessee Tech, Alcorn State, UCLA, Radford, La Salle, Michigan, California, Belmont, Temple.
This week:Cornell on Wednesday, at No. 14 Tennessee on Sunday.

Season-opening ranking:10
Wins:North Carolina Greensboro, Coastal Carolina, Charlotte, Radford, Arizona State, Connecticut, St. John’s, Gardner-Webb, Gonzaga, Long Beach State, Pennsylvania, Clemson.
This week:Iowa State on Wednesday, at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:6
Wins:Cal State Northridge, South Dakota State, Saint Joseph’s, Tennessee, Central Michigan, Wake Forest, Buffalo, Valparaiso, Alabama, Ball State, SIU Edwardsville, Iowa, West Virginia.
This week:Minnesota on Tuesday, at No. 10 Wisconsin on Saturday.

5.West Virginia
Season-opening ranking:8
Wins:Loyola (Md.), The Citadel, Long Beach State, Texas A&M, Portland, Duquesne, Coppin State, Cleveland State, Mississippi, Seton Hall, Marquette.
This week:Rutgers on Wednesday, at Notre Dame on Saturday.

6.Kansas State
Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Loyola Chicago, Western Illinois, Boston University, Dayton, IUPUI, Fort Hays State, Washington State, Xavier, Nevada Las Vegas, Alabama, Arkansas Pine Bluff, Cleveland State, South Dakota.
This week:at Missouri on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Albany, Robert Morris, California, North Carolina, Cornell, Columbia, Colgate, Maine, Florida, St. Francis (N.Y.), St. Bonaventure, Oakland, Seton Hall.
This week:Memphis on Wednesday, South Florida on Sunday.

Season-opening ranking:4
Wins:Morehead State, Miami (Ohio), Sam Houston State, Rider, Cleveland State, Stanford, North Carolina Asheville, North Carolina, Connecticut, Indiana, Austin Peay, Drexel, Long Beach State, Hartford, Louisville.
This week:Georgia on Saturday.

9.New Mexico
Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:UC Riverside, New Mexico State twice, Nicholls State, Louisiana Tech, Miami (Ohio), Hawaii, California, San Diego, Texas A&M, Northern Arizona, Creighton, Texas Tech, Dayton.
Loss:Oral Roberts.
This week:at San Diego State tonight, Nevada Las Vegas on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:IUPU Fort Wayne, Oakland, Arizona, Maryland, Duke, Grambling, Marquette, Cal Poly, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Illinois Chicago, Ohio State, Penn State.
Losses:Gonzaga, Wisconsin-Green Bay.
This week:at No. 15 Michigan State on Wednesday, No. 4 Purdue on Saturday.

11.Brigham Young
Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Bradley, Idaho State, Hawaii, Southern, Weber State, San Francisco, Arizona State, Fresno State, Wagner, Eastern Washington, Nevada, Nebraska, Arizona, Eastern New Mexico.
Loss:Utah State.
This week:Nevada Las Vegas on Wednesday, at Texas El Paso on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:7
Wins:Fairleigh Dickinson, Pennsylvania, George Mason, Dayton, Mississippi, La Salle, Drexel, Maryland, Saint Joseph’s, Fordham, Delaware, Marquette.
This week:DePaul on Wednesday, Marquette on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:18
Wins:Tulane, Temple, Savannah State, Lafayette, Mount St. Mary’s, American, Butler, Washington, Harvard, St. John’s, DePaul.
Loss:Old Dominion.
This week:at Marquette on Wednesday, No. 23 Connecticut on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:11
Wins:Austin Peay, North Carolina Asheville, East Carolina, DePaul, College of Charleston, East Tennessee State, Middle Tennessee, Wyoming, North Carolina A&T, Memphis.
Losses:Purdue, Southern California.
This week:Charlotte on Wednesday, No. 2 Kansas on Sunday.

15.Michigan State
Season-opening ranking:2
Wins:Florida Gulf Coast, Gonzaga, Toledo, Valparaiso, Massachusetts, Wofford, The Citadel, Oakland, IUPU Fort Wayne, Texas Arlington, Northwestern.
Losses:Florida, North Carolina, Texas.
This week:No. 10 Wisconsin on Wednesday, at Iowa on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Arkansas Little Rock, Alabama State, Indiana, Kansas State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Arkansas State, Southern Mississippi, McNeese State, Texas El Paso, Centenary, Jacksonville State.
Losses:Villanova, West Virginia.
This week:Central Florida tonight, Mississippi State on Saturday.

Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Delaware, Siena, Ball State, Virginia Tech, Western Michigan, Penn State, Miami (Ohio), Villanova, Seton Hall, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois.
Losses:Georgetown, St. John’s, Kansas.
This week:Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday, at No. 21 Rhode Island on Sunday.

Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Wofford, Binghamton, Eastern Kentucky, Wichita State, Youngstown State, Duquesne, New Hampshire, Kent State, Mount St. Mary’s, Ohio, DePaul, Syracuse, Cincinnati.
Losses:Texas, Indiana.
This week:Defeated Cincinnati 74-71 on Monday night.

Season-opening ranking:12
Wins:Murray State, Detroit, Jacksonville, Princeton, Iowa State, Pacific, Utah Valley, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford.
Losses:Syracuse, Ohio State, New Mexico, Kansas.
This week:UCLA on Wednesday, Southern California on Saturday.

20.Wake Forest
Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Oral Roberts, East Carolina, High Point, Winston-Salem State, Gonzaga, Elon, North Carolina Wilmington, North Carolina State, North Carolina Greensboro, Richmond, Xavier.
Losses:William & Mary, Purdue.
This week:at Miami (Fla.) on Saturday.

21.Rhode Island
Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Brown, Holy Cross, Stony Brook, Davidson, Providence, Quinnipiac, Northeastern, Boston College, Fairfield, Drexel, Oklahoma State.
Loss:Virginia Commonwealth.
This week:at Akron tonight, vs. No. 17 Temple on Sunday.

Season-opening ranking:13
Wins:Wright State, Belmont, Portland State, San Jose State, Montana, Cal State Northridge, Portland, Texas A&M, San Francisco, Oregon State.
Losses:Texas Tech, Georgetown, Oregon.
This week:at Arizona State on Friday, at Arizona on Sunday.

Season-opening ranking:14
Wins:William & Mary, Colgate, Hofstra, Louisiana State, Boston University, Harvard, Central Florida, Maine, Iona, Notre Dame.
Losses:Duke, Kentucky, Cincinnati.
This week:Seton Hall on Wednesday, at No. 13 Georgetown on Saturday.

24.North Carolina
Season-opening ranking:5
Wins:Florida International, North Carolina Central, Valparaiso, Ohio State, Gardner-Webb, Nevada, Michigan State, Presbyterian, Marshall, Rutgers, Albany.
Losses:Syracuse, Kentucky, Texas, College of Charleston.
This week:Lost to College of Charleston 82-79 on Monday night, Virginia Tech on Sunday.

25.Florida State
Season-opening ranking:NR
Wins:Jacksonville, Stetson, Mercer, Iona, Alabama, Marquette, Florida International, Georgia State, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Tennessee Martin, Alabama A&M, Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
Losses:Florida, Ohio State.
This week:Defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi 94-54 on Monday night, at Maryland on Sunday.

Others to watch: Clemson (12-3), Minnesota (11-3), Missouri (11-3), Texas A&M (10-3), William & Mary (10-3).

Dropped out: No. 9 Butler, No. 15 Oklahoma, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 19 Georgia Tech, No. 20 Ohio State, No. 21 Louisville, No. 22 Dayton, No. 23 Maryland, No. 24 Clemson, No. 25 Vanderbilt.

Four Tennessee Players Suspended, Face Charges

All the good feelings that Tennessee had generated with its 10-2 start that included a big road win over in-state rival Memphis last Thursday are gone now in light of four Volunteers being suspended indefinitely after being arrested last Friday on various weapons, marijuana and alcohol charges.

“This has tarnished everything we have accomplished this season,” Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. “Ultimately, I’m responsible for this and I’m very apologetic. We don’t condone weapons, drugs or alcohol in our program or on our campus. We talk to our kids virtually every day about how important it is to make the right choices. “These are four young men have done a lot of positive things on and off the court, so we’re extremely disappointed,”

Among the players suspended is senior forward Tyler Smith, who is averaging 17.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 32.6 minutes a game. His 80.5 free throw rate is 36th in the nation and his 124.3 offensive rating is 74th. The others are junior guard Melvin Goins, junior center Brian Williams and sophomore forward Cameron Tatum. Williams’ 18.3 offensive rebounding percentage is sixth and Goins’ 4.1 steal percentage is 79th.

The suspensions leave the Volunteers with six scholarship players and three walk-ons. Pearl plans to play them all tonight when Tennessee hosts Charlotte (10-3) in a non-conference game before No. 2 Kansas (13-0) rolls into Knoxville on Sunday.

“Our team’s resolve is strong and we are still very much a family,” Pearl said. “This situation is like when you have an injury and other guys have got to step up. We’re short-handed but it’s going to mean more minutes for more people. It’s an opportunity for some guys.”

However, Pearl does admit that Tennessee will have to alter its style of play. The Volunteers’ 73.6 adjusted tempo makes them the 24th-fastest team in the country.

“We’re going to have to pull back on the pressing because we’re not going to be able to wear anybody out but ourselves now,” Pearl said. “It’s going to change some things from an Xs-and-Os standpoint.”

Wisconsin Starts 2-0 in Big Ten Before Showdowns

Wisconsin is off to a 2-0 start in the Big Ten after beating Ohio State 65-43 and Penn State 63-46.

“Everyone’s intention is simple when Big Ten play starts and that’s to stay in the race,” Ryan said. “That’s all that matters. Being 2-0 gives us a little bit of a leg up in that regard.”

Wisconsin (12-2) could use the cushion as it has a challenging week. The Badgers visit No. 15 Michigan State (11-3, 1-0) on Wednesday night then host No. 4 Purdue (13-0, 1-0) on Saturday afternoon.

Of course, if the Badgers play defense as well as they did in their first two games, they have a fighting chance to be 4-0 at week’s end. Their 86.4 adjusted defensive efficiency ranks 13th in the nation.

“I don’t know if we’ve done anything different defensively since we’ve gotten into Big Ten play than what we’ve practiced all year,” Ryan said. “Sometimes, teams just have a rough night putting the ball in the basket or they get out of a rhythm offensively. Our philosophy has always been to do whatever we have to do to stop the other team, whether it’s an up-tempo game, a low-tempo game or a medium-tempo game.”

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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<< Previous Article
Making a Run (01/05)
<< Previous Column
Around the Rim (12/31)
Next Column >>
Around the Rim (01/08)
Next Article >>
D-League Translations (01/06)

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