Week Two: Badger Nation's Top 16

What college basketball teams are rising and which ones are falling? Who's destined for a top seed and which teams are dropping off the radar? Badger Nation brings in the local experts to offer their opinions on last week's craziness on the hardwood.

When you have this many ranked teams falling by the wayside this late in the season, there's bound to be some movers in the power rankings. As evident by week two of the voting, there is clear separation between the top five teams in the country and the rest of the field. Week two of the Badger Nation power rankings sees a new number one and four mid-majors enter into the nation's sweet 16, although I wouldn't tell them they can't play with the big boys.

If you have thoughts on this week's 16 or have a question for our senior contributor on how rankings are determined, feel free to start a thread on our discussion board. As we make the march toward the Final Four, Badger Nation presents week two of the top 16.

The Top 16

1. Wisconsin

2. Florida

3. Ohio State

4. UCLA

5. North Carolina

6. Kansas

7. Memphis

8. Texas A&M

9. Washington State

10. Pittsburgh

11. Nevada

12. Georgetown

13. Southern Illinois

14. Butler

15. USC

16. Air Force

Oregon and Marquette drop from the rankings

Bryan Camp, Special to Badger Nation

1. Wisconsin

2. Ohio State

3. Florida

4. UCLA

5. Kansas

6. Memphis

7. North Carolina

8. Washington State

9. Pittsburgh

10. Texas A&M

11. Georgetown

12. Nevada

13. Southern Illinois

14. Butler

15. Air Force

16. Vanderbilt

Wisconsin jumps to number one with the Florida loss. I picked UW over OSU because of the head to head result but the Buckeyes only loss in 2007 was in Madison, which is nothing to be ashamed of. UCLA swept the state of Arizona this past week and leads the Pac 10, but Bennett ball at Washington State could get his team to the Final Four.

Georgetown has come back from the dead and is now eating up the rest of the Big East and Southern Illinois winning at Butler shows a lot about what the Salukis are all about. You also can't ignore Nevada. Although their weak conference hurts, you cant ignore Fazekas and only 2 losses Nevada.

Adam Hoge, Daily Cardinal Hoops Writer

1. Wisconsin

2. Ohio State

3. Florida

4. UCLA

5. North Carolina

6. Memphis

7. Texas A&M

8. Kansas

9. Washington State

10. Pittsburgh

11. Southern Illinois

12. Georgetown

13. Nevada

14. Virginia Tech

15. Louisville

16. USC

Florida's loss drops them to No. 3, meaning Sunday's showdown in Columbus, Ohio will at least be between the top-two teams in this poll. Wisconsin's experience is why it has the edge over Ohio State but we'll have more answers next weekend.

UCLA did a nice job of bouncing back this week and with North Carolina's loss the Bruins take over the last No. 1 seed. Memphis impressed me in its win over Gonzaga. I don't know what they will be able to do this year, but the Tigers are young and will be scary with Derrick Rose next season.

The mid-majors made a positive move this week as any doubts I had about Southern Illinois' rankings were erased after it ended Butler's home winning streak Saturday. Nevada got a tough win over Northern Iowa as well.

Then there is the Big East. Falling to the bottom half is Pittsburgh. The Panthers had an awful week after being dominated by Louisville and nearly losing to Washington. Both games were at home. Also having a terrible week was Marquette who has now lost three in a row. The Golden Eagles look underrated at times and then they look overrated at times. Right now they look extremely overrated and fall out of my rankings. The team who beat both Pittsburgh and Marquette last week was Louisville—and they did it on the road. The Cardinals could finish with three wins if they can get another road win at UConn next weekend.

Eric C. Krueger, Badger Herald Hoops Writer

1. Wisconsin

2. Florida

3. Ohio State

4. UCLA

5. Kansas

6. North Carolina

7. Nevada

8. Memphis

9. Washington State

10. Texas A&M

11. USC

12. Pittsburgh

13. Georgetown

14. Southern Illinois

15. Butler

16. Air Force

I don't believe in the "bump-‘em-up philosophy that both of the major polls employ. Teams should have to earn their spots rather than just being moved up by default following someone else's loss. That being said, while Florida is still the best basketball team in the country, right now they aren't playing like it. Wisconsin jumps the Gators not only because they went down 18 to Alabama at home or because they lost by 13 to Vanderbilt, but also because the Badgers appear to have hit their stride in their thrashing of Penn State. (Also, someone should tell Joakim Noah it doesn't matter who starts it, you don't try to show up an opposing coach and you don't take a swing at an opposing cheerleader, people dislike you enough already.)

Kansas moves ahead of UNC partly because of the Tarheels' home loss to a schizophrenic Virginia Tech team (lose by 25 to NC State, really?) and partly because Kansas' average margin of victory in their last four games was nearly 32 points.

Southern Illinois showed they are the real deal defeating Butler on Saturday. It was made obvious just how much the Bulldogs rely on A.J. Graves, as he struggled mightily while suffering from flu-like symptoms in the loss.

Zach Kukkonen, Daily Cardinal Sports Editor

1. Florida

2. Wisconsin

3. UCLA

4. North Carolina

5. Ohio State

6. Kansas

7. Texas A&M

8. Pittsburgh

9. Butler

10. Washington State

11. Nevada

12. Marquette

13. Oregon

14. Memphis

15. Georgetown

16. Air Force

Oregon takes a big fall, as they are caught in a tailspin, losing five of their last seven. An upcoming matchup against Washington State could right the ship, but they need to get it together fast. The Aggies did lose to Texas Tech at home, but as long as they don't play the Red Raiders in the NCAA Tournament, they should be OK. North Carolina remains a No. 1 seed despite a loss to giant-killer Virginia Tech, as no other teams had a strong enough week to crack the top four.

Washington State has a good chance of getting a No. 2 seed if they have a strong last four games, which includes matchups with Oregon, UCLA and USC. Oklahoma State falls off the board after taking a 29-point beatdown from Texas. Georgetown enters the picture riding a nine-game winning streak that includes wins over West Virginia and Marquette.

Michael Poppy, Badger Herald Hoops Writer

1. Wisconsin

2. Florida

3. Ohio State

4. North Carolina

5. Kansas

6. UCLA

7. Memphis

8. Texas A&M

9. Georgetown

10. Southern Illinois

11. Pittsburgh

12. Nevada

13. Washington State

14. Butler

15. USC

16. Louisville

Wisconsin receives the debatable No. 1 spot after Florida's loss at Vanderbilt Saturday. While Ohio State may be ahead in the polls, the Badgers beat the Buckeyes back in January. Also, Ohio State hasn't shown up against top-notch competition like Wisconsin, Florida and North Carolina. The loss to Vanderbilt doesn't drop Florida too much. After all, it was at Vanderbilt and the Commodores have beaten six ranked teams so far this season.

A couple other moves include Southern Illinois jumping up to No. 10 after a quality win over Butler Saturday. The Salukis have been the most consistent team in The Valley - they just better hope they survive the tough conference with just two games and the conference tourney remaining.

Lastly, Louisville comes out of nowhere and cracks the polls after beating two top teams this week (Pittsburgh and Marquette).

Ben Voekel, Badger Herald Assistant Sports Editor

1. Wisconsin

2. Ohio State

3. Florida

4. UCLA

5. North Carolina

6. Kansas

7. Memphis

8. Washington State

9. Texas A&M

10. Nevada

11. Southern Illinois

12. Pittsburgh

13. Georgetown

14. Air Force

15. USC

16. Butler

Lots of shakeup at the top of the Power 16 this week. Wisconsin gets the nod as number one on my list and North Carolina slides down to number five. The slow starts that had characterized Florida the last few games finally caught up to them. Maybe that game will serve as a wakeup call for Florida, a team I believe to be the most talented in the country by a ways.

A lot of teams in the rest of the rankings lost this week, so there was big potential for teams like Southern Illinois and Washington State to move up. Pittsburgh was the big loser of the week, as the Panthers dropped all the way to 11. Louisville, who beat Pitt earlier in the week and followed that up with a win at Marquette, splits team 16b status with Virginia Tech.

Benjamin Worgull, Badger Nation's Senior Contributor

1. Wisconsin

2. Florida

3. Ohio State

4. UCLA

5. North Carolina

6. Texas A&M

7. Memphis

8. Kansas

9. Washington State

10. Georgetown

11. Pittsburgh

12. Nevada

13. Southern Illinois

14. Louisville

15. Vanderbilt

16. USC

Not a favorable week for the top 25, as seven AP ranked teams lost two games this weekend. Even more stunning was a curse of the 17-game winning streak. Wisconsin lost in their attempt for 18 straight and Florida has blown two opportunities to this season to have an 18 gamer (their first streak stemmed from games last season).

Ohio State will be ranked No.1 polls, but Wisconsin is clearly the best team in the nation if you look at the Badgers' resume. That having been said, Florida is arguably has the most talent in the nation and deserves to be ahead of Ohio State.

Props to Louisville and Southern Illinois this past week, as they now enter my top 16. On life support a week ago with an RPI north of 50, Louisville goes into two of the most hostile arenas in the Big East – Pittsburgh and Marquette – and cements their tournament status with two big wins. Meanwhile, the Salukis go into the Fieldhouse and end Butler's 22-game home winning streak.


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