Badger Nation's Power 12

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 in a weekly series.

With conference basketball season starting to heat up, Badger Nation brings back its weekly edition of bringing in Madison's college basketball beat writers to debate who are the best 12 teams in college basketball.

This week's edition features Badger Herald sports editor Ben Voelkel, Daily Cardinal hoops writer Adam Hoge, Janesville Gazette hoops beat writer Aaron Brenner and Badger Nation publisher Benjamin Worgull.

Would you like to contribute to the power 12? Send in your top 12 teams in the country, a short write up accompanying your rankings and your username by Tuesday to bwworgull@gmail.com. Every week, one selection will be chosen at random to be added with the experts selection.

The Badger Nation Power 12

Rankings through Tuesday's games

1. Kansas (18-0)

2. Memphis (17-0)

3. Duke (15-1)

4. North Carolina (18-1)

5. Tennessee (16-1)

6. Washington State (16-1)

7. UCLA (16-2)

8. Indiana (16-1)

9. Georgetown (15-2)

10. Wisconsin (15-2)

11. Michigan State (16-2)

12. Texas (15-3)

Also receiving votes: Pittsburgh (15-3) and Vanderbilt (17-2)

Ben Voekel, Badger Nation

1. Kansas

2. Memphis

3. UCLA

4. North Carolina

5. Duke

6. Washington State

7. Tennessee

8. Indiana

9. Michigan State

10. Georgetown

11. Wisconsin

12. Pittsburgh

While both Kansas and Memphis remain undefeated, I give the edge to the Jayhawks. Bill Self's squad looks like it will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the Big 12 season and into the tournament. While both teams have beaten USC (which is on the cusp of joining my top 12), Kansas won a true road game in Los Angeles whereas Memphis won a neutral court game in New York.

Despite the losing to cross-town rival USC Saturday, UCLA still claims the third spot for its experience and the way it can clamp down on teams on defense.

Toward the bottom of the rankings, Pittsburgh is about as physically tough a team as you will find in college basketball. DeJuan Blair crashes the boards like few others in the game.

At 10, Georgetown has been too inconsistent to this point to warrant being any higher than where it is now.

Adam Hoge, Daily Cardinal

1. Memphis

2. Kansas

3. Duke

4. Tennessee

5. North Carolina

6. Washington State

7. Indiana

8. UCLA

9. Michigan State

10. Wisconsin

11. Georgetown

12. Texas

As Memphis gets further along in Conference USA play, more and more people will argue that its schedule is too easy. Kansas might be a more complete and balanced team than the Tigers, but the Jayhawks' schedule has been nothing more than a cupcake. I'll take Memphis' wins over Georgetown and Arizona over Kansas' wins over USC and Missouri. And while the Jayhawks have plenty of opportunities to prove their talent in Big 12 play, the Tigers still have Gonzaga Saturday and No. 3 Tennessee on Feb. 23.

My Top 10 is pretty straightforward. Georgetown's struggle at home against Syracuse Monday is why I bumped Wisconsin up to No. 10. No one is hotter than the Badgers, except for Indiana of course. The Hoosiers are on a 15-game win streak and if Wisconsin can hold off a good Purdue team on the road Saturday, the two teams should clash Jan. 31 at the Kohl Center without a conference loss.

Finally, who wants to be No. 12? Well Texas is the only worthy team that didn't lose last week and they added a tough road win over Oklahoma State Monday night to secure the final spot in these power rankings.

Aaron Brenner, Janesville Gazette

1. Kansas

2. Memphis

3. Duke

4. Tennessee

5. Washington State

6. Indiana

7. North Carolina

8. Georgetown

9. UCLA

10. Texas

11. Wisconsin

12. Vanderbilt

Nationally, Memphis is the "Flavor of the Week", but Kansas has played a much tougher schedule and hasn't done anything to lose my respect as the top team in the country. I've liked the Dukies' wins over ranked teams (Marquette, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and Clemson last Saturday) a shade more than Tennessee's.

Georgetown's Roy Hibbert is one of the best players in college basketball, even though he only plays about 24 minutes a game.

Of all the teams, however, Texas has the most impressive resume of non-conference wins in the country (Tennessee, at UCLA, St. Mary's). But the Longhorns have struggled through the Big XII so far.

For my money, the Badgers are absolutely a better team, right now, than Big Ten foe Michigan State. They're also, sans Alando Tucker, playing better than the UW team that was ranked No. 1 for one week in '07.

Benjamin Worgull, Badger Nation

1. Kansas

2. North Carolina

3. Memphis

4. Duke

5. UCLA

6. Washington State

7. Tennessee

8. Georgetown

9. Wisconsin

10. Indiana

11. Michigan State

12. Texas

Without question, Kansas is my top team in the land but North Carolina is still my favorite to win the national championship. Looking at their body of work, the Tar Heels have been on a role all season long and any team in the rugged ACC is bound to take a few bumps along the way.

Memphis looks better this year than they have in the past because of the non-conference schedule head coach John Calipari and have a signature win over then-fifth ranked Georgetown. Duke's new style of run and shoot is unlike anything Coach K has run before, but at 15-1, the style is working.

I am putting Wisconsin ahead of Indiana and Michigan State for the pure reason that UW has simply performed better this season. Indiana has played one ranked team (Xavier) and lost by 15 and Michigan State did not break 40 against Iowa.


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