This week's edition features WSUM Sports Director Adam Hoge, Badger Herald Hoops Reporter Ben Voelkel Janesville Gazette hoops beat writer Aaron Brenner, Badger Nation Hoops Reporter Eric C. Krueger, Publisher Benjamin Worgull and Badgermaniac.
Badger Nation's Power 12
1. Memphis (70 points)
2. Tennessee (64)
3. Kansas (57)
4. North Carolina (53)
5. UCLA (46)
6. Duke (45)
7. Texas (41)
8. Wisconsin (19)
9. Xavier (16)
10. Connecticut (15)
11. Butler (14)
12. Stanford (12)
Adam Hoge, WSUM
3. North Carolina
I guess that's what I get for drinking the Duke Kool-Aid for the first time in my life — a two-game Blue Devil losing streak. Memphis, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kansas all jump ahead as a result.
Georgetown's loss to Syracuse drops the Hoyas down (they weren't impressive at Providence Monday either). I like how Texas is playing, while Wisconsin is turning a corner with every player focused on winning out and getting that conference title.
I'm keeping Butler at No. 10 because of close calls against Cleveland State and UIC, while Xavier sneaks into my Power 12 for the first time.
I wanted to keep Purdue in here despite the loss to Indiana, but the Hoosiers won pretty convincingly and made Robbie Hummel look human for the first time in weeks.
Ben Voelkel, Badger Herald
5. North Carolina
Memphis avoided a huge upset with the last-second escape at UAB and holds on to the top spot in the Power 12. Kansas is still the second-best team in the nation and UCLA is an all-around solid team.
Butler, although playing in the Horizon League, plays tremendous defense and will be heard from in the NCAA tournament.
No team in the country is hotter than Connecticut right now, and the Huskies have won 10 in a row to force themselves into the middle of the Big East race.
Aaron Brenner, Janesville Gazette
4. North Carolina
My definition of "Power Rankings" holds that we're supposed to pick the best teams right now. Our job is not to rank the teams based on preconceived notions (aka "preseason rankings"), or based on how we think they'll play in the future. We've been able to keep undefeated Memphis at the top because they won't play Duke, they won't play Kansas, or UCLA, or North Carolina.
But they will play Tennessee, who has emerged from this glut of two-loss teams as a quietly elite program under Bruce Pearl. My intent is not to slight the Tigers … they still haven't lost, and they deserve to enter Saturday's showdown as the No. 1 team in the nation. Rather, I'm replacing them with Tennessee because I truly believe we're about to see an upset. I believe the Volunteers will go into Memphis and earn a statement win for BCS conferences everywhere.
Kansas will enjoy my No. 2 spot next Monday when the loser of the above game heads south. UNC is starting to earn more of my respect; what in the world is going on with Duke? Frauds. It's a bit generous, but Wisconsin gets the No. 8 nod because I really don't trust the teams below them. Badger fans, as far as the postseason goes, I would be encouraged by the fact that UW has been, to some degree, a better team on the road than at the Kohl Center. Thanks to their toughness and maturity, I don't see the Badgers missing out on the Sweet 16 this year.
Eric C. Krueger, Badger Nation
You'll find Texas higher here than in most other rankings, but the Longhorns have wins over Tennessee, Kansas, and UCLA. No other team in the country has a better top three wins.
Although the verdict is still out on the Atlantic 10, Xavier has now won nine straight. It must be a nightmare for opposing coaches to come up with a defensive game plan to stop a team who has six players averaging at least 10 ppg like the Musketeers do.
Purdue beat Wisconsin twice, Wisconsin beat Indiana twice, but Indiana beat Purdue. The only logical way to deal with all of that is to rule that none of the three are one of the top 12 teams in the nation.
Benjamin Worgull, Badger Nation
3. North Carolina
I asked the question last week, "Who is going to stop Krzyzewski and Sons?" Apparently Wake Forest and Miami (FL) with the latter of the two being the most surprising. Obviously Duke takes a tumble after losing twice, but not too much of a change in my top eight. If anyone is going to beat Memphis, it's going to be Tennessee Saturday afternoon, which is going to be an amazing game to watch.
Texas flip flops with Connecticut after the Longhorns pounded A&M and UCONN had two squeakers against South Florida and DePaul.
Wisconsin jumps back up based on two solid conference wins and because the Hoyas and Boilermakers were dealt brutal road loses.
I have to start giving love to the mid majors, especially to Butler. Lucky to beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the Cell, the Bulldogs won three league games last week and their matchup with Drake Saturday in the BracketBuster will be entertaining to watch and Xavier continues to run away with the Atlantic 10.
3. North Carolina
Lots of shakeup in the Power 12 this week with many losses from the teams in last week's top 12.
Memphis and Tennessee will play for the top spot on Saturday of course.
North Carolina bumps into the three hole ahead of Kansas and Duke based on a couple of solid wins over solid teams in Va Tech and NC State.
Texas is playing as well as anyone in the nation right now but their overall resume puts them just outside of the top five.
Xavier just keeps winning, this week over a decent Rhode Island team on the road.
Georgetown is scuffling a bit with two losses in their last four games, not including that narrow win over Villanova.
Wisconsin sneaks into the top 12 once again, though it is based more on their impressive record against teams outside the top 100 (19-0), which I believe is the most non-top 100 wins in the nation. They still need some more quality wins for seeding purposes in the NCAA and their spot in the top 12 is admittedly a bit of favoritism.