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 coming down to crunch time, where conference races will be won or lost, Badger Nation brings forth 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 WSUM Sports Director Adam Hoge, Badger Herald Hoops Reporter Ben Voelkel, Badger Nation Hoops Reporter Eric C. Krueger, Publisher Benjamin Worgull and Badgermaniac.

Badger Nation's Power 12

1. North Carolina (67 points)

2. Tennessee (66)

3. Memphis (58)

4. UCLA (52)

5. Texas (50)

6. Duke (44)

7. Kansas (36)

8. Wisconsin (23)

9. Xavier (20)

10. Stanford (20)

11. Georgetown (12)

12. Louisville (7)

Also receiving votes: Vanderbilt (6)

, Connecticut (5), Drake (2) and Purdue (2)

View Last Week's Poll

Adam Hoge, WSUM

1. North Carolina

2. Tennessee

3. Memphis

4. Duke

5. UCLA

6. Texas

7. Kansas

8. Wisconsin

9. Stanford

10. Xavier

11. Vanderbilt

12. Georgetown

With Memphis and Tennessee both suffering losses, North Carolina rises to the top by default. I was tempted to put Memphis ahead of Tennessee after the Tigers big win over Tulsa, but the Vols beat them fair and square last weekend so should be ahead of them. Plus, Tennessee's loss came on the road at No. 14 Vanderbilt — is that really that bad of a loss? If I'm a Vols fan I'm happy splitting a two game road swing at Memphis and Vandy.

And speaking of the Commodores, they enter my Power 12 at No. 11 with their big win. Other than that, there aren't many changes.

Ben Voelkel, Badger Herald

1. UCLA

2. North Carolina

3. Kansas

4. Tennessee

5. Memphis

6. Duke

7. Texas

8. Stanford

9. Wisconsin

10. Xavier

11. Purdue

12. Louisville

Is Wisconsin a top-10 team? The Badgers certainly have the resume of one. The win over Texas in Austin, which was a big victory at the time, now has to look like one of the nation's best road wins this season. With Memphis, Tennessee and Kansas all losing with the last week, UCLA takes the top spot. The Bruins are efficient on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court and have the experience and depth to be dangerous in the postseason.

Speaking of dangerous, Louisville has won seven in a row and nine of its last 10 now that Juan Polacios and David Padgett have returned from early-season injuries.

Aaron Brenner, Janesville Gazette

1. Tennessee

2. Memphis

3. North Carolina

4. UCLA

5. Texas

6. Kansas

7. Duke

8. Wisconsin

9. Stanford

10. Georgetown

11. Drake

12. Louisville

Oy, vey. What to do with the top spot this week. Well, I did call the Tennessee victory Saturday at Memphis. And I did call the inevitable letdown loss at Vandy a few days later. But both those games were road affairs for the Volunteers. I was more impressed with UT's effort at Memphis than I was with anybody else's wins this week. And you know what? Bruce Pearl has got some cojones on him, putting the love on Erin Andrews the way he did at halftime Saturday. So, I leave Tennessee at No. 1.

Can't punish Memphis too much because they are one entertaining team to watch. But they have to figure out how to either a) shoot 70 percent from three-point land for longer than eight minutes, or b) hit their free throws. I suggest they work on Plan B.

UNC has finally won me over, they've got to be a No. 1 seed now. Texas is a hot prospect to join them if they can keep playing the way they have. And hellloooooo, Big Ten championship. Looks like the Badgers have got their paws on at least a share of the title. But I wouldn't put it past the Spartans to mount a courageous effort, give the Badgers a tough game at the Kohl Center (something that many teams have done this season) and possibly even pull the upset. There's still work to be done for Bo's boys.

Eric C. Krueger, Badger Nation

1. North Carolina

2. Texas

3. Tennessee

4. Memphis

5. UCLA

6. Duke

7. Xavier

8. Louisville

9. Georgetown

10. Stanford

11. Kansas

12. Wisconsin

Upon further review, last week I probably had UNC ranked a few spots too low. The Tarheels have now won five in a row without their starting point guard and are again looking like a favorite to cut down the nets in April. Since no one else seems to want to be the best team in college basketball, UNC jumps up to number one.

A lot of people will probably overreact to Tennessee's loss at Vanderbilt. Losing on the road to a top-15 in-state conference opponent is nothing to be ashamed of.

Has any team underachieved more than Kansas? Their 25-3 record looks impressive, but their best win probably came at USC back at the beginning of December. How Bill Self has managed this little production with arguably the most talented team in the country is baffling.

Wisconsin gritted out a win on the road last weekend despite showing no desire to even try to score in the final minutes. I'm still not completely sold on Notre Dame which is why the Badgers, not the Irish, fill my final spot this week. That being said, Luke Harangody and friends have a chance to prove themselves this week at Louisville.

Benjamin Worgull, Badger Nation

1. Tennessee

2. North Carolina

3. Memphis

4. Texas

5. UCLA

6. Duke

7. Kansas

8. Wisconsin

9. Stanford

10. Connecticut

11. Xavier

12. Georgetown

These 12 teams have separated themselves as the 12 best all-around teams in the country. Memphis was who we thought they were – a team with flaws shooting free throws and struggling against top-tier talent - when they lost on Saturday like I thought they would. Cha-Ching! I am not going to punish Tennessee for losing in a hostile Vanderbilt environment after beating the No.1 team in the country on the road, however, and I will keep them on top, as I think they are playing the best in the country at this current moment.

However, the Heels, Longhorns and Bruins are playing some of the best basketball in the country and will all be tough outs during tournament time.

With five quality teams vying for four number one seeds, this group will be fun to watch over the next couple of weeks.

BadgerManiac

1. Tennessee

2. North Carolina

3. Memphis

4. Texas

5. Duke

6. UCLA

7. Xavier

8. Kansas

9. Vanderbilt

10. Georgetown

11. UConn

12. Wisconsin

Tennessee moves into the top spot despite losing to Vandy a couple nights after their big win over Memphis. Their resume is still sterling and there is no shame in losing on the road to a top-10 caliber team on the road. Beating the former No.1 team, also on the road, is good enough for me to move them to No.1.

Texas and Duke are nearly dead even in terms of their resume, but Texas had quality wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State this week so they get the bump.

Xavier now has 13 top 100 wins, the most of anyone in the country after North Carolina. UConn loses to Villanova to drop them a few spots and the Badgers hold tight at #12, still lacking in top level wins but without any mediocre losses either.

Look out for Louisville, as they are poised to jump into the Power 12 with a loss from any of those last few teams currently occupying the last spots.


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