This week's edition features WSUM Sports Director Adam Hoge, Janesville Gazette Beat Writer Aaron Brenner, Badger Nation Hoops Reporter Eric C. Krueger, Publisher Benjamin Worgull, Badgermaniac and this month's guest columnist - Grateful Red Super Fan Bryan Camp.
Badger Nation's Power 12
1. North Carolina (71 points)
2. Tennessee (65)
3. Memphis (57)
4. UCLA (53)
5. Kansas (49)
6. Duke (46)
7. Texas (34)
8. Wisconsin (29)
9. Stanford (19)
10. Louisville (17)
11. Georgetown (14)
12. Xavier (10)
Also receiving votes: Vanderbilt (4) and Butler (2)
Adam Hoge, WSUM
1. North Carolina
For the first time this year, my Power 12 from last week lost exactly one game combined. But these are power rankings so they aren't all about winning and losing. Needless to say, Texas falls after losing to Texas Tech, but I also dropped Duke two spots mainly because UCLA and Kansas are playing so well and the Blue Devils nearly lost to North Carolina State and did not beat Virginia convincingly. It's not so much what Duke has been doing lately; it's more so that UCLA and Kansas look like teams ready for the Final Four.
There's no doubt Texas Tech was not ready for the Jayhawks after only getting one day to recover from topping Texas, but Kansas' 109-51 victory on senior night might have been the most convincing win of the season.
Aaron Brenner, Janesville Gazette
1. North Carolina
Grrr…I finally have to put North Carolina in the No. 1 spot. I don't know what it is this year – I really, really do not have anything about UNC or Roy Williams or Psycho T or anything like that – but something smells wrong about the Tar Heels. But it's okay…I'll be able to remove them from that spot after Saturday's game. I believe they've met the Cameron Crazies, yes?
Kansas and Tennessee have got the inside tracks to No. 1 seeds … yeah, I guess Memphis does too. Before you scream homer on the Wisconsin pick, let me remind you of something: I've been saying all along (and many other UW writers have been thinking, I'm sure) that this year's team is better than last year's team even though last year's Badgers had Alando Tucker and a short-lived stint at No. 1. In 2008, you can count on a Sweet 16 berth; and if they get a favorable draw in the tournament, well … in the words of Brian Butch, "we've got a lot of basketball to play, and we can go as far as we want to go". Well said, Mr. Polar Bear. Just make sure you don't play Purdue in the second round or something.
Wish I could put Stanford higher; they got jobbed last night at UCLA by a horrible foul call on Lawrence Hill that handed the Bruins a couple of game-tying free throws on a silver platter (UCLA ran away with it in OT). Louisville continues to stay hot, Butler is an unsung three-loss team, and Georgetown gets the final nod over Purdue, Connecticut, and Xavier, all teams that lost in the past three days.
Eric C. Krueger, Badger Nation
UNC will have a chance to validate their No. 1 ranking Saturday at Cameron Indoor. Currently the Tarheels' best win was probably at Clemson, but a win against Duke would all but guarantee them a one-seed.
Texas beat Kansas. Texas Tech beat Texas. So logically it makes sense that Kansas would beat Texas Tech by 58? While the Longhorns probably have the three best wins of any team in the country, they also have now managed to lose to Tech and Missouri.
Little separates numbers 8-11. Barring something crazy going down this weekend and/or in the conference tournaments, the top 7 seeds have probably been spoken for. That leaves one No.2 seed left for the taking. The favorite for that spot seems likely to be the winner of the Louisville-Georgetown matchup on Saturday.
Benjamin Worgull, Badger Nation
1. North Carolina
Stanford was screwed last night so I am going to assume that they won and UCLA lost. Duke and North Carolina game on Saturday took on a whole new meaning with the tragic shooting of UNC's student-body president and I hope it will be a good, competitive game with some of the hatred dialed down.
OK. I am off my soapbox now. New props to Wisconsin, a team that was suppose to underachieve and be terrible without Tucker. Yep, good call media.
2. North Carolina
Well, I had Tennessee #1 last week and their two wins were a little more solid than North Carolina's this week, so I will leave them there. I certainly wouldn't argue if someone wanted to flip the two teams.
Texas loses to a solid Tech team so they drop a couple spots.
Kansas played some great ball last week and they could very easily wind up with a #1 seed before all is said and done.
The Badgers hammer a top 20 MSU team to jump Vandy and UConn, who drops out after their loss to Providence on Thursday.
My final spot comes down to Xavier and Stanford. With both losing, Xaiver hands onto the last spot despite Stanford losing at Pauley to UCLA in OT.
Bryan Camp, Grateful Red Junkie
What impresses me about UNC is how well they have played without Lawson. Now that he is back and healthy, this team is scary. Match them up with Duke, who is the best team from beyond the arc, and you'll have a great game. The game against UNC has a lot on the line and this time Lawson is healthy.
You have to love how Tennessee shattered Florida's tournament hopes on Wednesday in Gainesville. This team has rebounded well from that loss to Vandy. Pearl will have this team ready for the tournament.
Unlike Tennessee, Memphis has lost the only meaningful game they have had in the new year. I don't think that Cupcake USA is the conference to get ready for March.