12.20.13: College Hoops East/West Power Rankings

12.20.13: College Hoops East/West Power Rankings
December 20, 2013, 3:00 pm
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Williams talks Terps identity, Whittington transfer

Every Friday during the season, Daniel Martin of CSNBaltimore.com and Greg Crawford of CSNNW.com will come together to give you the NCAA Hoops East/West Power Rankings, a ranked list of the nine best teams from the West and the nine best teams from the East and Midwest in college basketball. Below is this week’s edition.

EAST

9. Connecticut- Kevin Ollie’s team lost at home to Stanford, 53-51, on Wednesday night. Despite that, they still have one of the backcourts in the nation and that is what is going to help them push through.

8. Baylor - Baylor finally sneaks its way into the Top 9, one week after its win over Kentucky. A team that shoots a high percentage and rebounds well is tough to beat and that’s what the Bears do. Long offensive possessions wear down defenses quickly.

7. Iowa State - Want to talk about efficient offenses? The Cyclones are first in the country in scoring, first in assists, and sixth in rebounding. Marshall transfer DeAndre Kane has been the all-around force not enough people have been talking about (14.1PPG, 7.4RPG, 5.8APG).

6. Oklahoma State - Not a tough schedule this past week for the Cowboys. Marcus Smart & Co. will need to bring it on Saturday, though, when they face Colorado. Colorado beat Kansas earlier this season.

5. Michigan State - The Spartans were tested more than they would have liked to be against Oakland, but a tough road game against Texas awaits. The Longhorns are fresh off of a win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

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4. Villanova - JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell are the most solid 1-2 scoring punch in the Big East. Ryan Arcidiacono has significantly improved his assist-to-turnover ratio since last season, part of the reason the Wildcats are rolling.

3. Wisconsin - Wisconsin has enjoyed a couple of easy late-December wins in a row and should enjoy one more before the start of Big Ten play. Matchup to look forward to: Jan. 5 vs. No. 25 Iowa.

2. Ohio State - There is still no dominant scorer on this roster, but a balanced offense has to count for something. Add that to a terrific defense and the Buckeyes deserve to hold steady.

1. Syracuse - The Orange needed a big boost from freshman point guard Tyler Ennis to beat a pesky St. John’s team, but should beat High Point soundly on Friday. The next test awaits on Dec. 28, when Syracuse takes on undefeated Villanova.

WEST

9. Arizona State - At 9-2, they may not belong in here, but they are a dangerous team with a player that will be a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jahii Carson.

8. Pacific (Stockton) - In their first year as a member of the basketball rich West Coast Conference, they have everyone's attention. Only loss so far is to Oregon, which everyone loses too. Huge road win, beating Utah State by 10 in Logan.

7. Utah - In keeping with the one loss theory, the Utes only loss so far has been on the road against a good Boise State team. In his third year, it did not take Larry Krystkowiak long to build a valued program in Salt Lake City.

6. Gonzaga - Big test coming up on the road against Kansas State. This is a typical Gonzaga team, playing well in the regular season, but they keep you guessing on just how good they really are at this point.

5. St. Mary's - Undefeated and good, without the usual big time St. Mary's star. Went into Boise State and took them apart, which was a huge test to pass to see how really good the Gaels can be. Coming up soon, Randy Bennett will not be able to be on the bench as he sits out his five game NCAA suspension.

4. San Diego State - Steve Fisher's teams are never even average. No one seems to paying attention to the Aztecs, but they are really good and their only loss this season has been to the Arizona Wildcats.

3. Colorado - Not many people have ever talked about basketball at Colorado, but they are now as Tad Boyle has an NCAA tournament program going at full steam. They could easily win the Pac-12, even beating Arizona.

2. Oregon - Dana Altman now has his two suspended players back after sitting out nine games, Ben Carter and Dominic Artis, so his deep team got even deeper. Artis is one of the best guards in the country and the Ducks being undefeated are one of the best teams in the country, easily a top 10 squad.

1. Arizona - Not sure if anyone will knock them off the number one perch all year long, but they will be tested on the road as this is the strongest the Pac-12 has been in basketball in a long time, a long long time. Will Sean Miller be the coach of the Knicks next year?