12.27.13: College Hoops East/West Power Rankings

12.27.13: College Hoops East/West Power Rankings
December 27, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Mark Turgeon searching for answers after loss to BU

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

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- Shabazz Napier continues to be an all-everything guard who runs the show for the Huskies. Good high-major win over Washington after a letdown loss to Stanford.

8. Baylor - Bears will be looking forward to Jan. 7. That’s when they can prove that they’re the class of the Big 12 against Iowa State. Until then, they’re slotted in behind the Cyclones.

7. Iowa State - The Cyclones came from behind to beat a solid Boise State team in Hawaii. Man, that’s a potent offense.

6. Oklahoma State - Colorado is no slouch and Marcus Smart & Co. took care of them. Smart didn’t even have a stellar game in that one, which shows the Cowboys’ ability to look to different options to win games. Thank Markel Brown for that one.

5. Michigan State - The Spartans beat a tough Texas team before finals week and should be in business through Jan. 7. That’s when it gets tough, as they travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State.

[RELATED: Turgeon bans "Christmas" as Maryland prepares for Boston University]

4. Villanova - It’s all about what happens tomorrow. The Wildcats were upset specialists last season and are hoping the magic continues this season. The difference? They’re a legitimate Top 10 team at this point.

3. Wisconsin - That Jan. 5 date is still circled on the calendar. The game that day against Iowa will be a good measuring stick for a team that has already passed a few early-season tests.

2. Ohio State - A close win over Notre Dame was a nice way to lead into finals week. The Buckeyes are undoubtedly eyeing Jan. 7 vs. Michigan State, but has to avoid trip-up games against ULM, Purdue, and Nebraska first.

1. Syracuse - Tomorrow is Judgment Day for Syracuse. Facing No. 8 and undefeated Villanova, we’ll see where the Orange really are. The Tyler Ennis/Ryan Arcidiacono matchup at point guard should be a game within a game.

WEST

9. Gonzaga - Not sure about this year's edition of the Bulldogs. No real quality wins as of yet, as they head to league play this weekend. It will be interesting as the Zags open with four straight league games at home and close the year with four on the road.

8. Utah State - The stealth team of the west every year, probably because they never do any damage in the NCAA tournament. Stew Morrill can't be overlooked as an outstanding coach, his overall record at Utah State is 355-121, a record most coaches would die for.

7. Boise State - Yes, they lost by four points in their last game to undefeated Iowa State, but at 10-3 the Broncos belong in the top nine. Qualities wins over Hawaii and Utah, make them a team to watch in the upcoming Mt. West which is loaded with good teams at the top.

6. Arizona State - This could be the best team Herb Sendek has had in his seven years with the Sun Devils. Of course it helps to have 2014 lottery pick Jahii Carson leading the way. The Pac-12 is the best overall it has been in 15 years, so league play will be challenging for every team, including the Sun Devils.

5. Colorado - This is a quality team, even with a loss to Oklahoma State recently. Tad Boyle is a terrific coach, big win over Kansas and he has made the Buffs almost impossible to beat on their home floor. Big test to start the Pac-12 season as Oregon and Oregon State come to town.

4. Utah - The Utes only loss was by two points at Boise State. They can win games that are uptempo and they win at a slower pace which makes them a very dangerous team. They are not expected to win the Pac-12, but the way they have played this year, any opponent has to have some fear.

3. San Diego State - Steve Fisher has an excellent team, with no big stars. He also has captured the fan base in San Diego, a really good basketball town, even with the great weather. The only loss for the Aztecs this year so far was to number one Arizona. Another high quality team in the Mt. West.

2. Oregon - Back in early November I made the bold prediction on CSNNW.com that the Duck basketball team would have a better record than the football team on January 1st. Yes some predictions work out. Undefeated in pre-league play, the Ducks are easily a top 10 national team. Face big challenge to open league play at Utah and Colorado.

1. Arizona - This to me is a shaky number one both in the national rankings and the East West Power Rankings. Big wins over Duke, then Michigan on the road allow them to be number one. It will be interesting to see how the Wildcats play on the road in the Pac-12, which is a real test this year, as there are no guaranteed wins with the strength of the Pac-12, where at present every team has a winning record.

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