It was a clear choice, a decision made by a 10 person panel to pick Kentucky as the #1 team atop ESPN’s weekly power rankings. The Wildcats have pushed their record to 18-0 and remain the nation’s only unbeaten team. A victory over Arkansas on Saturday, will surely place them atop the national Top-25 polls.
It has been a long time coming to reach this point once again. The Wildcats are playing extremely well this season despite an overwhelming amount of inexperience from the team. With inexperience comes talent, which has trumped all at this point in the ’09-’10 seasons. Recent news of Kentucky freshman Eric Bledsoe potentially becoming a Top-10 pick in June’s NBA Draft has brought a lot of speculation as to what might happen with this team going forward.
All we know at this point is that Kentucky stands in great position to secure both the SEC regular season and tournament titles. They could have some roadbumps along the way, but it is vital to make sure those occur in the regular season and not the post-season tournaments. If they do, Kentucky could find themselves as the #1 overall seed come the end of March.
Here’s a breakdown of the power rankings:
Risers: The two most notable teams are Tennessee and Kansas State. The ‘other’ Wildcats from Manhatten pulled off an excellent win this past week over #1 Texas. The Longhorns looked out of sync the entire game and couldn’t find any rhythm. The SEC’s Vols have two solid victories under their belt with victories over Ole Miss and Alabama. Despite the loss of All-American candidate Tyler Smith, Bruce Pearl has his team running on all cylinders.
Falling Fast: North Carolina has fallen on hard times lately, losing three straight games—at Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest—while they struggle to find their way in the tough ACC. It doesn’t help that the team’s non-conference schedule is one of the craziest in the nation, as UNC has already lost to Syracuse, Kentucky, and Texas. Ranked 23rd in the nation before Wednesday’s loss to Wake Forest was odd as it is. Now at 12-7, Roy Williams and his Tar Heels are surely on their way out of the Top-25.
Sleeping Giants: BYU and Georgia Tech are two of the hottest teams in the nation. After suffering a tough loss to in-state rival Georgia, Tech has pulled off wins against Duke at home, UNC on the road, and once more at home over Clemson. All three opponents represent the elite of the ACC, with UNC falling off quite a bit in the recent weeks. GTech may suffer some more losses on the season, but by tournament time they’ll be as tested as anyone in the nation. The BYU Cougars are ready to pounce on the rest of the nation sitting at 19-1 and winner’s of their last 14 games, the Coug’s are quickly and quietly becoming one of the nation’s scariest teams. The team’s only loss came at the hands of Utah State when BYU visited the Aggies who are 10-1 at home this season. The Cougars have solid wins over UNLV, Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, and at UTEP. This team is no joke and by season’s end the Cougars will be looking to make some noise.