NCAA Basketball Picks: Top 25 Rundown

Michael Anthony

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:02 PM GMT

We are back with our weekly NCAAB Top 25 update. We predicted in last week’s column that there could be a changing in the guard for the #1 team in country for the second straight week in a row.

Sure enough there was. See how this week’s Top 25 shakes out in the polls.

That didn't last long

The Louisville Cardinals held down the #1 spot for all of maybe six days. “Though we all know the Big East is an absolute grind and they have a tough schedule coming up, facing Syracuse, at Villanova, at Georgetown, than Pitt and Marquette. So, we'll see just how long this #1 standing will last. “That was our direct quote from last week’s article and sure enough it held true as the Cardinals dropped two straight games back to back to Syracuse and Villanova. In our opinion it falls entirely on PG, Peyton Siva, the guy has all the talent in the world to bring this team as far as they want to go but his head is never 100% in the game.

Duke back in the #1 spot but is it justified?

The answer is absolutely not. The Blue Devils have really been struggling as of late without big man Ryan Kelly in the lineup and it has affected their play big time in the post, especially for team mate Mason Plumlee. They trailed Georgia Tech on their home floor at half and now with NC State going down to Wake Forest last night, their loss to them looks that much worse. Duke got this #1 ranking back solely based on their name recognition. Duke takes on Miami, Florida tonight on the road and NCAAB odds makers have opened them up just a slight 2 point favorite. The Hurricanes will hold a significant edge inside, so we absolutely could see Duke go down once again.

So who should be #1?

It's tough to choose but you can make a very strong case for either Syracuse or Kansas. Syracuse just knocked off the #1 team in the country in Louisville and hold one of the best records in college basketball at 17-1.  These two teams bring something to the floor every single night that is always going to keep them in ball games, that other teams in the country don't bring on a consistent basis and that is defense and rebounding.

Syracuse (who sit at #3 in some polls) is the fourth best team in the Nation, holding teams to just 35% shooting per game while only giving up 58 points per game and they take away the three ball, limiting shooters to just 28% shooting. So there just are no easy baskets when it comes to facing that famous 2-3 zone. On the offensive end they aren't too shabby either, putting up 77 points per game but again as I mentioned, rebounding; they are 8th best in the nation in offensive rebounding, anytime you have stellar defensive numbers as I just posted and you are getting second chance opportunities on the offensive end, you’re going to be extremely hard to beat.

Now Kansas, this is a team I love, they are currently ranked 2nd in the Nation according to the USA Today Coaches Poll. They also bring it on the defensive end every single night which has lead them to be the #1 team in the nation in FG % defense, holding teams to a crazy 34% shooting and 59 points per game. On the offensive end they are so dangerous because they have an great inside game with big man Jeff Withey and a great outside game stroking the three ball, where they rank 19th in the Nation, shooting it at 48%.  If you have not heard of Ben McLemore yet, well you should, he is one the more explosive players in college basketball, averaging 16 points per game, 6 rebounds and 2 assist, all as a freshman. It's very like he's going to be #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. The Jay Hawks went into a very hostile environment last night at Kansas St and really just handled their business. Bill Self has done it once again and if Duke should go down. Expect the Jayhawks to be your new #1 team in the country.

Other Noteables

Butler has cracked the Top 10, now the 9th best team in the country after being 13th in the polls last week.

Michigan St is making their run, making a huge jump from 18 to 11.

Minnesota has fallen out of the Top 10 after back to back losses, now sitting at 14.

NC State, talk about jekyl and hyde. After a heart breaking buzzer beat loss to Maryland, they went into Wake Forest last night and once again had a nail biter, trailing by 2 with 8 seconds left, they had several great looks at the basket but just could not get anything to drop. After finding themselves ranked as high as 15th last week, they now sit at 18th and after this loss to Wake Forest, they could plummet out of the Top 25, considering how the voters have treated them in the past.

Congratulations to the 15-2 Ole Miss Running Rebels for cracking the Top 25 as they are now ranked the 24th best team in the Nation.

That's all for this week’s Top 25 run down, be sure to check back next week as conference play is heating up and upsets are happening all over the place, which means major shake ups in the polls in each week. Best of luck with your basketball picks and cash those tickets!