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January 14, 2009
The List
Week of January 14, 2009

by John Perrotto

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Today marks the return of The List.

The List was an occasional feature last season in which Basketball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan ranked the top 25 teams in the nation, using a mix of some of the cutting-edge statistical rankings available along with personal observation.

I will be doing the same thing every Tuesday, using our own Ken Pomeroy's Pomeroy Rankings as a barometer to judge teams along with Jerry Palm's RPI rankings, Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings and Kyle Whelliston's Basketball State computer ratings. I will also take a look at how the "mainstream" media is voting in the Associated Press poll and the coaches are voting in their USA Today/ESPN poll. Finally, I will factor in my own subjective look at teams through the eyes of someone who once was a member of the AP's poll board.

Put it all together and you will get The List every Tuesday through the conference tournaments.

Also, the rankings are ultimately based solely on the way I feel the top teams stack up against other. No need to bombard me with e-mails if your favorite team isn't ranked where you think it should be. It I rank Timbuktu A&M ahead of Outer Mongolia Tech, the reason is simple: After studying all the information at hand, I believe Timbuktu A&M is better than Outer Mongolia Tech.

On to the rankings:

1. Pittsburgh (15-0)
Last week: Defeated St. John's 90-67
This week: vs. South Florida on Wednesday; at No. 17 Louisville on Saturday
Player spotlight: DeJuan Blair had 23 points and 18 rebounds in the win over St. John's. He is first in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (26.7), seventh in defensive rebounding percentage (28.7), 17th in offensive rating (129.5) and 21st in steal percentage (5.0).
Team fact: The win over St. John's marked the first time the Panthers had ever played a game as the No. 1-ranked team in the AP poll.

2. Duke (14-1)
Last week: Beat Davidson 79-67 and Florida State 66-58
This week: at Georgia Tech on Wednesday; vs. No. 8 Georgetown on Saturday
Player spotlight: Gerald Henderson was the saving grace in the win over Florida State with a career-high 25 points. He is 152nd in the nation in offensive rating (119.1) and 274th in true shooting percentage (58.6)
Team fact: The Blue Devils have won 67 straight non-conference home games.

3. North Carolina (14-2)
Last week: Beat College of Charleston 108-70 and lost to Wake Forest 92-89
This week: at Virginia on Thursday; vs. Miami (Fla.) on Saturday
Player spotlight: Against Wake, Tyler Hansbrough did not have a field goal after the 8:16 mark of the first half and finished with 17 points. Despite the sub-par outing, he is 24th in the nation in offensive rating (127.5), first in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (9.1) and 92nd in turnover rate (11.1).
Team fact: The Tar Heels are 0-2 in the ACC for the first time since 1996-97.

4. Connecticut (14-1)
Last week: Defeated West Virginia 61-55 and Cincinnati 81-72
This week: at St. John's on Thursday; vs. Seton Hall on Sunday
Player spotlight: A.J. Price scored 22 points against Cincinnati after scoring only one against West Virginia. Passing is what Price does best, though, as he is 164th in the nation in assist rate (27.9) while also ranking 91st in fouls committed per 40 minutes (1.8).
Team fact: The Huskies are 7-0 on the road.

5. Wake Forest (14-0)
Last week: Beat North Carolina 92-89
This week: at Boston College on Wednesday; at No. 6 Clemson on Saturday.
Player spotlight: Jeff Teague scored a career-high 34 points against North Carolina. He is 181st in the nation in offensive rating (117.6), 27th in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (7.0), 36th in true shooting percentage (66.3) and 99th in percentage of possessions (28.1).
Team fact: The Demon Deacons are 14-0 for the first time since 1980-81.

6. Clemson (16-0)
Last week: Beat Alabama 66-59 and North Carolina State 63-51
This week: vs. No. 5 Wake Forest on Saturday
Player spotlight: Trevor Booker had 23 points against North Carolina State and is 89th in the nation in offensive rating (122.8), 32nd in block percentage (9.6) and 64 in defensive rebounding percentage (64.9).
Team fact: The Tigers can match the best start in school history with a win over Wake Forest.

7. Oklahoma (15-1)
Last week: Beat Maryland-Eastern Shore 100-64 and Kansas State 61-53
This week: Beat No. 21 Texas 78-63 on Monday; at Texas A&M on Saturday
Fast fact: Blake Griffin had 20 points and 10 rebounds against Texas for his 14th double-double of the season. He is 161st in the nation in offensive rating (118.6), second in defensive rebounding percentage (33.3), second in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (8.4), 16th in free throw rate (80.1), 23rd in effective field goal percentage (65.2), 26th in percentage of possessions (31.5) and 51st in true shooting percentage (64.9).
Team fact: The Sooners broke a six-game losing streak against Texas in the Red River Rivalry.

8. Georgetown (11-3)
Last week: Lost to Notre Dame 73-67 and beat Providence 82-75
This week: vs. No. 13 Syracuse on Wednesday, at No. 2 Duke on Saturday
Player spotlight: Greg Monroe had 13 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and five steals against Providence. He is 174th in the nation in offensive rating (117.7), 38th in free throw rate (72.6) and 76th in steal percentage (4.1).
Team fact: The Hoyas had won five straight games against Notre Dame.

9. Michigan State (13-2)
Last week: Beat Ohio State 67-58 and Kansas 75-62
This week: at Penn State on Wednesday; vs. No. 24 Illinois on Saturday
Player spotlight: Kalin Lucas had 22 points against Kansas. He is 111th in the nation in offensive rating (121.3), 47th in turnover rate (9.8), 54th in assist rate (33.6) and 61st in fouls called per 40 minutes (1.7).
Team fact: The Spartans have won 39 straight home games against non-conference opponents.

10. Arizona State (14-2)
Last week: Beat Oregon State 69-38 and Oregon 76-58
This week: at Southern California on Thursday; at No. 11 UCLA on Saturday
Player spotlight: Derek Glasser had 15 points and a career-high 11 assists against Oregon. He is 185th in the nation in offensive rating (117.4), 35th in fouls called per 40 minutes (1.5) and 93rd in assist rate (30.6).
Team fact: The Sun Devils' three wins in the Pacific 10 have been by an average of 26 points.

11. UCLA (13-2)
Last week: Beat Southern California 64-60
This week: vs. Arizona on Thursday; vs. No. 10 Arizona State on Saturday
Player spotlight: Darren Collison had 18 points and six assists while playing 39 minutes against Southern California. Collison is sixth in the nation in offensive rating (134.6), fifth in true shooting percentage (70.3), 20th in effective field goal percentage (65.5), 27th in fouls called per 40 minutes (1.5) and 56th in assist rate (33.5).
Team fact: The Bruins are 3-0 all-time at USC's Galen Center.

12. Xavier (13-2)
Last week: Beat Saint Louis 70-44 and Fordham 86-60
This week: at Rhode Island on Thursday; vs. La Salle on Sunday
Player spotlight: B.J. Raymond scored 18 points to lead six players in double figures against Fordham. Raymond has a 109.1 offensive rating and is 341st in the nation in effective field goal percentage (54.3).
Team fact: The Musketeers shot a season-best 53.8 percent (28 of 52) from the field against Fordham.

13. Syracuse (16-1)
Last week: Beat DePaul 85-68 and Rutgers 82-66
This week: at No. 8 Georgetown on Wednesday; vs. Notre Dame on Saturday
Player spotlight: Jonny Flynn had 15 points, nine assists and no turnovers while playing all 40 minutes against Rutgers. Flynn is 367th in the nation in offensive rating (112.5), 16th in fouls called per 40 minutes (1.6) and 89th in percentage of minutes (85.8).
Team fact: The Orange have won eight straight against Rutgers.

14. Butler (14-1)
Last week: Wright State 64-48 and Detroit 54-50
This week: at Loyola (Ill.) on Thursday; at Illinois-Chicago on Saturday
Player spotlight: Matt Howard scored a game-high 15 points and sank two free throws with 0.8 seconds left to seal the win against Detroit. Howard is 211th in the nation in offensive rating (116.5), eighth in free throw rate (89.5), ninth in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (7.8) and 88th in offensive rebounding percentage (13.3).
Team fact: The Bulldogs had just two three-point field goals against Detroit, their lowest total in 71 games.

15. Marquette (15-2)
Last week: Beat Rutgers 81-76 and West Virginia 75-53
This week: at Providence on Saturday
Player spotlight: Jerel McNeal scored 26 points despite playing with a finger injury against West Virginia. He is 219th in the nation in offensive rating (116.3) and 151st in true shooting percentage (61.1).
Team report: The Golden Eagles are 4-0 in the Big East for the first time since joining the conference in 2005.

16. California (15-2)
Last week: Beat Washington State 57-50 and Washington 88-85
This week: at Stanford on Saturday
Player spotlight: Patrick Christopher had a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds against Washington. Christopher is 240th in the nation in offensive rating (115.6) and 106st in turnover rate (11.6).
Team fact: The Golden Bears are off to their best start since the 1959-60 team went 28-2 and was the national runner-up.

17 Louisville (13-3)
Last week: Beat South Florida 71-57 and Villanova 61-60
This week: Beat Notre Dame 87-73 on Monday; vs. No. 1 Pittsburgh on Saturday
Player spotlight: Terrence Williams had 24 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists against Notre Dame. Williams has a 103.1 offensive rating, is 23rd in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage (25.4) and is 65th in steal percentage (4.2).
Team fact: The Cardinals are 2-4 against Pittsburgh since 2006.

18 Gonzaga (10-4)
Last week: Beat Tennessee 89-79 and Portland 67-50
This week: vs. Santa Clara on Thursday; vs. San Francisco on Saturday
Player spotlight: Matt Bouldin had 14 points and six assists against Portland. Bouldin is 396th in the nation with a 111.8 offensive rating and 203rd in fouls called per 40 minutes (2.1).
Team fact: The Bulldogs have won 11 straight against Portland.

19. West Virginia (11-4)
Last week: Lost to Connecticut 61-55 and Marquette 75-53
This week: vs. Marshall at Charleston, W. Va., on Wednesday; vs. South Florida on Saturday
Player spotlight: De'Sean Butler had 16 points against Marquette but none in the second half. Butler has a 108.5 offensive rating and is 210th in the nation in steal percentage (3.3).
Team fact: The Mountaineers shot a season-worst 30.3 percent (20 of 66) from the floor against Connecticut.

20. Brigham Young (13-2)
Last week: Beat Western Oregon 85-64 and Colorado State 86-60
This week: Beat Texas Christian 73-61 on Tuesday; at New Mexico on Saturday
Player spotlight: Lee Cummard had 18 points against Colorado State. Cummard has a 128.3 offensive rating, which ranks 21st in the nation, and is 47th in true shooting percentage (65.0) and 62nd in effective field goal percentage (61.8).
Team fact: The Cougars have won eight straight against Texas Christian.

21. Texas (12-4)
Last week: Lost to Arkansas 67-61 and beat Iowa State 75-67
This week: Lost to No. 7 Oklahoma 78-63 on Monday; vs. Texas Tech on Saturday
Player spotlight: A.J. Abrams scored 22 points against Oklahoma but was 8-for-27 from the field and 3-for-15 from three-point range. Abrams has a 115.7 offensive rating, which ranks 238th in the nation, and is 10th in percentage of minutes (91.7) and 43rd in turnover rate (9.8).
Team fact: The Longhorns are 11-0 in Big 12 home openers under coach Rick Barnes following the win over Iowa State.

22. Purdue (12-4)
Last week: Lost to Penn State 67-64 and beat Wisconsin 65-52
This week: at Northwestern on Thursday; vs. Iowa on Sunday
Player spotlight: Robbie Hummel had 16 points in 28 minutes against Wisconsin after missing the Penn State game because of back spasms. Hummel has a 125.7 offensive rating, which ranks 45th in the nation, and is 12th in turnover rate (8.2) and 95th in defensive rebounding percentage (21.7).
Team fact: The Boilermakers outrebounded Wisconsin 34-29 after being beaten on the boards 41-27 by Penn State.

23. Memphis (12-3)
Last week: Beat Marshall 80-57 and Central Florida 73-66
This week: Beat Tulsa 55-54 on Tuesday; vs. Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday
Player spotlight: Tyreke Evans has 15 points, six rebounds and five assists against Central Florida. Evans has a 99.0 offensive rating, is third in the nation in percentage of possessions (34.5), fifth in steal percentage (5.9), 44th in assist rate (34.2) and 45th in percentage of shots (32.4).
Team fact: The Tigers snapped Central Florida's 12-game home winning streak.

24. Illinois (14-2)
Last week: Beat Indiana 76-45
This week: vs. Michigan on Wednesday; at No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday
Player spotlight: Trent Meacham scored 21 points against Indiana on seven three-point field goals. Meacham has a 128.1 offensive rating, ranking 22nd in the nation, and is 18th in true shooting percentage (68.1) and 21st in effective field goal percentage (65.3).
Team fact: The Fighting Illini have lost two straight and four of their last six against Michigan.

25. Minnesota (15-1)
Last week: Beat Iowa 52-49 and Penn State 79-59
This week: at Wisconsin on Thursday; at Northwestern on Sunday
Player spotlight: Devron Bostick scored 19 points off the bench against Penn State. Bostick has a 110.1 offensive rating but his percentage of minutes is just 27.7.
Team fact: The Golden Gophers have won eight straight at home against Penn State.

John Perrotto is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

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<< Previous Article
The Millsap Doctrine (01/14)
<< Previous Column
The List (03/11)
Next Column >>
The List (01/20)
Next Article >>
Conference Check (01/14)

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