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February 17, 2009
The List
Week of February 17, 2009

by John Perrotto

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The List runs every Tuesday through the conference tournaments, 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 among others. I also look at how the "mainstream" media votes in the Associated Press poll and the coaches (or SIDs) vote in the USA Today/ESPN poll. Finally, I factor in my subjective look at teams through the eyes of someone who once was a member of the AP poll board.

1. Pittsburgh (24-2)
Last ranking: 4
Last week: Defeated West Virginia 70-59 and Cincinnati 85-69
This week: Defeated Connecticut 76-68 on Monday, vs. DePaul on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior forward Sam Young scored 18 points to lead five Panthers in double figures against Cincinnati. His 110.3 offensive rating in 380th in the nation and he ranks 92nd in percentage of shots (30.4).
Team fact: The Panthers tied a school record by shooting 67 percent from the floor against Cincinnati.

2. North Carolina (23-2)
Last ranking: 3
Last week: Defeated Duke 101-87 and Miami (Fla.) 69-65
This week: vs. North Carolina State on Wednesday, at Maryland on Saturday
Player spotlight: Junior guard Ty Lawson averaged 23.0 points and 4.5 assists and shot 65 percent from the field, 56 percent from three-point range and 100 percent from the foul line against Duke and Miami (Fla.) to win ACC Player of the Week honors. His 136.5 offensive rating leads the nation and he ranks 11th in true shooting percentage (67.9), 22nd in assist rate (35.8), 26th in effective field goal percentage (63.7) and 88th in steal percentage (3.8).
Team fact: The Tar Heels have won seven of their last eight home games and 12 of their last 13 road games.

3. Connecticut (24-2)
Last ranking: 1
Last week: Defeated Syracuse 63-49 and Seton Hall 62-54
This week: Lost to Pittsburgh 76-68, vs. South Florida on Saturday
Player spotlight: Junior center Hasheem Thabeet averaged 16.5 points, 18.0 rebounds and 8.0 blocked shots against Syracuse and Seton Hall to win Big East Player of the Week honors. His 121.5 offensive rating is 69th in the nation and he ranks fifth in block percentage (12.9), 13th in effective field goal percentage (65.4), 25th in true shooting percentage (65.7), 36th in free throw rate (72.3), 51st in defensive rebounding percentage (23.3) and 56th in offensive rebounding percentage (13.4).
Team fact: The Huskies have not been outrebounded in a game this season. (Ed. Note: Was true until last night, when they were outrebounded by the Panthers.--JSS)

4. Oklahoma (25-1)
Last ranking: 5
Last week: Defeated Baylor 78-63 and Texas Tech 95-74
This week: at Texas on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore forward Blake Griffin averaged 29.0 points and 16.5 rebounds against Baylor and Texas Tech to win Big 12 Player of the Week honors. His 116.5 offensive rating is 174th in the nation and he ranks second in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (8.2), third in defensive rebounding percentage (32.4), 20th in percentage of possessions (32.1), 21st in effective field goal percentage (64.3), 25th in free throw rate (74.3), 51st in true shooting percentage (63.8) and 87th in offensive rebounding percentage (12.9).
Team fact: The Sooners have won 19 straight home games.

5. Memphis (22-3)
Last ranking: 6
Last week: Defeated Tulsa 63-37 and Southern Mississippi 72-47
This week: vs. Southern Methodist on Wednesday, at Texas-El Paso on Saturday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Tyreke Evans led five players in double figures with 19 points against Southern Mississippi. He has a 102.4 offensive rating and ranks 15th in the nation in percentage of possessions (33.0), 23rd in steal percentage (4.6) and 47th in percentage of shots (32.0).
Team fact: The Tigers' 17-game winning streak is the longest in the nation.

6. Duke (20-5)
Last ranking: 2
Last week: Lost to North Carolina 101-87 and Boston College 80-74
This week: at St. John's on Thursday, vs. No. 11 Wake Forest on Sunday
Player spotlight: Sophomore guard Kyle Singler scored a season-high 25 points against Boston College, his 22nd double-figure scoring game of the season. His 111.9 offensive rating is 354th in the nation and he ranks 176th in percentage of possessions (27.0).
Team fact: The Blue Devils have won 12 of their last 14 home games.

7. Michigan State (20-4)
Last ranking: 8
Last week: Defeated Michigan 54-42
This week: at No. 21 Purdue on Tuesday, vs. Wisconsin on Sunday
Player spotlight: Freshman forward Delvon Roe had his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Michigan to win co-Big Ten Player of the Week honors. He has a 102.2 offensive rating and ranks 42nd in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (13.9) and 93rd in defensive rebounding percentage (21.7).
Team fact: The Spartans are one of two teams, along with Penn State, not to play a Big Ten overtime game this season.

8. Louisville (19-5)
Last ranking: 7
Last week: Lost to Notre Dame 90-57, defeated DePaul 99-54
This week: vs. Providence on Wednesday, at Cincinnati on Saturday
Player spotlight: Junior guard Reginald Delk made his first start of the season, subbing for senior forward Terrence Williams (right wrist), against DePaul and scored 10 points. Delk has a 108.7 offensive rating.
Team fact: The Cardinals' 45-point win matched the largest margin of victory in a Big East game.

9. Missouri (22-4)
Last ranking: 16
Last week: Defeated Kansas 62-60 and Nebraska 70-47
This week: at Colorado on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior forward DeMarre Carroll has averaged 22.0 points and shot 61 percent from the field in the last three games and shot 50 percent or better in nine of the last 12 games. His 119.8 offensive rating is 95th in the nation and he ranks 94th in effective field goal percentage (59.6).
Team fact: The Tigers have won 17 straight home games.

10. Villanova (20-5)
Last ranking: 12
Last week: Defeated Marquette 102-84, lost to West Virginia 93-72
This week: vs. Rutgers on Thursday, at Syracuse on Sunday
Player spotlight: Sophomore guard Corey Fisher scored a team-high 17 points against West Virginia. He has a 105.8 offensive rating and ranks 211th in the nation with a 52.6 free throw rate.
Team fact: The Wildcats have scored at least 94 points in three of their last four games.

11. Wake Forest (19-4)
Last ranking: 10
Last week: Lost to North Carolina State 82-76, defeated Florida State 86-63
This week: vs. Georgia Tech on Wednesday, at No. 6 Duke on Sunday
Player spotlight: Junior guard Ishmael Smith has moved into seventh-place on the school's all-time assists list with 396. He has an 85.0 offensive rating and ranks 122th nationally with 1.9 fouls called per 40 minutes.
Team fact: The Demon Deacons' next victory will be the 1,400th in school history.

12. Clemson (20-4)
Last ranking: 9
Last week: Defeated Boston College 87-77, lost to Virginia 85-81
This week: vs. Maryland on Tuesday, at Georgia Tech on Sunday
Player spotlight: Senior guard K.C. Rivers needs three steals to reach 200 in his career. His 118.8 offensive rating is 118th in the nation and he ranks 43rd in both turnover rate (10.4) and fouls called per 40 minutes (1.6).
Team fact: The Tigers are the only ACC team to start the same lineup in every game this season.

13. Kansas (20-5)
Last ranking: 18
Last week: Lost to Missouri 62-60, defeated Kansas State 85-74
This week: vs. Iowa State on Wednesday, vs. Nebraska on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore center Cole Aldrich had 21 points and seven rebounds against Kansas State and has scored in double figures 22 times this season and had at least 20 points five times. His 125.2 offensive rating is 27th in the nation and he ranks 13th in defensive rebounding percentage (26.9), 30th in true shooting percentage (65.0), 36th in block percentage (9.3) and 54th in effective field goal percentage (61.0).
Team fact: The Jayhawks have won 37 straight home games, the longest streak in the nation.

14. Arizona State (20-5)
Last ranking: 20
Last week: Defeated UCLA 74-67 and Southern California 65-53
This week: vs. Arizona on Sunday
Player spotlight: Junior guard Derek Glasser averaged 16.5 points and 5.0 assists against UCLA and Southern California. His 112.1 offensive rating is 340th in the nation and he is 84th in fouls called per 40 minutes (1.8).
Team fact: The Sun Devils have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1979-80 and 1980-81.

15. UCLA (19-6)
Last ranking: 11
Last week: Lost to Arizona State 74-67 and Arizona 84-72
This week: vs. No. 22 Washington on Thursday, vs. Washington State on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior guard Darren Collison scored a season-high 26 points and made a career-high six three-point field goals against Arizona. His 128.4 offensive rating is 13th in the nation and he ranks 20th in true shooting percentage (66.3), 59th in effective field goal percentage (60.9) and 76th in fouls called per 40 minutes (1.8).
Team fact: The Bruins have lost three straight road games for the first time since 2003-04.

16. Marquette (21-4)
Last ranking: 15
Last week: Lost to Villanova 102-84, defeated St. John's 73-59
This week: vs. Seton Hall on Tuesday, at Georgetown on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior guard Jerel McNeal had 20 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and five steals against St. John's. His 114.7 offensive rating is 230th in the nation and he ranks 105th in percentage of shots (30.1).
Team fact: The Golden Eagles shot 51 percent from the floor against both Villanova and St. John's.

17. Xavier (21-4)
Last ranking: 13
Last week: Lost to Dayton 71-58, defeated Fordham 88-53
This week: at Charlotte on Thursday, vs. George Washington on Sunday
Player spotlight: Freshman guard Brad Redford scored a career-high 15 points, making five three-pointers, against Fordham. He has a 122.9 offensive rating.
Team fact: The Musketeers have won 22 straight Atlantic 10 home games.

18. West Virginia (17-8)
Last ranking: 22
Last week: Lost to Pittsburgh 70-59, defeated Villanova 93-72
This week: vs. Notre Dame on Wednesday, at Rutgers on Sunday
Player spotlight: Freshman forward Devin Ebanks had 16-point games against both Pittsburgh and Villanova to earn Big East Rookie of the Week honors. He has a 103.8 offensive rating and ranks 181st nationally with a 19.7 defensive rebounding percentage.
Team fact: The Mountaineers are 4-14 against Notre Dame in Big East regular-season games.

19. Illinois (21-5)
Last ranking: 17
Last week: Defeated Northwestern 60-59 and Indiana 65-52
This week: vs. Penn State on Wednesday, at Ohio State on Sunday
Player spotlight: Sophomore forward Mike Davis averaged 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 blocked shots against Northwestern and Indiana. He has a 107.7 offensive rating and ranks 37th nationally with a 23.8 defensive rebounding percentage.
Team fact: The Fighting Illini have had five 20-win seasons in Bruce Weber's six years as coach.

20. Gonzaga (19-5)
Last ranking: 19
Last week: Defeated Saint Mary's 72-70 and San Francisco 78-73
This week: vs. Loyola Marymount on Thursday, vs. Pepperdine on Saturday
Player spotlight: Senior guard Micah Downs scored a team-high 13 points off the bench against Memphis. His 113.9 offensive rating is 260th in the nation and he ranks 46th in the nation in turnover rate (10.5).
Team fact: The Bulldogs are guaranteed of finishing in the top two in the West Coast Conference's regular-season standings, assuring a double bye into the semifinals of the conference tournament.

21. Purdue (19-6)
Last ranking: 21
Last week: Defeated Penn State 61-47 and Iowa 49-47
This week: vs. No. 7 Michigan State on Tuesday, vs. Indiana on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore forward JaJuan Johnson has had two straight double-doubles, giving him four this season. His 114.1 offensive rating is 258th in the nation and he ranks 32nd in block percentage (9.4).
Team fact: The Boilermakers' six losses this season have come in three two-game streaks.

22. Washington (19-6)
Last ranking: 23
Last week: Defeated Oregon State 79-60 and Oregon 103-84
This week: at No. 15 UCLA on Thursday, at Southern California on Saturday
Player spotlight: Junior guard Justin Dentmon shot 67 percent from the field and 71 percent from three-point range to average 24.5 points against Oregon State and Oregon. His 127.2 offensive rating is 19th nationally and he ranks 35th in true shooting percentage (64.6) and 96th in effective field goal percentage (59.5).
Team fact: The Huskies have clinched their first winning record in the Pac-10 since 2005-06.

23. Butler (22-3)
Last ranking: 23
Last week: Defeated Illinois-Chicago 80-61, lost to Loyola (Ill.) 71-67
This week: at Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Wednesday, at Davidson on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore forward Matt Howard scored a career-high 30 points against Loyola (Ill.). His 122.7 offensive rating is 53rd in the nation and he ranks third in free throw rate (90.6) and sixth in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (7.5).
Team fact: The Bulldogs' six-game winning streak against Loyola (Ill.) ended.

24. Brigham Young (19-5)
Last ranking: NR
Last week: Defeated Colorado State 94-60 and Texas Christian 79-63
This week: vs. New Mexico on Tuesday, at UNLV on Saturday
Player spotlight: Sophomore guard Jimmer Fredette is the only underclassman to rank among the top five in scoring in the Mountain West Conference. His 115.9 offensive rating is 194th in the nation and he ranks 15th in the nation in fouls called per 40 minutes (1.5) and 79th in true shooting percentage (62.7).
Team fact: The Cougars are 7-2 on the road this season and need one more victory to tie the MWC single-season record for road wins.

25. Utah (18-7)
Last ranking: NR
Last week: Defeated San Diego State 67-55 and Air Force 74-59
This week: at Colorado State on Wednesday
Player spotlight: Senior forward Shaun Green averaged 17.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals while shooting 63 percent from the field, 46 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the foul line against San Diego State and Air Force to win Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors.
Team fact: The Utes have won nine straight home games.

Dropped out: No. 24 Utah State, No. 25 Ohio State

Others considered: California (19-6), Florida State (19-6), Louisiana State (21-4), Syracuse (19-7), Utah State (24-2)

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
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