1. Kansas- They are the undisputed best team in the country with a tremendous amount of talent all around. They were tested by Memphis, but remain the team to beat.
2. West Virginia- This team should climb the charts simply because they were playing underhanded for a while and were still blowing teams out. With Devin Ebanks in the game, the Mountaineers are playing on another level.
3. Texas- They probably have the talent to be the far and away favorite this year. But, for some reason- much like last year- they are prone to sloppy plays and mental lapses.
4. Purdue- This experienced squad keeps on winning, with an impressive display against top ranked Tennessee under their belt. They are finally beginning to get over the hump, and become an elite squad.
5. Michigan St.- The Spartans have had several games now where they have played poor basketball for part of a game. Right now, this team does not look like the championship runner-up squad from a year ago. But, you can bet they will be ranked higher by year’s end.
6. Villanova- With several nice, albeit sloppy wins under their belt, Villanova is progressing nicely at this point in the season. Expect them to only get better and seriously contend for a title later in the year once their slashing offense and interior defense begin to gel more.
7. Kentucky- This team has the most young talent in the country and could very well contend for the title later in the year. Right now, though, they do not yet have the chemistry of the top squads.
8. Duke- Like the Duke teams of recent years, this squad continues to remain in the top 10 with some nice play. However, their dependence on the perimeter shot might hurt them later in the year.
9. Syracuse- As of today, Cuse looks like a title contender with their tremendous length in their zone defense and excellent interior play. However, expect them to move down a couple spots by year’s end, as other teams catch up to them in terms of chemistry.
10. Tennessee- The Vols returned everyone from a year ago, and again look to be one of the elite teams in college basketball. Their experience and the improvement of several key contributors from a year ago make them a dangerous squad.
11. Florida- If Syracuse is the surprise team of this year, the Gators are not far behind. With an impressive win over Michigan St., Florida is looming far under the radar at this point in the season. This team has a wealth of athletes and, as such, their defense has been spectacular.
12. Gonzaga- After an impressive overtime victory against Cincinnati, it is clear that the Zags are once again a serious contender. They are tougher than in years past and can battle on both ends of the floor.
13. North Carolina- While most expected big things out of North Carolina this season, the Tar Heels have a fatal flaw: the point guard slot. While Larry Drew II is a good player by most standards, he could still use some assistance feeding the post. Expect this team to be limited by Drew’s play.
14. Washington- With one of the best guard tandems in the country, the Huskies once again are going to finish towards the top of the Pac-10. A gritty home win against Wright St. solidified this position for now.
15. Cincinnati- This is one of the toughest teams, even by Big East standards. They rebound the ball with the efficiency of former Bob Huggins’ teams. Expect them to be a surprise in the Big East if they can limit the turnovers and play under control.
16. Portland- This is probably the most deserved spot in the top 25. After running UCLA out of the building in the 76 Classic, they concluded their run by defeating a ranked Minnesota squad. With such deadly accuracy beyond the arc, look for the Pilots to seriously contend for the WCC title.
17. UNLV- Most evaluators have not examined the Rebels team that year in and year out finishes towards the top of the Mountain West conference. After defeating Louisville a year ago, the Rebels followed this win up with an impressive repeat performance. They play extremely hard and should catch many teams off guard as the season continues to unfold.
18. Minnesota- This is a solid team that will only get better as they add suspended players. With excellent experience in the backcourt, look for the Gophers to finish towards the top of the Big 10 standings.
19. Oklahoma St.- The Cowboys are yet another team that no one seems to be talking about. They return an NBA player in James Anderson, who can fill it up from anywhere on the court. The only question mark that still remains is at the point guard slot.
20. Butler- The Bulldogs have slipped after sloppy early play. I would be shocked- though- if this team finishes lower than they did a year ago.
21. Texas A&M- This feisty Aggies club has defeated both Clemson and Minnesota already. Look for them to have an excellent season in the Big 12.
22. Clemson- Despite losing to A&M, this team rebounded against Butler in a down-to-the-wire battle. They play tough defense and are strong inside.
23. Georgetown- After a close call against Temple, the Hoyas continue to win against mediocre competition. Only the Big East schedule can determine if this team is actually a contender.
24. Louisville- Despite their comeback loss to UNLV, the Cards demonstrated gritty team defense, which will allow them to remain competitive in virtually any contest.
25. Pittsburgh- Even though Texas handed them a huge loss, the Panthers kept it close throughout most of the game. Once starters Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon return, look for this team to show much improvement.