Dick Jerardi's Top 15

Posted: December 28, 2009

1. Syracuse (12-0): Its defense has been overlooked because the offense has been so efficient. All those tall, rangy players make its zone very difficult to attack.

2. Texas (11-0): Strong, tough, deep, talented. This looks like the best team Rick Barnes has had in Austin, even better than the 2003 Final Four group.

3. Kansas (11-0): Jayhawks will be here Saturday to play Temple. Experience, talent, length, shooting, defense. They appear to have all bases covered.

4. Kentucky (13-0): If you thought it was wild the night they won No. 2,000, wait until Saturday when Louisville and Rick Pitino come to town. If you don't know why that could be of special interest, you just haven't been paying attention.

5. West Virginia (10-0): Gave up 10-point lead in the final 50 seconds at Seton Hall before winning in OT, 90-84. Only game on Saturday was quite crazy. The Pirates' Jeremy Hazell missed 15 of 19 threes and still scored 41 points.

6. Purdue (11-0): With all hands healthy this season, the Boilermakers are the Big Ten favorite. No team plays with more passion than this one.

7. Villanova (11-1): It is all Big East from here. The adventure starts Saturday at Marquette. The Wildcats were the preseason pick to win it. No reason they can't, but nothing is going to come easy in this league.

8. Duke (9-1): Clearly the class of the ACC, a league that it is still a bit of a mystery. North Carolina lost so much, and it's not quite clear what anybody else really has.

9. Kansas State (11-1): If great guards win in college, K-State is going to be winning lots of games this season. Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente can really play.

10. North Carolina (9-3): Roy Williams has a strange mix with all those talented bigs and a shaky perimeter. Where have you gone, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington?

11. Temple (9-2): Owls need to get past MAC week (Bowling Green, Northern Illinois) before they can focus on Kansas.

12. UAB (11-1): Mike Davis' team has beaten Cincinnati, Butler and Georgia.

13. Northwestern (10-1): Is this finally the year the Wildcats make the NCAA for the first time? They have played really well without their best player, Kevin Coble (foot), and rotation player, Jeff Ryan (ACL), both out for the season.

14. Mississippi (10-2): Only losses were to Villanova and West Virginia. Looks like second best in SEC, but it's a long way up to Kentucky.

15. NJIT (3-8): Going for the season sweep of Wagner tonight. Could be the Game of the Week.

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