POWER 16: Jan. 28 Edition

Well, I completed my ballot pretty late today, so it actually might not be counted in this week's SBNation Power 16.

Oh, well. You still can see it here, and that's all that matters to a myopic narcissist like me... ;-)

This week was pretty tricky, because I don't think we know who is the next No. 1 in the wake of Kentucky's loss Tuesday.

Oh, sure, Kansas is the presumptive favorite, but they've gotta earn it first. I easily can see a scenario where the Jayhawks, Syracuse and Villanova all lose on Saturday. Then what? Does Kentucky stay at the top?

See my point? I really need to see what happens this weekend before I make a "final" assessment, so take my Top 4 with a grain of salt. It's based mostly on resume at this point.

  1. Syracuse Orange (+3)
  2. Kansas Jayhawks (+1)
  3. Villanova Wildcats (+2)
  4. Kentucky Wildcats (-3)
  5. Texas Longhorns (-3)
  6. BYU Cougars
  7. Michigan St. Spartans (+5)
  8. Duke Blue Devils (+2)
  9. Kansas St. Wildcats (-2)
  10. West Virginia Mountaineers (+1)
  11. Purdue Boilermakers (+2)
  12. Vanderbilt Commodores (NR)
  13. Gonzaga Bulldogs (+3)
  14. Wisconsin Badgers (NR)
  15. Georgetown Hoyas
  16. Pittsburgh Panthers (-2)

Calm down, KU fans. If you win at The Octagon, I'll give you your props next week. I just think Syracuse is playing slightly better right now against much better competition. Additionally, with Tennessee falling out of the Power 16 after two ugly losses, Syracuse has the "better" loss, even if it did come at home.

Texas falls mainly because the Longhorns' loss to Connecticut was predated by my last ballot, but also because they continued to look unimpressive last night. Basically, the Burnt Orange have looked completely mortal ever since Big 12 play began, and I fully expect them to lose at least a couple more between now and March.

No penalty for BYU because there is absolutely no shame in losing at The Pit. C'mon, people, that was the Cougars' first loss since early November. And they still have a KU-like lead over the rest of a multiple-bid conference. They would have fallen, except that everyone around them also lost. Keep in mind that BYU is the lowest-ranked of the two-loss teams.

Michigan State seems like too big a mover after a pair of squeaked-out, one-point road wins, but I will admit that I had them underrated last week. Consider this a course correction. Besides, sometimes it's a lot harder to win a close one on the road than it is to win a laugher. It certainly takes a lot more mental focus, as Jacob Pullen can attest.

K-State prevented a larger skid with the Baylor win, but Duke's win at Clemson was even more impressive, as much as I hate to admit it. I'm pretty confident that Duke is the best team in the ACC, for what it's worth.

Every team at the bottom that didn't lose slowly inched upward, but Vanderbilt enjoyed a healthy debut after a very impressive win at Thompson-Boling Arena. On Saturday, the Commodores could claim the title of best SEC team outright, if they win in Lexington.

Tennessee, meanwhile, is in a freefall. I think the Volunteers' personnel losses finally caught up to them now that they are playing familiar opponents. And for everyone who argued against Northern Iowa last week, I dumped the Panthers after their computer numbers went into a freefall.

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