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Xavier makes Top 10 leap in Power 24

Welcome to Bracketville’s Power 24.  It’s a look at teams based on performance and potential, not single game outcomes.  This way, a team’s full profile is more inclusive, including strength of schedule, wins against top teams, and evalation against the RPI.  Just as important, teams are put through the “eye test.” 

The Power 24 is a reflection of both potential and substance.  A team’s overall profile, ability, and potential will be better defined as the season progresses. 

Current Update:  Saturday, December 20

Next Update: Saturday, December 27

Moving in: Baylor, Villanova | Moving out: Kansas, Florida

Our Power 24 …

  1. North Carolina – Here to stay. 
  2. Connecticut – The Huskies’ upcoming schedule perks up … Gonzaga and Georgetown.
  3. Pittsburgh – Tough as nails. 
  4. Oklahoma – Sooners leap-frog Duke (for now).  Unbeaten and strong at both ends of the floor.
  5. Duke – Blue Devils have talent and balance.  They also play hard.  The next three weeks include Xavier, Davidson, and Georgetown out of conference.
  6. Gonzaga – We’re starting to wonder about this team’s defense.  Only a few days before the Arizona loss, they let Indiana hang around most of the game.  The schedule only gets tougher.
  7. Texas – If the inside game develops, watch out.
  8. Louisville – In a lot of ways, Cards are still a work in progress.  The final product, though, should be very good.
  9. Xavier – Biggest jump of the week.  XU plays with tenacity, smarts, and execution when it matters.  Don’t underestimate the win at improved and hated-rival Cincinnati.
  10. Tennessee – As for the drubbing at Temple, J.P. Prince didn’t play (ankle).  Nice bounceback against Marquette.  Still the SEC favorite – and the margin is growing.
  11. Purdue – Is this too high for the Boilers?  Based on performance, yes.  Based also on expectations?  No.
  12. Notre Dame – You could say the same for the Irish.  Of course the win over Texas speaks volumes about potential.
  13. UCLA – The Bruins schedule stays pretty light until January.
  14. Syracuse – This drop isn’t about the three-point miracle loss to Cleveland State; it’s about the Orange’s best wins (Kansas, Florida) not looking as strong.  And a hunch.
  15. Georgetown – Hoyas could be in position to make a significant jump in the weeks ahead. 
  16. Memphis – The Tigers have “just missed” in their two biggest games. Even so, the “eye test” says this team belongs.
  17. Wake Forest – Deacons just keep winning. The Jan. 3 game at BYU should be interesting, right before WF hosts Carolina.
  18. Ohio State  – Nice home win over Butler last weekend.   How will the Buckeyes handle the loss of David Lighty (out 4-6 weeks, foot).
  19. Michigan State – Time for the Spartans to make a move.  Hard to imagine Tom Izzo not having this group together in March.
  20. Michigan – Wolverines should coast before Wisconsin visits Ann Arbor on December 31.
  21. Davidson – Keep the tests coming.  And Stephen Curry shooting.
  22. Clemson– Maybe we’re sleeping on the Tigers.  History would suggest otherwise.  It might also be because their best wins are “good” but not “great.”  Case in point: Temple (neutral) and at Illinois.
  23. Baylor –  The Bears have been close for a while and jump only because Florida and Kansas took a dive.  The final two spots are definitely up for grabs.  BU’s best win is Arizona State; the lone loss to Wake Forest.
  24. Villanova – Wildcats are back; lone loss to Texas is pretty solid.  The December 29 game with Philly-rival Temple should be fun.

Also in the running:  Florida, Arizona State, Marquette, Kansas, Florida State, Dayton, Miami-FL, Wisconsin, Butler, Missouri

As the season progress, my goal is to offer team profiles of NCAA-worthy consideration.   Thanks for your joining us here at Bracketville –  Bracketguy.

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