|Last week's ballot|
Dropped Out: Clemson (#12), Siena (#23), West Virginia (#25).
1-2: I was thisclose to plugging Memphis into the top spot after their impressive 11-point win at C-USA's alleged best team. After all, it wasn't so long ago UConn was losing on their home floor to Pitt. Bit I finally decided that the gap between the two teams' overall profiles was too wide to justify bumping the Tigers all the way to No. 1. Besides, John Calipari deserves nothing. Nothing!
2-7: Uh, do you realize Kansas is two points at Missouri away from being undefeated in the Big 12 and just crushed the Tigers by 25 at home? Up they go, along with Louisville, whose wire-to-wire thumping of a desperate Georgetown team a week ago was about as impressive as any win this week.
8-11: Duke has unfortunately appeared to have righted the ship. Check out their celebratory jigs! Michigan St. rises after a solid road win at Illinois ... and after I decided maybe I was being a bit too harsh on the Big 10 last week in repayment for that "38-33" thing. LSU flies up the ballot after a sweep of Florida and Kentucky, a mighty fine week no matter what you think of the SEC East.
12-20: Arizona St.'s lost weekend in Washington opens up a spot for the designated Pac-10 representative in the top 15, and I thought the Huskies looked frisky enough this week to over that spot. 'Nova slips not for the two-point loss at home to G'town, but for the two-point win over miserable DePaul. That's a bad week all the way around.
21-25: Between Utah's relative dominance of the MWC, that ever-more-impressive obliteration of LSU back on Jan. 6, and BYU's Pomeroy juice, it's safe to start plugging some MWC teams into the nether regions of the ballot--including UNM, who John Gasaway has repeatedly told us is playing the best ball in the league. Purdue sneaks in by virtue of having absolutely dismantled the last two good teams to venture to West Lafayette.
Waitlist: Dropping Clemson from the poll entirely must seem harsh, but since that famous annihilation of Duke they've gone 3-4 with home losses to bubblers FSU and Va. Tech and a road defeat at Virginia for one of the Cavs' three ACC wins. This smells suspiciously like Clemson's annual fade. It hurt a lot more to drop Siena after the Saints ran into a buzzsaw up at Niagara, but I don't feel like I have a lot of choice after Siena fell behind by double-digits 5 minutes in and never got closer than 7. Sigh.