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College Basketball Rankings: AP Poll Analysis for Dec. 19th

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The newest AP Poll is out, and as you might expect, there was relatively little change at the top. The one major exception in the top ten is the Xavier Musketeers, who were drilled by visiting Oral Roberts at home. Xavier did have three major players suspended, including star point guard Tu Holloway.

But unlike the Ohio St. Buckeys, who lost to the Kansas Jayhawks on the road with star center Jared Sullinger out with an ailing back, the poll voters were not nearly as forgiving of Xavier's miscue. The Musketeers were pummeled by the poll voters, dropping 6 spots from #8 to #14.

Truth be told, Xavier was almost unquestionably over-valued from the beginning. Ken Pomeroy had them at #19 before the loss, and even though this is early in the season to over-rely on Kenmpom's ratings, the disparity can't be ignored. Pomeroy now has Xavier at 32, which probably understates them quite a bit. Realistically, they are probably overrated at 14 but definitely deserve to be in the top 25. Xavier is offensively challenged, but they defend pretty well.

Another big drop comes from the Illinois Fighting Illini, who were soundly defeated at the United Center in Chicago by North Carolina Tar Heels-killer UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels held Illinois to only 31% eFG%, either a killer defensive performance, or an awful offensive effort. Either way, that's a big hit.

Speaking of Dave Rice's team, UNLV moves back into the poll after being dropped out in early December due to an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Wichita St. Shockers. They slide in at #21.

Another team moving into the poll from outside this week is the Virginia Cavaliers on the strength of a win at Oregon. Oregon is not a great team, but Virginia's 9-1 record deserves some respect despite the fact they haven't played a great schedule so far. The Cavaliers slide into the #24 spot.

The two teams to get knocked out are the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Vanderbilt Commodores, both SEC disappointments so far who were mentioned prominently in this recent look at the SEC performance to date. Both teams dropped three of their last four -- Alabama two on the road and one at home, and Vandy two of the three at home including an embarrassing performance against the mighty Indiana St. Sycamores on Saturday. What made that performance doubly surprising is that it was the first game back for Festus Ezeli, long assumed to be the missing link in Vandy's team.

Here are the full poll results, courtesy of Statsheet.com:

AP Poll 12/19/2011
Rank Prev Delta Team Wins Losses Votes 1st SOS SOS Proj SOS Rank SOS Prj Rnk Conference
1 1 0 Syracuse 11 0 1585 53 0.5882 0.6447 28 3 Big East
2 2 0 Ohio St. 10 1 1474 5 0.5164 0.6298 141 13 Big Ten
3 3 0 Kentucky 9 1 1457 4 0.5183 0.5611 138 85 SEC
4 4 0 Louisville 10 0 1364 2 0.5155 0.6233 142 18 Big East
5 5 0 North Carolina 9 2 1340 0 0.5524 0.5897 62 44 ACC
6 6 0 Baylor 9 0 1271 0 0.4479 0.6190 274 23 Big 12
7 7 0 Duke 9 1 1266 0 0.6498 0.6011 6 32 ACC
8 9 1 Connecticut 9 1 1102 0 0.5784 0.6347 38 6 Big East
9 10 1 Missouri 11 0 1076 0 0.4105 0.5853 319 46 Big 12
10 11 1 Marquette 10 0 1021 0 0.5343 0.6125 98 29 Big East
11 13 2 Florida 8 2 946 0 0.5207 0.5614 131 84 SEC
12 12 0 Kansas 7 2 939 0 0.5936 0.6272 22 15 Big 12
13 14 1 Wisconsin 10 2 746 0 0.5805 0.6339 37 8 Big Ten
14 8 -6 Xavier 8 1 728 0 0.5443 0.5828 80 52 A-10
15 15 0 Pittsburgh 10 1 707 0 0.4770 0.5905 217 42 Big East
16 16 0 Georgetown 9 1 644 0 0.4551 0.6011 254 32 Big East
17 18 1 Indiana 10 0 601 0 0.4692 0.5758 230 64 Big Ten
18 17 -1 Mississippi St. 11 1 576 0 0.4701 0.5677 227 78 SEC
19 21 2 Michigan St. 9 2 413 0 0.5601 0.6582 55 1 Big Ten
20 20 0 Michigan 9 2 381 0 0.5256 0.6415 116 4 Big Ten
21 - New UNLV 11 2 251 0 0.5741 0.5967 41 37 Mountain West
22 24 2 Murray St. 12 0 222 0 0.5320 0.4244 102 282 Ohio Valley
23 25 2 Creighton 8 1 130 0 0.5019 0.5603 169 87 Missouri Valley
24 - New Virginia 9 1 102 0 0.5304 0.5629 106 83 ACC
25 19 -6 Illinois 10 1 96 0 0.4941 0.6346 183 7 Big Ten

Here is the conference breakdown:

Conference Breakdown
Conference Teams in poll
Big East 6
Big Ten 6
ACC 3
Big 12 3
SEC 3
MVC 1
A-10 1
MWC 1
OVC 1

What would you change?