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MRI 2008 - Rankings Week 12

February 23, 2009  |  By Benjamin Miraski

North Carolina, basketball
Roy Williams knows his team caught
a break to stay at No. 1 this week,
its third in a row at the top.
(AP Photo/Rob Carr)

North Carolina is getting a reprieve this week. The team may have lost a tough one against Maryland, but they also benefitted from the fact that all of their main competitors lost except one.

Pittsburgh narrowed the gap to less than a single MRI point this week. That means any more bobbles and the Panthers will return to the top spot.

Pitt has been under the radar as everyone has talked about Connecticut and the Tar Heels, but maybe the time for that is over. The Panthers have what it takes to make the long run this year and a lot of that credit has to go to Jamie Dixon who has continued with Ben Howland started (and has kept doing at UCLA) and made it even better.

I am previously on record for saying that the new, bigger Big East is too tough to actually generate a Final Four candidate that has enough gas to win it.

I might be eating my shoe this season. I can honestly see Pittsburgh making the deep run and winning the whole thing. As we saw this weekend, North Carolina has trouble with defense. Duke has trouble with defense. And Connecticut, despite one of the most confounding foul calls contributing, still couldn't stop Pitt.

This is the team we have been waiting for out of the Western half of Pennsylvania for quite a while.

They just didn't quite make it over the hump in the MRI this week.

One more note. In my radio show on Sunday I talked about how I could not believe that the Big Ten had eight teams in the bracket in Joe Lunardi's latest tournament projection. Things are getting back to normal. They are down to seven today, which is still more than I can fathom, but as I have been reminded, the bubble is quite soft this season.

Maybe the MRI is crazy, but it can't see more than five even with the soft bubble, but I think there is a lot of fluidity near the cut-off and this could come down to the Saturday before Selection Sunday before we see all the disputes settled.

A tough week for the MRI. The computer predicted 65.64 percent of the games correctly this week. For the season, the computer has predicted 70.70 percent of the games correctly.

MRI Top 25 Rankings

RankTeamRecordMRILW
1North Carolina23-3197.911
2Pittsburgh24-2197.032
3Memphis24-3180.733
4Duke22-5177.514
5Connecticut25-2169.435
6West Virginia19-8160.957
7Kansas22-5155.5111
8Missouri22-4152.378
9Oklahoma25-2152.056
10Clemson22-4150.5112
11Michigan State21-5147.159
12UCLA20-7145.8910
13Marquette23-4142.6713
14Louisville21-5139.5318
15Villanova22-5135.6915
16Washington20-7135.5016
17LSU23-4134.3114
18BYU19-6133.4517
19Gonzaga20-5127.0723
20Purdue21-6125.58NR(26)
21Arizona State21-5124.8019
22Xavier22-5123.1022
23Wake Forest20-5123.0821
24Florida21-6120.67NR(28)
25Utah State24-3117.00NR(27)

Teams Dropped From The Top 25: Davidson (LW #20, TW #26), Texas (LW #24, TW #27), Illinois (LW #25, TW #29)

Other Teams People Might Care About

RankTeamRecordMRILW
27Texas18-8116.2324
29Illinois22-6114.8125
32Butler22-4111.3133
33Kentucky19-8108.9234
39Dayton23-4101.0938
44Wisconsin16-1095.7343
47Syracuse18-894.8741
49Miami15-1093.7344
58Maryland17-985.9850
62Arizona18-981.8160
63Florida State21-681.3572
66Boston College19-979.6959
68Auburn16-1078.1271
69Notre Dame14-1177.9274
70Ohio State17-877.3764
82Vanderbilt16-1069.7084
86Michigan16-1168.1585
87Northern Iowa17-1066.8186
103Northwestern14-1158.1194
105Drexel15-1157.44108
127Iowa14-1346.06135
141Illinois-Chicago13-1441.47156
144Georgia Tech10-1641.10130
179Ohio13-1326.23151
194Texas Tech11-1520.77176
198Wofford12-1218.73193
204Ball State11-1313.41212
243Pennsylvania8-150.98238
268Indiana5-20-11.84251
277Valparaiso6-20-17.17277
Last Place this week: NJIT (1-26) at -134.92.
Biggest Gain this week: Clemson gained 13.91 points. (Beat Maryland (93-64) and Georgia Tech (81-73))
Biggest Loss this week: Southeast Missouri State lost 17.81 points (Lost to Murray State (60-79) and Northern Illinois (73-97))
Conference rankings this week: ACC, Big 12, Big East, PAC-10, Big Ten, SEC, Mountain West, C-USA, MVC, Atlantic 10, WAC

The MRI Rankings are copyright 2009 by MRISports.com. Ben Miraski is a freelance reporter, edits and writes for MRISports.com and is a featured blogger on FanIQ. He also is the Northwestern Wildcats Examiner for Examiner.com. Readers can contact Ben at bmiraski@mrisports.com

   

Posted February 23, 2009 3:27 PM