The State of College Basketball is a brand-new ratings system that uses a lot of good basketball sense, per-game team performance ratings and degradation of older results to rank the teams from No. 1 to 341 (here's the long-winded version). In its overall form, it retroactively picked three of the Final Four in a simulation of last season. For our purposes here, it gives the world's only hype-free, non-voting, computer poll of teams in the lower 22 conferences. This is the full 246-team chart (updated hourly), and this is a recording.
As of 2/26/2008, 1 p.m. ETLegend: Rank. Team (Conference), Rating, Record (Conf. Record) [Last week]1. Drake (Missouri Valley), 103.68, 24-3 (14-2) 
There was quite a bit of movement in this here index after BracketBusters weekend, with two new teams entering the top 10 and some shell-shuffling in the top five. But we have the same No. 1 for the seventh straight week, which is just nine weeks fewer than the record 16 weeks "One Sweet Day" spent atop the Billboard Hot 100. We'll be right back after the jump with a long-distance dedication to a very special walk-on.
The D-Dawgs didn't beat the B-Dawgs in Saturday's BracketBuster deluxe because of dominant shooting, superior ball control or unicorn magic. Nearly every battle was even, including that square-off between the bigs we talked about in our G!O!T!N! preview on Saturday. The difference was Adam Emmenecker, the senior walk-on who gets small stats but big results on the court. ESPN put together a 30-second highlight package of his floor burns, lane invasions and out-of-bounds passes... that was some Larry Frickin' Bird stuff there. It's somehow fitting that the rebound margin of six between the two teams was exactly what Emmenecker had.
2. Davidson (Southern), 95.791, 21-6 (18-0) 
A lot of questions recently about the Wildcats' ability to earn at at-large if they don't win the league's autobid. I have a hard time defending Davidson in this argument, because of the 3-6 nonconference record. Please remember that a 4-7 nonconference record couldn't get them an at-large back in 2005, when the Wildcats went a perfect 16-0 in the regular season. The good sign, though, is that DC looks more impressive in the second half against these SoCon teams, it's not as if the rest of the league is finding anything to exploit.
3. Butler (Horizon League), 95.286, 25-3 (14-2) 
Let's not all forget Butler ever existed, or throw the B-Dawgs under the bus, or forget this is a Sweet 16 team waiting to happen. They had great performances from their two primary guards Green and Graves (30 combined points), a solid game from Matt Howard, they just got Emmeneckered. There's a huge game on Thursday with Wright State which could earn them the regular-season title (and home court advantage in the HL playoffs) with a win. They didn't have that last year, Wright did.
4. Xavier (Atlantic 10), 95.026, 24-4 (12-1) 
The last time the X lost, gas was under three dollars a gallon and John McCain was just another young pup trying to win the Republican nomination. I'm talking, of course, about January 16. Xavier has rattled off 10 straight wins, and the stretch has been notable for the extended run of solid play by one Mr. Josh Duncan, a 6-9 senior. Duncan has been the team's leading scorer in four of the last six ballgames to vault himself into the team lead with a whopping... 11.6 ppg. He's 30th on the league scoring chart! No stars, no egos, just A-14 domination.
5. Virginia Commonwealth (Colonial), 94.657, 21-6 (13-3) 
It's looking more and more as if the CAA is VCU's to lose, what with Mason's struggles to hold leads. An impressive win at Akron over the weekend, paced by James Shuler, the 6-3 senior who rebounds like he's four inches taller. The Rams close up CAA shop with tilts with UNCW tomorrow (stop by, say hi) and at William & Mary.
6. Saint Mary's (West Coast), 93.436, 24-4 (11-1) 
We've spilled all the digital ink we can about how SMC doesn't like being slowed down, how Patty Mills has struggled recently, how leggy, army Diamon Simpson has had the world seemingly on his shoulders this past week. But we haven't said much about Ian O'Leary, the 6-7 junior who has been drumbeat-consistent in recent games, keeping the Gaels in games with solid rebounding. He had nine in the loss to Kent State, then grabbed 10 in last night's San Diego vengeance.
7. Illinois State (Missouri Valley), 88.448, 20-8 (11-5) 
As goes the defense, so goes the Redbirds -- we talked a lot about opponents' ability to score more than a point per possession against them during a 5-6 stretch that moved Illinois State from "hott" to "eh" in the Valley. But things appear to be fixed, as Evansville and Wright State were held to under .9 last week. Creighton (at home) and Southern Illinois (on the road) are ISU's final two, and they'll probably end up facing those teams again in St. Louis anyway.
8. Kent State (Mid-American), 87.590, 23-5 (11-2) 
No giant surprise that the team that beat the No. 4 team in our index on the road would make the big jump into the top 10. But don't crown the Golden Flashes as MAC champs just yet -- they have three very tough games coming up, and we league-watchers would not be surprised if they go 2-1. There's a date at Bowling Green on Saturday (a team we're looking at as a serious 2009 contender), senior day next Tuesday against league champs Miami, then the crosstown rivalry game at Akron on Sunday. Those two teams love to spoil each other's parties, like the Zips' 66-64 win on Kent's home floor in last year's finale and division-clincher.
9. Saint Joseph's (Atlantic 10), 87.584, 17-8 (8-4) 
This is how nutty this league is: Saint Joe's has lost three of five... and is still the second-place team in the A-14. We just want to give a special shout-out to Darrin Govens, a 6-1 sophomore who's coming off a breakout week. The one-point La Salle loss last week wasn't his fault -- he scored a career-high 26 on 10-for-14 shooting. He followed that up with a 18-point, 6-for-8 shooting performance against Rhode Island on Sunday. That's MMBOW-type stuff if we let players from that league win that MM award. (We don't want our tourney credential revoked.)
Now I just have to figure out where to park.
10. South Alabama (Sun Belt), 86.949, 23-5 (14-2) 
"Oh my gosh, South Alabama made the Sweet 16! I'm so shocked!" If you are saying this a month from now, then more fool you. The Jaguars are exquisitely well-rounded, and would be higher up if their turnovers came down a scoch and the forced turnovers were higher. As an aside, we were totally in love with the "South in Your Mouth" tagline the fans use until we found out that you can get it on a Marshall Tucker Band bumpersticker. Now we love it twice as much.
The next 12:
11. Sam Houston State (Southland) 85.474 ; 12. Creighton (Missouri Valley) 85.108 ; 13. Boise State (Western Athletic) 85.050 ; 14. Siena (Metro Atlantic) 84.417 ; 15. Nevada (Western Athletic) 82.942 ; 16. Ohio (Mid-American) 82.767 ; 17. Stephen F. Austin (Southland) 81.645 [--]; 18. Niagara (Metro Atlantic) 81.536 ; 19. Miami (Oh.) (Mid-American) 81.015 ; 20. IUPUI (Summit League) 80.266 ; 21. Massachusetts (Atlantic 10) 78.912 [--]; 22. California-Santa Barbara (Big West) 78.564 .
Out of the index:
Cal State Northridge (24), North Carolina-Wilmington (27).
23. Western Kentucky (Sun Belt); 32. George Mason (Colonial); 35. Western Michigan (Mid-American); 38. Rhode Island (Atlantic 10); 40. Cornell (Ivy League); 43. Morgan State (MEAC); 45. Oral Roberts (Summit League); 51. Wright State (Horizon League); 62. Portland State (Big Sky); 76. Winthrop (Big South); 88. Dayton (Atlantic 10); 89. Maryland-Baltimore County (America East); 106. American (Patriot League); 124. Belmont (Atlantic Sun); 137. Alabama State (SWAC); 245. Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley); 246. New Jersey Tech (Independents).
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