Friday, October 1st, 2010 at 12:30 pm  |  28 responses

2010 NCAA Basketball Rankings

SLAM previews the Men and Women’s college seasons.

The following NCAA men and women’s basketball rankings originally ran in SLAM 142, on newsstands everywhere.


by Michael Bradley

After a relatively quiet stretch by the team’s high standards, the Blue Devils are suddenly on the verge of a new dynasty.

1. Duke
Key Players: Seth Curry, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Singler, NoKyrie Irvinglan Smith
The Skinny: Duke haters, watch out. The Blue Devils may have lost Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek, but everybody else is back in Durham—and then some. Wait ’til you see Irving. And Curry can stroke it. It’s repeat time.

2. Purdue
Key Players: Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore
The Skinny: Many think the Boilers were a torn ACL (Hummel’s) away from the Final Four last year. Now healthy, he, Johnson and Moore form a great core. And freshman Terone Johnson is tough.

3. Michigan State
Key Players: Keith Appling, Draymond Green, Kalin Lucas, Delvon Roe
The Skinny: Tom Izzo turned down the Cavs and might actually have a better team this year. Lucas is one of the nation’s best points, the frontcourt is stacked and the reinforcements top shelf.

4. Pittsburgh
Key Players: Gilbert Brown, Ashton Gibbs, Nasir Robinson, Brad Wanamaker
The Skinny: Don’t look here for marquee names, just a ferocious group of defenders and experienced role players perfectly suited for rugged Big East life.

5. Ohio State
Key Players: William Buford, Jon Diebler, David Lighty, Jared Sullinger
The Skinny: No Evan Turner? No problem. OSU has enough talented returnees—and a top-five recruiting class—to make a run at the top of the Big Ten.

6. North Carolina
Key Players: Harrison Barnes, Larry Drew, Will Graves, Tyler Zeller
The Skinny: The long, national nightmare (OK, it was at least pretty scary in Chapel Hill) is over. UNC will not be in the NIT this season. The holdovers are good, but the rookies are better.

7. Kansas State
Key Players: Curtis Kelly, Jacob Pullen, Jamar Samuels, Dominique Sutton
The Skinny: Is there anything more fun than watching KSU coach Frank Martin stalk the sidelines, prowling, ready for a fight? His Wildcats will attack the Big 12 again with Pullen and an unyielding intensity.

8. Washington
Key Players: Justin Holiday, Venoy Overton, Terrence Ross, Isaiah Thomas
The Skinny: Since Pac-10 hoops isn’t what it used to be, U-Dub’s supremacy isn’t so impressive. But the Huskies play fast, fun ball and have one of the best perimeters around.

9. Villanova
Key Players: Corey Fisher, Antonio Pena, Corey Stokes, Maalik Wayns
The Skinny: Nobody does guards like Villanova, but the Wildcats actually have Pena and Mouphtaou Yarou up front, who could help lead Nova to another Final Four.

10. Kansas
Key Players: Marcus Morris, Brady Morningstar, Josh Selby, Tyshawn Taylor
The Skinny: You may not recognize many names on this talented Jayhawk outfit, but that might not be a bad thing, since last year’s big-name crew couldn’t get it done in March.

11. Gonzaga
Key Players: Steven Gray, Demetri Goodson, Elias Harris, Robert Sacre
The Skinny: What does it say about Western hoops when the Zags could be the best around? Only that Mark Few has built a sturdy program that keeps rolling no matter who leaves.

12. Baylor
Key Players: Quincy Acy, LaceDarius Dunn, Anthony Jones, Perry Jones
The Skinny: Dunn leads a group that’s ready to continue the Bears’ roll. And wait until you see Perry Jones, who could be the nation’s best big man as a frosh.

13. Missouri
Key Players: Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Phil Pressey, Justin Safford
The Skinny: Those Old Gold unis may be tough on the eyes, but the Tigers’ style of play is even harder on opponents. Rivals had better get ready for even more Hell from Missouri.

14. Illinois
Key Players: Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis, Demetri McCamey, DJ Richardson,
The Skinny: Really, this is the year for the Illini. They won’t win the loaded Big Ten, but they finally have depth and experience to reach their potential.

15. Syracuse
Key Players: Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph, Dion Waiters
The Skinny: People will dismiss the Cuse because Wes Johnson’s gone. Don’t believe ’em. The Orange will defend, Joseph will emerge, and newcomers Waiters and Fab Melo are legit.

16. Florida
Key Players: Kenny Boynton, Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus, Erving Walker
The Skinny: Five starters are back, and depth abounds. Focus on the whole, not the parts, and watch the Gators get back into the national picture.

17. Kentucky
Key Players: Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, DeAndre Liggins, Darius Miller
The Skinny: This group won’t produce five first-rounders, but don’t ever bet against John Calipari. The holdovers are solid, and if Kanter isn’t suspended for playing pro ball in Turkey, the crop of newcomers is top-shelf.

18. Butler
Key Players: Zach Hahn, Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored
The Skinny: Last year’s dreams become this year’s reality without Gordon Hayward, but the Bulldogs remain dangerous enough to win a couple Tourney games.

19. Brigham Young
Key Players: Brandon Davies, Chris Collinsworth, Jackson Emery, Jimmer Fredette
The Skinny: The Cougars get this spot because of Fredette, a scoring machine and a fun player to watch.

20. Temple
Key Players: Lavoy Allen, Juan Fernandez, Rahlir Jefferson, Ramone Moore
The Skinny: Allen is a first-round talent, and Fernandez is on the verge of big things. Last year’s NCAA crash was disappointing, but the Owls should rebound well.



by Clay Kallam

Look for long-time power Tennessee to reclaim the top spot in women’s hoops over the likes of Baylor, Duke and its nemesis, UConn.

1. Tennessee
Key Players: Angie Bjorklund, Glory Johnson, Shekinna Stricklen
The Skinny: The Vols are tall, talented and experienced yet still young enough to get better (just one senior). A proven 1 is all that’s missing, but remember, Tennessee went 32-3 last season without one.

2. Baylor
Key Players: Brittney Griner, Melissa Jones
The Skinny: College players usually improve most between their freshman and sophomore years—so Griner should be even scarier. Add supporting talent (Jones, for one) and there’s a national power.

3. Duke
Key Players: Karima Christmas, Jasmine Thomas
The Skinny: Toss some elite freshmen into an already loaded lineup, and what you should get is a trip to the Final Four.

4. Ohio State
Key Players: Jantel Lavender, Sammy Prahalis
The Skinny: This should be the year that the Buckeyes finally play well in the postseason, thanks to the passionate Prahalis and the imposing Lavender.

5. Connecticut
Key Players: Tiffany Hayes, Maya Moore
The Skinny: With Caroline Doty out for the season, the two-time defending champion Huskies have only two returning starters. The great Moore is one of them, but even she’s not enough to reprise 39-0.

6. Stanford
Key Players: Kayla Pedersen Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka Ogwumike
The Skinny: Learn to say it: “Oh-gwu-mee-kay.”
Chiney and Nneka are the best sister act in the country, and Pedersen completes an elite front line. They will be tough come springtime.

7. Texas A&M
Key Players: Danielle Adams, Tyra White
The Skinny: Adams makes the big shots, but the rest of the Aggies can play, too.

8. Xavier
Key Players: Amber Harris, Ta’Shia Phillips
The Skinny: Both Harris and Phillips will definitely be high picks in the next WNBA Draft, but point guard Special Jennings’ ballhandling will be important as well, so don’t ignore her.

9. North Carolina
Key Players: Jessica Breland, Cetera DeGraffenreid, Italee Lucas
The Skinny: Breland is back, and the Tar Heels have a lot to go along with the 6-3 senior.

10. Dayton
Key Players: Kristin Daugherty, Justine Raterman
The Skinny: Take a Flyer on Dayton, which returns four of five starters from a 25-8 team.

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  • JTaylor21

    I don’t care if the entire UConn team was out for the season as long as they have Maya Moore, they should be #1.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    don’t think I agree with Purdue at #2…..They are just missing something as a squad….either way I like Duke #1 and Kentucky #2

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    Can’t see UConn women finishing anything other than #1 like JT said, Geno + Maya = championship

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Fighting Illini back in the top 15. It’s been too long!

  • jarrett

    purdue? give me a break. overated

  • jarrett

    talent wise i’d have to go with Duke at 1, and Carolina at 2 (even though unc is well placed in this list)

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Yeah, Illinois is finally back! Can’t wait to see my dude Jereme in the Big 10

  • Love4Humanity

    Kentucky #2?? They are only bringing back role players. Kansas State, Baylor and Butler have a better chance at being good based on that. And if Kentucky is ranked this high Memphis should be too

  • Scottie

    Yall know its Nova’s time to win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • k

    Hail to Pitt, baby. Going to be a fun year. Looking ahead to Coaches vs. Cancer at the Garden, I don’t even know at this point if you’d rather get Texas or Illinois on the second night after Maryland on the first. Plus Tennessee coming to the new Consol (which I assume is NOT part of my season ticket package), and closing the regular season with Villanova at home on CBS?

  • b

    Duke at the one spot… yessir its been a long time comin too… and we just got rivers so we might have a dynasty goin…

  • TSmoove

    Kind of a random thought but has anyone noticed that Antonio Pena from Villanova has been playin for them forever? Kinda lik Edgar Sosa from Louisville idk just a thought. I like this list though Im lookin for Cuse to surprise some people

  • hammer

    Don’t sleep on cuse. They r REALLY underrated. My heels r fine @ where they @. We could creep up there and win the acc. Duke is solid but not clear cut favorite. Next yr is our yr tho. Go heels

  • http://www.nobrain.dk ilyasova

    kanter is the real deal

  • Groves

    keen to see if callipari can get another point guard into the top 5 of the draft

  • http://www.centercourtbasketball.com CCB

    How do you not place Memphis, with the 2nd best recruiting class in the nation and basically the same squad as last year, in the top 20? they finished 24-10 in a rebuilding year and this year the additions are good enough to have several future NBA draft picks.
    I understand the list, but I don’t understand the list.
    Chris B.

  • jarrett

    @CCB, will barton can’t play this year…. but memphis should be in these rankings

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    @jarrett he has been cleared, he’ll play

  • Zarfan

    Mike Anderson developed his team from 2 and 3-star prospects into great players. Can’t wait to see what he’ll do with a 5-star prospect like Tony Mitchell, even if he can’t play this fall.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    soooo, josh selby and tyshawn taylor will be wrecking your favorite teams backcourt, while marcus morris gets buckets on anyone.

  • jarrett

    am i the only person who thinks Purdue is trash every year even if they get ESPN time? (and their jerseys r the worst, too?)

  • http://www.escort-tours-annonce.com/ Escort france

    Duke will win again :)

  • http://thesportsflow.blogspot.com Stefan

    This is a great poll. I think Michigan St and Duke are the easy favorites and will be there playing for the title.


  • RockChalk

    Domonique sutton transferred from K-state this past July . Come on SLAM, have to get your facts straight. UNC way overrated. Love Pitt at 4, Jamie Dixon is a top 5 coach in America. Look out for the Jayhawks come March!!

  • JB

    Yes jarrett…you are the only one that thinks that way !?!?!?

  • JLiRon

    Be realistic…UCONN will not win a ring dis year with Maya and Geno. U have to have the pieces to put around her! Tennessee is deserving of the #1 spot and people are sleep on Baylor’s other pieces around Griner but they will be a force! Look for UCONN to have at LEAST 3 losses.

  • JLiRon

    Purdue at #2 is a bit much! They are good but deserving of #2…NO! Illinois has the talent this year but idk if the coaching will b good enuff for them to finish as well as they can. Love Weber but he is goofy! Kentucky is another one who maybe overrated regardless of who they brought in! Time will tell! U hve a lot of flexibilty in dis years poll, so maybe Memphis shudve been in but there r reasons they cudve been left out to!

  • http://underwood.rick@gmail.com Rick

    Maybe . . . The Black Rick Karnia Didn’t See Correctly
    Kentucky is ranked Number 17, NOT Number 2!