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SB Nation College Basketball Power 16: 'Cuse Reigns Supreme In Final Rankings

Games have tipped in the Big South, Horizon League, Ohio Valley, Patriot League and Atlantic Sun tournaments, which means the madness is officially upon us. (I stole this line from Card Chronicle's most outstanding Championship Week Primer, which is an essential read for hoops junkies.)

As we enter the final week of basketball before the NCAA Tournament begins, we have a new No. 1 atop the SB Nation Power 16 -- Syracuse, who received 10 of our 14 first place votes (the remainder went to Kansas).  Included next to each team is their Bracket Project consensus seed (as of Thursday evening).

1.    Syracuse (No. 1 seed)                 

2.    Kansas  (1)

3.    Kentucky  (1)               

4.    Ohio State (3)            

5.    Duke (1)

6.    West Virginia (2)                

7.    Kansas State (2)        

8.    Purdue (2) 

9.    New Mexico (3)                

10.  Villanova (2)               

11.  Maryland (6)               

12.  BYU (5)                

13.  Tennessee (5)                

14.  Michigan State (4)                

15.  Pittsburgh (3)                 

16.  Gonzaga (6)


1. Could a seven-loss team really earn a No. 1 seed?  In most years, seven losses is too many to get you to the top line of a Regional, but this year's Ohio State team may well pull it off. Though Syracuse, Kentucky, and Kansas all seem like locks for No. 1 seeds, the fourth spot is up for grabs. Three weeks ago I wrote that, "In terms of hype to dangerousness, no team's ratio is more out of balance than Ohio State's right now." Fast forward to today, and as we head into the final week of the season no team is enjoying more national buzz than are the Buckeyes.

The reason is simple: Evan Turner. The Buckeyes are hardly a one-man team, but Turner's impact on games is more pronounced than anyone else's out there, and it's been impossible not to notice. After he wins National Player of the Year (and he will), if he dazzles in the Big 10 tournament and the Buckeyes win it, I think it's likely we'll see Ohio State on the top line in the Salt Lake City Regional.

2. Who else has a shot at the fourth No. 1 seed?  If Ohio State stumbles in the Big 10 tournament, both Duke and the winner of Saturday's huge Big East showdown between West Virginia and Villanova will be positioned to grab a No. 1 seed. Where things could really get interesting is if Ohio State wins the Big 10 tourney, Duke wins the ACC tourney, and Saturday's WVU-Nova winner wins the Big East tourney. At that point it's anyone's guess which team the Committee will select.

At which point we'll just be grateful it's not the BCS. After we finish debating the Committe's choices for 24 hours, 65 teams will disperse to play 64 games. Last one standing wins.