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College Basketball Power Rankings: Battle 4 Atlantis Shakes Up Teams At The Top

Harvard stealing the crown away from UConn and Boston College continuing to sit in last place are the big stories of the week. But there were plenty of mixups in the rankings and three new faces joined our All New England team.

Here’s the third in our series of power rankings, breaking down the six Division 1 teams in Massachusetts (Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Holy Cross, Northeastern, UMass) and the University of Connecticut. While UConn could likely beat every other team in the region 95 teams out of 100, we’ll try to keep the rankings interesting by taking into account how teams have been playing lately, a team’s chances at making the NCAA Tournament and any other mitigating factors. Yes Holy Cross fans, that means even the Crusaders can make some major moves in our rankings.

New England Power Rankings: Week 2

New England Power Rankings: Week 1

1.Harvard Crimson (6-0): Our only undefeated team left in the power rankings gets the nod for the top spot, after a tournament title in the Bahamas. While Harvard would have loved to have gotten a chance to beat UConn in the process, the Crimson and Huskies will play December 8 in Connecticut, they did beat a ranked Florida State team and the same Central Florida squad that handed UConn their first loss. The Crimson have won behind their defense all season long, holding all three Battle 4 Atlantis opponents to 49 points or ferew and below 37 percent shooting. Tommy Amaker is getting great balance, with four scorers averaging nine points or more and 10 players seeing regular playing time.

2.UConn Huskies (6-1): A two-win weekend with a victory over a nationally ranked team would be considered a success by most teams, but for UConn the results were hard to take. The Huskies struggled to put away lowly UNC-Asheville, before losing their first contest since March 5 of this year, to Central Florida in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals. Even a hard-fought win over Florida State didn’t do enough to mask the team’s glaring deficiencies that were on display in the Bahamas. Stand-out sophomore guards Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb both struggled, with Napier making poor decisions running the offense and Lamb failing to be assertive enough in taking over the game. Captain Alex Oriakhi took to twitter twice to criticize Jim Calhoun and to make matters worse, he continued his poor play in two of the team’s three games. UConn will be OK in the long run, but they’re going to have to grow up, on-and-off the court.

3.Northeastern Huskies (3-2): The surprise team of the bunch thus far, Northeastern split a pair of games this week, including their first win against a Big East team since 2008. Against St. John’s Friday, four Huskies finished in double figures and the Huskies led for all but 32 seconds over a very young Red Storm team. Wednesday’s loss on the road at LaSalle almost dropped them a spot, as it was their first double-digit loss since January; but the game can partially be attributed to an off shooting night. Why did they move up then? The Huskies have been able to follow a formula and stick with it-even in losses. For the fourth game this year, Northeastern won the rebounding battle and it has been a constant emphasis for them, after getting dominated inside all of last season. With the focus in the paint, Northeastern has consistently been getting to the free throw line more than opponents and because of that, they haven’t had to rely on the 3-point shot as much; factor in some talented scorers and the Huskies could open some eyes in the CAA.

4.UMass Minutemen (6-2): UMass suffered its first two losses of the seasons in the Bahamas and showed that the team’s run-and-gun offense needed some tweaking. An over reliance and comfort with the 3-point shot cost the Minutemen in losses against Florida State and the College of Charleston. Wednesday’s win over Towson was a great sign for Derek Kellogg, as the team went back to focusing on pushing the ball and attacking the paint. Four players scored in double figures and the team minimized their 3-point shooting until the game was well out of hand for the Tigers. The best sign for UMass this week was the play of sophomore guard Jesse Morgan. After a poor game against Florida State, Morgan scored in double-digits in the team’s next three games and recorded a career-high nine assists yesterday in a spot start. If Morgan and the rest of the team’s guard can help Chaz Williams push the pace and reward the team’s big men, UMass can really get things going as they get into the heart of their non-conference schedule.

5.Boston University (3-4): Believe it or not Boston University had the best week of any team this week, yes even Harvard. The Terriers resiliency after a last-second loss to Cleveland State Friday was phenomenal. Boston University came out the next day and handed Rhode Island their first home nonconference loss since 2006, yes the Rams have lost three in a row, and then outplayed Hofstra down the stretch the next day. Add in Wednesday’s win over another more athletic and longer team in Delaware, and the Terriers were within seconds of a 4-0 week. Over the stretch, Boston University received great contributions from the top-six players in the rotation and sophomore Travis Robinson, who came in as the most highly touted member of the Terriers’ sophomore class, may have finally turned the corner. The Terriers would struggle to beat any of the four teams ahead of them in a five or 10 game series, but they’ll likely continue to rise because they should be a favorite to win their conference when January arrives.

6.Holy Cross (2-5): This was an extremely tough decision, considering the Crusaders two wins are over Boston College and a winless Hartford team but Holy Cross stays out of the bottom spot for at least another week. Their record may not be pretty after a two-loss week, but Holy Cross stuck with Providence for more than 39 minutes and nearly sneaked out of Providence with their second win over a BCS team in two weeks. Holy Cross has a full array of scorers, with five players scoring 15 or more in the past two weeks, including David Dudzinski who has set new career-highs in each of his last two games. With the exception of the team’s loss to Maine, the team's other four losses came against teams that have played pretty well early on this season. Saturday’s home game against New Hampshire should be a great barometer for the Crusaders; New Hampshire is much closer in talent level to Maine then fellow America East foe Hartford.

7.Boston College (2-5): There are very few teams playing in one of the supposed Big Six power conferences that have played as poorly as Boston College thus far this season, Utah and South Carolina do fit the bill. Steve Donahue’s squad is young and inexperienced yes, but they’re also extremely sloppy and heavily reliant on two players to score, who both have their flaws. Freshmen Patrick Heckmann has shown he can be brilliant on the floor with two huge games but also has had three games with six points or fewer and can get lost in the shuffle. On the other side, junior transfer Matt Humphrey has a shooter’s mentality and will get his 10 to 15 points, but his high-volume shooting can be detrimental to the team. Saturday’s game against Boston University marks the first of four games in a five-game stretch the team has at home against lower mid-majors. The Eagles might not be favored in all of the games, they won’t be Saturday, but it might be their only chance to get to five wins, they won’t come easy come conference time.

Starting Five (Top 5 Players In The Region Thus Far)

Shabazz Napier (G-UConn)

Darryl Partin (G-Boston University)

Chaz Williams (G-UMass)

Joel Smith (G-Northeastern)

Kyle Casey (F-Harvard)