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November 27, 2007

Longhorns, Aggies help Big 12 image

Thanks to a Texas two-step, the Big 12 has moved all the way to No. 2 in the Rivals.com BCS Conference Power Rankings.

The Big 12 unleashed big guns Texas and Texas A&M last week, and both came home with tournament titles against excellent competition.

The Longhorns stampeded to the title at the Legends Classic, whipping New Mexico State 102-87, then ripping Tennessee 97-78. The Aggies copped the trophy at the NIT Season Tip-Off, battering Washington 77-63 and routing Ohio State 70-47.

Both teams vaulted into The Associated Press top 10, joining conference rival Kansas. The Jayhawks are fourth, with Texas eighth and A&M ninth.

Not to be outdone, the ACC holds onto the top spot in our rankings after also standing up to some tough tournament competition. Top-ranked North Carolina won the Las Vegas Invitational, Duke captured its fourth title at the Maui Invitational and NC State rebounded from an upset loss to New Orleans on Nov. 18 to win the Old Spice Classic with a victory over Villanova.

Here are the BCS Conference Power Rankings for the week ending Nov. 25:

Rivals.com Conference Power Rankings
1. ACC
Rivals.com ranking last week: First.
Record vs. Division I: 50-10.
Win(s) of the week: NC State 69, Villanova 68; Duke 77, Marquette 73. The ACC chalks up huge victories at neutral sites against Top-25 Big East teams.
Worst loss: Seton Hall 74, Virginia 60. The Big East got a measure of revenge on the ACC when the Pirates whacked the Cavaliers.
The skinny: The ACC held off a hard-charging Big 12 with the important tournament victories and an unlikely showing from Florida State, which stunned Florida 65-51 in Gainesville. Six ACC teams remain unbeaten.
2. Big 12
Rivals.com ranking last week: Fifth.
Record vs. Division I: 44-13.
Win of the week: Texas 97, Tennessee 78. The battle of the orange was won easily by the Longhorns.
Worst loss: George Mason 87, Kansas State 77. It wasn't unthinkable for the Wildcats to lose to the Patriots, but they also had to beat UCF in overtime to avoid the seventh-place game at the Old Spice Classic.
The skinny: Texas Tech gave the conference a nice boost, too, with a 73-63 win at Gonzaga. Oklahoma State is weighing down the conference. It played solid competition in Illinois and Marquette at the Maui Invitational, but it also got pounded. The Cowboys lost both by a total of 45 points.
3. Pac-10
Rivals.com ranking last week: Third.
Record vs. Division I: 40-9.
Win of the week: USC 70, Southern Illinois 45. The Trojans have come back strong since a shocking season-opening loss to Mercer, winning five in a row. The Salukis were the latest victim as they were held to only 32.7 percent shooting from the field.
Worst loss: St. Mary's 99, Oregon 87. The Ducks were all the way up to No. 12 in the polls before the Gaels pulled off the shocker behind freshman Patrick Mills' 37 points.
The skinny: We still suspect this league will be No. 1 before it's all said and done, but for the moment it still has more to prove. UCLA had a nice win against Michigan State, and the Bruins have gotten this far without starting point guard Darren Collison.
4. Big East
Rivals.com ranking last week: Second.
Record vs. Division I: 53-18.
Win of the week: Seton Hall 74, Virginia 60. The Cavaliers had just made their way into the rankings at No. 23 with a surprising win at Arizona before the Pirates beat them at a neutral site.
Worst loss: BYU 78, Louisville 76. It may not turn out to look as bad as it did this week. The Cardinals, ranked sixth at the time, lost to unranked BYU at a neutral site.
The skinny: What could have been a big week for the Big East blew up in its face. Villanova fell in the Old Spice Classic to unranked NC State. Louisville lost to BYU before it even could get a crack at No. 1 North Carolina. Syracuse got whipped by unranked Ohio State. Marquette couldn't get over the hump against Duke. We're not even going to mention DePaul's loss to North Carolina A&T. Oops, we just did.
5. SEC
Rivals.com ranking last week: Fourth.
Record vs. Division I: 42-15.
Win of the week: Vanderbilt 95, Bradley 86. You know it's a quiet week when your biggest victory is at a neutral site against a team picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley.
Worst losses: Florida State 65, Florida 51; Miami University 67, Mississippi State 60; Texas 97, Tennessee 78. One team in the East and one team in the West took inexplicable losses. The Vols' loss came against a good team, but by 19 points? At least the Bulldogs were on the road against a good mid-major. The Gators losing to the Seminoles in Gainesville and scoring only 51 points in the process was a big shock.
The skinny: The SEC didn't have a chance to win a lot of big games, but it sure had some bad losses. Mississippi State, one of the favorites in the West, is 3-3. Wisconsin beat Georgia by 19, and South Carolina managed only one win in three games at the Old Spice Classic.
6. Big Ten
Rivals.com ranking last week: Sixth.
Record vs. Division I: 36-15.
Win of the week: Ohio State 79, Syracuse 65. The young Buckeyes were at their best in blitzing the Orange.
Worst loss: Texas A&M 70, Ohio State 47. The young Buckeyes were wide-eyed and slack-jawed in getting blitzed by the Aggies. Honorable mention goes to Xavier 80, Indiana 65.
The skinny: We've said all along the Big Ten is in for a long season. We've seen nothing to change that opinion. It has only three undefeated teams (Wisconsin, Purdue and Minnesota), and they're all on borrowed time. The Badgers play at Duke this week.

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.

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