FOXSports.com final NCAA power rankings
By Ken Davis
College basketball’s Big Dance arrived in Atlanta searching for something to celebrate on the 75th anniversary of the NCAA tournament. An exciting national championship game full of emotional storylines was exactly what was needed. Louisville lost reserve guard Kevin Ware to a gruesome injury in the regional final against Duke, but the Cardinals came together and completed their mission – just as Ware had begged them to on his way to the hospital. Congratulations to Rick Pitino and the Cardinals, the No. 1 team in our final power rankings for 2012-13.
1. Louisville Cardinals 35-5 --
The Cardinals were No. 1 in our preseason power rankings and lived up to those expectations, finishing with a 16-game winning streak on the way to the national championship. On a roster full of tough guys, it seemed fitting that reserve Luke Hancock led the way in Louisville's 82-76 victory over Michigan in the title game.
2. Michigan Wolverines 31-8 +12
The youthful Wolverines, led by Trey Burke and Mitch McGary, put together an impressive NCAA run with wins over VCU, Kansas, Florida and Syracuse. John Beilein’s team offered up a memorable battle against Louisville in the finale.
3. Syracuse Orange 30-10 +13
Syracuse rediscovered its offense in the Big East tournament, mixed it in with Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 defense and rode the combination to the Final Four in Atlanta. And it looks as if Boeheim will return next season, just in case anyone was wondering.
4. Wichita State Shockers 30-9 --
It felt wrong labeling the Shockers as Cinderella because coach Gregg Marshall has a very talented team. Everything came together at the right time for a run to the Final Four that put Wichita back on the basketball map.
5. Duke Blue Devils 30-6 +1
The lesson from this season was that the Blue Devils needed Ryan Kelly on the court. But even with Kelly playing, Mike Krzyzewski’s team couldn’t keep up with an inspired Louisville team in the Midwest Regional final.
6. Kansas Jayhawks 31-6 -4
A 31-win season ended in painful fashion as the Jayhawks watched Michigan rally from a 14-point deficit in the Sweet 16. With freshman Ben McLemore headed to the NBA, coach Bill Self must replace his entire starting lineup next season.
7. Indiana Hoosiers 29-7 -4
Coach Tom Crean has brought the Hoosiers back to prominence in college hoops. But Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo couldn’t solve Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, and the Hoosiers fell short of their ultimate goal.
8. Ohio State Buckeyes 29-8 -1
Thad Matta and the Buckeyes almost reached their second consecutive Final Four, but Wichita State got in the way. Even so, Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross had two of the biggest shots of the tournament against Iowa State and Arizona.
9. Miami (FL) Hurricanes 29-7 -4
Jim Larranaga did the best coaching job in the nation – and showed off some nifty dance moves in the locker room as well. The Hurricanes were one of the top stories of the season.
10. Florida Gators 29-8 +3
The Gators thrive on efficiency at both ends of the court, and there were times when Florida seemed destined to return to the Final Four. Michigan ended the dream with a 79-59 rout in the South Region finale.
11. Gonzaga Bulldogs 32-3 -7
Kelly Olynyk and the Bulldogs lost just three games all season – unfortunately one of those came to Wichita State in the NCAA tournament.
12. Marquette Golden Eagles 26-9 +3
Coach Buzz Williams surprised everyone by turning the Golden Eagles into a Big East contender. But it was conference neighbor Syracuse that knocked Marquette out of the NCAA dance.
13. Michigan State Spartans 27-9 -2
Tom Izzo’s team battled through the rugged Big Ten regular season, finishing one game behind Indiana. But Duke was too much for the Spartans in the NCAA tournament.
14. Arizona Wildcats 27-8 +5
Sean Miller’s team couldn’t hold on to that 11-point lead against Ohio State. Then the Buckeyes' LaQuinton Ross hit the shot that broke Arizona’s heart.
15. Saint Louis Billikens 28-7 -5
The Billikens were a true inspiration, battling through injuries, overcoming adversity and dealing with the loss of coach Rick Majerus. Coach Jim Crews did a remarkable job.
16. Georgetown Hoyas 25-7 -8
The Hoyas played so well down the stretch in the Big East regular season that it created high postseason expectations. Instead, Georgetown closed out with losses to Syracuse and Florida Gulf Coast.
17. Oregon Ducks 28-9 +6
Dana Altman’s Ducks received little respect with a No. 12 seed after winning the Pac-12 tournament. But they made a statement with victories over Oklahoma State and Saint Louis before losing to eventual national champion Louisville 77-69.
18. Kansas State Wildcats 27-8 -6
The Wildcats closed out in disappointing fashion, losing their last two games – to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament and LaSalle in the NCAA tournament. K-State will miss senior guard Rodney McGruder.
19. New Mexico Lobos 29-6 -10
The Lobos were upset by Harvard in the NCAA tournament, lost coach Steve Alford to UCLA, and guard Tony Snell is headed to the NBA. On the bright side, they did win 29 games.
20. Creighton Bluejays 28-8 +4
Doug McDermott’s legacy is secure. Two years on the AP All-American team will do that, regardless of Creighton’s 66-50 loss to Duke in the NCAA tournament.
21. Wisconsin Badgers 23-12 -3
The Badgers seemed poised for a postseason run but lost their last two games. Bo Ryan’s team fell to Ohio State in the Big Ten tourney and Ole Miss in the NCAA.
22. Memphis Tigers 31-5 -2
Michigan State held the Tigers to 48 points in a 22-point NCAA loss. Memphis scored only 19 points in the second half of the defeat.
23. North Carolina Tar Heels 25-11 --
The Tar Heels came on strong at the end of the regular season and earned their NCAA bid. For the third time since 2008, the Kansas Jayhawks ended Carolina’s season.
24. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 26-11 --
Dunk City gave us all some joy during the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they lost coach Andy Enfield to USC.
25. Virginia Commonwealth Rams 27-9 -4
Michigan put an end to the “havoc” defense, defeating VCU 78-53 in the NCAA tournament, but the Rams got good news when coach Shaka Smart turned down job offers from UCLA and Minnesota.