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Is the top 25 in USC's future?

South Carolina's Devan Downey (2) and Kentucky's Darius Miller (1) battle for control of the ball in their NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009. Unranked South Carolina beat No. 24 Kentucky, 78-77. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
South Carolina's Devan Downey (2) and Kentucky's Darius Miller (1) battle for control of the ball in their NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009. Unranked South Carolina beat No. 24 Kentucky, 78-77. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

Will South Carolina be ranked now? Well they'll get votes, for sure. As for creeping into the top 25, let's take a look.

- No. 19 Illinois lost at Minnesota, scoring a whopping 36 points. The Illini are a good candidate to drop out.

- No. 22 St. Mary's not only lost its best player, Patrick Mills, but lost twice. It will drop out.

- No. 23 Washington lost at Arizona and beat No. 14 Arizona State. That's hard to tell what i'll happen.

- No. 24 Kentucky, you may have heard, lost twice. See ya.

- No. 25 Georgetown has lost five in a row. Hoya Saxa Gona.

That's three definite open spots, two possible. Of the others receiving votes (in order):

Notre Dame lost, Minnesota won twice and should get in, ditto for Kansas, Florida lost at Tennessee, Missouri lost at Kansas State, Virginia Tech lost to Clemson, Baylor lost twice, West Virginia lost at No. 7 Louisville, Davidson won twice, Utah State won twice, Dayton won twice, California lost twice, UNLV won twice, Florida State lost to North Carolina, Ohio State won twice, and Virginia Commonwealth lost at Northeastern.

So Minnesota and Kansas are guaranteed two of the three definite open spots. Among the rest, it depends on whether enough voters are impressed with South Carolina rather than some mid-majors (Davidson, Utah State, Dayton and UNLV) as well as Ohio State.

If it were up to me, I'd probably put in the Gamecocks, but I gave up my vote this year.

A few other quick notes, links and observations:

- Andy Katz, ESPN's college basketball reporter extraoirdinaire, weighs in, with some good quotes from Devan Downey and Darrin Horn.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/columns/story?columnist=katz_andy&id=3874837

- Technically, USC is leading the SEC East. It's tied with Florida and Kentucky with 5-2 records, but USC beat both of them.

- USC has beaten three ranked teams this year. It last did that in 2006, but one of those games was in the SEC tournament.

- South Carolina's RPI rank is up to 47, easily its highest of the season.

- One peripheral note. About an hour of the final result yesterday, an ACC message board I occasionally visit had the following thread title: "Best player the country doesn't know about." They were talking about Downey.

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