The Washington Times - December 15, 2008, 09:28AM

The season is a month old, and it’s time to start recognizing just how important results are at this stage.

Some of the teams in the preseason top 25 have demonstrated they are massively better than overmatched teams. Others, despite winning most of their games, have some close calls or ugly marks against them that should send them further down the line.

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At this point, Louisville and UCLA have shown nothing to suggest they are top-10 teams. Heck, they might not even be top-25 teams. I’ll admit they’re included for now more based on what I think they are rather than what they’ve shown. But the evidence is mounting.

Why did Arizona State tumble this week? Don’t lose to IUPUI in overtime the year after George Hill leaves. Why did Michigan State fall? That’s a late correction for losing a starter for a stretch.

Anyway, this is clearly something that will remain in flux for some time. And so this top 45 (particularly the tail end of it, which is more a exercise of reaching into a hat to finish things out until everyone establishes a more complete profile) is far from a finished product:

1. North Carolina (9-0)
2. Connecticut (8-0)
3. Pittsburgh (10-0)
4. Oklahoma (10-0)
5. Texas (8-1)
6. Syracuse (9-0)
7. Duke (8-1)
8. Xavier (9-0)
9. Ohio State (6-0)
10. Wake Forest (9-0)
11. Gonzaga (7-1)
12. Georgetown (7-1)
13. Villanova (10-1)
14. Notre Dame (7-2)
15. Purdue (8-2)
16. Baylor (8-1)
17. Davidson (8-1)
18. Memphis (5-2)
19. Tennessee (6-2)
20. UCLA (6-2)
21. Clemson (10-0)
22. Louisville (6-1)
23. Arizona State (8-1)
24. Michigan State (6-2)
25. Brigham Young (10-0)

26. Marquette (8-1)
27. Wisconsin (8-2)
28. Miami (7-2)
29. Missouri (8-1)
30. Saint Mary’s (7-1)
31. Florida (7-2)
32. Louisiana State (7-0)
33. Illinois State (9-0)
34. Stanford (5-0)
35. Arizona (7-2)
36. Minnesota (9-0)
37. Illinois (9-1)
38. Butler (8-1)
39. Maryland (7-2)
40. Michigan (7-2)
41. Creighton (7-2)
42. Dayton (9-1)
43. West Virginia (7-2)
44. Seton Hall (8-1)
45. Kansas (7-2)

Patrick Stevens