The Washington Times - November 16, 2009, 12:22AM

One thing that’s only slightly more useful than a preseason college basketball ballot is a ballot after the first week of action.

That’s because virtually no one plays a name opponent to start the season. Only one remotely big name lost this weekend, and that was Mississippi State (still sans Renardo Sidney).

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In short, there was a lot of treading water. That should change with a handful of tournaments this week.

So who did impress in the first week? Here’s a few that stood out:

* Ohio State. Evan Turner only had a triple-double in the season opener against Alcorn State, and the Buckeyes were as crisp as anyone in the first week. Of course, that rout of Alcorn was diminished just a tad when Arkansas’ Rotnei Clarke dropped 51 on the Braves a few nights later.

* Purdue. The Boilermakers eviscerated a tournament team from last season (Cal State Northridge) in their opener. It’s one game, but that could be a team capable of making a home-state Final Four.

* Rider. Mississippi State didn’t lose to a bunch of chumps. The Broncs, led by Ryan Thompson, are making a cameo appearance at the bottom of my top 25 this week. If this was a football ballot and entirely results-based, Rider might be near the top. Seriously, who else has a better win at this stage? Dayton (over Creighton) is the next best contender.

* By the way, this might be the first-ever AP ballot to include two Metro Atlantic teams (Siena is the other). Yes, it seemed a little weird to file that.

* Cornell, San Diego, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas-San Antonio. All those teams managed to beat power conference opponents. Cornell took down Alabama, San Diego (a D1scourse preseason favorite last year) zapped Stanford, Corpus Christi reamed Oregon State and USTA knocked off Iowa.

* Georgetown. The Hoyas warrant credit for starting off with a midpack Conference USA team on the road rather than a creampuff at home. Winning at Tulane was a good first step for a team with a lot to prove after last year’s Houdini act after New Year’s (6-14 after a 10-1 start). Another solid test comes Tuesday afternoon when Temple visits.

The full top 45, which remains pure guesswork at this stage:

1. Kansas (1-0)
2. Michigan State (1-0)
3. Texas (1-0)
4. Kentucky (1-0)
5. Purdue (1-0)
6. Villanova (1-0)
7. West Virginia (1-0)
8. Duke (1-0)
9. North Carolina (3-0)
10. Ohio State (2-0)
11. Washington (3-0)
12. Butler (1-0)
13. Connecticut (1-0)
14. Michigan (1-0)
15. Tennessee (1-0)
16. Oklahoma (1-0)
17. Louisville (0-0)
18. California (2-0)
19. Dayton (1-0)
20. Clemson (1-0)
21. Minnesota (1-0)
22. Siena (1-0)
23. Maryland (1-0)
24. Vanderbilt (0-0)
25. Rider (1-0)

26. Xavier (1-0)
27. Tulsa (2-0)
28. Brigham Young (1-0)
29. Georgetown (1-0)
30. Illinois (1-0)
31. Oklahoma State (1-0)
32. Texas A&M (1-0)
33. Georgia Tech (1-0)
34. Syracuse (2-0)
35. Gonzaga (1-0)
36. South Carolina (1-0)
37. Utah State (1-0)
38. Wake Forest (2-0)
39. Boston College (1-0)
40. Florida State (0-0)
41. Northern Iowa (1-0)
42. Kansas State (2-0)
43. UCLA (0-0)
44. Wisconsin (1-0)
45. Mississippi (1-0)

Patrick Stevens