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March 15, 2011
Power rankings: Point to prove in NCAAs
The debate that has raged for much of the season will continue through the end of the NCAA tournament.
Walker and Fredette have spent the entire season trading places atop the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position. And just when Fredette had seemed to solidify his position atop the chart, Walker came through with a Big East tournament performance for the ages.
Walker averaged 26.0 points while helping Connecticut win five games in as many days to capture the Big East tournament title. His 130 total points shattered the previous tournament record of 94, set by Eric Devendorf of Syracuse in 2009. Walker's biggest moment in a week full of highlights came when he made a buzzer-beating jumper to eliminate top-seeded Pittsburgh 76-74 in the quarterfinals.
"He is as special as any player I've ever coached," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun told reporters after the tournament. "No one's going to surpass him. They may equal him, but no one is going to surpass him."
Walker had such a good week that he unseated Fredette in the rankings after a week in which the BYU star set his school's career and single-game scoring records. Fredette scored 52 points in an 87-76 Mountain West Conference semifinal victory over New Mexico to break his own single-game school scoring record. Fredette also passed Danny Ainge to become BYU's leading career scorer. Fredette has 2,501 points; Ainge scored 2,467 from 1977-81.
There were no other changes at the top of the power rankings.
Duke shooting guard Nolan Smith, San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard, Arizona power forward Derrick Williams, Ohio State center Jared Sullinger and Kansas coach Bill Self remained atop their respective positions. Sullinger also maintained his status as the nation's No. 1 freshman.
The power rankings won't be updated during the postseason. We will release a final edition of the rankings after the NCAA tournament.