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March 1, 2011

Power rankings: Painter's masterpiece

Rivals.com Power Rankings: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Freshman | Head Coach

Purdue's hopes for a dream season supposedly ended when star forward Robbie Hummel tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee before the season.

Conventional wisdom suggested Purdue could contend for the Final Four with Hummel in the lineup but might not even be a top-15 team without him.

It hasn't quite worked out that way.

Purdue (24-5 overall, 13-3 in the Big Ten) has won six in a row to head into the final week of the regular season sixth in the national rankings and one game behind Ohio State in the Big Ten standings. In their past three games, the Boilermakers have knocked off Ohio State at home and have won on the road against archrival Indiana and Michigan State.

That surge has helped make Purdue coach Matt Painter the new No. 1 coach in the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position. Painter has the Boilers playing a physical brand of basketball that has allowed them to overcome the absence of their best all-around player.

"If I wasn't coaching against it, I would really enjoy the physical nature of Purdue's team," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told reporters Sunday after the Spartans' 67-47 loss to the Boilers. "Purdue does a good job of walling people in and are just a solid team, and we need to learn from them."

Painter took over the top spot from Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, whose team lost 64-60 at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

There were no other changes at the top of the power rankings. BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette, Duke shooting guard Nolan Smith, Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton, Arizona power forward Derrick Williams and Ohio State center Jared Sullinger remained atop their respective positions. Sullinger also maintained his status as the nation's top freshman.

This week's power rankings take into account all results through Sunday's games. The rankings put a special emphasis on recent performances while also taking career achievements into consideration.

Rivals.com Power Rankings: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Freshman | Head Coach

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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