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December 9, 2008

Power rankings: Another change at the top

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

No one has had much of a reign as the best shooting guard in college basketball this season. With the season only four weeks old, three players already have taken turns at the top spot at the position in Rivals.com's power rankings.

Marquette's Jerel McNeal is the latest, vaulting ahead of Purdue's E'Twaun Moore this week. McNeal carried the Golden Eagles to a 61-58 win over in-state rival Wisconsin this past Saturday, scoring 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

"Offensively, Coach [Buzz Williams] put the ball in my hands and I was trying to read their defense and make plays when I could," McNeal said after beating the Badgers. "I was trying to do whatever I could to help the team."

McNeal has been doing that in almost every area possible. His well-rounded stat line includes averages of 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

The chief competition for the No. 1 spot in the future may be Michigan's fast-rising Manny Harris, who jumped from No. 6 to No. 3. Harris, who scored 17 points in the Wolverines' 81-73 upset of Duke, started the season at No. 20. Harris and the Wolverines now have two wins over top-10 teams, having beaten UCLA in November.

Pittsburgh's Sam Young continues his steady climb up the small forward rankings, arriving at No. 2. Young has led the Panthers to a 9-0 start and is averaging 24.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in his past five games.

Steady production earned Kentucky sophomore Patrick Patterson a move up to No. 4 at power forward. Patterson has five double-doubles in his past six games and exploded for a career-high 31 points in the Wildcats' 103-61 rout of Lamar.

Eight players made their way into the power rankings for the first time this season. That includes Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin, who enters as the No. 19 small forward. Bouldin's debut in the rankings ties the Zags with Syracuse for the second-most players listed with four apiece. The only team with more is North Carolina, which has all five starters ranked.

The power rankings of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

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

Andrew Skwara is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at askwara@rivals.com.

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