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January 20, 2009

Meeks moves to top of latest Power Rankings

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

Marquette guard Jerel McNeal didn't really do anything wrong to warrant his removal from the top of the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings.

But he also didn't set any records.

McNeal's 25-point performance against Providence would have allowed him to maintain his position as the No. 1 shooting guard in the nation just about any other week.

Not this week.

Not when Kentucky's Jodie Meeks was compiling 54 points against a ranked opponent on the road to break the 39-year-old, single-game scoring record at one of the nation's most storied programs.

Meeks shot 15-of-22 overall and 10-of-15 from 3-point range in a 90-72 victory over Tennessee, ranked 24th in the nation at the time. His performance broke the school single-game scoring record previously held by Dan Issel, who tallied 53 points against Ole Miss on Feb. 7, 1970.

"I've never seen a guy have a performance like that," Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie said. "You've seen guys get hot and make three or four in a row and you're saying, 'Man, alive, he's on a roll tonight,' and the next thing you know, they miss five or six. That's very common. It's more likely to happen than a guy to continue like he did."

Meeks, a 6-foot-4 junior from Norcross, Ga., followed that up by returning to his home state and scoring 22 points in a 68-45 triumph over Georgia. Those two performances made Meeks an easy choice to eclipse McNeal as the No. 1 shooting guard in the power rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

Meeks now ranks fourth in the nation with 25.7 points per game. He also ranks fifth in the nation in 3-pointers made (70) and leads the Southeastern Conference with a .908 free-throw percentage.

"I don't know if I've ever seen anybody use more energy offensively, defensively and running, and it's for 40 minutes a lot of times," Gillispie said. "He gives unbelievable effort, and he's just been scoring the basketball like crazy."

Meeks' move represented the only change atop the power rankings.

Wake Forest point guard Jeff Teague, Arizona State small forward James Harden, Oklahoma power forward Blake Griffin and North Carolina center Tyler Hansbrough stayed atop their respective position rankings. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski remained the No. 1 head coach, while Georgetown forward Greg Monroe continued to lead the freshman rankings.

This week's edition of the power rankings takes into account all results through Sunday.

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.

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