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February 24, 2009

Dixon, Blair move to top of power rankings

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

Pittsburgh's victory over Connecticut last week allowed the Panthers to replace the Huskies atop the national polls and also had an impact on the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings.

The Panthers' 76-68 triumph at Connecticut helped Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon replace the Huskies' Jim Calhoun as the No. 1 coach in the power rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

DeJuan Blair's head-to-head domination of Hasheem Thabeet also allowed the Pittsburgh sophomore to overtake the Connecticut junior as the No. 1 center in the power rankings.

"That was the most physical game I ever played in my entire life," Blair said afterward. "There were elbows flying, bodies flying. We just went after each other the whole game."

Blair capitalized on the physical nature of the game to neutralize the 7-foot-3 Thabeet's 8-inch height advantage. Blair collected 22 points and 23 rebounds against Connecticut, while Thabeet fouled out with five points and four rebounds.

Thabeet made just one basket all night.

"[He's] a terrific player, a great warrior," Calhoun said of Blair after the game. "When he's allowed to roam the post like that and use his physicality in the post, he's absolutely wonderful. He's a nightmare for every single coach."

The moves by Blair and Dixon represented the only changes atop the power rankings.

North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson, Kentucky shooting guard Jodie Meeks, Arizona State small forward James Harden and Oklahoma power forward Blake Griffin continued to set the pace at their respective positions. Memphis point guard Tyreke Evans remained the nation's No. 1 freshman.

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

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: 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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