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April 10, 2008

Rush, Rose rise in final power rankings

The two teams that reached the national title game were well-represented in Rivals.com's final 2007-08 College Basketball Power Rankings.

Kansas' Brandon Rush took over the No. 1 ranking among small forwards. Memphis freshman phenom Derrick Rose moved into the top spot at point guard. And Kansas' Bill Self, who led the Jayhawks past the Tigers for their first national title in 20 years, jumped to the top of the coaching rankings.

Rush averaged a team-high 15.8 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. Rush also was the MVP of the Big 12 Tournament after leading the Jayhawks past Texas in the final.

Rose outplayed Texas' D.J. Augustin, the previous No. 1 point guard, in a head-to-head matchup in the South Regional final. Rose scored 21 points and dished out nine assists in the Tigers' 85-67 rout of the Longhorns. Rose was named Most Outstanding Player of that South Regional and averaged 18 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game in the NCAA Tournament.

Davidson's Stephen Curry edged Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts for the top spot at shooting guard. Despite not playing in the Final Four, Curry arguably was the best player in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 32 points in the tourney while leading the Wildcats on their Cinderella run to the Elite Eight, where they fell by two to Kansas in the Midwest Regional final.

Douglas-Roberts was arguably the second-best player in the tournament; he broke the 20-point barrier in five of six games and scored a tourney-high 140 points.

Kansas State's Michael Beasley and UCLA's Kevin Love held on to the top spots at power forward and center, respectively. Beasley led the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament win since 1988. Love was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the West Regional and helped lead the Bruins to their third consecutive Final Four appearance.

Several players earned their way into the final power rankings with strong play in the postseason, including Georgia's Sundiata Gaines, Louisville's Earl Clark, Massachusetts' Ricky Harris, Ohio State's Kosta Koufos, Western Kentucky's Tyrone Brazelton, West Virginia's Alex Ruoff, Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes and Xavier's Josh Duncan.

Koufos, a freshman, led the Buckeyes to the NIT title and was named the tournament's MVP. Harris, a sophomore, led UMass to the NIT title game, averaging 20.4 points in the tournament.

The rating 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. We believe our power rankings provide an accurate indicator of which players and coaches are the best at their respective positions.

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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