NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 8:11am

This season has already seen more Top 10 teams lose than any season before and this week, the Madness continued. Only three Top 10 teams didn’t lose week and almost two-thirds of all the ranked teams saw opposing teams celebrating as the buzzer rang.

This week causes for some major shakeups in the rankings as Gonzaga jumps into the top five and teams like Purdue, Ohio State, Clemson, and Tennessee fall, some even out of the rankings completely. This NCAA season continues to be unpredictable to the fullest meaning of the word.

Rank (Last week's rank)
1. Michigan St. (1)
Michigan State is looking more and more like the team to beat this year although this was an interesting week for the Spartans. In a trap game against Northwestern, Michigan State feel behind by as much as 27 points and what seemed like a blowout. Cassius Winston helped lead a miraculous comeback in which the Spartans only allowed 11 second-half points. One way to look at this game is that Michigan State can be beaten by anyone due to one of the worst first halves of the season. But you could also say they have the heart to fight back and find a way to win. Either way, MSU has proven they are dangerous and are one of the favorites to win it all this year.
2. Virginia (2)
After becoming the first team to ever jump into the #1 spot in the AP rankings after a loss, Virginia bounced back with a win over Miami. Virginia still has the respect of the country and can likely drop another game or two this season and still be a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers reign atop the ACC and will use their defensive and offensive efficiency to frustrate every opponent they play.
3. Villanova (3)
In a game in which had both Big East and NCAA Tournament implications, Villanova showed everyone there is no reason to doubt the Wildcats. The response to a loss at Providence was about as convincing as it could’ve been. Villanova had control for most of the game and have surely solidified themselves as a 1 seed for postseason play. Nobody would be surprised if Villanova wins it all.
4. Gonzaga (9)
The biggest beneficiary of all the madness this week is Gonzaga. As one of the few Top-10 teams to not suffer a loss Gonzaga easily jumps into the top five this week. In the midst of a decent winning streak, the Zags should handle the rest of their schedule fairly easily and could begin to see their names mentioned amongst the rest of the top dogs in the NCAA. They aren’t getting the same level of respect as some other teams, but it should be coming quickly.
5. Texas Tech (8)
Moving up in Power Rankings after losing is tough, but that’s exactly what Texas Tech does here. They managed to beat Trae Young and Oklahoma but fell to an underwhelming Baylor team. To be fair, the Red Raiders did lose their top scorer Keenan Evans to a foot injury pretty early in the game and they still had a chance to win at the buzzer. Texas Tech is still at the top of the Big 12 and should respond well, assuming Evans can return sooner rather than later.
6. Duke (10)
After a stretch of questionable play, Duke is starting to look elite again. Even without Marvin Bagley, Duke was able to take down Clemson and are now on a three-game win streak without the standout freshman. Playing well without a star is always a positive for a team, they find ways to score and learn to play more as a team, which is exactly what Duke has needed. The Blue Devils have a serious chance to grab a 1 seed in the tournament if they can keep their level of play high and play well in the ACC tourney.
7. Kansas (14)
Kansas might’ve gotten some help from the refs in a win over West Virginia this week (+33 free throws), but it was still a sign that Kansas can compete with anyone on any night. Udoka Azubuike and thrived in his role as the only big man to get serious minutes for the Jayhawks and is starting to draw some attention from scouts. Kansas is starting to look more and more like the team were used to seeing and are in line to win a 14th consecutive Big 12 regular season championship.
8. Xavier (4)
Xavier falls to #8 this week after a loss to Villanova. The Musketeers have been beating the teams they are supposed to win, but haven’t played well against other quality opponents. Nova handled them easily twice this year and quite frankly, Xavier hasn’t shown any reason to think they can hang with the powerhouses of the NCAA. Don’t get me wrong, Xavier is still better than the vast majority of teams in the country and could very well make a deep run, but they need to step up their game when they need to.
9. North Carolina (16)
After a rough month of January, the Tar Heels have found their stride in February. Currently on a five-game win streak, including wins over quality opponents, North Carolina is moving closer and closer to the top of the rankings. Luke Maye and Joel Berry have been the leaders Roy Williams needed them to be and if they’re both shooting well, UNC is as dangerous as they come.
10. Auburn (6)
Auburn did loss to South Carolina this week, but still are atop the SEC rankings. The Tigers balanced attack has done them wonders this season and despite a small misstep, Auburn is still a dangerous team that deserves serious respect. Auburn will get a chance to avenge this loss when they play South Carolina early in March.
11. Purdue (7)
Purdue has as many quality wins as anyone in the nation, but they might be getting worn out as the season closes. The Boilermakers have now dropped three straight games after another loss to Wisconsin this week. The Purdue offense has seen a decline in efficiency as of late and will need to fix their issues to turn their season back around. Purdue is still one of the elite teams in the NCAA, but every team hits rough patches, Purdue’s is now.
12. Cincinnati (5)
Just when I think Cincinnati might run the table and finish the season with just two losses, they drop back to back games against Houston and Wichita State. The Bearcats still don’t have a ranked win this season and have to play Wichita State one more time. I personally think a #11 spot is rather generous for Cincinnati, but I can’t just completely give up on them after one week. We’ll see if they can turn it around before the season ends.
13. Arizona (NR)
Arizona made some headlines for a cheerleader being ejected from a game, but the basketball team is pretty good too. They took down USC and Arizona State this week after dropping back-to-back games a week ago. DeAndre Ayton continues to impress everyone with his skillset and has been leading Arizona on a very respectable season. Despite stretches of struggles this season, Arizona could easily make a Final Four appearance this season.
14. Michigan (NR)
Michigan took down Ohio State this week and have solidified themselves as a national contender. They might not be the best team in the country or even the Big Ten, but they can still compete with any team in the NCAA and could put teams on upset alert this postseason.
15. St Mary's (NR)
St. Mary’s winning streak was busted by Gonzaga a week ago and there was a bit of a hangover from it. The Gaels fell to San Francisco before bouncing back in a win over Portland. Jock Landale is still one of the best collegiate players this year and will be sure to keep St. Mary’s relevant for as long as he can.
16. Wichita State (NR)
The Shockers toppled Cincinnati and blew the American conference wide open this week. Landry Shamet refuses to let this team fail and has become one of the best point guards in college basketball. Wichita State might not be as lethal as they have been in years past, but they are still relevant and threatening to any opposing team.

First Five Out

Ohio State, Creighton, Alabama, Kentucky, TCU

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