This season has a different feel to it from years past. We have a team that just feels so distanced from the rest of the pack that it seems to take away some of the excitement, but each and every week we see more than a handful of ranked teams lose. Despite it being 2021, don’t expect this season to change in any sort of drastic way in the near future. It’ still a grind.
1. Gonzaga (10-0)
The Zags picked up three wins for the second week in a row. I’ll be honest, they played some true cupcakes, but you cannot diminish what this team has already accomplished so far this season. Like I said last week, this team is by far the top squad in the country for now.
2. Baylor (9-0)
Baylor played three games this week as well, and won games against Central Arkansas, Alcorn State and Iowa State. I had doubts about Baylor prior to the start of the season, but I’m starting to come full circle on the Bears. With such a balance on offense and depth to match any team in the nation, it’s going to be tough to beat Baylor on any given night.
3. Villanova (8-1)
The Wildcats move up one spot despite not playing a game this week. It’s tough to know what the future holds for Villanova and how much this pause in basketball activities will help or hurt the team, but from what we’ve seen this season, they’re one of the best.
4. Iowa (9-2)
After dropping a game to Minnesota a week ago, Iowa came back with a huge two-game stretch by beating Northwestern and Rutgers. Seeing the Hawkeyes drop so low in the AP rankings was laughable to me, and Iowa seems to have proved me right. This is one of the best teams in the country and they will continue to show it.
5. Texas (8-1)
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about how this is a Texas team that is built well for college basketball and is capable of making a deep run in the postseason. After a 25-point win over Kansas, in their own building, in which the Longhorns never trailed, it’s becoming clear to all how talented and dangerous this team can become. Courtney Ramey (pictured) went for a team high 18 on 7-11 shooting, 3-5 from deep at Allen Fieldhouse.
6. Michigan (9-0)
The Wolverines added two wins to their resume by the names of Maryland and Northwestern. Michigan just keeps on winning and you have to reward that at some point. People were quick to call Houston a top-five team, but seem hesitant to do the same with Michigan, despite playing better competition. It’s no secret, but I’ll double down… I’m all in on the Wolverines.
7. Kansas (9-2)
Kansas had a bit of a stumble against Texas, but actually it was more than that. The Jayhawks got dominated by a Texas team, but they also beat West Virginia earlier in the week which almost cancels out the loss, but not quite. I still have a lot of faith in Kansas as I assume that the Texas clash was about as low as it can get for KU.
8. Wisconsin (9-2)
Wisconsin dropped a game early in the week to Maryland but was able to bounce back with a ranked win over Minnesota. The Badgers are probably one of the biggest question marks since their three biggest wins have all turned out to be, well, not that big. However, I still give them the benefit of the doubt.
9. Virginia Tech (8-1)
In their only game of the week, the Hokies beat Miami in a close two-point win. Believe it or not, Virginia Tech is first in the ACC, tied for best in both overall record and conference record. The one knock on VTech is that there hasn’t been a single road game yet. Will they be able to keep it up when the schedule gets more demanding?
10. Creighton (8-2)
Creighton narrowly slid past Providence in it’s only game of the week. As I stated last week, I’m not too big on the Blue Jays as a national title contender, but think that they are a great competitor in the Big East.
11. Tennessee (9-1)
The Vols put me through a roller coaster of a week. Entering the week I was unsure of anything, after the Missouri win I bought in, now, after closing the week with a loss to Alabama I find myself back where I started. I’m unsure of anything when it comes to Tennessee.
12. Illinois (8-3)
Illinois is one of those teams that just truly is better than their record shows. With arguably the best duo in the country, some good wins and only losses to teams somewhere on this list, I am still on the Illinois bandwagon.
13. Duke (3-2)
Duke games just keep getting canceled and there’s nothing else really to say. It’s getting tough to keep the Blue Devils in these rankings since they just simply aren’t playing, but here they are… at least for now.
14. Oregon (8-1)
With Oregon fans closing their football season on a disappointing note, they may be surprised to find out the basketball team is pretty damn good as well. The Pac 12 is pretty bad this season, which could allow the Ducks to really go on a run this season.
15. Houston (8-1)
Well, the Cougars finally lost and now we have to decide what to do. Personally, I can’t put a team much higher than this who won’t play a ranked team for the remainder of the season. Having a loss to Tulsa isn’t a good look for anyone, but especially when a team doesn’t have anything to really back itself up.
16. West Virginia (8-3)
The Mountaineers picked up their third loss of the season, this time at the hands of Oklahoma. Losing to Gonzaga and Kansas is very excusable, but OU pushes the limit a little. The next two weeks give WVU an incredible rebound opportunity with upcoming games against Texas and Baylor.
Next Five: Missouri, Virginia, Rutgers, Michigan State, Xavier
Players of the Week
Joel Ayayi – Gonzaga
We’ve had a handful of Zags on this list before, and now we can add Joel Ayayi to that list. Three games, three double-doubles for Ayayi. First, 17 points and 10 rebounds, then 21 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and finally, 18 points and 10 rebounds to close the week.
Liam Robbins – Minnesota
Liam Robbins’ big game of the week was a 27-point, 14-rebound, 4-assist and 5-block performance, but he filled up the stat sheet in other games as well. Robbins tallied 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks against Wisconsin as well as 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks against Michigan State.
Cameron Thomas – LSU
I usually try to find guys that are filling the stat sheet for this list, but when you average 30 points, it’s tough to leave you off. Cameron Thomas (pictured) put up 32 points on 12-for-21 shooting against Texas A&M and then scored 28 points against Florida.
Hunter Dickinson – Michigan
Hunter Dickinson has been having a good year and I finally get to put him on this list. He recorded 26 points and 11 rebounds on 10-for-11 shooting against Maryland and followed up with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting.
Andrew Jones – Texas
I needed to find a spot to put Andrew Jones on this list at some point this season and I thought this was the week. Back in my days covering the Big 12 for this website, Andrew Jones was a breakout player for Texas. If you didn’t know, Jones had to put his basketball career on hold as he went through treatment for cancer. Now, he’s back in his fifth season and averaging 11.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists so far. Had to give him a nod.
Play of the Week
This week we’re combining the best of both worlds. Buzzer. Beating. Poster. While it’s not the same sort of poster as we’ve seen before, it does have the special something of winning the game with less than a second remaining. Check it out below.