Depending on your perspective, it was either another rough week for the Power 16 or a strong indication of just how “balanced” college basketball is this season.

Eleven of the 16 squads in last week’s rankings lost, including then-No.’s 2 thru 6. And No.’s 11 (Oregon), 12 (Texas A&M) and 16 (Louisville) each went zip-for-2.

And it was a good week for the ACC as Miami, Notre Dame and Duke moved in to the latest Power 16 to join No. 3 North Carolina and No. 9 Virginia., give that conference the strongest representation.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Villanova (1)
A sound argument could be constructed as to the Wildcats being the most consistently solid team so far this season.
2. Kansas (7)
The Jayhawks certainly had one of those “we fully intend to win another Big 12  title again!” weeks, didn’t they?
3. North Carolina (8)
Hanging on to a one-game lead atop the ACC standings with a certain rival taking a short ride into Chapel Hill Wednesday night.
4. Michigan St. (3)
If forced to make the call today, the Spartans would be my choice to win not only the Big Ten but the national title, as well.
5. Xavier (2)
 “Big” Big East games with Providence and Georgetown this week. Of course, they are all big at this point of the season.
6. Maryland (4)
The Terps latest to see get up-close look at how well Wisconsin is playing.
7. Iowa (5)
Even a split was good enough to give the Hawkeyes’ a half-game lead atop the Big Ten standings.
8. Oklahoma (6)
How good as Buddy Hield been this season? Well, people were raving about the defense Devonte Graham played against him Saturday in Norman – as well they should have – and he still scored 24 points.
9. Virginia (9) 
You can’t drop a team in the rankings based upon a buzzer-beating loss at Duke.
10. Arizona (14)
The Wildcats gave their SoCal foes some Tucson payback.
11. Kentucky (15)
Three SEC wins in a row by an average of 26.7 points – yeah, the Wildcats appear to be rounding into expected form.
12. West Virginia (10)
The Mountaineers remained deadlocked for the lead in the Big 12 despite the 10-point loss in Lawrence.
13. SMU (13) 
All things considered, the nine-point win over Gonzaga could rate as one of the highlights of a campaign that will end upon the final regular-season game.
14. Miami (NR)
Two-points over Pittsburgh and Florida State raise the Canes back into the Power 16.
15. Notre Dame (NR)
Mike Brey’s squad has wins over Hall of Fame-coached squads from North Carolina, Duke and Louisville in its past nine games.
16. Duke (NR)
The Blue Devils’ return to the Power 16 couldn’t have been cut any closer Saturday in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

ON THE CUSP: Arkansas-Little Rock 22-3, Cincinnati 19-7, Dayton 21-3, Indiana 20-6, Louisville 19-6, LSU 16-9, Michigan 19-7, Monmouth 21-5, Oregon 20-6, Purdue 20-6, South Carolina 20-4, St. Joseph’s 21-4, Syracuse 18-8, Texas A&M 18-7, Wisconsin 16-9 and Utah 19-7.


*Jabari Bird (Cal): Hobbled by assorted ailments and injuries throughout his first three years, the 6-5 Bird had his best week as a college player while averaging 23.5 points while hitting nine of 16 attempts from behind the arc in Pac 12 home wins over Oregon and Oregon State.

*Devonte Graham (Kansas): The sophomore guard had 10 points and four assists in the home win over West Virginia. But he was really off the chain in the huge win at Oklahoma, doing a commendable job of defending Buddy Hield while scoring a career-high 27 points.

*Brandon Ingram (Duke): Grayson Allen hit the dramatic game-winner vs. visiting Virginia but it was the 6-9 freshman Ingram who got the Blue Devils close enough to pull it out. In the wins over Louisville and the Cavaliers he averaged 21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

*Tyler Ulis (Kentucky): The 5-9 sophomore continued to look like the strongest – yeah, a relative term in this instance, of course – contender to keep LSU freshman Ben Simmons from being the SEC POY. He averaged 20.5 points, 10 assists, 2.5 steals and 0.5 turnover in the wins over Georgia and South Carolina.

*Denzel Valentine (Michigan State): The 6-5 senior had quite the sweet Sunday while scoring 30 points with 13 assists, five rebounds and three steals in the win over Indiana. In a loss at Purdue earlier in week he checked in with 27 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at www.burlisononbasketball.com. College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]


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