There wasn’t a ton of movement this week in our Power 16 Rankings but Louisville did make a significant leap after taking down Kentucky just before Christmas.

Conference play officially begins this week as we head into the new year.  I’ll be very interested to see how teams like Virginia, Creighton and Butler do as they start their conference slate as those are teams that ran through their OOC schedule with bit time victories but still have questions marks moving forward as to whether or not they are true contenders.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Villanova (1)
Josh Hart continues to solidify himself as one of the Nation’s top players. He’s gone from a second round to undrafted type of player that could get some late first round looks as the Wildcats remain undefeated as they head into conference play.
2. UCLA (2)
Freshman Lonzo Ball is second in the country in assists per game at 8.3.  He could become the first freshman since T.J. Ford did it for Texas during the 2001-2002 season to lead the nation in assists.
3. Duke (4)
The whole Grayson Allen thing, albeit weird and in need of disciplinary action, is being blown way out of proportion. Coach K handled that situation well and all parties involved will be better for it when the dust settles.
4. Louisville (9)
This is my official apology to the Cards and their  fans for undervaluing and underrating them to this point in the season.  But no more. That win against Kentucky was no joke. They are an extremely well balanced and well coached team and will challenge the blue bloods for the ACC crown this season.
5. Kansas (6)
Losing Udoka Azubuike for the season is a big time loss for the Jayhawks up front.  Carlton Bragg is back after his short absence which should help lessen the blow for now, but this team has just become even more perimeter oriented than they already were.
6. Gonzaga (5)
For as good as Nigel Williams-Goss has been this season, this team’s "x-factor" will be the play of Przemek Karnowski.  He’s been just ok this season and has struggled to stay on the floor due to foul trouble.  He’ll need to correct that as we get into the meat and potatoes part of the season.
7. Creighton  (7)
They keep winning and they keep scoring at will.  Maurice Watson leads all players in assists per game and Justin Patton is 3rd in the nation in FG%.  It sounds ridiculous to say, but to beat these Blue Jays, you are going to have to outscore them.
8. Baylor (8)
Much like Louisville, I’ve been hard on Baylor so far this season and oddly enough, they are the only team to knock off Louisville to this point.  They head to Norman this week to take on a struggling Sooner team to start Big 12 play.
9. Kentucky (3)
The mark of any young team is inconsistency.  And that’s exactly what happened to the Wildcats last week against Louisville.  After putting up 103 against UNC, they only managed 70 against the Cards due in large part to Malik Monk‘s off night from the field.
10. North Carolina (10)
The starters got a lot of rest in their blowout win against Northern Iowa.  Kennedy Meeks had one of his best games of the season to lead the Tar Heels who scored 52 points in the paint in the victory.
11. Purdue (11)
Caleb Swanigan was a man among boys of late, notching 4 straight double-doubles included two straight 20/20 nights with one of those being a 30/20 outing.  He can do it inside and out and is one of the more versatile and skilled big men in the country.
12. Wisconsin (12)
The Badgers are one of the few teams who have already kicked off conference play with a 20 points win at home against Rutgers.  Nigel Hayes lead the team with 20 points and was a perfect 10 for 10 from the charity stripe.
13. Virginia (15)
Going on the road and beating a decent Cal team was a huge win for this team.  Kyle Guy has really been the spark that this team needed so far this season.  The freshman is second on the team in scoring and is shooting a ridiculous 60% from distance.
14. Florida St. (13)
Terance Mann is on fire of late and has given Leonard Hamilton another offensive presence to go along with Bacon, Isaac and Rathan-Mayes.  The ‘Noles weren’t on many people’s radar heading into the season but they will be once everything is said and done in the ACC.
15. West Virginia (14)
After notching win #800 for their Coach, the Mountaineers racked up #801 and #802 with ease, winning both games by 25+ points.  They still sport one of the most balanced offenses in the country with six players averaging at least nine points per game.
16. Butler (16)
Keelan Martin is one of the most underrated players in the country.  But that is par for the course for this program as they are consistently outperforming expectations both during the Brad Stevens era and after it.

First Five Out

Arizona (11-2), Xavier (10-2), Indiana (10-2), Oregon (11-2), St. Mary’s (10-1)

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft


1 Comment

  1. Good too see you coming

    Glad you finally came around on Louisville, as I said in the preseason at the very least these guys are in the top 3 ot 4 in the ACC.. 

    The amount of quality depth they have allows Pitino to play his guys very aggressively. They need to improve their passing in the halfcourt moving forward but as I said in the preseason acc preview we’re looking at one of the better Pitino teams in recent memory.


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