With another wild week of college hoops under our belt along with a wild finish to the NFL season (at an Atlanta native, I’m still salty), it is a great time to be a basketball fan. The NBA is coming up on their All-Star break just in time for college hoops to take center stage in the sports world as we get into the final stretch of conference play.

Most teams are battling on a nightly basis but one team has it on cruise control. That team tops our weekly Power 16 Rankings as the lone unbeaten team in college basketball to this point in the season.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Gonzaga (1)
With elite teams falling all around them, the Zags just keep on getting it done in the WCC. This Saturday’s game at St. Mary’s will likely be the last chance for anyone to knock this team off before the NCAA Tournament. My prediction: It won’t happen.
2. Villanova (5)
With all of the winning, it was lost on most that Kris Jenkins had been struggling of late which prompted Jay Wright to bring him off the bench Saturday against Georgetown. Jenkins took it in stride and responded as all great players do with 15 points in the win.
3. Kansas (4)
The Jayhawks’ 51 game winning streak at home came to an end in an OT thriller against Iowa State on Saturday. Landen Lucas had 18 rebounds in the loss as Kansas just couldn’t slow down the Cyclones in the second half.
4.  Oregon (12)
The beat down they gave Arizona was no joke. The wildly inconsistent Tyler Dorsey had one of his better nights in conference play and the Ducks jumped out to a 20 point halftime lead and never looked back. They have a big game at UCLA on Thursday which could effectively knock UCLA out of Pac-12 contention if the Ducks were to pull off the upset.
5. Arizona (3)
It wasn’t that they lost on the road at Oregon, it was HOW they lost that resonated with me. They were punched in the mouth from the opening tip and couldn’t respond.  That’s not the mark of elite teams but I’ll give them a pass this once. Lauri Markkanen was exposed to a degree by Oregon’s length and athleticism, and it appears if he’s not scoring, his impact is minimal.
6. Wisconsin (8)
Wisconsin has quietly solidified themselves as the best team in the Big 10. The Badgers have a two game lead in the loss column over both Purdue and Maryland with a very winnable game on Thursday night at Nebraska.
7. UCLA (7) 
The much anticipated Fultz vs. Ball matchup was pretty close when looking at their individual stats lines but at the end of the day basketball is a team game and the Huskies just can’t hang with a team like UCLA. Both guys played well but Ball’s team got the win and was the more efficient player.
8. Baylor (2)
Losing on the road to Kansas was expected and can be overlooked.  But following that up with a home loss to Kansas State can’t be. I think I’ve finally given up hope that Ishmail Wainright will ever turn out to be the player that I thought he would be coming out of High School.
9. Louisville (6)
Donovan Mitchell has been on a tear over his last 11 games and has really stepped up with all of the Card’s injuries in the backcourt. The missed curfew suspensions for Adel and Mathiang were costly as they took a tough loss to Virginia. It is likely too little too late for this team to get to the top of the ACC standings but as we’ve seen over the last two weeks, as we get deeper into conference play, anything can happen.
10. North Carolina (15)
With two road games to in-state rivals on the books over the next week, this could be the stretch where the Tar Heels clinch the ACC or lose it. These games mean that much in the standings. I don’t see a problem with them going to NC State on Saturday but tomorrow night’s matchup at Duke could prove to be a problem.
11. Florida St. (10)
They finally got that road monkey off their backs with last week’s win at Miami. They finally showed that they can win on the road after dropping their previous three, two of those to lesser teams. They are at home tonight against NC State, a team that has the potential to go in there and steal a win but they’ll likely keep pace in conference.
12. Kentucky (9)
To put it plainly, the Wildcats haven’t played well of late. They are 2-3 in their last five games and while two of those are to teams currently on this list, we’ve just come to expect more out of Coach Cal teams at this point in the season. Especially one that is as deep and talented as this one.
13. Cincinnati (13)
I know that SOS is a bigger term in college football but I’ll just say that I’m not as impressed as some with Cincy based on the teams they are beating. SMU is the second best team in that conference and I don’t really consider them to be that much of a contender.
14. Virginia (11)
The second half of that Syracuse loss was ugly. If it weren’t for the second half the Atlanta Falcons had on Sunday then it likely would have been the worst performance of the weekend. Outside of London Parrantes, the Cavaliers don’t have a lot of guys that can go get them a bucket. That was evident over the final 20 minutes against the Orange.
15. Duke (16)
Coach K is back.  Grayson Allen is playing better. The team is getting healthier. Jayson Tatum is a one on one nightmare. They are on a three game winning streak.  All of those positives could soon turn to negatives if they don’t beat the Tar Heels tomorrow night.
16. Florida (NR)
Taking down Kentucky on Saturday was the marquee win that this team needed to gain a little recognition nationally. With South Carolina’s loss to Alabama on Tuesday night and with them holding the tie breaker over Kentucky, this team controls its own destiny in the SEC.

First Five Out

West Virginia (18-5), Purdue (19-5), South Carolina (19-4), Butler (18-5), St. Mary’s (21-2)

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft


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