In one of the crazier weeks of the season, 12 of the 16 teams in last week’s rankings suffered a loss. Duke lost to NC State at home for the first time in 20+ years, Kentucky lost two straight for the first time in I don’t know when and a plethora of other teams (Kansas, Butler, Creighton, Florida State, Notre Dame, North Carolina) couldn’t handle their business.

But this is why college basketball is so much fun. Outside of this week’s new #1 team, every team on this list is going to be challenged on a nightly basis from teams at the top and bottom of their respective leagues. Expect a lot of movement in the rankings in the coming weeks as we continue to have marquee conferences matchups on a nightly basis.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Gonzaga (2)
Mark Few and company, over their last eleven games, have beaten their opponents by an average of 29 points per game.  They haven’t had a margin any closer than 15 since before Christmas in a road victory at Tennessee where they won by 10. They are the new #1 team in the nation and something tells me they won’t be giving that ranking up anytime soon.
2. Baylor (6)
Wednesday night’s game at Kansas could very well decide the Big 12 this season. If Baylor can take care of business on the road then they would have a one game lead on the Jayhawks with one more meeting between the two (at Baylor) in mid-February.
3. Arizona (9)
The Wildcats swept the state of Washington at home this week and did so in convincing fashion. Allonzo Trier has provided a valuable spark off of Sean Miller’s bench and has been all over the stat sheet in his three games since coming back.
4. Kansas (1) 
After falling on the road to West Virginia earlier in the week, it looked as though Kansas would lose out on a potential number one tourney seed with a trip to Kentucky and at home with Baylor on tap over the next week.  But the Jayhawks, particularly Josh Jackson, responded nicely and upset the ‘Cats in Lexington. Frontcourt depth will be a concern moving forward but their guard play keeps them in every game.
5. Villanova (3)
Another team that lost early in the week but responded with a nice win over the weekend, Villanova bounced back from a road loss to Marquette to beat a tough Virginia team on Sunday. They were down for much of the contest but used a big second half run and a tip in from an unlikely hero to seal the victory.
6. Louisville (15)
The two most convincing wins of the week both go to Louisville.  They demolished a decent enough Pitt team by 55 on the road and then came home to an NC State team fresh off a big victory of their own and simply shut down Dennis Smith with their pressure early on.  Donovan Mitchell was unconscious during the first half leading all scorers with 28 points on the game.
7. UCLA (5)
After losing a tough game at USC last week, the Bruins had a chance to get a much needed break. They’ve lost two straight games in conference and just haven’t been as crisp as they were early on in the season. Tired legs could be an issue as this team really only goes six deep which will continue to be a major question mark.
8. Wisconsin (NR)
Sort of a forgotten team here lately, Wisconsin has used a five game winning streak to get back into the mix in the Big 10 and are now tied with Maryland for the top spot. They have an easy go of it lately with four or their last five opponents in the bottom half of the Big 10 rankings.
9. Kentucky (4)
As Coach Cal said just before halftime of their game against Kansas, turnovers are a huge issue for this team and it can be expected for a such a young group. They are still serious contenders but as most have speculated after the two losses last week, they might have lost out on any shot at at #1 seed.
10.  Florida St. (8)
This team still has issues winning away from home. They are now 1-3 in the ACC on the road and 5-0 at home. They get another road contest this week as they travel to in state rival Miami. They need a win to right the ship as five of their final eight games are away from Tallahassee.
11. Virginia (12)
I almost don’t even want to give Virginia a loss against Villanova.They went on the road, outside of their normal conference schedule this year and played one of the top teams in the country to a tie until the final seconds.They were ahead for most of the game and probably feel like they let that one slip away but this team has surpassed my expectations and is on their way to another NCAA Tournament.
12. Oregon (7)
 If you haven’t seen Dillon Brooks’ flop heard ’round the world, just head on over to Google/Youtube. It might be one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I think karma from the basketball gods after that one was the reason for their loss at Colorado, where they never seem to be able to win.
13. Cincinnati (NR)
I’ve been reluctant to put the Bearcats into the Top 16 in recent weeks because I just didn’t know how "legit" they were. But they proved themselves in last week’s win against Xavier. They couldn’t guard Trevon Bluiett at any point in the contest but they did enough to win and jump into our rankings.
14. West Virginia (NR)
Lose to Oklahoma and Kansas State, fall out of the rankings. Beat Kansas and Texas A&M and you jump right back in. The Mountaineers have been inconsistent at best over the last few weeks with wins against the aforementioned Jayhawks and Baylor, the league’s two top teams but with losses to Texas Tech and and the Sooners, two of the league’s worst teams.
15. North Carolina (10)
Saturday’s loss to Miami was fogettable in many ways for the Tar Heels.  Joel Berry couldn’t throw the ball in an Ocean from the back of a cruise ship and no one could guard Bruce Brown.  The team was outplayed in every facet of the game and looked almost lost at times on both sides of the floor.
16. Duke (16)
For once, a scrum that had Grayson Allen in the middle of it that wasn’t his fault. I believe the ACC should suspend Brandon Childress for his unnecessary slam of Allen on Saturday but the Blue Devils got the last laugh in a big time comeback win and then proceeded to handle Notre Dame fairly easily on Monday night. Are they back?  Not really, but they are playing better over the last two weeks.

First Five Out
Notre Dame (17-5), Maryland (19-2), Butler (18-4), Florida (16-5), Creighton (19-3)

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft


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