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NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:14pm

This was quite a weird week in the world of college basketball. While the top ten teams handled their business, the rest of the country went haywire. Seven of the 16 teams from last week’s rankings suffered losses which made for a wild bottom half of the rankings.

Teams like Michigan who have multiple ranked wins made a big jump up the rankings while teams like Michigan State and North Carolina who lost for a second time fell a bit. There are handful of new faces in the rankings this week, including a team that nobody is talking about despite being undefeated.

Rank (Last week's rank)
Record
Comment
1. Gonzaga (1)
8-0
The Zags showed no signs of slowing down after their big win over Duke, responding with a 62-point victory over North Dakota State and then hanging 103 points on Creighton. Despite already having one signature win on the year, Gonzaga will have the opportunity to win further solidify themselves as an elite team as games with Tennessee and North Carolina await in the coming weeks. Rui Hachimura has proven himself to be one of the top prospects in the class with his size, athleticism, and skill. Josh Perkins is second in the country in assists per game, Brandon Clarke is second in the country in blocks per game and third in field goal percentage, and Killian Tillie hasn’t even played yet. This team is the real deal and is well deserving as the top team in these rankings.
2. Kansas (2)
6-0
fter an OT win over Tennessee, Kansas found themselves in yet another overtime against Stanford. The ability of this team to outlast opponents and show the strength needed to win games down the stretch is very promising as the Jayhawks should only get better as the year progresses. It seems like every year a Kansas guard is in the running for the Wooden Player of the Year award and Lagerald Vick looks to be this years’ candidate on Bill Self’s team. Between Vick, Udoka Azubuike, and Dedric Lawson, Kansas has no shortage of scoring. As the defense forms more into shape, Kasnas will continue to be a dangerous team that nobody will want to face off with.
3. Duke (3)
7-1
Whatever doubts people had about Duke, seemed to have been erased after two very convincing wins following their loss to Gonzaga. After a 21-point win over Indiana, Duke went on to beat Stetson 113-49. RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish were able to match Stetson’s scoring total by themselves alone while four other Blue Devils also reached double digit scoring. Offense has been no problem at all for Duke as they have eclipsed 80 points in all but one of their games this year. Defense and experience are the only questions facing Duke from this point on. However, with the young core seemingly willing to give effort on the defensive end, Duke is in great shape to continue their tear of the college basketball world.
4. Michigan (7)
8-0
Michigan is probably both the most surprising team and the most impressive team in this young season. The Wolverines has three very convincing wins already with victories over Villanova, North Carolina, and Purdue. Michigan isn’t just winning, they’re straight up dominating their tough opponents. The offense does more or less whatever they want, but it’s the team defense that is what really propels this Wolverine squad. John Beilein finally gets a bit of a break in their schedule, but with what this team has accomplished already, they’ve made one hell of a statement.
5. Nevada (4)
8-0
Despite still not having faced a really tough opponent, the Wolfpack have simply been overpowering every team they’ve faced this year. With the Martin brothers doing their thing, the real impressive part of this Nevada team is that the supporting cast has been playing exceptionally well. While the main load of the offense will always be on Cody and Caleb Martin, they know they have teammates they can truly rely on. Nevada is a well build team that is built for long term success over the season.
6. Virginia (6)
7-0
Widely regarded as a “boring” team, Virginia has essentially redefined the word “effective.” In a world with teams like Duke running the fast break and making multiple highlight reel plays a night, it’s easy to overlook the beautiful half-court offense Virginia has developed over the years. Regardless of play style, Virginia is fresh off of two ranked wins and has looked good in doing so. After what happened in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, don’t expect the Cavaliers to take a single night off this year.
7. Tennessee (5)
6-1
Grant Williams continues to ball out and Admiral Schofield is acting as a great second option in the offense and the Vols remain one of the elite teams in the country. With a huge game coming up against Gonzaga, Tennessee has the chance to really make a statement and silence the critics they have. As the early frontrunners in a crowded SEC conference, they will be doing everything in their power to create separation from the rest of the competition.
8. Auburn (9)
6-1
Auburn continues to handle their business as they destroyed Saint Peter’s 99-49. With their only loss being to Duke by six points, the Tigers have showed no real reason to believe they aren’t a real competitor in the SEC. Like I’ve said before, the SEC is no longer just a football conference, and Auburn is a big reason why.
9. Kentucky (11)
7-1
Since losing to Duke in the season opener, Kentucky has handled all of their contests fairly well. The competition hasn’t been great, but they’ve been winning nonetheless. For a team that is used to bringing in a whole new roster of freshman each year, Kentucky returned a good portion of their team and it seems to be paying off. A balanced scoring attack is a promising sight for John Calipari which he will continue to utilize down the stretch of the season.
10. Texas Tech (NR)
7-0
This is where the madness of the week really comes into play. With so many teams losing, Texas Tech is a clear candidate to be thrown into the top ten as an undefeated team. Similar to Nevada, the Red Raiders have not faced much competition, but they have done what is needed to emerge victorious. Texas Tech’s defense has been the bread and butter for head coach Chris Beard, and if the defense and continue limiting the opposing team, there is no reason to be concerned about the Red Raiders moving forward.
11. Michigan State (8)
6-2
Michigan State wasn’t able to outmatch Louisville in overtime, but was able to rebound with a win over Rutgers. The Spartans have a chance to prove themselves once again with an upcoming match with Iowa on the road. Michigan State might not the same powerhouse they’ve been in the past, but the team is still very talented and should continue to be a cornerstone of the Big Ten.
12. North Carolina (10)
6-2
The Tar Heels are fresh off of a beatdown from Michigan in which they looked simply overmatched in the second half. Luke Maye has yet to figure out his offensive struggles and North Carolina is feeling the pain of it. Coby White has been thrown into the forefront of the offensive responsibilities which is always tough for a freshman guard in the ACC. Regardless, he has done a good job and once the rest of the team shakes off the rust, UNC will be back as a powerhouse team in the countries toughest conference.
13. Wisconsin (NR)
7-1
Wisconsin got their big win of the year after beating Iowa last week. The Badgers one loss is to Virginia, which nobody can blame them for, and altogether Wisconsin has put together a good start to the year. Ethan Happ seems like he’s been playing basketball as Wisconsin forever, but is still putting up respectable numbers to help lead the team. The Badgers are very well in contention to take down the state of Michigan in the Big Ten.
14. Florida St. (NR)
6-1
The Seminoles have had an impressive stretch of game these past few weeks. They were able to outlast LSU in overtime, took Villanova into the final seconds, and beat Purdue. Florida State is often overlooked in the ACC, but they are always one of those teams that cause havoc down the road. A loss to Villanova looks a little worse than one would’ve expected at the beginning of the year, but nonetheless, Florida State is well worthy of a spot in these rankings.
15. Buffalo (NR)
7-0
An undefeated start to the season and a win over West Virginia will definitely earn you a spot in the national conversation. Nobody thinks Buffalo can really be a contender come postseason play, but you can not discredit what they have done so far. With so many teams suffering losses, Buffalo has been able to avoid their first loss and will have to stay in these rankings until they fault.
16. Maryland (15)
6-1
Maryland is another team whose sole loss is to Virginia. They don’t necessarily have a hallmark win, but with decent wins and one very good loss, a team with the talent of Maryland can not be overlooked. Bruno Fernando is a beast in the post and a lock as a first-round pick, Anthony Cowan is a quick guard with the ability to finish as the rim, and the supporting cast of Maryland is more than enough for the Terps to be a problem in the Big Ten.

Next Five: Virginia Tech, Kansas State, Ohio State, Iowa, Villanova

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