It seems like every week we have pretty drastic changes amongst the top teams in the nation. Top ranked teams have been dropping like flies showing the parity in college basketball again this year. Amidst all the madness, Villanova finds a way to stay atop the rankings.

The Top-5 gets shaken up a bit after West Virginia and Michigan State suffered losses. Oklahoma got back on track with two big wins and North Carolina and Kentucky were able to crawl back into the Power 16.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1.  Villanova (1)
Villanova remains atop the Power 16 after improving their resume with two more wins over #10 Xavier and St. Johns. The Wildcats continue to look impressive against quality opponents after dominating a respected Xavier team. Mikal Bridges has become a lethal weapon and when paired up with Jalen Brunson the two are as feared as any duo in the NCAA. Nova’s depth and versatility will assure their success this season.
2. Virginia (3)
Virginia is looking like one of the best defensive teams in the nation as they’ve allowed under 50 points on 7 different occasions this year while only allowing more than 60 points three times. Virginia’s half court offense is as effective as any and Kyle Guy has been lights-out from three-point range. Virginia is legit, and they are dangerous.
3. Duke (5)
Duke bounced back from their NC State loss with two convincing wins over Pitt and Wake Forest. Duke remains debatably the most talented team in the nation but can’t seem to piece it all together consistently. Marvin Bagley is a mismatch nightmare and if he gains a little more confidence in his three-pointer he could be even better than he is. Coach K has his work cut out for him with 4 starting freshmen but if anybody can pull it off its him.
4. West Virginia (2)
The Mountaineers had their 15-game win streak snapped by #8 Texas Tech in a crushing 72-71 outcome. Texas Tech is one of the more surprising teams in the nation and similar to the Villanova loss a couple weeks ago, this loss is no reason for concern for WVU fans. West Virginia has a chance to prove any doubters wrong in their next handful of games that include Kansas, TCU, and Kentucky.
5. Purdue (7)
After beating a tough Michigan team, the Boilermakers manhandled Minnesota by a score of 81-47. Purdue has been gaining national respect and have actually recently become the favorite to win the NCAA tournament according to ESPN. Purdue hasn’t had the toughest schedule but nonetheless have very few reasons to think they aren’t the real deal.
6. Oklahoma (11)
After a frustrating loss to West Virginia, Oklahoma bounced back in the best way possible, two ranked wins over Texas Tech and TCU. Trae Young has continued to light up the college basketball scene but has been turning the ball over a little more than he would like. As long as Trae Young is healthy, Oklahoma is a team that can beat anyone in the country.
7. Wichita St. (6)
The Shockers really haven’t faced a tough opponent since their loss to Oklahoma but are on a 7-game win streak. Wichita State barely beat Tulsa this week with just a 3-point win which adds to the list of concerns for a Wichita State team that doesn’t face real talent too often.
8. Texas Tech (8)
Texas Tech suffered a 10-point loss to Oklahoma but was able to bounce right back and topple #2 ranked West Virginia is a thriller. The Red Raiders have proved that their road win over Kansas was no fluke and that this Texas Tech team is here to stay.
9. Michigan St. (4)
Michigan State has been consistent as of late, consistently shaky. In their last 3 games, the Spartans have lost to Ohio State and Michigan, and edged out Rutgers 76-72. As a team that started off the year ranked #2, they have not lived up to the hype. What’s really a problem is that their struggles are coming in Big 10 play, which to be honest, isn’t very tough. However, with players such as Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson you can’t count out the Spartans.
10. Kansas (12)
Big 12 play hasn’t been an easy ride for Kansas this year. They have a 4-1 record in conference play but their total +/- is just +4. Devonte Graham has been as advertised as a leader and one of the elite players in the nation. Big 12 play will be fun to watch all season long, and it’ll be interesting to see if Kanas will repeat at the conference’s top team.
11. Auburn (14)
Auburn continued their impressive season with wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State. I think it’s time Auburn gets the recognition that Arizona State was getting a few weeks back. The Tigers have shown minimal reasons for concern as they have been winning games relatively easily and in games they do struggle, find a way to battle back. I believe Auburn is legit and deserve more credit than they’ve been getting.
12. Xavier (9)
Xavier dropped their second game in a row in a beatdown against Villanova. They were able to turn around and take down a Creighton team by 22 points. Xavier has had a handful of questionable games this year. They’ve been blown out by Arizona State and Villanova and won by 5 or less against Eastern Tennessee State, Marshall, and DePaul. Nonetheless, you have to respect their ability to grind out wins.
13. Gonzaga (13)
The Zags continue to handle business against their lesser opponents. Wins over Portland and San Francisco improved Mark Few’s team to 16-3. There isn’t much to say about Gonzaga that hasn’t been said already, we know they’ll hang around the rankings and we also know that when March rolls around they will fire up engines and get ready to ball for real.
14. North Carlina (NR)
North Carolina was able to take down a Boston College team by 30 points and then beat Notre Dame en route to a spot back in the Power 16 after dropping out last week. UNC seems to have bounced back after their rough stretch the past few weeks and should return to their spot amongst the national powerhouses.
15. Arizona State (10)
It seems like Arizona State is falling just as fast as they rose. After a 12-0 start to the season, they’ve dropped 3 out of their last 5 games. Tra Holder is a legit player but it seems like he’s going to need some more help if Arizona State is going to be the team people thought they were.
16.  Kentucky (NR)
Kentucky rebounded from their loss to Tennessee with wins over Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. The young Kentucky roster continues to gain confidence and experience moving forward. The Wildcats have been iffy at times this season but there have been reasons to believe that they have the ability to be as good as anyone in the nation.



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