NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 5:02am

With every week becoming more and more important as the season is winding down, every game has a bit more of a critical eye on the teams. This was just another exciting week in a year full of surprises. Coach K experienced the largest comeback of his career and Michigan State and Tennessee both suffered losses.

As some teams continue to fall and some continue to climb, this is shaping up to be one hell of an ending to the season. After all was said and done this week, here are the Power 16 and Top Five Players of the Week.

Rank (Last week's rank)
Record
Comment
1. Duke (1)
23-2
Coming off of their big win over Virginia, Duke found themselves down by 23 points in the second half against Louisville. Whether you want to call it a comeback or a choke job, the Blue Devils somehow emerged victorious to remain as the top team in the rankings. Duke also rode the back of RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson to beat in-state rival NC State fairly easily to close off the week.
2. Virginia (3)
22-2
Virginia bounced back off of their loss to Duke with a big win over North Carolina in which they proved they remain as one of the top teams in the country. Despite a late game scare from Notre Dame, the Cavaliers were able to leave the week with a 2-0 record. I’ve seen people say that Virginia can’t score enough to be a Final Four team, but when you’re holding teams under 60 points on a consistent basis, scoring 80 points isn’t necessary.
3. Gonzaga (4)
25-2
The Zags have quietly been handling business for quite some time now. The Bulldogs haven’t lost in over two months and quite frankly haven’t even been in a close game in nearly just as long. After suffering back to back losses back in December there were some doubters about Mark Few and his team but I believe it’s safe to say that they’re back in form and are ready for March.
4. Kentucky (9)
21-4
What better way to rebound from a loss than to beat the consensus number one team in the land. Not only did they win, it looked like Tennessee didn’t even belong on the same court as the Wildcats. It blew my mind when Kentucky nearly dropped out of the Top-20 earlier in the year and it seems as if John Calipari and his team took it personally. Kentucky will face off with the Vols again before the regular season comes to a close so we’ll see if they can repeat this week’s performance.
5. Tennessee (2)
23-2
I’m not going to lie, it was a bad loss to Kentucky. It’s one thing to lose a competitive game, but to get blown out like that is a bad look for a team that was thought to be the best in the country. The Volunteers are still a great team don’t get me wrong, but they’ll need to play well against LSU and Kentucky to prove that they were no fluke at the No. 1 spot.
6. Nevada (5)
24-1
The Wolfpack only had one game this week, but they absolutely slaughtered Wyoming in an 82-49 outing. Nevada has been a team that can score all year long, but over the past few weeks they’ve proven they can put together some strong stretches on the defensive end of the court. I’m not 100% sold that Nevada can make a deep run in the tournament but they definitely can if they play their best in every game.
7. Marquette (7)
21-4
Marquette also only grazed the court once this week, but they too won convincingly. In my opinion, the Golden Eagles have solidified themselves as the best team in the Big East and on the back of Markus Howard I think they have a legit chance to make a deep run in postseason play. When one person can snap for 40+ points on any night you can never count them out.
8. LSU (8)
21-4
WThe lack of respect this team is receiving is astonishing. LSU is atop the SEC regular season standings and has now beaten one of the hottest teams in the country in Kentucky while they’ve been at their peak. Why the Tigers are being slept on so hard is beyond me, but with a chance to beat Tennessee around the corner, they have a chance to force people to notice them.
9. Michigan (9)
23-3
After suffering a bad loss to a Penn State, albeit on the road, Michigan needed a win over Maryland to stay on track and that’s exactly what happened. They won fairly easily and didn’t allow one loss to lead them down a road of failure. The Wolverines have weapons at every position and you just get the feeling that this is a team that is built for success in the tournament.
10. Houston (10)
25-1
Houston continues to hold one of the best records in D1 basketball at 25-1. Due to their schedule and lack of quality competition its tough to tell if they are legit or just significantly better than the teams they play. But having just one loss this deep in the season has to mean something. I think the Cougars will be one of biggest mysteries going into March.
11. North Carolina (11)
20-5
North Carolina has had some of the highest highs of any team, but for some reason can’t keep it together for a long stretch. This week they lost to Virginia, not a bad loss but a missed opportunity. However, a bigger opportunity is approaching as they will travel down the road to face Duke in college basketball’s biggest rivalry.
12. Texas Tech (12)
21-5
It appears that finally the Red Raiders have become the team they were at the beginning of the year once again. With four straight easy wins in a row, the Red Raiders have seemingly turned the corner. They get their highly desired rematch with Kansas this week in which they hope to prove their previous clash was just an off-night.
13. Michigan State (13)
20-5
This was a much-needed quality week for Michigan State. After a series of hiccups and slip ups, the Spartans beat a ranked Wisconsin team and man handled Ohio State to boost their confidence as March is quickly approaching. Michigan State’s roster is loaded with experience that should prove to be crucial as the season is winding down.
14. Florida St. (14)
20-5
FSU had a relatively boring week, but an effective one. The Seminoles faced off with two of the worst teams in the ACC in Wake Forest and Georgia Tech and handled them both with ease. Florida State will travel to North Carolina for a tilt with UNC where they can attempt to vault themselves up the rankings before the ACC tournament begins.
15. Virginia Tech (15)
20-5
Just like Florida State, VTech played two of the worst teams in the conference in Georgia tech and Pitt. However, the Hokies didn’t have too easy of a time. Winning by just 8 and 6 points respectively, Virginia Tech really needs to show some fight during their upcoming game with Virginia. With UVA, Duke and Florida State still on the schedule, the Hokies have a chance to make an emphatic statement before the season ends.
16. Purdue (16)
20-6
Kansas’ regular season conference championship streak is in jeopardy, but they seem to be figuring things out a bit. Devon Dotson has been coming into form at a perfect time and has helped the Jayhawks rebound from their struggles a couple of weeks ago. One thing Bill Self’s squad can do, is win at home as they are 15-0. Unfortunately for Kansas, just two of their remaining games will take place at the Allen Fieldhouse.

Next Five: Kansas State (19-6), Iowa (20-5), Washington (20-5), Cincinnati (20-4), Villanova (20-6)

Top Five Players of the Week

1.Zion Williamson – Duke

He’s back! After a brief one-week hiatus, the freshman phenom finds himself back on the Players of the Week list. Williamson was at the forefront of the crazy comeback against Louisville in which he recorded 27 points and added 12 rebounds. Against NC State, Williamson went for 32 points on 12-16 shooting. In my mind, there’s no way a team can draft someone else above Zion, and I had major doubts about him coming into the year.

2. PJ Washington – Kentucky

There may not be a player who has raised their draft stock over the past month than PJ Washington. In a heart-breaking loss to LSU, Washington went for 20 points and 9 rebounds. In the big game of the week, an upset over Tennessee, Washington tallied 23 points with 5 rebounds and sent away a pair of shots.

3. Markus Howard – Marquette

I try to leave players off who only have one game in the week, but Markus Howard makes it so difficult. Howard went for 36 points on 12-21 shooting and added another 4 three-pointers to his season total. It’s hard to list multiple players who have scored more efficiently than Howard while having the same volume of shots. As he has established himself as one of the country’s best scorers, he’s helped make Marquette a legit contender in the national conversation.

4. RJ Barrett – Duke

For the first time in the Players of the Week section, we have two players from the same team. RJ Barrett made history this week. He became the first Duke player to record a triple-double in over 13 years as he recorded 23 points, 11 boards and 10 assists. Making history in a Duke uniform is no small feat as we know the level of talent that has gone through Coach K’s system.

5. Rui Hachimura – Gonzaga
Gonzaga’s star had yet another quality week of play. He opened the week with a 22-point, 7 rebound performance on 7-13 from the field. He then tallied another 22 points, this time on 10-15 shooting, to go along with 10 rebounds as he continues to impress during his time on the floor.

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