There was finally a somewhat calm week in the NCAA. I say somewhat even though four AP Top-10 teams lost, Ohio State lost on a half-court buzzer-beater, and UNC and West Virginia both lost twice. Not as many teams lost in general but the losses than happened were still big.

Virginia’s two big wins move them atop the rankings while North Carolina falls out completely. Some more mid-major teams find their way into the rankings as power conferences have proven the parity in college basketball this year.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Virginia (2)
Virginia takes over the top spot after back-to-back wins over ranked teams in Clemson and Duke. The Cavaliers completely dismantled Clemson, holding them to just 36 points and then gave Duke problems all game long controlling most of the game. Virginia has solidified themselves as the ACC’s best team and could very well be the overall #1 seed at season’s end.
2. Villanova (1)
Villanova recorded two more wins over Providence and Marquette improving their record to 20-1. Nova fans were stressed out towards the end of the Marquette game due to the Golden Eagles scrappy play hanging in there until the final buzzer. Jay Wright continues to find ways to win, and with his coaching and his player’s experience, Villanova should be one of the more likely teams to win it all.
3.  Purdue (4)
Currently riding a 17-game win streak, Purdue is right up there with Virginia and Villanova as best teams in the nation. Speed, size, depth, toughness, you name it, Purdue has it. You can’t help but think this is a team built for March Madness when you watch them play. The Boilermakers can match up with any team in the nation and will likely continue to dominate the Big Ten.
4. Duke (3)
You don’t want to overreact too much to a tough loss to a good team. Despite playing from behind for a majority of the game, Duke hung with Virginia until the final minutes. Regardless, Duke has shown the inability to put together a string of stops on defense when they need it most which could prove to be problematic. Coach K has been running a 2-3 zone defense which is rare for Duke teams. He might need to trust his players in man defense if they want to make a deep run in postseason play.
5. Michigan St. (6)
Michigan State hasn’t quite lived up to the preseason expectations, but they are still an elite team. The Spartans continue to beat the teams they’re supposed to but find themselves struggling against some of the better teams on their schedule. A late season matchup against Purdue is the last real test of the regular season and should shine a light on what to expect from Michigan State in Big 10 tournament play and beyond.
6. Kansas (5)
Kansas has been inconsistent at times this season but seem to be improving as of late. The Jayhawks did drop a game to Oklahoma but have seemed to slightly distance themselves from the rest of the Big 12. Kansas isn’t quite the powerhouse we’re used to but remain amongst the top teams in the nation due to Bill Self’s genius coaching.
7. Xavier (9)
Xavier and Villanova seemed to have distanced themselves from the rest of the Big East. Xavier has already beaten Seton Hall and Creighton fairly easily and could legitimately run the table if they can force an upset over Villanova. Xavier is quietly one of the more consistent teams but in my opinion probably doesn’t have much of s shot to make a deep run in the tournament.
8. Cincinnati (11)
Cincinnati is riding a 12-game win streak and are currently at the top of the American standings. While the Bearcats have not beaten a ranked team yet this year, they are undefeated in conference play and are currently more successful than Wichita State. Cincinnati does need to play Wichita twice before the season ends which will likely conclude who the better team really is.
9. Arizona (NR)
Led by Deandre Ayton, Arizona is as dangerous as they come. Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins fill out one of the most feared trios in the nation as Arizona keeps their lead in the Pac-12. Arizona is a team that seems to be a perfect fit for tournament play as they can score from all three levels in a variety of ways.
10. Auburn (14)
Auburn is subtly having one of the more impressive seasons in any conference. Auburn’s best wins are LSU and Missouri, but have beaten a handful of quality opponents and have looked impressive in doing so. The SEC is slowly becoming more respectable and Auburn is amongst the top team in the conference.
11. Tennessee (NR)
Tennessee is right there with Auburn as an SEC team with a resume better than it seems. They’ve taken down Purdue and Kentucky and three of their losses have been to Top-15 teams. The Volunteers have had one of the tougher out of conference schedules and tougher schedules overall. They are a tough team who plays tough until the end. Tennessee has the ability to hang with the best of them.
12. St. Mary’s (NR)
Holding one of the best records in the NCAA the Gaels are on a roll. Undefeated in conference play and on a 16-game win streak, Saint Mary’s is possibly the hottest team in the nation. They have a very serious chance of running the table and finishing the year with just two losses going into postseason play.
13. Oklahoma (15)
Trae Young had his worst week since his first few games of his career. However, he still managed to put up 22 points and 9 assists over his two games against Kansas and Alabama. Oklahoma has now lost three of their past four and have struggled in recent road games. A win over Kansas was able to keep them in the Power Rankings.
14.  West Virginia (NR)
West Virginia’s struggles continued and have now lost four of their last five games and have blown second half leads in almost all of them. West Virginia’s press defense is the driving force of their team but when the offense struggles it’s harder to set up the press. In order for WVU to stay elite, the offense needs to start clicking.
15. Rhode Island (16)
Jared Terrell looks to be one of the best shot creators in the NCAA. Rhode Island is playing at an elite level and is atop the Atlantic 10 with a perfect conference record. URI should win out and end the season with a 21-game win streak which could pole vault them into the AP Top 10.
16.  Kentucky (NR)
Kentucky picked up a big win over West Virginia this week. Kevin Knox showed out with 34 points in what was his best game of the year. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo round out a lethal trio of freshman that could lead Kentucky to an Elite Eight or beyond.

First Five Out

Texas Tech, Clemson, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Ohio State


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