Considering this week saw a relatively low amount of games, there was not a great amount of movement in this week’s Power 16. Gonzaga suffered their second straight loss which allowed some teams to move up a spot in the rankings.
North Carolina’s big win earned them a jump in the rankings which forced a few teams to drop despite winning.
With most teams playing either one or no games at all, the core 16 teams remain the same, but most are ranked in a new spot. Here are this week’s Power 16 and Top Five Players of the Week.
Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Kansas (1)
|Kansas further solidified themselves as the nation’s top team with a three-point win over possibly Villanova’s best performance of the year. Kansas’ games recently have been close, but they’re still undefeated and nobody can take that away from them. Lagerald Vick and Dedrick Lawson have been on an absolute tear offensively for the Jayhawks, seemingly at least half of the team’s point each night. Bill Self has another chance to prove his team’s dominance in a matchup against Arizona State before conference play tips off.|
2. Duke (2)
|The Blue Devils did not play a game this week so they will remain put in their number two spot. Coach K will have his hands filled this week when Duke faces off with a very good Texas Tech team. Duke’s young core is undoubtably still learning the nuances of college basketball, but with how well they’ve looked so far this season, they seem primed to stay at this elite level throughout the season.|
3. Michigan (3)
|Michigan continued their hot start to the season by outlasting Western Michigan 70-62. Despite their only lead in the first half coming on a buzzer-beater, there are no negative takeaways that overpower the level of sheer superiority the Wolverines have shown against their opponents. Michigan is clearly hungry to avenge their national championship loss and everybody in their way so far has payed the price.|
4. Tennessee (5)
|The Vols eclipsed 100 points this week over Penny Hardaway and his Memphis team. Tennessee has night-in and night-out, been bringing their best and have rolled over almost every opponent that they’ve faced. Admiral Schofield has forced his name into the Player of the Year conversation after a handful on dominant weeks and the Volunteers show no sign of slowing down as long as he keeps balling out.|
5. Virginia (6)
|Virginia also did not have a game this week but they will find themselves moving up a spot due to Gonzaga’s loss. The Cavaliers are exactly what you would have expected to be this year, unexciting but extremely efficient. To be blunt, almost everyone Virginia has faced is bad. However, you can not punish a team for winning games and that is why Virginia is in the top five.|
6. Nevada (7)
|I’m not going to lie, a four-point comeback win against South Dakota State does not look good. The Wolfpack also does not have a ranked game remaining on the schedule. With all that said, a win is a win, and albeit not in the prettiest way, Nevada keeps winning. Nevada could very well finish this season undefeated considering Utah State is probably the best team they have to face. Regardless, Nevada is 11-0 and have a ranked win over Arizona State and is well worthy of being ranked in the six-spot.|
7. Auburn (8)
|Auburn is another team that had a shaky game this week. The Tigers were forced into overtime against UAB but emerged victorious. I’ve been preaching that Auburn is the frontrunner to win the SEC this year and I still stand by it. This team is well-built as I am very excited to see what they will be able to accomplish in conference play.|
8. North Carolina (11)
|The Tar Heels are the big winner this week. They toppled Gonzaga in pretty easy fashion. North Carolina led for the last 35 minutes of the game on the backs of Cameron Johnson and Luke Maye. Roy Williams and his group won’t have much time to celebrate this win as they must prepare for Kentucky in a classic blue-blood clash. With another win of this caliber, it will be very difficult to keep North Carolina from moving up the rankings.|
9. Michigan State (9)
|The Spartans continue to do their thing. Since losing to Kansas in week one and suffering a heartbreaking overtime loss to Louisville, Michigan State has been on a tear. Tom Izzo’s teams are always competitive and this year is no different. The Spartans are in a prime spot to take the Big Ten crown and will hang on the backs of their veterans to get them there.|
10. Gonzaga (4)
|What a turnaround for the Zags. After starting the season 9-0 with a win over Duke, Gonzaga has now dropped two straight games. To be fair, Tennessee and North Carolina are two of the top teams in the country. Not many teams have faced the level of competition Gonzaga has and it’s sure to take a toll on the team. The Zags will look to rebound from these losses in their upcoming games with three straight sub .500 teams.|
11. Texas Tech (10)
|I am sure Texas Tech feels disrespected by not being a top ten team. They’re undefeated and have multiple two-loss teams ahead of them. Despite absolutely destroying their last two opponents, they move down a spot from last week. It’s tough to put this team down here, but the teams above them have done too much to overlook. The Red Raiders play Duke this week and with a win, they can finally pole vault up the rankings like I’m sure they’ve been dying to do.|
12. Florida St. (12)
|Florida State also ween unchallenged this week with no games to play. FSU is a legit contender in the ACC and will try to establish themselves as a basketball school once conference play begins. The Seminoles have handful of quality wins, but not a signature win. ACC conference play will give them more than a couple chances to prove they are up there with the top teams in the country.|
13. Kentucky (13)
|I’ve seen a lot of people sell out on Kentucky already this season but I’m not ready to do so just yet. Their two losses are to Duke in the season opener and a final seconds three-pointer in overtime. Other than those games, Kentucky has looked pretty damn good. Do I think this team is elite? No. Do I think this team is very good? Yes. Kentucky will always hang around despite not being the national powerhouse we’ve grown accustomed to.|
14. Buffalo (14)
|This week is everything that people have been hoping for. Buffalo will finally play some real competition. We will see what the Bulls are made of when they square-off with Syracuse and Marquette. With two wins against these teams Buffalo could very well break into the top ten, with a loss, it might be tough to keep them ranked at all. Let’s see if Buffalo can silence the critics this week.|
15. Virginia Tech (15)
|Virginia Tech is in the same boat as Florida State, some decent wins, but no games that can really define a team. They will also have seemingly unlimited chances to make a statement in conference play. The Hokies could very well be the team that has the most to gain from playing their in-conference opponents.|
16. Ohio State (16)
|I said it last week, Ohio State is good at everything. Even when they aren’t considered a basketball school, or even really expecting that good of a basketball season, they find themselves in the midst of the national conversation. The Buckeyes will look to take down Michigan and Michigan State and attempt to regain dominance of the Big Ten.|
Next Five: Mississippi State (9-1), Kansas State (7-2), Arizona State (8-1), Wisconsin (9-2), Marquette (8-2)
Top Five Players of the Week
Luke Maye – North Carolina
Luke Maye seems to be finally coming to life. In the biggest win of the week, Maye dropped a solid 20 points to go along with 16 rebounds. North Carolina fans have been waiting for the senior to wake up and string together multiple dominant games in a row, and we might be seeing the start of it.
Admiral Schofield – Tennessee
Tennessee’s senior guard built off of his strong showing last week with yet another big performance. Schofield tallied 29 points (20 in the second half) on 8-12 shooting. Schofield also grabbed 11 rebounds in this monster game. Tennessee is one of the most impressive teams in the land, and Schofield is one of the most impressive players in the country as well.
Jared Harper – Auburn
Jared Harper scored 23 of Auburn’s final 30 points in an overtime win over UAB. Harper finished the game with 31 points including a 15-16 performance from the free-throw line. When the team needed him most, Harper came through in a big way. Harper as emerged as one of the top options on the Auburn offense and has been thriving in his new role.
Jarrett Culver – Texas Tech
As one of the only teams in the country to play twice this week, Texas Tech won both of their games while Jarrett Culver was the team’s leading scorer. Culver amassed 30 points while shooting an impressive 12-13 from the floor. He also added 7 rebounds and 4 assists and did so all in 27 minutes on the floor. The sophomore has emerged as an elite scorer and has been helping carry Texas Tech to this undefeated start to the season
Dedric Lawson – Kansas
This really should be a combined spot between Lawson and Lagerald Vick but Lawson had the slightly better week. Lawson shot 10-15 en route to 28 points and 12 rebounds and a 74-71 win over Villanova. This man has been absolutely phenomenal this year for Bill Self and is one of the biggest reasons why Kansas has been so successful as a team.