Not the most eventful week in college basketball by any means, but there is still movement in the Power 16. The state of Michigan continues to slide while Kentucky continues to climb. All in all, only one new team makes the rankings, which has been unheard of this year, but there is still a fair amount of movement. With that said, here is this week’s Power 16 and Players of the Week

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Tennessee (1)
The Vols further solidified themselves as the top team in the country with two convincing wins over South Carolina and Texas A&M. Tennessee is the lone unbeaten beat in SEC conference play, but that’s because that don’t have to play themselves. Grant Williams looks primed to win his second consecutive SEC Player of the Year award with his high-level play leading The Vols to where they are right now.
2. Duke (2)
Duke also had two easy wins this week as they beat Notre Dame by 22 and beat St. John’s by 30. These last few weeks have been the best stretch of play the Blue Devils have put together in my opinion. However, with a rematch against Virginia coming up this week, they will need their hot streak to continue in order to beat the Cavaliers for a second time.
3. Virginia (4)
Speaking of the Cavaliers, they improved to 20-1 on the season with an OT win over NC State and a 10-point victory over Miami. Virginia could find themselves as the number one team in the land after next week as they have two colossal games approaching. The Cavaliers will be forced to square off with both Duke and UNC in their next two games as they hope to prove they deserve to be number one.
4. Kentucky (5)
With Michigan State’s struggles, I think we can call Kentucky the hottest team in the country right now. Fresh off of three straight ranked wins, the Wildcats clobbered Vanderbilt and held Florida scoreless for 5 minutes at the end of the game to pull off a huge second half comeback. This is a completely different team than the one who played Duke to open the season, and it’s a damn good one.
5. Gonzaga (6)
The Zags bullied around BYU for a 30-point win and then did the same thing to San Diego to win by 26. I would love to see Gonzaga face a high-caliber team before the end of the season to see where they’re at, but unfortunately that won’t happen. My only concern for the Bulldogs is that they have forgotten what real competition feels like, but Mark Few rarely lets that happen.
6.  Michigan (3)
Michigan isn’t exactly the same as they were to start the year. They look less explosive on offense, and while they had been playing good defense, everything fell apart in a 74-59 loss to Iowa. You obviously can’t give up on Michigan because we’ve seen what they’re capable of. When the Wolverines have it figured out, I don’t know if there’s a team they can’t beat. Now it’s just a matter of when they’ll get back on track.
7. Nevada (8)
I think I’ve been as hard on Nevada as anyone could possibly be. With that said, I have no complaints this week. They now have four straight wins of at least 15 points which is something they hadn’t done in the three games prior. Caleb Martin is starting to score like we knew he could and the Wolfpack is reaping the rewards from it.
8. Marquette (9)
Marquette only had one game this week but it was a beatdown of Butler. Markus Howard is one of the most prolific scorers in the country this season and Sam Hauser has played the second fiddle role to perfection. The Golden Eagles are officially the top dog in the Big East and they will look to prove it when they play Villanova this week.
9. North Carolina (11)
One of the streakiest teams in the country made a statement this week. They avenged what looked like a bad loss at the time by beating Louisville the second time around by a score of 79-69. The Tar Heels are also on, in my opinion, their best run of the season and it couldn’t come at a better time. UNC will play NC State, Virginia, Duke, Florida State and Syracuse this month.
10. Michigan State (7)  
There’s a trend I’ve noticed this year. Once I fully buy-in to a team, they start losing. Michigan State is just the most recent in that trend of events. Now, with back to back losses to Purdue and Indiana, there are questions surrounding this team. Well, I have the answers…hit your free throws. The Spartans went 8-22 from the charity stripe which ultimately lost them the Indiana game. Seems like a simple fix but we’ll see what Tom Izzo can do.
11. Houston (10)
Houston is just sliding under the radar as a one-loss team. It seems like Cougars get slept on in both football and basketball. There’s no question that this team is capable of great things. Similar to Gonzaga, I would like to see them against another ranked opponent before the tournament, but we won’t have the opportunity. That being said, I wouldn’t sleep on the Cougars this time around.
12. Virginia Tech (12)
The defending national champions were seemingly forgotten a couple weeks into the season. Now, Villanova is back in the conversation. Not nearly as explosive or talented, Jay Wright is faced with an uphill battle of repeating and cutting down the nets once again. However, if you had a choice at which coach you trusted in this situation, Wright would be near the top of the list.
13. Villanova (16)
In historical terms, LSU has produced as much talent as any team. Shaq, Pistol Pete, Bob Pettit, Ben Simmons and the artist formerly known as Chris Jackson. This year, Tremont Waters and Naz Reid are trying to throw their names in that category. In terms of a full body of work, LSU has been neither very impressive or underwhelming. The Tigers are however second in the conference right behind Tennessee. Odds are LSU falls off at some point and people forget they were in the conversation at all, but Naz Reid is Jay-Z’s cousin so that’s something to remember them by, right?
14. Iowa State (NR)
One of the quieter teams in the country. Iowa State might just be the best team in the Big-12. With Kansas and Texas Tech’s noted issues, some would argue that the Cyclones have been playing the best basketball. Iowa State has one of the best backcourt tandems in the country and are in contention of being the team that ends Kansas’ Big 12 run.
15. LSU (13)
The Tigers dropped their first conference game this week with a single-point loss to Arkansas. Despite the loss. LSU remains a legit threat in the SEC. Tremont Waters and Naz Reid are a duo that deserves some looks and definitely warrants some serious preparation. They will look to bounce back in a matchup over Mississippi State this week.
16. Kansas (15)
Kansas dropped yet another game to start the week. A 10-point loss to Texas marked their fourth loss in the month of January. They may have flipped the script heading into February though. The Jayhawks emerged with a 16-point win over Texas Tech. Bill Self and Kansas’ streak of regular season conference championships is in serious jeopardy and they need to play near perfect basketball to have a chance at keeping the streak alive.

Next Five: Wisconsin (16-6), Texas Tech (17-5), Purdue (16-6), Louisville (16-6), Florida State (16-5)

Top Five Players of the Week

1. Zion Williamson – Duke

The freshman sensation was nothing short of fantastic yet again this week. In a clash with Notre Dame, Williamson had 26 points on 10-12 shooting, grabbed 9 boards, had 4 assists and also recorded 4 blocks. He then shot 13-17 en route to 29 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 5 steals and a pair of blocks. This was just another example of why so many people have Zion locked as a number one overall pick in the upcoming draft.

2. Caleb Martin – Nevada

Caleb Martin also had two good games this week. He tallied 26 points and 6 rebounds against UNLV and then proceeded to drop 30 points against Boise State. Martin has been able to distinguish himself from his twin brother Cody with a recent stretch of impressive play.

3. Rui Hachimura – Gonzaga

Gonzaga’s star player had yet another week where he looked impressive. He started with 20 points on a respectable 8-13 shooting and added 9 rebounds. Hachimura only improved as the week went on as he raked in 32 points on an efficient 11-15 from the floor. The 6’8” junior also added 7 rebounds.

4. Grant Williams – Tennessee

Grant Williams finds his way onto this list for the second consecutive week with a pair of dominating games. First, Williams tallied 23 points and 9 rebounds and was able to come away with 4 steals in a blowout against South Carolina. Then, the 6’7” junior scored 22 points and pulled down 10 boards to cap off another week that will go towards the big man winning another SEC Player of the Year award.

5. PJ Washington – Kentucky

John Calipari’s sophomore forward had two double-doubles this week. PJ Washington had 26 points and 12 rebounds on 9-15 shooting from the field in a blowout of Vanderbilt to open the week. The 6’8” big man then scored 15 points and hit the glass for another 12 rebounds against Florida.


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.