After suffering two losses last week, our top ranked team, Duke, fell five spots this week. An updated look at the Power 16.
1. Gonzaga (20-1)
Gonzaga retakes the top spot on this list thanks to Duke suffering a pair of losses last week. As of late, the Zags have been cruising through their opponents, winning their last four games by 20+ points. It’s no secret that Gonzaga is far superior than all the other teams in the WCC and seeing the team dominate in this fashion is what you look for in a No. 1 team.
2. Baylor (15-1)
Baylor is making headlines for jumping into the AP No. 1 spot, but I don’t necessarily see why. The Bears are good, really good, but to put them over Gonzaga after wins against Iowa State and Oklahoma State doesn’t make sense to me. Regardless, the season Baylor has had thus far is nothing short of tremendous and will surely be one of the top teams for the rest of the year.
3. Louisville (15-3)
The Cardinals were able to get past Pitt in OT before taking down Duke in Cameron Indoor. Louisville has probably regained the title as favorites in the ACC with the win, but with such a top-heavy ACC any team can fall on any night. As it stands today, the Cardinals have control of their own destiny in the conference.
4. Kansas (14-3)
The Jayhawks picked up a pair of wins over Oklahoma and Texas. It would’ve been easy for Kansas to fold after the home loss to Baylor, but the team bounced back in a big way. Bill Self’s team is still right with there with Baylor in the Big 12, and despite the loss two weeks ago, many people still believe Kansas is the better team.
5. San Diego State (19-0)
San Diego State is the last remaining undefeated team and I’ve decided it’s time to give them their credit as a top five team in the country. This season top teams are losing at an extreme rate and the Aztecs are the only team that have been perfect, and for that they should be rewarded.
6. Duke (15-3)
The Blue Devils struggled mightily this week. They lost to Clemson and they lost to Louisville, but Duke is still 15-3 which is one of the better records in the country. Duke has the chance to close out the month on a strong note with home games against Miami and Pittsburgh. The Blue Devils are still potentially the top team in the ACC despite the rough week.
7. Michigan State (14-4)
Michigan State played just one game this week and pulled off a 12-point win over Wisconsin. The Spartans have had their ups and downs this season and have kind of fallen into the middle of the pack amongst the elite teams. For some reason the team feels like they’ve been worse than 14-4, but when you look at the full body of work, the Spartans are doing just fine.
8. Dayton (16-2)
Dayton, led by Obi Toppin, is 16-2 on the season and holds one of the best records in the nation. The Flyers survived a scare on the road at Saint Louis where they took a 2-point win in overtime. Similar to the other mid-major elites like Gonzaga and SDSU, Dayton has an outside chance at running the table and finishing the season with just a couple of losses.
9. Florida State (16-2)
The Seminoles added two close wins to the resume this week after a 4-point win over Virginia and a 4-point overtime win against Miami. Florida State gets a couple of “easier” games coming up, well about as easy as it gets in the ACC, which puts them in prime position to move even further up the rankings in the coming weeks.
10. Oregon (15-4)
Oregon started the week with a loss on the road to Washington State, however, they were able to rebound with an OT win at Washington. The Ducks are one of the most battle tested teams in the country and being 15-4 with they schedule they’ve faced is impressive in itself. Oregon is probably the best team in the Pac 12 and should be able to emerge with a conference championship.
11. Villanova (14-3)
Nova won two close home games last week, an OT win against DePaul and a comeback win against UConn. The Wildcats struggled pretty heavily early on in the season but have really turned things around to throw them back into the mix of contenders. Villanova hosts Butler next week, which should establish who is the true top team in the Big East.
12. Kentucky (13-4)
Kentucky was victim to yet another heartbreaking loss, this time to South Carolina’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Wildcats now have three losses by 3 points and a loss by 6 points. I’ve been higher on Big Blue Nation than most people and I’m sticking to it. The SEC is overall a pretty weak conference this year and I think that UK will end up as the best team in the conference.
13. West Virginia (14-3)
WVU is the, potentially distant, third best team in the Big 12 behind Baylor and Kansas. This week the Mountaineers beat TCU by 32 points but then lost to Kansas State by 16 points in a wild week. Inconsistency has been the main issue for West Virginia and this week embodied it. Sitting at 14-3, the team is still very respectable and in contention for the Big 12 crown.
14. Auburn (15-2)
This past week was a worst-case scenario for Auburn. They entered the week unbeaten, and are now leaving the week with two losses and still with no signature win. The losses to Alabama and Auburn weren’t even that close of games which is a bigger issue. The Tigers will be on close watch moving forward.
15. Seton Hall (14-4)
The Pirates are probably the biggest movers of the week with wins Butler on the road and St. John’s. Seton Hall is on a bit of a run and should likely finish the month strong as they host Providence and DePaul.
16. Memphis (14-3)
Memphis has done very well since losing James Wiseman. There was a slip up at the beginning of the month, but has responded with a couple decent wins to get back on track. Precious Achiuwa has embraced his new role with open arms and has excelled in doing so. The Tigers might not be as good as they could at full strength, but they’re doing a great job in hanging in there with what they have.
Next Five: Butler, Maryland, Arizona, Iowa, Texas Tech
Players of the Week
1. Markus Howard – Marquette
Markus Howard had yet another outstanding week. We’re used to seeing some crazy scoring outbursts from Howard and this week was just another example of that. Against Xavier, he dropped 35 points and added 4 rebounds and 4 assists. He then scored 42 points against Georgetown. There’s not much left to be said about his kid’s ability to put the ball in the basket.
2. Myles Powell – Seton Hall
Myles Powell is another player who has let us become used to his high-scoring affairs. He added to his legacy by scoring 29 points, grabbing 7 boards and getting 3 steals in an upset win over Butler. Powell then scored another 29 points and recording 6 rebounds against St. John’s.
3. Luka Garza – Iowa
Luka Garza has been one of the best players in the Big Ten this year. He showcased his dominance this week with a 27-point performance in which he shot 10-for-14 from the floor against Northwestern. He also scored 33 points, corralled 7 rebounds and shot 10-for-18 from the field against Michigan.
4. Obi Toppin – Dayton
Obi Toppin is the third player from a smaller school to grace the list, largely in part due to his 24-point, 9-rebound outing against VCU and his 20-point and 10-rebound game against Saint Louis. Toppin is the best player on a surging Dayton team and has been a huge key to the team’s success this year.
5. Isaiah Stewart – Washington
Isaiah Stewart is going to be one of the first names called in the next NBA draft and this week he showed why. In a loss to Oregon, he had 25 points and 19 rebounds while adding 5 blocks and 2 steals. Against Oregon State, he scored 13 points and tallied 5 rebounds and another 4 blocks. His presence in the paint has been game-breaking all season and this week was no different.