Well, I should’ve known. Last week I said it was a calm week, and now we have madness. Half of the teams from last week’s Power 16 lost at least one game this week which results in some major shake ups in the rankings this week. With that said, here is this week’s Power 16 and Players of the Week.
1. Gonzaga (14-0)
It should be no surprise to see Gonzaga at the top of this list once again. With another two wins this week, the Zags move a little bit closer to completing the perfect season. In theory, the best team in the country should always go undefeated, but we know that is rarely ever the case. However, the Bulldogs truly should run the rest of the table as the WCC just poses little to no threat to this talented team.
2. Baylor (12-0)
Naturally, the gap between Baylor and Gonzaga will seem to close as conference play continues to go on, and the Bears are doing the best they can to claim that No. 1 spot. With a win over Texas Tech this week, Baylor will now look forward to a clash with Kansas.
3. Villanova (8-1)
Nova once again did not play a game this week and has now been off since Dec. 23. It seems like the Wildcats are closing in a return to the court, so it will be interesting to see what kind of form the team is upon return. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.
4. Iowa (12-2)
The Hawkeyes beat Northwestern in their only game of the week and continue to prove they are one of the elite programs in the country this season. I’ve been about as high on Iowa as anybody, and I can’t stress enough how well built this team is to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
5. Michigan (11-1)
Michigan is in a rare spot where a team moves up from last week despite losing a game. The Wolverines did lose to Minnesota this week, but had an arguably more impressive win over Wisconsin earlier in the week. I had Michigan in the Power 16 before they were ranked nationally and I think they remain as good as ever despite the loss.
6. Tennessee (10-1)
The Vols are the benefactor of a lot of chaos in the top end of the rankings and slide just outside of the top five. I’m starting to come full circle on Tennessee after some early doubts. The SEC is noticeably weak this year which should allow the Volunteers to look better and better as the season goes on.
7. Texas (11-2)
Texas opened the week with a loss to Texas Tech, although the Longhorns led for about all but one minute of the game. They were however, able to bounce back with a convincing win over Kansas State. Similarly to Iowa, Texas just feels like a team that could run straight to the Final Four.
8. Virginia (9-2)
Virginia picked up two wins over Notre Dame and, more importantly, Clemson this week. I said last week that people were giving up on UVA too quickly and the Cavaliers proved that they shouldn’t be counted out. Look for Virginia to keep it rolling.
9. Houston (11-1)
The Cougars added one win over UCF this week and improved to 11-1 on the season. Houston’s resume is riding on an early season win over Texas Tech, and won’t be able to add another ranked win for the rest of the season due to scheduling. This team has got to be one of the wildcards when the postseason rolls around because nobody can truly know how they’d compete against the top competition.
10. Kansas (10-3)
Due to a cancellation against Iowa State, the Jayhawks played just one game and lost to Oklahoma State this week. Kansas has too many good wins (Creighton/Texas Tech/West Virginia) and enough acceptable losses (Gonzaga/Texas) to be written off just yet. This is still a top ten team in the country no matter how you cut it up.
11. Virginia Tech (11-2)
Virginia Tech won a huge game against Duke to start the week before adding a Wake Forest win as well. The Hokies now have wins over Villanova, Clemson, Louisville and Duke which compiles to be arguably the most impressive resume in the ACC thus far.
12. Wisconsin (11-3)
The Badgers opened the week with a crushing loss to Michigan but was able to come back with a win over Rutgers. Wisconsin seems solidified as the third or fourth best in the Big Ten, but also a team that can beat anyone on a given night. I wouldn’t count them out just yet, but they are trending towards becoming a hit or miss type of team.
13. Missouri (8-2)
Missouri is the clear cut second-best team in the weak SEC this year. Losing to Tennessee, one of the only other respectable teams in the conference, by 20 points was a tough look, but there’s not much else to critique so far. The Tigers will get a rematch with the Vols this upcoming week.
14. Oregon (9-2)
Oregon had their third straight game cancelled this week, and have now been off since Jan. 9. Luckily for the Ducks, there were a lot of losses in front of them this week and they are able to get back into the Power 16 despite not gracing the court.
15. Creighton (10-3)
I’ve said for a couple of weeks that I just can’t bring myself to buy in to Creighton, and they showed me why with the loss to Butler. With that being said, there are only a few teams who can be solidified as top tier teams so the Blue Jays remain in the rankings for at least one more week.
16. Florida State (9-2)
Florida State beat NC State by 32 points and followed up with a close to wire-to-wire win over UNC. The top of the ACC is so packed that each week any team could make a jump to the top. With Duke, Clemson and Louisville both losing this week, the Seminoles are the team to make that jump.
Next Five: Duke, Ohio State, Louisville, Clemson, Saint Louis
Players of the Week
Colin Castleton – Florida
Colin Castleton impacted the game with his scoring, rebounding and shot blocking this week. First, he tallied 21 points, 10 rebounds, 8 blocks and 3 assists against Ole Miss. He then recorded 16 points, 7 rebounds, 6 blocks and 2 assists against Mississippi State.
Quincy Guerrier – Syracuse
This isn’t Guerrier’s first time gracing this list, and probably won’t be the last either. This week he scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and swatted 5 shots against UNC and also went for 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists against Pitt.
Sharife Cooper – Auburn
Sharife Cooper got a little bit of a late start to his freshman season, but wasted no time making an impact on the floor. Through three games this season, Cooper is averaging 21.7 points, 9.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Keep an eye on one.
Charles Bassey – Western Kentucky
Charles Bassey was a top recruit coming out of high school and recently he’s been showing why he deserved that ranking. He scored 21 points to go along with 19 rebounds and 5 blocks before scoring 24 points and grabbing 9 boards to close the week.
Tyrece Radford – Virginia Tech
The sophomore guard filed the stat sheet against Duke with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists and followed up with 20 points and 4 rebounds. Radford also was efficient, shooting 13-for-19 from the floor.
Play of the Week
What I claim to be play of the week, many will consider to be disrespectful. In response to that, I would tell you to grow up. You play to the final whistle in every game, but especially when you’re playing a top ranked team in the country. Bryce Williams stole the inbound pass when Kansas had a chance to tie at the buzzer and proceeded to finish the fastbreak with a self alley-oop off the bounce. Check it out below. https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1349236170924773376