Another month is the books and the college basketball regular season is coming to a close quicker than expected. The closing month of the season has a lot to look forward to. Possible undefeated teams, extreme overachievers, underachievers, and anything else you can imagine. Each week leaves a handful of ranked teams with a loss and new teams moving into the Power 16 in their spot. Check out this week’s Power 16 and Players of the Week.
1 Gonzaga (17-0)
The Zags continue to roll, picking up two wins by a combined margin of 50 points over San Diego and Pepperdine. Gonzaga is in the home stretch of completing an undefeated season and honestly, there’s no reason it shouldn’t happen. It would actually be disappointing if the Bulldogs don’t run the table.
2. Baylor (16-0)
With wins over Kansas State and Auburn this week, Baylor continues to make a case for the best team in the country. The road ahead for the Bears isn’t an easy one. Baylor will still have to play Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and West Virginia before the season ends. If they can finish the season unbeaten, it might be hard to keep them out of the No. 1 spot.
3. Villanova (11-1)
Villanova hasn’t been winning in an impressive way recently, but a win is a win at the end of the day. Nova shouldn’t have too much trouble with the rest of the schedule, and any more than one loss could be a bit worrisome for the Wildcats.
4. Michigan (13-1)
The Wolverines didn’t play this week and aren’t scheduled to grace the hardwood again until Feb. 11th. Once they return, Michigan will play Illinois and Wisconsin in a couple of tough tests. For now, they remain one of the elite teams in the country.
5. Houston (15-1)
I still am not completely sold on Houston, but they continue to blow teams out and that’s what I need to see to believe they can compete with the best. Unfortunately, there’s no real test left on the schedule, so we’ll look for the Cougars to continue winning by big margins.
6. Texas (11-3)
Texas did lose it’s only game of the week to Oklahoma, but the Longhorns were missing a couple of key players in the game and still only lost by a point. There will be a huge opportunity for a bounce back when they square off against Baylor on Tuesday.
7. Virginia Tech (13-3)
I’ve been higher on Virginia Tech than most for a while, but with the convincing win over Virginia it’s hard to keep counting them out. It’s crazy to think we’re in a world where the Hokies are the top team in the ACC, but that may be the truth this year.
8. Tennessee (12-3)
The Vols picked up a big win over Kansas in which they led from start to finish. Every time a team starts to pull away from the pack in the SEC, something wild happens that shakes up the conference. However, for now, I consider Tennessee the best team in the conference.
9. Oklahoma (11-4)
Last week I had OU as the first team out of the Next Five, but with three straight wins over Kansas, Texas and Alabama, how can I not have the Sooners jump into the top 10. With the Big 12 being so loaded, anything can happen, but it seems to be a legit possibility that Oklahoma could give Baylor a run for its money.
10. Virginia (11-3)
Virginia lost a game for the first time since Dec. 26 this week at the hands of Virginia Tech. The AP Poll will likely be more harsh than I am to the Cavaliers, but I think VTech is a very good team and that UVA shouldn’t be punished too hard. The remaining schedule has some interesting matchups for Virginia and should give more clarity to the confusing ACC.
11. Ohio State (14-4)
Coming off the Wisconsin win, Ohio State survived a scare from Penn State on Wednesday and closed the week with a win over Michigan State. For as good as the Big Ten is, the teams just continue to beat up on eachother, but Ohio State is doing a damn good job avoiding the mess. Next week’s matchup with Iowa will likely determine the second-best team in the conference.
12. Iowa (12-4)
It’s insane for me to think that Iowa is falling off this hard. At their best, I think the Hawkeyes are one of the top four or five teams in the country, but the product we’ve seen on the court is far from the team’s best lately. Another loss this week, this time against Illinois, should leave fans worried about the rest of the Iowa season.
13. USC (13-3)
USC has been flying under the radar for a while, but I believe that the Trojans are the best team in the PAC 12. The Mobley brothers are the leaders of the team, but there is a strong supporting cast that can pick up some slack when needed. I like USC moving forward.
14. Missouri (11-3)
Let’s face it, Mizzou did not play good basketball this week. A loss to Auburn and an OT win against a mediocre TCU is a tough stretch. However, I can’t let myself forget that this team just beat Tennessee and still has one of the better records in the country.
15. Creighton (13-4)
Wins against Seton Hall and DePaul isn’t anything to write home about, but they’re wins regardless. I’ve been very critical of the Blue Jays and still think they have some things to smooth out, but I really want to see the Villanova matchup again before a final decision is made.
16. Alabama (14-4)
Alabama ran into an Oklahoma team that is absolutely on fire and lost it’s first game in about a month and a half. I’m not ringing the alarm by any means, but I’m very interested to see the upcoming game against Missouri on Saturday.
Next Five: Florida State, Illinois, Florida, Oklahoma State, Louisville
Players of the Week
Jeremiah Tilmon – Missouri
Jeremiah Tilmon is making a big impact on Mizzou this season. This week he had a 21-point, 10-rebound and 6-block outing against Auburn before going for 33 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks against TCU.
Moses Wright – Georgia Tech
Moses Wright is the first player from Georgia Tech to make the Players of the Week list since I started writing them. He tallied 12 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks against Duke as well as 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks in the win over Florida State. Big week for the big man.
Justin Champagnie – Pittsburgh
Justin Champagnie is becoming a familiar face on this list. This time around, Champagnie put up 23 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks against UNC. He also went for 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks against Notre Dame.
Trevion Williams – Purdue
Trevion Williams has been close to making this list a couple of times, but he finally makes it this week. With a 14-point and 11-rebound performance along with a 17-point and 14-rebound night, he’s well deserving of being a Player of the Week.
Keve Aluma – Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is thriving this year, and Keve Aluma has been helping that cause. Aluma had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists in the win against Virginia. He also had 14 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks against Notre Dame.
Play of the Week
There were alot of great plays this week, and it was pretty tough to decide a singular winner for Play of the Week. At the end of the day, Jalen Johnson’s fastbreak poster against Clemson had to take the cake. Cory Alexander summed up the play perfectly on the call, so watch the dunk below, listen to the call and decide for yourself what this defender could have possibly been thinking.