Well, it seems like the wheels are falling off the bus here. Over half of last week’s Power 16 lost this week which leads to some major shake ups in the rankings. I can’t remember a year that had so much disparity between the top teams (Gonzaga, Baylor) and the rest of the country, but it seems pretty clear that those two are far and away the best the NCAA has to offer. Anyways, here’s the Power 16 and Players of the Week.
1 Gonzaga (18-0)
The Zags rolled Pacific in their only game of the week to improve to 18-0 on the year. It was reported that Mark Few reached out to Villanova to set up a game, but Jay Wright claimed they had to focus on the Big East. Unfortunately, the rest of Gonzaga’s schedule is very easy so there won’t be a true challenge. Maybe BYU could put up a fight, but the Bulldogs are likely to finish the regular season undefeated.
2. Baylor (17-0)
Baylor also played just one game during the week but picked up a convincing win over Texas. The road ahead is not an easy one for the Bears as they will play Texas Tech and West Virginia twice in the team’s next three games. If Baylor can finish the season unbeaten, it will be tough to keep them away from the top spot.
3. Michigan (13-1)
For the second straight week, Michigan did not play a game. The next game on the schedule isn’t until Sunday, so the team should be rested for the matchup against Wisconsin. For now, Michigan holds one of the best records in the NCAA while competing in one of the tougher conferences.
4. Virginia (13-3)
Due to some absolute chaos in the Power 16, Virginia finds themselves back towards the top of the rankings. The Cavaliers have been flying under the radar for the most part this season, but they’ve quietly been the most consistent team in the ACC. UVA may not be as dominant as the last couple of seasons, but it’s still a dangerous team.
5. Ohio State (15-4)
The Buckeyes added a huge win over Iowa this week and will now look forward to a couple of tune-up games before the big clash against Michigan. The Big Ten is stacked this year and Ohio State has cemented itself as one of the top dogs.
6. Villanova (12-2)
I’m very disappointed with Villanova for a couple of reasons. First, the double-digit loss to St. John’s is a bad look, but it happens. Second, Jay Wright turned down a chance to play Gonzaga because their “priority has to be the Big East.” I don’t respect teams that duck competition. A loss to Gonzaga would probably be more impactful than a win over Georgetown anyway, but who knows? Keep worrying about the Big East, a conference that will only have 3-4 teams make the tournament.
7. USC (15-3)
Last week I put the Trojans in the Power 16 despite the team not being ranked nationally. They confirmed my suspicion that they had the best team in the conference by beating nationally-ranked UCLA by nearly 20 points. USC’s three losses have come by a combined 15 points.
8. Missouri (13-3)
Mizzou added two wins over Kentucky and Alabama to move back into the conversation as best in the SEC. The Tigers have been inconsistent at times, but they have beaten both Bama and Tennessee. The SEC is pretty top-heavy, but Missouri has made a strong case to be the best of the best.
9. Florida State (10-3)
Florida State had a couple of cancellations this week and won’t play again until Saturday against Wake Forest. The Seminoles move up the rankings since basically every team in the Power 16 lost this week, but have a good enough resume to hold its weight. FSU is probably the second-best team in the ACC right now.
10. Illinois (13-5)
The Fighting Illini season has been a roller coaster to say the least. Losses to Baylor, Missouri, Rutgers, Maryland and Ohio State paired with wins over Duke, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin makes up one of the most complex resumes in the country. Right now, Illinois is hot and looks to keep rolling.
11. Virginia Tech (14-4)
VTech may have been a little too satisfied with the win over Virginia two weeks ago, because they responded with an 11-point loss to Pitt to open up the week. I still believe that the Hokies are a legit basketball team that can compete with most teams on any given night. That being said, they aren’t the most consistent and are prone to an off night.
12. Tennessee (13-4)
Tennessee suffered a loss to a mediocre Ole Miss to open the week before beating Kentucky. The Vols are talented, but seem to just now show up some nights. Two upcoming games against very respectable Florida and LSU will give Tennessee a good chance to get back on track.
13. Texas (11-5)
The Longhorns had a tough week. A loss to Baylor is more than understandable, but the loss to Oklahoma State in overtime wasn’t great. I think Oklahoma State is a good team, but Texas has developed a certain level of expectations that just weren’t met this week. The Longhorns need a big bounce back in the next week or two.
14. Oklahoma (12-5)
Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech and beat Iowa State this week. A game against Baylor has already been cancelled, but a clash against West Virginia on Saturday will be an important game for both teams who are looking to rebound from a loss.
15. Alabama (15-5)
Alabama’s week consisted of a win over LSU followed by a three-point loss to Missouri. The loss was the Crimson Tide’s first in conference play, so they are still in the conversation as the SEC’s best. It’s a close race at the top of the conference, but Alabama’s schedule is relatively easy from here on out.
16. Houston (16-2)
I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t think Houston is legit. With another loss, this time to East Carolina, I’m questioning if the Cougars can move past the second round in the NCAA Tournament.
Next Five: Iowa, Louisville, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Creighton
Players of the Week
Trayce Jackson-Davis – Indiana
Trayce Jackson-Davis is the leader of a pretty solid Indiana squad this season. He put up 19 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks before going for 17 points and 12 rebounds to close the week. These types of numbers have been normal for the sophomore.
Sharife Cooper – Auburn
With two losses, Auburn had a tough week. However, Sharife Cooper continued to play as strong as anyone. He recorded 19 points, 9 assists and a pair of steals against Georgia. Cooper then went for 15 points, 14 assists and 3 steals against Ole Miss.
Kofi Cockburn – Illinois
Kofi Cockburn has been on this list before and could very likely find his way here again. This week he tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks against Indiana and 23 points to go along with 14 boards against Wisconsin.
Grant Sherfield – Nevada
Grant Sherfield had the benefit of playing three games this week. He had an 18-point and 4-assist outing, a 20-point and 14-assist performance as well as a 29-point, 8-assist and 6-rebound game to end the week. For the week, Sherfield averaged 22.3 points, 8.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2 steals per game.
Julian Champagnie – St. John’s
Julian’s brother, Justin, has made this list before, but this is the first time for the St. John’s product. Champagnie scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Providence and also scored 14 points paired with 13 rebounds and 3 blocks against Villanova.
Play of the Week
Greg Brown had Play of the Week in the first Power 16 of the season, and he’s back for more this time around. Although Texas lost to Baylor, Brown was able to put one down on a defender’s head. How this lesson isn’t learned yet is beyond me. Don’t jump with Brown or you’re gonna end up on the floor and on the wrong end of a poster. Check it out below.
P.S. – Stop giving players technical fouls for looking at other players.
— CollegeSlam (@CollegeSLAM) February 3, 2021