The regular season is coming to a close in the next couple of weeks, and with that will surely bring a couple of crazy upsets. For now, I think most people have recognized that there are two teams head and shoulders above the rest as well as about 10-or-so others that could potentially be cutting down the nets. Maybe things could change, but I don’t see a middle or low seed making a miraculous run this year. Anyways, check out this week’s Power 16 and Players of the Week.
1. Gonzaga (20-0)
Gonzaga is just a couple of games away from completing the undefeated regular season and there seems to be little resistance on the path to perfection. We aren’t too far removed from the wins over Kansas, Auburn, West Virginia, Iowa and Virginia but the Zags seem just as dominant as ever. The Bulldogs should be a pretty sizable favorite heading into the postseason.
2. Baylor (17-0)
Due to some cancellations, Baylor didn’t play a game this week and will only play once during the upcoming week. The Bears have been closing the gap between Gonzaga, but still should be solidified as the second-best team in the country.
3. Michigan (14-1)
In their only game of the week, the Wolverines beat Wisconsin and improved to 14-1 on the year. The final three games of the month will be tough between the likes of Rutgers, Ohio State and Indiana, but Michigan seems more than capable of pulling it off.
4. Virginia (15-3)
With wins over Georgia Tech and UNC, Virginia keeps on rolling in the ACC. People were quick to count out UVA as a contender back when the team lost to San Francisco, but the Cavaliers look to be one of the best teams in the country right now.
5. Ohio State (17-4)
The Buckeyes seem to be peaking at the right time, rattling off six straight wins over some tough competition. With a looming matchup against Michigan on Sunday, Ohio State will be in a good position to cement itself as the top dog in the Big Ten.
6. USC (17-3)
Similarly to Michigan in the beginning of the year, USC is getting heavily disrespected in the national polls. I hate to brag, but it really wasn’t too hard to see the talent Michigan had, and it’s the same case with the Trojans. With 10 wins in the last 11 games and the only loss by two points, USC is one of the hottest teams in the nation and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
7. Florida State (11-3)
Florida State beat Wake Forest in overtime in its only game of the week. The next two games won’t be easy as the Seminoles will play Virginia and Virginia Tech, arguably the best teams in the conference, back-to-back. It’s a make or break kind of week for FSU.
8. Illinois (14-5)
Illinois had a game cancelled against Michigan, but beat Nebraska in overtime to improve to 14-5. The Fighting Illini has had many ups and downs, but seem to have maybe stabled the ship a little bit. Illinois is the type of team who could win the entire tournament or get bounced in the first round.
9. Virginia Tech (14-4)
The Hokies did not play this week and thus remain at 14-4 on the year. With the upcoming UNC game already postponed, VTech will now look forward to a Saturday tilt against Florida State which should separate the two closely ranked teams.
10. Villanova (13-3)
Villanova has now lost two games in as many weeks after a 16-point loss to Creighton this week. The Wildcats are clearly struggling right now and need to fix things fast in order to compete in the postseason. Look for Nova to bounce back in the Big East tournament.
11. Texas (13-5)
Texas had a bit of a rough stretch, but might be back on track after a couple of wins over Kansas State and TCU. The wins themselves aren’t too impressive, but a win over Oklahoma this week could be the true sign of a replenished Longhorn team.
12. Oklahoma (13-5)
I’m sure many people would argue that OU should be ranked ahead of Texas, but beating the Longhorns by a single point while they were missing three important pieces didn’t do it for me. Seeing both teams play at full strength this week should be an exciting game and tell a lot about the outlook of the Big 12.
13. Alabama (17-5)
Alabama scored a program record for a conference game by hanging 115 points on Georgia this week. The Crimson Tide offense can be lethal, but the defensive side of things has left a lot to be desired. Regardless, the season has been pretty smooth sailing and the team is firmly leading the conference standings.
14. Houston (17-2)
The Cougars beat South Florida in the team’s only game of the week. Houston isn’t a great team in my eyes, but they are good. They’ll probably beat a lot of solid teams in the power conferences, but I don’t see this team competing with the elite teams in the country.
15. Iowa (15-6)
Iowa bounced back with two wins over Rutgers and Michigan State. I continue to believe that the Hawkeyes are one of the top teams in the nation when playing their best ball, but we need to see that consistency in these closing weeks of the regular season.
16. Creighton (16-5)
Creighton picked up a huge win over Villanova this week and will look to use that momentum to close the regular season on a strong note. The two teams will have a rematch in a couple of weeks, giving the Blue Jays a chance to prove the win wasn’t a fluke.
Next Five: Missouri, Tennessee, Louisville, West Virginia, Texas Tech
Players of the Week
Drew Timme – Gonzaga
Drew Timme has put up good numbers all season long and this week was no different. He recorded 20 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of steals before tallying 28 points, 10 boards and 2 blocks. He was also super efficient, shooting 19-for-24 from the field between the two games.
Johnny Juzang – UCLA
Johnny Juzang had a hell of a week. He had a 32-point, 7-rebound, 3-assist outing against Washington to go along with a 25-point, 7-rebound outing against Washington State. When you average nearly 30 points per game in a week, it’s likely you’ll end up on this list.
Jalen Wilson – Kansas
Kansas played Iowa State twice this week, and Jalen Wilson had the Cyclone’s number. Wilson went for 16 points and 11 rebounds in game one and followed up with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists in game two. He shot 14-for-25 from the floor in the games combined.
Joe Wieskamp – Iowa
Usually the Iowa player who makes this week is Luka Garza, but this time around it’s Joe Wieskamp. He scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Rutgers as well as 21 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists against Michigan State. Wieskamp shot 10-for-14 from deep in the two contests.
Derek Culver – West Virginia
Derek Culver is no stranger to this list and he’s here once again. Culver had 29 points to go along with 14 rebounds against Oklahoma and also put up a 15-point, 8-rebound outing against Texas Tech. Culver is now averaging 20.8 points and 11.0 rebounds over the last five games.
Play of the Week
There were some tough finalists for Play of the Week but Keon Johnson gets the nod with his dunk against Georgia. There’s just something special about this dunk, it’s like time stops while he’s lifting up for the poster. The rim hang was pretty solid too. Check it out below.