Goodbye college football and hello college basketball season! This fascinating sport will finally start to get the recognition it deserves as college football fans turn their attention to a different collegiate season. There are far more than 16 teams to keep an eye on this season, but here we list the top 16 teams as we see them at this exact moment. This list is always subject to change, but if you’re looking to catch up on what is going on in college basketball, this is the best place to start.

1. Baylor (15-0)

We are down to two unbeaten teams in the entire country and the reigning champions are one of those teams. James Akinjo and Adam Flagler are playing as well as any duo in the nation and are starting to look as dominant as Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler from a season ago.

2. Auburn (14-1)

I can’t get enough of the Auburn Tigers. Their backcourt is deep, experienced and electric. They have the best rim protector in the country in Walker Kessler. (pictured) Jabari Smith is the potential #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft and perhaps the most energetic coach in the country, Bruce Pearl, is comfortable going 11-deep on his bench, which is a valuable asset more than ever before as COVID-19 continues to affect teams all over the country.

3. Arizona (12-1)

The Pac-12 has been affected by COVID postponements more than any other conference, and Saturday was already the fourth Arizona game postponed. I still think this is a top four team in the country and a lot of that has to do with Bennedict Mathurin and his National Player of the Year campaign.

4. Duke (12-2)

I’ve covered the ACC for the past two seasons on this site, and I could see this trap game coming from a mile away for the Blue Devils. Coach K has struggled against Miami in recent years and their Big 3 of guards is as good and as experienced as anyone in the country. Duke is still incredibly talented and might not suffer another defeat in conference play.

5. Gonzaga (12-2)

The Zags opened up conference play by scoring 63 points in the first half against Pepperdine. They always seem to find their rhythm once the new year comes around, but 63 points is impressive even for Mark Few’s standards. It’s easy to forget about these guys from now until March, but that could be a grave mistake when you’re filling out your bracket in a few months.

6. Purdue (13-2)

A 2-2 start to conference play leaves a lot to be desired, but Penn State nearly made it a 1-3 start for the Boilermakers. There is plenty of talent in West Lafayette, but Matt Painter and his team need to start producing in the Big Ten if they want to live up to their high expectations.

7. UCLA (10-1)

Cody Riley is finally back for the Bruins, but their bench failed to produce once again on Saturday. The starting five is one of the best in the nation, but this team is not going anywhere if their reserves fail to step up and take some pressure off the stars in LA.

8. Michigan State (13-2)

The Spartans are up to 8 wins in a row and sit at the top of the Big Ten standings alongside Illinois through 4 games. The next two wins should come farily easily, but everyone is circling their matchup in Madison against the surging Badgers two Fridays from now.

9. Houston (14-2)

I’ll be honest. When I saw that Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark were out for the season, I dropped the Cougars out of my rankings and anticipated their season was over. I was wrong. Kelvin Sampson plays a winning brand of basketball, and no two injuries can change that. Don’t be surprised if these guys run the table in the AAC and make another deep run in March.

10. Kansas (12-2)

I haven’t been as high on the Jayhawks as most people this season, and Saturday was a big indication as to why. As great as Ochai Agbaji is, this team is too dependent on their star power. Agbaji and Christian Braun have carried this team to a hot start, and even with Jalen Wilson stepping up with 20 points, Kansas still fell to #25 Texas Tech without their two leading scorers.

11. USC (13-0)

I’m still going to hold off on the USC hype for now. They have 0 ranked wins and have played several close games against far inferior opponents. There isn’t a ranked opponent on the schedule until February, but once Arizona and UCLA get a piece of the Trojans, we will learn a lot more about the second-last undefeated team standing.

12. LSU (14-1)

That poor strength of schedule argument is no longer valid when talking about the Tigers. Will Wade and his squad knocked off Kentucky and Tennessee this week to catapult into third in the SEC standings. Their three-game gauntlet to open conference play is over and a 2-1 record is more than respectable for a team that had very little cohesion coming into the season.

13. Wisconsin (12-2)

After narrow home victories against Nicholls State and Illinois State, the Badgers went on the road and defeated #3 Purdue because that totally makes sense. {Player: Johnny Davis] is the most improved player in the country, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and the National Player of the Year right now and he has his team playing their best basketball at the moment.

14. Villanova (11-4)

I think Jay Wright figured it out. After a 20-point loss to Creighton to move their season total to 4, the Wildcats rattled off four wins in a row including a 35-point revenge win against those same Blue Jays. It’s rare to see a 54-point swing between two teams in less than a month, but that’s how much better Nova is playing now compared to mid-December.

15. Kentucky (12-3)

While the Wildcats dropped another big game this week, the absence of Sahvir Wheeler and TyTy Washington for a good portion of the game cannot be understated. I don’t see any scenario where Kentucky doesn’t beat LSU if they have those two guards for the whole game. Still, it goes into the loss column and the Wildcats still lack a true road win.

16. Seton Hall (11-3)

While two of their best interior players were sidelined with COVID-19 and an injury, the Pirates dropped consecutive games to Providence and Villanova. They’ve responded at full strength with wins over Butler and UConn and look the part of a true Big East contender.

Next 5: Illinois, Iowa State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas Tech

Players of the Week:

Johnny Davis, SG, #23 Wisconsin Badgers

Nobody is playing better or improving draft stock more than Johnny Davis. The 6’5 sophomore scored 37 in the huge upset win over #3 Purdue on Monday and followed it up with 26 points while simultaneously outdueling Keegan Murray who is the only player averaging more points than Davis on the season.

Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois Fighting Illini

If anyone can challenge Davis for Big Ten Player of the Year, it is the seven-foot monster who feasts on anyone who steps in his paint. He has compiled four straight 20-point double-doubles, which is simply another day at the office for Cockburn who averages 22 points and 12 rebounds on the season.

Josh Carlton, C, #12 Houston Cougars

With Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark out for the season, Houston needed someone to replace the 27 points per game that these two accounted for. That was no problem for Carlton this week. The UConn transfer scored 30 points in 25 minutes versus South Florida and another 22 points against Wichita State on Saturday. This 26-point average didn’t quite replace Sasser and Mark’s averages, but I don’t think anyone in the Houston locker room is complaining.

Charlie Moore, PG, Miami Hurricanes

The ‘Canes knocked off #2 Duke and they owe a lot of that to their sixth-year senior guard who led the team in scoring in both wins this week. He scored 25 points in a huge comeback win over Syracuse and followed it up with 18 against the Blue Devils, but his impact went far beyond the stat sheet. Moore returned from foul trouble with just over two minutes to play and immediately made several clutch plays to propel the Hurricanes to a huge upset in Durham.

Trayce Jackson-Davis, PF, Indiana Hoosiers

Assembly Hall is never a fun place to play for opponents, but that rings especially true when Jackson-Davis is suited up for the Hoosiers. He led his team to a 2-0 record this week, including a resume-boosting upset win over #13 Ohio State. The junior big man posted 27 points and 12 rebounds in the winning effort, but he was a menace defensively with 5 blocks to help hold the Buckeyes to a season low 51 points.

Play of the Week:

LSU finally got its signature win of the season when they knocked off #16 Kentucky in front of an electric crowd in Baton Rouge. They capped off this incredible win with one of the most bizarre, but entertaining finishes you’ll ever see. Watch below to see some of the craziest 23 seconds of basketball you’ll see all season!


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