16 of the AP Top 25 teams lost this week, wreaking havoc on our power rankings and making the impossible job of the AP voters exceedingly more difficult. The constant of Houston’s relentless pressure, Tennessee’s suffocating defense and Gonzaga’s unstoppable offense remained, pushing them into the top five of this week’s list.

The madness came a little early this year, so prepare for one of the wildest rides in recent memory from now until the scheduled madness of March ensues later this year.

1. Houston (16-1)

The Cougars are winning by an average of 25 points this season and that number could grow in the next week or two as they prepare for the bottom feeders of an unimpressive American conference.

2. Kansas (14-1)

With two road wins in a conference that could see all ten teams in the NCAA Tournament, the Jayhawks are the favorite to earn the top overall seed as they prepare for consecutive national championships.

3. Purdue (15-1)

The weight of an undefeated season is off their shoulders and Purdue responded in the best way possible with a pair of road wins against NCAA Tournament caliber teams in Ohio State and Penn State.

4. Tennessee (13-2)

After winning by more points (43) than they surrendered (42), Tennessee continued to prove why KenPom ranks them as the most efficient defense in the country. With the offense starting to find its rhythm, the Vols are a legitimate contender come Spring.

5. Gonzaga (14-3)

Gonzaga’s conference games have been more than watchable this year, they’ve been thrillers. Maybe these tightly contested conference games will serve them better than running through each opponent by 30, but we’ll find out that answer in a few months.

6. Alabama (13-2)

Since giving up 88 points to Memphis and 100 points to Gonzaga in one week, Alabama is flourishing on the defensive end, culminating in a possessed effort against Kentucky on the weekend, holding the Wildcats to 52 points with six coming in the final 30 seconds.

7. Kansas State (14-1)

You won’t find a more impressive week from any team this year than Kansas State’s. It’s easy to circle a week with road games at Texas and Baylor and pencil in two losses. Most teams would. But the Wildcats stormed into both arenas and walked out with a pair of wins and national relevance.

8. UCLA (14-2)

The Bruins have a ton of talented players who continue to alternate terrific performances without putting it all together at once. If they can do that, they’ll be the team to beat on the west coast and back in the Final Four in 2023.

9. Texas (13-2)

Chris Beard is officially gone, but the Longhorns are here to stay despite an uncharacteristic horrific defensive effort against Kansas State. Giving up 116 points in regulation is unacceptable, but they’re only averaging 81 points against them in the last two after that!

10. TCU (13-2)

A heartbreaking buzzer-beater handed the Horned Frogs their first loss since early November, but not before a massive comeback and road win against Baylor earlier in the week. I’d consider that a very successful week if I was Jamie Dixon.

11. Arizona (14-2)

Tommy Lloyd has an endless supply of plays to get the best out of his players, but it’s the players who can’t be trusted in Tucson. There is plenty of talent on the roster, but the failure to produce consistently is not a great recipe for winning in the postseason.

12. Xavier (13-3)

After handing UConn their first loss of the season last week, the Musketeers picked up where they left off with an impressive win over Villanova on the road. Their three losses came to ranked teams by a combined 13 points, so don’t let the record fool you into thinking this isn’t one of the nation’s best teams.

13. Providence (14-3)

That’s nine wins in a row for the Friars as Ed Cooley continues to turn trash into treasure via the transfer portal. Things are looking up in Providence because of it and another regular season conference title is within reach.

14. Connecticut (15-2)

Living and dying from the perimeter rather than the charity stripe is a recipe for upsets, especially in an era where upsets never cease. The Huskies will find winning away from home increasingly difficult unless they make tweaks to their style that got them here.

15. Miami (13-2)

A road loss to Georgia Tech is inexcusable but the entire body of work is still impressive enough to keep the ‘Canes around in the power rankings. They’re two games into an eight-game stretch that includes six away from home and if a loss to the Yellow Jackets is any indication of how the team will play on the road, there are more upsets on the way.

16. Iowa State (12-2)

A 3-0 start to Big 12 play is hard to come by and getting to 6-0 will be even harder with two matchups against top six teams coming in their next three. Let’s see how the pesky Cyclones fare against the Jayhawks and Longhorns over the next two weeks.

Next 5: Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri, Marquette, FAU

Players of the Week:

Marquis Nowell, Kansas State Wildcats

The easiest way to win a pair of top-20 road games is to get an average of 34 points and 12 assists from your star point guard. The 5-8 senior makes up for his lack of size with the heart of a lion and numbers that no other guard in the country will produce against the Bears and Longhorns for the rest of the year.

Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers claimed one of the best freshmen in the nation this offseason and are reaping the benefits even if it isn’t elevating the team right now. Despite the two losses this week, Hood-Schifino looked sensational leading the offense with 33 points against Northwestern and nine assists to just two turnovers in a loss to Iowa.

Maxwell Lewis, Pepperdine Waves

Four straight losses haven’t stopped Maxwell Lewis from bolstering his draft stock with incredible displays amidst his team’s failures. The 6-7 sophomore has reached 20 points in each of the last six games with a 30-point, 14-rebound effort coming in a loss to Pacific on Saturday. Lewis is certainly a mid-major prospect to keep an eye on throughout the year.

Bryce Hopkins, Providence Friars

I think John Calipari and the Wildcats might be missing Bryce Hopkins right about now. It was bad enough to lose by 25 to Alabama, but watching their former player score 27 points to knock off a top-five team? That might’ve stung a little bit more.

Dajuan Harris, Kansas Jayhawks

We’ve come to know Dajuan Harris as the best passer in college basketball, or at least one of them, but drilling all five 3-pointers against Texas Tech this week certainly came as a surprise. The senior point guard is shooting over 50% from the perimeter this season, an advancement in his game that could elevate the Jayhawks to the promised land once again.

Play of the Week:

When Brandon Murray starts driving toward the basket, get out of his way. This is a lesson Jordan Longino wish he learned before Murray delivered the dunk of the season on his head. Let’s hope the Georgetown star makes his way to an NBA Dunk Contest soon, because this monster slam deserves to be seen by millions.



Video Credit: PSC Highlights YouTube


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