The start of the most exciting two weeks of any sport is just seven days away, which gives us one final chance to rank the top teams in college basketball before all the conference tournaments begin.

It was an unbelievable week of college hoops with incredible individual performances, unprecedented buzzer-beaters and potential legends of March being born before our eyes. Before we enter the final week of the regular season, let’s take a look at who is looking the best at the best possible time.

1. UConn (26-3)

Dan Hurley promised to be better following a big loss to Creighton two weeks ago and the Huskies have been just that. In two wins against desperate bubble teams, UConn outscored Villanova and now Seton Hall by 54 total points and look like the best team in the country once again.

2. Houston (26-3)

If you needed another example for what makes Houston one of the best teams in America, go look at the play Jamal Shead made to knock off Oklahoma on Saturday. The man is simply a winner and with him in the backcourt, the Cougars should be confident against any team in the country.

3. Purdue (26-3)

Another year, another Big Ten title for Matt Painter and the Boilermakers. Zach Edey was sensational on Saturday with 32 points and 11 rebounds to clinch at least a share of that title but it will only take one win or an Illinois loss to make it outright. Two more titles could easily be on the way with him and the rest of the Boilermakers seemingly hitting their stride at just the right time.

4. Tennessee (23-6)

Is anyone playing better basketball right now than Tennessee? Only one other team in the SEC has held Alabama to 74 points or fewer and it was South Carolina who lost by 27 anyway. The Volts have now done it twice and have the offensive firepower to complement this incredible defense.

5. Arizona (23-6)

The Wildcats continue to control their own destiny in the Pac-12 title race after three straight double-digit wins. However, a road trip to Southern California awaits where UCLA and USC will surely make them earn it.

6. North Carolina (23-6)

Monday’s win was all about RJ Davis. Saturday’s win was about the impressive depth and talent that now surrounds him. Both Davis’ ascension and almost an entirely rebuilt rotation around him have led to a resurgence in Chapel Hill that makes them one of the best teams in the sport.

7. Iowa State (23-6)

Something special is going on in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones just keep winning and are much more of a threat than many realize. It’s clearly not easy to win on any night in the Big 12 and they are now 12-4 with more of a chance at winning the title than dropping out of second. This is not a team you want to play with your season on the line.

8. Duke (23-6)

Virginia would likely struggle scoring against a high school opponent right now but what the Blue Devils did against that stifling defensive was extremely impressive. The immense talent is finally starting to gel in Durham, and I doubt North Carolina wants anything to do with it on Saturday night with the ACC regular season title on the line.

9. Kansas (21-7)

Bill Self lost his seventh Big 12 game in a season for the first time in his career, which is ridiculous when you take a second to truly process it. Can the Jayhawks turn things around or are they poised for another early exit in just a few weeks?

10. Marquette (22-8)

It’s hard to punish a team for competing as long as Marquette did on the road without its two best and most important players. Everything runs through Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro, so to play as well as they did without them was impressive. If anything, people should be more confident in the Golden Eagles after this week.

11. Baylor (22-7)

It certainly took some time, but this new-look Baylor team is starting to build some chemistry ahead of the final week of the regular season. Yves Missi is getting better by the day and is a game-wrecker who can shut down any center and dominate them at the other end. With him anchoring a trio of terrific guards, Scott Drew could have another title contender in 2024.

12. Creighton (21-8)

The Blue Jays might have picked up another top-five win on Saturday but without both Kolek and Ighodaro playing, Marquette was far from a top-five team. Still, if they can reach the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and stave off upset bids, it’s easy to picture Creighton going on a deep run with its talent and length.

13. Gonzaga (24-6)

Uh oh. Gonzaga is officially back. The Zags have now avenged both losses in 2024 and are clear favorites in the WCC after a beatdown of Saint Mary’s in Moraga. Ryan Nembhard is starting to look like the player we expected to see coming into the year and puts this team on another level when he plays like he did on Saturday.

14. South Carolina (24-5)

Any high-major team with five or fewer losses heading into the final week deserves major props. The only three teams who can hold to this feat outside of the Gamecocks are ranked in the top-three, so take that for what it’s worth. Give credit where it’s due to Lamont Paris and his overachieving group.

15. Kentucky (21-8)

There’s no more exciting team in college basketball than the Kentucky Wildcats. Not only are they exciting, but they’re also starting to figure out how to win down the stretch, which is a lethal development in Lexington.

Enjoy this Wildcats team while you can because it is truly one of the most talented rosters we’ve seen in the sport in a long time. Whether they can turn that talent into wins in March is a completely different story, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

16. Saint Mary’s (24-7)

Well that’s one way to ruin your first outright conference championship in 12 years. The Gaels claimed that title on Thursday but still got stomped by their big brother, Gonzaga, to close out the season on their home floor. It’s extremely likely we see a rematch in the WCC Tournament next week, but until then, all the momentum and confidence resides in Spokane.

Next 5: San Diego State, Washington State, Illinois, Auburn, Utah State

Players of the Week:

RJ Davis, No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels

If there was any doubt about Davis making it as a first-team All-American this season, he put it to bed on Monday night against Miami. The senior dropped a career-high 42 points and went 7-11 from beyond the arc along the way. Although he couldn’t replicate that on Saturday, Davis stepped up down the stretch to close out NC State and continue UNC’s winning streak.

Reed Sheppard, No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats

One of those losses for Arkansas came at the hands of Sheppard and the Wildcats but that’s not the game to talk about from the freshman’s stellar week. Kentucky trailed for the vast majority of Tuesday’s trip to Starkville until Sheppard took over late and finished a floater in the lane with a second left to pick up a critical road win over the Bulldogs.

Dalton Knecht, No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers

It was a quiet night for Knecht on Saturday but his 39-point performance against Auburn was enough to land him on this list. The SEC Player of the Year race is all but wrapped up now but Antonio Reeves will have another chance to change that in the season finale on Saturday, which could also be one of the games of the year between the Vols and Kentucky.

Khalif Battle, Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas might have gone 0-2 this week but Battle was the last person to blame as his scorching hot streak continued after a 42-point effort last week. The Temple transfer averaged 35 points in two more games, which is a 22-point boost from his season average. Whatever he’s been doing lately is working and it’s a shame it’s going to waste in a disappointing season for the Razorbacks.

Tucker DeVries, Drake Bulldogs

DeVries put up 39 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and four steals against UIC on Wednesday, yet none of these stats were his most impressive of the night. It was his 54 minutes in a triple overtime victory that helped shake off a loss to Northern Iowa from the previous game. The junior shined once again versus Bradley and continues to show why he could be one of the biggest sleepers in this summer’s draft.

Play of the Week

It must be March. Because buzzer-beaters like the one we saw this weekend in the Western Michigan and Ball State game simply don’t happen in any other month. The madness is here and the bracket is starting to take shape. Before we look ahead to that however, let’s take a look back at this crazy finish to hand the Broncos a thrilling win.

Video Credit: ESPN


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