The Power 16 was shaken to its core last week as 12 teams suffered at least one loss. We witnessed several surprises in the Big East as Pitt, UCONN, Villanova and Syracuse all lost to teams outside of last week’s Power 16. Ohio State strengthened its hold on the top spot after throttling Purdue and pulling out a close win at Northwestern. Last week also produced a legendary game out of the Mountain West Conference as two top 10 teams squared off and Jimmer Fredette became a household name. There’s plenty of movement in this week’s Power 16, but we expect to see more as the conference races are heating up.

Rank (Last Week)
1. Ohio State (1)
The Buckeyes put on a show last Tuesday with a dominating performance against Purdue. This was probably the most complete and impressive performance by any team in the country this season. Many pundits will point to that victory as reason for Ohio State’s #1 ranking. I would suggest that their ability to scrap through difficult conference road games, as they did against Northwestern, is the real reason that this is the #1 team in the nation. 12 other Power 16 teams were not able to pull out such victories last week.
2. Kansas (4)
Give Bill Self and his team a great deal of credit for bouncing back from a tough loss against Texas and an even tougher situation in dealing with the passing of Thomas Robinson’s mother. The Jayhawks put a solid effort together in a tough environment at Colorado. Then, they demolished stumbling Kansas State behind an uplifting 17-point 9-rebound performance from Robinson. The next few weeks should be manageable for KU and they’ll need to perform well to keep pace with Texas.
3. Texas (6)
Perhaps no team in the country is playing better than Texas right now. The Longhorns followed up an emotional road win at Kansas by pummeling Oklahoma St on the road and handling a very good Missouri squad. Texas has been a solid defensive team all year, yielding an un-adjusted 0.87 points per possession. But, they’ve been even better in Big 12 play, allowing a meager 0.84 ppp. A big test awaits Monday night as the Longhorns travel to Texas A&M.
4. Pittsburgh (3)
This was the week of the upset, and one of the more surprising upsets came in the Notre Dame – Pitt game. The Irish employed their “burn” offense to perfection, hitting 48.7% of their shots and limiting the number of possessions for Pitt’s potent offense. The Panthers struggled from the field again Saturday night at Rutgers, but their dominance on the boards and a 24-point performance from Ashton Gibbs helped them to survive.
5. Duke (2)
The Blue Devils entered a hornet’s nest at Madison Square Garden on Sunday as a red-hot St. John’s team blew them out of the building. It’s just another example of how difficult it is to win mid-season road games in college basketball. I made the point last week that Duke has become a two-man team following the loss of Kyrie Irving. They were exactly that against St. John’s as Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler accounted for 52 of Duke’s 78 points. If you can slow one of those two down and keep Duke from hitting a high percentage of 3’s, you have an excellent chance to win.
6. UConn (5)
UConn suffered a tough loss in double-OT against Louisville, but it’s tough to penalize them given the bloodbath among ranked teams last week. I would argue that the Huskies are getting better and more dangerous by the game. Kemba Walker and Alex Oriakhi carried this team through the first half of the season, but freshman Jeremy Lamb has become a viable scoring option, averaging 17.6 points over the last five games. Another freshman, Shabazz Napier had a solid week, averaging 17 pts in two games.
7. BYU (7)
It’s Jimmer’s world and the rest of us are just living in it. Jimmer Fredette is quickly becoming a household name and his legend grew with a 43-point performance against San Diego State Wednesday night. That showing likely vaulted Fredette into the lead for national player of the year and it gave BYU a leg up in the MWC race. Jimmer followed that up with a 32-point effort at New Mexico, but a poor defensive performance by the Cougars led to a tough loss. BYU has another huge conference game on the schedule next Saturday against UNLV in Provo.
8. San Diego State (8)
The Aztecs got Jimmered Wednesday night, but this is still a very good team. It’s always tough to win in Provo given the 4,500-feet altitude, but it’s impossible when Fredette poors in an unconscious 43-points. SDSU’s star Kawhi Leonard had a night of his own with 22-points and 15-rebounds. He followed that with one of his worst games, but his teammates picked him up in a blowout against Wyoming. One area of concern has been the play of Malcolm Thomas over the past two weeks. The Aztecs third-leading scorer is averaging 6.5 ppg on 35.7% shooting in that span.
9. Kentucky (14)
The Wildcats had a relatively quiet week gaining a victory in its only game. UK avenged a loss to Georgia by picking up a 6-point win at home. Still, the key for this team will be consistency. They have two important weeks coming up on the SEC schedule, so we’ll see if this team is a real contender or if they continue their immature and inconsistent play. Specifically, Terrance Jones needs to shake his recent struggles if UK hopes to pull away from the SEC East pack.
10. Villanova (7)
Perhaps no result last week was as surprising as Villanova’s loss to Providence. That’s a show of strength for the Big East as one of its bottom-feeders knocked off two ranked opponents in a row. As for Villanova, they really struggled shooting the ball, hitting only 35.9% of their shots in two games last week. Their poor shooting combined with a hot Austin Freeman led to a second-straight loss. It doesn’t get any easier this week as the Wildcats host Marquette and WVU.
11. Purdue (11)
For a veteran laden team, Purdue sure looked wide-eyed and intimated in Columbus Tuesday night. The Boilermakers were embarrassed by the Buckeyes, being outplayed in every facet of the game. However, they displayed the mark of a good team by bouncing back against a good Minnesota squad Saturday. JaJuan Johnson continued his impressive run through Big Ten play, extending his streak of 20-plus point games to six. He’ll need to continue that run if Purdue is to win at Wisconsin Tuesday night.
12. Missouri (12)
Mizzou dropped their only game of the week at surging Texas. There’s no shame in defeat at the hands of the Longhorns, especially the way they’re playing right now. However, Mizzou needs to win some of these games against top-level teams in order to be considered a real threat in March. The Tigers interior play and rebounding have been suspect all season and it cost them against Texas. Mizzou’s deficiency on the boards could be their undoing as the season progresses.
13. Louisville (NR)
The Cardinals had a huge week winning in the final seconds against WVU and rallying for a double-OT victory at UCONN. With the two wins, Louisville ran its Big East record to 6-2, good for sole possession of second place. Peyton Siva led the way averaging 16.5 pts and 5 assists, while hitting the game-winner against WVU and several clutch buckets against UCONN. A huge match-up awaits Rick Pitino’s team at Georgetown Monday night.
14. Texas A&M (13)
The Aggies suffered somewhat of a letdown at Nebraska in their lone game last week. The Huskers used its physical defense to hold A&M to a meager 48 points on 39.1% shooting. Nebraska is undefeated at home this season, so it’s not a terrible loss for the Aggies. However, they need to regroup quickly as they host conference leader, Texas, on Monday night.
15. Notre Dame (NR)
The Irish finally got off the schneid with their first true road victory of the season last week. They did it at Pitt’s Peterson Events Center, one of the toughest road environments in the country. The win moved Notre Dame to 6-3, right in the thick of the Big East race. Unfortunately for Mike Brey, his team has nine days off until their next game, which is at DePaul this Thursday. We’ll see if the Irish can take advantage of a relatively easy schedule, for Big East standards, over the next two weeks.
16. Georgetown (NR)
After a 1-4 start to Big East play the Hoyas have bounced back with four consecutive victories. Georgetown knocked off Villanova on Saturday using the same hot shooting that got them off to an 11-1 start to the season. Austin Freeman blitzed Villanova for 30 points and 6 assists, taking the game over down the stretch. Life in the Big East doesn’t get any easier as the Hoyas host Louisville Monday night and a suddenly dangerous Providence team on Saturday.

Dropped out: Syracuse (10), Wisconsin (15), Washington (16)

Email questions or opinions to Josh [email protected]



  1. I like this list. The ranking

     I like this list. The ranking is perfect as of teams that are hot, cold and slipping. I always consider Texas as a Top Five Team after that win over Kansas.


    Here my Top Five

    1. Ohio State – Undefeated season so far

    2. Kansas – only loss to Texas

    3. Pittsburgh – Two losses came against a solid Tennessee team and well coached Big east team in Fighting Irish

    4. Texas – Two of three lost came from top five teams from current college basketball rankings. 

    5. Uconn – Loss all games in conference play. Against Pitt and the Fighting Irish who beat Pitt as well. 


    Duke has been slipping lately, they currently lost to a sub .500 team in the Big East. That’s why they dont make my top five.

  2. Nova will be in the top 5

    nova will be in the top 5 after you see what they did to WVU They where hitting threes from everywhere on the court. They where hitting Fredette threes!

  3. Nova will be in the top 5

    nova will be in the top 5 after you see what they did to WVU They where hitting threes from everywhere on the court. They where hitting Fredette threes!

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