It was another tough week for the Power 16 as nine teams, including the top four, suffered defeats. We argued the point a few weeks ago, but perhaps there are no great teams in college basketball this year. That being said, we have little movement in the rankings as all nine Power 16 losses last week were away from home. It certainly goes to show how difficult it is to win on the road during conference play. On to this week’s rankings…

Rank (Last Week)
1. Ohio State (1)
The Buckeyes suffered through a sloppy, turnover-filled game at Purdue on Sunday after outlasting Michigan State at home earlier in the week. Thad Matta’s team remains #1 in our Power 16 due to losses from other top teams and due to the fact that their two losses have come on the road versus top 12 teams. A point of concern is Ohio State’s defense over the last two weeks. The Buckeyes have allowed four straight opponents to shoot over 51% from the field, with an average of 52.5%.
2. Duke (5)
You could make a case that the Blue Devils should be ranked #1, as they hold a slight edge over Ohio State in Ken Pomeroy’s computer rankings and they’ve won six straight since losing at St. John’s. However, it’s tough to get that blowout loss at St. John’s out of my mind. The other thing holding Duke back is a weak ACC. Their best win of the season was against North Carolina at Cameron. Their second best win…Michigan State? That’s just not enough ammunition for us to move Duke ahead of Ohio State or Pitt. A nod to Nolan Smith as he continued his stellar play, averaging 25 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in two games last week.
3. Pittsburgh (2)
After missing three games, Ashton Gibbs made a strong return with 26 points against St. John’s on Saturday. It’s too bad that he didn’t receive much help from his teammates. Pitt became the second top 5 team to fall in Madison Square Garden to St. John’s this season. The Panthers still hold a two-game lead in the Big East, but a difficult schedule remains.
4. Texas (3)
The Longhorns ran into a bit of a buzz saw at Nebraska on Saturday. Texas’ usually stout defense let them down in the second half as the Huskers shot 55.6% from the field. Despite a poor shooting night, the Longhorns fought their way within a possession at the end of the game. People may look at this as a bad loss, but Nebraska is 16-1 at home this season and they have a decent chance to make the NCAA Tournament field. Meanwhile, Texas could very well win their final four Big 12 games and secure a #1 seed.
5. Kansas (4)
When we’re splitting hairs among the top 5 teams in the country, the blowout loss KU suffered at erratic Kansas State last Monday is inexcusable. Uncharacteristically, the Jayhawks were outplayed in every facet of the game. All you need to know is Markieff Morris was held to 3 points and 0 rebounds. He did bounce back with a terrific performance against Colorado on Saturday, posting 26 points and 15 rebounds. KU should have an easy time with the Oklahoma schools this week, before finishing the Big 12 schedule with Texas A&M and Missouri.
6. BYU (6)
Last week’s chaos among the Power 16 had to make the Mountain West Conference very happy. The Cougars took care of business at TCU in their only game last week. Now they have a dangerous home game against Colorado State before a huge showdown at San Diego State. The two MWC schools currently rank #2 and #3 in the RPI and the winner of this game could be in prime position for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Give the Cougars credit, they’re on a five game winning streak despite Jimmer Fredette shooting only 40.1% over that span.
7. San Diego State (7)
The Aztecs have quietly won seven straight since that tough loss at BYU nearly a month ago. Many expected Steve Fisher’s team to fall off the radar after that loss, but they now find themselves in position for a #1 seed if they can avenge the earlier loss to BYU and win the MWC tournament. The good news for SDSU is Malcolm Thomas got back on track last week with 22 points and 6 rebounds against New Mexico and 20 points and 13 rebounds against Air Force. They’ll need that kind of effort from him and Kawhi Leonard will need to continue his stellar play if the Aztecs plan to get a big victory over BYU next Saturday.
8. Purdue (13)
Revenge is sweet and it’s best served in large doses, just ask Purdue. They started by avenging a tough road loss to Wisconsin by knocking off the Badgers 66-59 at Mackey Arena, behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from JaJuan Johnson. The only thing sweeter than that was a victory over Ohio State on Sunday. The same Ohio State team that thoroughly dominated the Boilers a few weeks ago in Columbus. E'twaun Moore had a career night against the Buckeyes with 38 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. His stellar performance put Purdue back in the thick of the Big Ten race as they trail Ohio State by just one game.
9. Arizona (16)
The Wildcats earned two huge victories over the Washington schools last week to take a commanding two-game lead in the Pac 10 with four games remaining. Arizona was led by sophomore forward Derrick Williams as he posted 26 points and 8 rebounds against Washington State, followed by 26 points and 11 rebounds against conference-favorite, Washington. Williams is one of the most efficient players in the nation averaging 19.7 points with a 63.1% field goal percentage, 67.5% 3-point percentage and 75.4% free throw percentage. He’s making a case for National Player of the Year and to become the top pick in this year’s draft.
10. Notre Dame (8)
Ah, if we could only figure out the Big East. Second and ninth place are separated by only two games. The conference has a legitimate opportunity to get ten teams in the NCAA Tournament field, but are any of them capable of winning a national championship? Despite a tough road loss at West Virginia, Notre Dame gets the nod over Georgetown and Villanova in our Power 16. The Irish suffered through an atypical performance against WVU, as their highly efficient offense sputtered. Mike Brey’s team averages 10 more free throw attempts per game than its opponents, but WVU got to the line 14 more times in last week’s game. The Irish need to take advantage of two winnable games this week against Providence and Seton Hall in order to maintain a hold on one of the coveted top 4 seeds in the Big East.
11. Georgetown (9)
The Hoyas’ 8-game winning streak came to an end at UConn Wednesday night. Their defense let them down as the Huskies shot 54.2% from the field and the Hoyas didn’t have their typically efficient effort on the offensive end. Georgetown bounced back with a tougher-than-expected win over South Florida on Saturday. Chris Wright had an outstanding week, averaging 22.5 points, while Austin Freeman struggled with an 8 point average on 26.1% shooting. The Hoyas are still in position to gain a top 4 seed in the Big East with a home-and-home against Cincinnati and a home game against Syracuse left on the schedule.
12. Villanova (12)
The Wildcats held on to their hope for a top 4 seed in the Big East Tournament with excruciatingly close wins over Seton Hall and last-place DePaul. It’s painfully obvious that Jay Wright’s club misses its second-leading scorer, Corey Stokes who’s missed the last three games due to turf toe. Unfortunately, the Wildcats may be without their senior guard for the rest of the month, which includes games against Syracuse, St. John’s and Notre Dame. With the most difficult remaining schedule in the league, the Wildcats will need Corey Fisher to step up as he did with 34 points against DePaul.
13. Wisconsin (10)
The Badgers were unable to follow up their thrilling win over Ohio State as they fell to Purdue Wednesday night. The Badgers couldn’t overcome a woeful performance from the 3-point line (3 for 19), despite a strong night from Jon Leuer. The senior forward scored 23 points against Purdue and he followed that with a 22-point, 10-rebound performance in a win over Penn State. Wisconsin is probably on the outside looking in concerning the Big Ten race, but with a game at Ohio State and the Big Ten Tournament remaining, they will have a chance to boost their NCAA Tournament seeding.
14. Connecticut (11)
The Huskies have had several players step up with big performances throughout the year, showing that they are not just a one-man squad. However, when Kemba Walker struggles, so does his team. In UConn’s six losses, Walker is 35 of 113 (31.0%) from the field. In their 20 wins, he shot 163 of 349 (46.7%). That fact was evident last week as UConn earned a big win over Georgetown when Walker scored 31 points on 13 of 23 shooting. That was followed by a loss at Louisville when he scored 16 points on 3 of 10 shooting. Despite the strong efforts at times from Alex Oriakhi, Jeremy Lamb and recently, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, the Huskies need Kemba Walker to be efficient in order to win games.
15. Florida (14)
Following six days off and playing without Chandler Parsons, the Gators were able to win their fifth straight as they knocked off LSU on the road. Florida was led by Vernon Macklin who set the tone in the first half, eventually finishing the game with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Guard combo Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker also contributed with 17 points apiece. Billy Donovan’s team holds a two-game lead in the SEC East with only four games remaining. Unfortunately, the Gators may have the toughest remaining schedule in the conference with road games against Kentucky and Vanderbilt and home games with Georgia and Alabama.
16. Louisville (15)

Win one, lose one. It’s the story of the Big East this season. The Cardinals dropped a poor performance at Cincinnati Wednesday night as they struggled shooting from the outside and weren’t able to pressure effectively. The Cardinals bounced back with a dominant performance against UConn on Saturday. Louisville used a suffocating defensive effort to slow Kemba Walker and they got a surprisingly good effort from Gorgui Dieng. The freshman center had his first double-double with 13 points and 12 boards.

Dropped out: None.

Email questions or opinions to Josh [email protected]


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