NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 12/21/2015 - 9:50am

Brice JohnsonBrice JohnsonThere was a shakeup in the top 2, with one Big 12 team (Oklahoma) moving in for another (Iowa State) in this week’s updated Power 16 ratings.

With three teams in last week’s rankings losing games, there also are some major changes in the rest of this week’s Power 16.

Most notably among those changes are Duke (which fell to Utah) and Kentucky (falling to Ohio State) dropping out of the latest Power 16.

No doubt that is just going to be a temporary condition, once the Blue Devils get healthy (senior post Amile Jefferson is sidelined with a knee injury) and their youngsters some more seasoning, and Kentucky’s freshman also continue to adapt to live beyond the high school, camp and travel ball circuits – where opponents actually guard you and expose lack of any defensive foundations.

There are more than enough quality pieces on each roster for the respective clubs to get to at least the second week of the NCAA tournament although Final Four bids could be tough barring significant improvement.

Rank (Last week's rank)
Record
Comment
1. Michigan St. (1)
12-0
The knee injury that could keep John R. Wooden Award candidate Denzel Valentine sidelined “two-to-three weeks” will certainly test the squad’s other players’ ability to “step it up” when the Spartans open Big Ten play in Iowa on Dec. 29.
2. Oklahoma (3)
8-0
The Sooners move into the 2 spot by way of their 13-point win over Creighton – and Iowa State’s loss at home to Northern Iowa, of course! Next up: Honolulu, where they open with Washington State Tuesday night.
3. Kansas (4)
9-1
The Jayhawks will try to extend winning streak to 10 in a row vs. two Cali squads (San Diego State and UC Irvine) before opening Big 12 play vs. Baylor on Jan. 2.
4. North Carolina (6)
9-2
Injuries haven’t kept the Tar Heels from scoring at least 80 points nine times. Brice Johnson is playing the best basketball of his career with Kennedy Meeks sidelined.
5. Maryland (7)
9-1
Since losing in Chapel Hill the Terps have beaten four squads by an average margin of 23 points.
6. Iowa St. (2)
9-1
The Cyclones had a couple of close calls this season – they couldn’t pull out a third vs. Northern Iowa Saturday.
7. Virginia (9)
9-1
Who is “conservative” on offense? The Cavs have hit at least 80 points six times.
8. Xavier (10)
11-0
The pecking order in the Big East begins its sorting out process on New Year’s Eve – in the Musketeers’ case, when they visit to take on Villanova.
9. Providence (12)
11-1
The Friars are 2-0 while playing without the best point guard in the country (Kris Dunn, FYI).
10. West Virginia (14)
9-1
All but one of those wins has been pretty much of the “blowout variety”.
11. Miami (15)
9-1
Yea – I still sometimes forget the Hurricanes are members of the ACC. Even at 9-1, they remaining “the sleepers” in the conference that no ACC head coach will “sleep on”, that’s for sure.
12. Arizona (16)
11-1
The Wildcats have actually played very well, for the most part, even with senior center Kaleb Tarczewski sidelined indefinitely with a foot injury since Thanksgiving.
13. Butler (NR)
9-1
Everyone who loves college basketball should be eagerly anticipating Providence at Butler on Dec. 31 – and hoping for a healthy Kris Dunn.
14. Purdue (13)
11-1
The Boilermakers become just the latest opponent to figuratively testify as to how tough Butler is.
15. Villanova (11)
8-2
The Wildcats close out the non-Big East portion of schedule vs. Delaware (Tuesday) and Penn (Dec. 28).
16. SMU (NR)
9-0
The Mustangs continue to roll with an American Conference opener game vs. Cincinnati on Jan. 7 possibly their toughest test of the season so far.

ON THE CUSP

Arkansas-Little Rock 10-0, Baylor 8-2, Cincinnati 10-2, Colorado 10-1, Connecticut 7-3, Dayton 8-2, Duke 9-2, George Washington 10-1, Gonzaga 8-3, Kentucky 9-2, Louisville 9-1, Northern Iowa 7-3, South Carolina 10-0, Texas 8-3, Texas A&M 9-2, UCLA 8-4, Utah 9-2 and Vanderbilt 7-3.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

*Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia): The 6-5 senior scored 20 points (hitting all 12 of his free throws) with seven rebounds and six assists as the Cavs toppled Villanova Saturday.

*Kahlil Felder (Oakland): The 5-9 junior scored 38 points, with nine assists and five rebounds, as his team knocked off Washington in Seattle Saturday night for its fourth win in a row. He’s averaging 25.9 points per game and gets a chance to continue his sizzling performance at Michigan State Tuesday night.

*Jakob Poeltl (Utah): The 7-foot sophomore from Vienna scored 19 points with 15 rebounds and three blocked shots while being limited to 28 minutes (foul issues) in the OT win over Duke Saturday in Madison Square Garden.

*Wes Washpun (Northern Iowa): The senior guard led his team to its second stunning upset of the season (earlier it beat North Carolina) with 28 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists and two steals as the Panthers knocked off then-unbeaten (and No. 1 in the Power 16) Iowa State in Ames Saturday.

*Troy Williams (Indiana): The 6-7 junior helped his team overcome a 16-point to deficit to Notre Dame Saturday in Indianapolis, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds, two assists and three steals beat the Irish for the Hoosiers’ fifth consecutive victory.

Frank Burlison / BurlisonOnBasketball has been covering hoops for 30+ years for a variety of publications.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at www.burlisononbasketball.com. College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]

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