A new week in college basketball just goes to show we know nothing about this sport. And that’s what makes it all the more fun. It’s been a topsy turvy week in the college basketball world where it seemed as if almost every single top 25 team went down. Enough about parity. Let’s get crackin’.
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Well, whether they earned it or not with their soft schedule, they get the top spot by default. The last remaining undefeated squad in the country survives another week of chaos. College basketball is about surviving and advancing, right? The Bulldogs can gun it with the best of’em even though I’m not necessarily convinced they’re the strongest team in the country. Give them credit for staying solid through one of the wilder seasons in recent memory.
2. Baylor Bears
Another team who made it through the past week unscathed is Baylor. Don’t get me wrong, I had to contemplate putting them here because of the scare they got from an average-at-best Ole Miss team. That said, it’s college basketball and winning, no matter how pretty or ugly, is the key. At 18-1, they definitely do a lot more winning. The length of the Bears is still scary and comes in handy down the stretch in games so they have the right to the #2 spot.
3. Kansas Jayhawks
KU may have lost to West Virginia in the WVU Coliseum this week but they put out a statement win on Saturday with a win over Kentucky in Rupp Arena. A win like that can make a fairly decent loss forgivable and put you up higher in the polls.Kansas has the talent to beat anyone in March but can be inconsistent (as shown by the way they played at WVU). Nonetheless, Bill Self is a master in his own right and the Jayhawks deserve to be right up there contending for a 1-seed when Selection Sunday rolls around.
4. Arizona Wildcats
I thoroughly did not expect to have Arizona up here on this list until I looked at how they’ve been playing as of late. The Wildcats can swing it around and win ball games. Sean Miller has made the Wildcats start playing like the team we’re used to seeing from the last couple years. If they keep this trend going, and there’s no reason to expect them not to, they will be a contender come the Big Dance. Don’t sleep on them like I did until now.
5. Villanova Wildcats
After losing to Marquette early in the week and then barely escaping Virginia at home, I’ve knocked ‘Nova down to the fifth spot. They are still plenty good, even after a rough week, so let’s not smack around the Jay Wright and crew too much yet. College basketball is something all its own and they’ve still managed to be one of the best teams in America the entire way. I even thought it was harsh to knock them down four spots but alas, they have to fall somewhere after struggling this week, right?
6. Kentucky Wildcats
Okay I promise we won’t have a fourth wildcat team in a row. I’m sick of teams having the same nicknames. I digress. A loss to Kansas is nothing to be ashamed of, even if it was at home. Kansas is good. Kentucky is also good. This just goes to show what kind of wild open field there is this season in college hoops. I still think UK goes to the Elite Eight or loses first weekend in the tournament with their inconsistent play. They play young. The talent is there to take them all the way. Will they be there all the way mentally come March, though?
*Realizing these rankings are going to turn into a total… ya know* ONWARD.
7. Louisville Cardinals
I didn’t even want to put these guys up here. They didn’t lose this past week so they get on the list by default. Yeesh. Anyway, Louisville is a good squad. I’m not sure about them making much noise in March is the thing. Defensively they are outstanding but can be sluggish offensively. Except against Pitt. They slaughtered Pitt. That makes me smile so they get to go up to #7. Don’t @ me.
8. Wisconsin Badgers
Honestly didn’t expect Wisconsin to rise through here but they’ve been surviving and actually rolling as of late. So they make the jump onto the list. The Badgers have three pretty decent losses so I actually may be underestimating them a tad. After a bit of a fall off last season, Wisconsin has bounced back for a solid campaign this season. Be wary of them late in the season. Nobody should sleep on them. But I expect that someone is going to and get surprised.
9. Virginia Cavaliers
Yeah they lost to Villanova. By 2. On the road. That’s tough to ask out of any team. I’m impressed with how hard Virginia fought in that game and they managed to compete and nearly send the game to OT until ‘Nova won at the buzzer. That’s a good enough loss to actually give a boost to the Cavaliers considering the other teams around them had some pretty bad losses. (I knew the bottom of this list would get messy.)
10. North Carolina Tar Heels
That loss against Miami… WOOOOOOF. Miami made UNC look like a high school team for half of that game. That. Should. Never. Happen. UNC has too much talent to play like this. They have as much talent as Kentucky but play even more inconsistently than Calipari’s group. Expect them to be one of two extremes come tournament time. Either early exit or deep run. No in between.
Note: College Basketball Power Rankings will now be on Sundays. Be on the lookout every Sunday evening until the start of the NCAA Tournament.
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