Power Rankings 1-5
- Gonzaga (9-0)
Not much has changed since two weeks ago when I did the first power rankings of the season. The Bulldogs still look like the team to beat. With wins over Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa, and Virginia, Gonzaga has the strongest resume, by far, of any team in the nation.
Unless the Baylor game is rescheduled it looks pretty likely that Gonzaga will run through the regular season undefeated. They still have road games against BYU and St. Mary’s but they will be double-digit favorites in both of those games.
The big question is will anyone not on the Bulldogs roster make the all-conference team? Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, and Joey Ayayi seem like locks. If Jalen Suggs stays healthy he will probably make it and Andrew Nembhard is probably the fifth-best player in the conference and he doesn’t even always start. It is an embarrassment of riches for Mark few and Gonzaga.
- Baylor (8-0)
It is Gonzaga, Baylor, and then everyone else. The only team that even has a small argument for being ranked number one is the Bears. The big difference is the schedule in the non-conference. Baylor’s only quality victory is over a very good Illinois team.
Once Big 12 conference play gets going, the Baylor schedule will get much tougher. We will find out how good the Bears are starting January 12th when they play West Virginia and then travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. Baylor is not quite as good as Gonzaga from top to bottom but Jared Butler looks to be headed for Big 12 player of the year honors.
- Tennessee (7-0)
My top three remain unchanged as I have the Volunteers ahead of most people. Tennessee’s defense is elite, maybe the best in the nation. They can guard at every position. The SEC is not as strong as most years so it will be hard for the Volunteers to rack up enough quality victories to pass Gonzaga or Baylor but look for them to finish with a 20-win season. Their domination of a very good Missouri team helped justify having them ahead of Kansas and Villanova.
Tennessee also doesn’t have the elite NBA-talent guys, but John Fulkerson is looking like the type of senior who can lead his team to a deep run in March. Fulkerson has been super efficient shooting over 50% from the field and over 90% from the free-throw line.
- Villanova (8-1)
It is a tough call for me between Kansas and Villanova for the number four spot. The Wildcats have moved all the way up from ninth two weeks ago in my rankings. Road wins over Texas and Marquette moved the dial. Jeremiah Robinson-Early has taken his game to the next level shooting over 60% and averaging just under 19 points his last three games.
- Kansas (8-1)
The Jayhawks stay exactly where I had them two weeks ago. The Jayhawks open the Big 12 conference slate with two huge wins against Texas Tech and West Virginia. It is going to be a dog fight between Kansas and Baylor to see who brings home the Big 12 title. Marcus Garrett has played himself out of an early season slump, and with him playing well the Jayhawks can be a contender for the Final Four.
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Power Rankings 6-10
- Texas (7-1)
The Longhorns will get another big test when they face Kansas this weekend. Texas has quality neutral-court victories over Indiana and North Carolina and their only loss is a close one against Villanova. Texas has a defense to compete for a Final Four, but they will need to find some offense from someone besides Matt Coleman if they home to make a run.
- Wisconsin (8-2)
Wisconsin looks really good on both ends of the floor. That should be no surprise considering the Badgers are one of the most experienced teams in the nation. They have some nice wins, but not the huge resume builder to get them into the top four. There will be plenty of chances as the Big Ten is absolutely loaded.
- Iowa (8-2)
No surprise that another Big Ten has found themselves in the top 10. The Hawkeyes are still looking for their first-round win of the season. They will not come easy in the Big Ten, but have two quality chances in their next two games on the road against Rutgers and Maryland. Having a National Player of the Year candidate in Matt Garza doesn’t hurt either.
- Illinois (7-3)
Let’s make it three in a row for the Big Ten. Illinois doesn’t have the most impressive record but the metrics love the Illini team. What is not to love about Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn. Illinois’ Big Ten schedule is really backloaded so it is important for them to not drop many games before February where the schedule gets much tougher.
- West Virginia (8-2)
With the Mountaineers only two losses coming to Gonzaga and Kansas, Bob Huggins has to be pretty happy with his teams start to the year. West Virginia is still looking for a top 50 win, but chances will be plenty in the Big 12. Derek Culver looks to have recovered from a mini-slump with a big performance against Northeastern.
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Power Rankings 11-25
- St. Louis
- Texas Tech
- Ohio State
- San Diego State
Keep in mind where the power rankings are more about how good I think teams actually are, bracketology is putting them where I think the committee would have them if the season ended today.
Gonzaga, Baylor, Kansas and Tennessee
Villanova, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Iowa
Texas, Houston, Rutgers and Creighton
Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Texas Tech
Missouri, Virginia, St. Louis and Clemson
Oregon, Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Arkansas
San Diego State, Louisville, LSU and Xavier
Minnesota, Florida, Colorado and North Carolina
Duke, UCLA, Purdue and USC
Syracuse, UCONN, Maryland and Stanford
Drake, SMU, Richmond and Alabama
NC State/Michigan State, Seton Hall/Oklahoma, Furman and Marshall
Belmont, Toledo, Winthrop and South Dakota State
Liberty, Georgia State, New Mexico State and Vermont
Wright State, Abilene Christian, Eastern Washington and UC Irvine
Texas Southern/Norfolk State, Bryant/Saint Peter’s, Hofstra, Colgate
- First Four Out: BYU, Penn State, Loyola-Chicago and Northwestern
- Next Four Out: Providence, St. Mary’s, Boise State and Mississippi
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