It sounds a bit odd to say this, but last week was relatively tame in the college hoops world since “only” nine teams in the Top 25 lost. Even so, there are no new teams in this week’s edition of my power rankings, just some jostling of positions.
The great news is that in a mere six weeks, we’ll have a bracket in our hands with March Madness just days away.
College Basketball Power Rankings
1. Kentucky (21-1, Previous Ranking: 1)
The Wildcats won road games against Georgia and LSU by a combined 37 points, with Darius Miller leading the way with 19 against the Bulldogs and Terrence Jones going off for 27 against the Tigers.
Kentucky has now won 13 straight, but for those waiting to see them against the SEC’s best, they’ll have to wait another week. The Wildcats are home against Tennessee on Tuesday before a road trip to South Carolina.
2. Ohio State (19-3, Previous Ranking: 2)
It was Lenzelle Smith Jr., not Jared Sullinger, who posted a double-double against Michigan, as the OSU sophomore had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a 15-point victory. The Buckeyes crushed Penn State at home earlier in the week behind 20 points and 13 boards from Sullinger.
Ohio State is idle until next Saturday when they head to the Kohl Center for a matchup with the resurgent Badgers.
3. Syracuse (22-1, Previous Ranking: 4)
It wasn’t exactly pretty from the Orange this week, but they managed to beat Cincinnati and West Virginia.
Against the Bearcats, ‘Cuse made just 5-of-15 free throws, shot 25% from beyond the arc, and allowed 13 offensive rebounds, which is not exactly the typical recipe for a win. They were nearly doubled up on the glass by West Virginia and benefited from a late no-call on a clear goaltend to win by two points.
Fab Melo’s status is still uncertain due to academic issues, and the Orange haven’t been quite the same without him. Their only game this week is at St. John’s on Saturday.
4. North Carolina (18-3, Previous Ranking: 6)
The Heels took care of business at home this week against North Carolina State and Georgia Tech. Tyler Zeller had 21 points and 17 rebounds against the Wolfpack, and Harrison Barnes poured in 23 against the Jackets.
UNC hits the road this week for a pair of winnable road games against Wake Forest and Maryland, but they need to make sure not to look ahead to the Duke game the following week.
5. Kansas (17-4, Previous Ranking: 5)
The Jayhawks suffered their first Big 12 loss at Iowa State on Saturday, as the Cyclones limited Thomas Robinson to 13 points and seven rebounds. KU also put the Cyclones on the line 34 times and got almost no production from their bench.
The Jayhawks will look to bounce back when Oklahoma comes to Lawrence on Wednesday before they head to Mizzou for what should be a terrific game on Saturday.
For now, I gave the Jayhawks the slight edge over Missouri since their loss this week was more “forgiveable.” I also couldn’t rank Baylor ahead of KU based on their margin of defeat in Lawrence.
6. Missouri (19-2, Previous Ranking: 3)
On the heels of their impressive road win at Baylor, the Tigers dropped a game at Oklahoma State, as they allowed their second-highest point total of the season and shot poorly from the outside. They bounced back to beat Texas Tech at home behind 22 points from Kim English and 12 assists from Flip Pressey.
Mizzou starts a tough four-game stretch with a road trip to Texas on Monday before the Jayhawks visit Columbia on Saturday.
7. Baylor (19-2, Previous Ranking: 7)
The Bears pulled away late to pick up a road win at Oklahoma then held on to defeat Texas by five at home. Perry Jones III had a huge week with 43 points and 26 rebounds in the team’s two wins.
Based on their overall body of work, Baylor is likely to be a one seed in my next set of bracket projections, but they can’t afford to slip up this week in road games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
8. Duke (18-3, Previous Ranking: 6)
Mason Plumlee came up big for the Blue Devils this week with 23 points and 12 boards in a road win at Maryland, and he followed that up with 15 points and 17 rebounds against St. John’s.
Outside of a three-point home win against Virginia, Duke hasn’t beaten a tournament-caliber team since late November, which makes it hard to truly assess them. This week features a road trip to Virginia Tech and a home game with Miami leading into a February 8th matchup against North Carolina.
9. Michigan State (17-4, Previous Ranking: 9)
Tom Izzo won his 400th game in MSU’s lone outing this week, a 16-point win over Minnesota at the Breslin Center. Draymond Green was fantastic with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, 14 rebounds, and six assists.
The Spartans have a pair of tough games this week when they head to Illinois on Tuesday and host Michigan on Sunday. They need to win both to stay tied in the loss column with Ohio State.
10. UNLV (20-3, Previous Ranking: 11)
The Rebels needed overtime to knock off both Boise State and Air Force on the road this week, but they managed to escape with a pair of wins. Mike Moser was simply ridiculous, as he had 18 points and 21 (yes, 21) rebounds against the Broncos followed by 27 points and a mere 12 boards versus the Falcons.
UNLV hosts Colorado State this week before a weekend trip to Wyoming.
11. Creighton (20-2, Previous Ranking: 12)
With wins over Drake and Bradley, the Bluejays extended their winning streak to 10 games. To the surprise of no one, Doug McDermott tallied 54 points in the victories, making 10-of-14 shots in each contest.
Creighton has just eight regular season games left, starting with a home game against Illinois State on Wednesday and a road trip to Northern Iowa on Saturday.
12. Georgetown (16-4, Previous Ranking: 10)
The Hoyas lost their only game of the week against an improving Pittsburgh team after allowing the Panthers to shoot 52.1 percent from the field while they struggled to get anything going offensively.
Senior guard Jason Clark was held to just nine points in the loss, but Georgetown can’t afford to get down on themselves with UConn coming to D.C. on Wednesday.
13. Marquette (18-4, Previous Ranking: 18)
Marquette continues to fall behind early in games, but they rallied from an 18-point first half deficit to win at Villanova on Saturday. They also blasted South Florida by 20 points earlier in the week. Seniors Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder combined for 46 points, 17 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals to key the victory over the Wildcats.
The Golden Eagles have now won six straight heading into a home game against reeling Seton Hall before a road trip to surging Notre Dame.
14. Murray State (21-0, Previous Ranking: 14)
The Racers won easily over Eastern Illinois in their only game of the week. They got 18 points each from Isaiah Canaan and Donte Poole, but perhaps most importantly, forward Ivan Aska returned after missing the last six games with a hand injury.
Murray State shouldn’t have much trouble with Southeast Missouri State or Tennessee-Martin, but the biggest part of their week comes on Monday when the BracketBusters matchups are announced.
15. Michigan (16-6, Previous Ranking: 15)
After starting the week with a hard-fought road win against Purdue, the Wolverines lost by 15 at Ohio State on Sunday. Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way in both games with a total of 34 points, but the team has now alternated wins and losses over the last six games.
The tough stretch of their schedule continues when Indiana comes to Ann Arbor on Wednesday before they head to East Lansing on Sunday.
16. San Diego State (18-3, Previous Ranking: 13)
I mentioned that road games at Wyoming and Colorado State might be tougher than people think, and that turned out to be the case when the Aztecs lost by 17 to the Rams on Saturday. SDSU made just 3-of-21 from beyond the arc against Colorado State and shot only 31.3 percent from the field.
Home games with Boise State and TCU this week should allow them to get back on track and remain atop the MWC standings.
17. Florida (17-4, Previous Ranking: 19)
The Gators picked up a pair of solid victories this week, winning by four at Mississippi and knocking off a ranked Mississippi State team by 12 points. A number of different players contributed for Florida, with Patric Young scoring 15 against the Rebels and freshman Brad Beal going for 19 versus the Bulldogs.
Thursday’s home game against South Carolina is one they should win handily, while a Saturday matchup with Vanderbilt gives Florida another chance to prove themselves.
18. Florida State (14-6, Previous Ranking: 20)
The red hot Noles extended their winning streak to five games with a 23-point win at Wake Forest last week. Michael Snaer continued his strong play with 18 points in the victory, while the team turned in a solid all-around effort on both ends of the floor.
They shouldn’t have any issues with Georgia Tech on Wednesday, but Saturday’s date with Virginia will help settle the argument about who the ACC’s third-best team really is.
19. Wisconsin (17-5, Previous Ranking: 25)
After holding off Indiana on Thursday, the Badgers have now won five straight after a 1-3 start in Big Ten play. Four players scored in double figures for Wisconsin, and Ryan Evans grabbed nine rebounds, including a few key offensive boards late.
The Badgers head to Penn State this week before a huge home date with Ohio State on Saturday.
20. Indiana (17-5, Previous Ranking: 16)
The Hoosiers had a chance to win in Madison but struggled down the stretch and lost by seven. On Sunday, they bounced back to take advantage of a poor Iowa defense to the tune of 103 points. Freshman Cody Zeller struggled against the Badgers but scored a career-high 26 points against the Hawkeyes.
The Hoosiers also changed up their starting lineup for the first time this season, as Will Sheehey started in place of fellow soph Victor Oladipo.
IU hits the road this week for games against Michigan and Purdue.
21. Virginia (17-3, Previous Ranking: 21)
ACC Player of the Year candidate Mike Scott scored 18 points against both Boston College and North Carolina State, as the Cavs won both games to move to 4-2 in the conference.
A winnable home game with Clemson awaits this week before a Saturday trip to Tallahassee. The reality is that Virginia has a solid record, but only one of those victories has come at the expense of a Top 50 team.
22. Saint Mary’s (21-2, Previous Ranking: 23)
The Gaels beat Loyola Marymount and BYU on the road to move to 10-0 in the WCC. Brad Waldow continued his solid play with 19 points and eight rebounds against the Cougars, and Saint Mary’s was able to win comfortably despite an uncharacteristic 11 turnovers during the week from Matthew Dellavedova.
Their only game this week is at home against San Diego, but they are also anxiously awaiting their BracketBusters fate.
23. Mississippi State (17-5, Previous Ranking: 22)
Arnett Moultrie extended his streak of double-doubles to five games, but the Bulldogs went 1-1 during the week, beating LSU at home and falling to Florida on the road.
MSU plays their next three games at home, starting with Saturday’s home date with Auburn. They need to hold serve in those games with four of their final six on the road.
24. Kansas State (15-5, Previous Ranking: 17)
After losing to Oklahoma for the second time this year, the Wildcats nearly dropped out of the Top 25. Rodney McGruder had a solid game against the Sooners with 19 points, but the team struggled offensively with 41.2 percent shooting and 20 turnovers.
This week they head to Ames to take on a confident Cyclones team followed by a home game against Texas A&M.
25. West Virginia (15-7, Previous Ranking: 24)
The Mountaineers played poorly in a road loss to St. John’s, but they bounced back to give Syracuse everything they could handle at the Carrier Dome. Had referees not missed a clear goaltend near the end of regulation, West Virginia would have had a shot to pick up a huge road in overtime.
Kevin Jones continues to be phenomenal and has now scored at least 20 points in seven straight games, including four double-doubles.
The Mountaineers play three of their next four games at home, starting with Pitt on Monday.