February 24, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

As we expected, after Baylor and Kansas faced off, we had a much clearer idea at the top of the rankings, as three of our four ballots had the same top-2 teams, and for the first time all year, we had a unanimous #1 pick. Granted, Duke losing by 20 last week to NC State, San Diego State losing at home, and Gonzaga losing helped out the clarity significantly. Read on for the biggest risers and fallers this week, followed by the rankings in full!

Biggest Riser: Oregon

Biggest Faller: San Diego State

Joined the Ranks: Oregon

Dropped Out: Penn State

Honorable Mention

  • Louisville Cardinals (Last week: 10)
  • Villanova Wildcats (Last Week: HM)
  • Kentucky Wildcats (Last Week: HM)

#10 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: 6) 

  • Last week, the Aztecs looked like a surefire bet for a #1 seed, and now it’s questionable whether they will even grab a #2 seed. We’ll have a better idea when the new AP Poll comes out, but for everyone questioning the legitimacy of San Diego State and their previously unbeaten record, Saturday’s home loss to UNLV provides bulletin board material. 

#9 – Maryland Terrapins (Last Week: 8)

  • Maryland won a game they should have won against Northwestern and then lost a tough road battle against a ranked and red-hot Ohio State team. They slide one spot due to the loss, but we weren’t overly surprised or disappointed by the Terrapins this week. 

#8 – Auburn Tigers (Last Week: 8)

  • On any other week, Auburn probably doesn’t rise, but given the general chaos near the top of the rankings, they actually manage to step up one spot this week, courtesy of a massive comeback against Tennessee that saw them rally from 15 points down to stay unbeaten at home. That (barely) balanced out yet another ugly road loss at Georgia, so the Tigers are treading a fine line. 

#7 – Oregon Ducks (Last week: Unranked)

  • Oregon is part of a tight four-team race for the Pac-12 regular season crown, and after  a very close road loss to the current leaders in Arizona State, Oregon pulled out an extremely impressive overtime victory on the road against a ranked Arizona squad. That win was impressive enough to send the Ducks flying into our Top 10, all the way up to #7 after a chaotic weekend of basketball. 

#6 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: 6)

  • The Seminoles cruised past Pittsburgh at home and then escaped NC State with a road victory that appeared more impressive after the Wolfpack dismantled Duke by 22 points. They were just a point off of rising a spot, but they should be able to accomplish that feat if they beat Louisville this week. 

#5 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week: 3)

  • People may overreact to Gonzaga’s loss this past week and forget that it was on the road and against a streaking BYU squad who jumped to #17 in today’s AP Poll. They’re still 5-2 in Quad 1 games and 27-2 overall, and they’re probably still in the hunt for a #1 seed. 

#4 – Dayton Flyers (Last Week: 7)

  • Had it not been for Oregon’s huge jump, Dayton could have been our biggest riser of the week, as they were a huge benefactor of the bevy of upsets this week. They squeezed out a tough road victory at VCU and then handled Duquesne by ten points. At #4 in the AP Poll, are the Flyers suddenly in play for a #1 seed?

#3 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: 4) 

  • Only in as weird a week as this could Duke lose by 22 points and rise a spot. They’re at #7 in the AP Poll, but our ballots were more inclined to see their loss to NC State as a blimp on the radar, a  weird loss to a desperate team, as opposed to a reflection of their talent. They also followed it up with a dominant showing versus Virginia Tech on Saturday to recover from the upset. 

#2 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: 2) 

  • A 3-point loss to the new #1 in Kansas is not going to doom Baylor. They are still likely going to grab a 1-seed barring an upset, and they’re still 10-1 in Quadrant 1 games. Don’t count this team out due to a long overdue loss. 

#1 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 1) – 4 First Place Votes

  • Finally a unanimous #1 pick! Kansas was our #1 the past two weeks despite their worse record and head to head loss, and we receive validation for our gut feeling as Kansas took down Baylor last week in Waco. With the other upsets, Kansas is the clear #1 this week. Let’s see if they can keep it that way.

February 18, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

One of the raging debates in our Power Rankings is who is better: Kansas or Baylor. Although Baylor, and their road win over Kansas, has the better resume, our ballots reflect a split on who we believe is the more talented team. Those debates could be put to rest when these two powerhouses, undoubtedly the class of the Big 12, square off for one more regular season match-up. For now, our rankings continue to reflect a lot of turmoil, as a tough week from Louisville sent them plummeting, but for the second straight week, four teams got first-place votes. Check out the biggest fallers, risers, and then the full Power Rankings below.

Biggest Risers: Dayton, Maryland

Biggest Faller: Louisville 

Joined the Rankings: Penn State, Kentucky, 

Dropped Out: West Virginia, Seton Hall

Honorable Mention

  • Villanova
  • Penn State
  • Kentucky 

#10 – Louisville Cardinals (Last Week: 4) 

  • The week before, Louisville slid from the #2 slot to #4 after a shaky home win against lowly Wake Forest. A general feeling that the Cardinals were slipping manifested itself in two ugly losses this past week, losing on the road to a bad Georgia Tech team and then being manhandled by an unranked Clemson team that is just 13-12 on the year. The enormous struggles resulted in a 6-spot slip for Louisville, who hosts Syracuse and UNC this week with a chance to regroup. 

#9 – Auburn Tigers (Last Week: 9)

  • Auburn has an amazing ability to win close games, as they demonstrated with yet another overtime victory versus Alabama this week, at the time their third extra-time win in a row. However, the clutch Tigers followed it up with a miserable showing in Missouri, dropping an 85-73 decision that drops Auburn one spot this week. They’re still in second in the ACC and have just three losses, so they stay in the rankings, but they have to watch these blowout road losses. 

#8 – Maryland Terrapins (Last Week: 10)

  • Maryland was a popular pick to be upset by Michigan State last week, but they handled the Spartans en route to their eighth straight victory, leading them to be our co-biggest riser of the week. The Terrapins are cruising, and they could see themselves rising more in the future if they survive a big road test against Ohio State this weekend. 

#7 – Dayton Flyers (Last week: 9)

  • The other biggest riser of the week, Dayton locked down two more wins last week, taking down a shaky UMass team on the road as well as dismantling Rhode Island, the second-place squad in the Atlantic 10, in a game which the Flyers led by double-digits the whole way. That, combined with a couple losses from Top-10 teams boost the Flyers to #7 in this week’s rankings. 

#6 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: 7)

  • FSU beat a decent Syracuse team at home, holding off a valiant comeback from the Orange to stay unbeaten on their home court. The Seminoles are pretty much out of the running for a #1 seed, but a home game versus Louisville gives them a chance to prove themselves once more. They rise up one spot this week, largely due to Louisville’s collapse. 

#5 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: 6)

  • This team refuses to lose, and they tacked on two more impressive victories last week, turning a stiff challenge from New Mexico into a 23-point blowout, and visiting Boise State – a 12-1 team at home – and decimating the Broncos 72-55. They’re the standard in the Mountain West, and it’s not close. This team is for real. 

#4 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: 5) – 1 First Place Vote

  • After losing a home contest to Louisville, our podcast spent time discussing whether Duke was in trouble. Since then, Duke has won seven straight including a ranked win over Florida State, a rivalry comeback versus UNC, and two 30+ point victories. Duke had just one game since our last Power Rankings and they manhandled Notre Dame, a team whose last seven losses were by a combined 15 points, by a stunning 94-60 score. This team is looking a serious threat to go all the way. 

#3 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week: 3) – 1 First Place Vote

  • As per usual, Gonzaga gets a first-place vote, but they are unable to gain ground on their Power-6 counterparts atop the rankings. The Bulldogs played just one game last week and cruised past a solid Pepperdine squad on the road. It was a good victory, but Gonzaga won’t be able to truly prove their legitimacy until the NCAA Tournament. 

#2 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: 2) – 1 First Place Vote

  • The Bears, despite their 23-1 record and 22-game winning streak, stay at #2. Our ballots were split, with two putting them above Kansas, and two placing them below. They got one first-place vote, as did their Big 12 rival, and ultimately a razor-thin 1-point margin separated the squads. The gap should be more definitive after they play each other this weekend. 

#1 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 1) -1 First Place Vote

  • Once again, the Jayhawks reign supreme in the power rankings. The rankings are based off how good we think the teams are, not necessarily our resume, and, albeit by a tiny margin, our ballots reflect that Kansas is the better team. After a big road win over West Virginia and blowouts versus Oklahoma and Iowa State, the Jayhawks have a chance to back up that belief and improve on their 23-3 record when they visit Baylor this week.

March Impact Player Profile: Anthony Lamb, Vermont

Not all of our March Impact Player Profiles come from slam dunk tournament teams, or power-6 teams. Some of our favorite potential players are the ones that haven’t shown up on too many team’s scouting reports come March. 

When considering this description, one player that comes to mind is University of Vermont’s senior star Anthony Lamb, who was all over the court against Florida State, notching 16 points and 8 rebounds in an extremely close loss, and that was with one of his poorer shooting performances. He had a few uncharacteristic misses at the free throw line, which he referred to as something “he’ll sit on all year”. Lamb has come back with a vengeance this year, averaging 17 points and 7 boards a game, and that is in an American East conference that knows first-hand about Lamb’s abilities, often double or even triple-teaming the 6’6 forward. After a handful of tough conference games in which he was held to 12 or less points in four consecutive match-ups, Lamb has adjusted to the added attention, notching three straight games of at least 20 points, including his most recent effort – a season-high 33-point onslaught on Albany, where he shot 10-17, as well as 10-10 from the charity stripe.

That Lamb is adjusting to being the center of attention for every opponent could be bad news for Vermont’s potential opponents in March. Now the America East almost never gets more than one team in the tournament, so the Catamounts are not a slam dunk to make the dance, as they’ll almost certainly need to win their conference. And if they do, the Catamounts will be served a tough match-up as a 13th or 14th seed. But, much like when they played Florida State last year, Lamb won’t be the center of anyone’s attention in March, as blue-bloods don’t often regard mid-major stars worth double-teaming. This means Lamb will have an opportunity to put the Catamounts on his back, and help Vermont make an inspiring underdog run in March. 

They have to get there first, but if they do, consider this a warning to any ranked team that draws the Catamounts: Anthony Lamb is coming, and, after falling just short last year, he has a mission to accomplish.

January 28, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

We are back with the third edition of our power rankings, and while the top of our rankings stayed largely the same, there was some significant movers. We highlighted the major movers here, but be sure to check out the full top 10 (and honorable mention) below!

Biggest Riser: Villanova

Biggest Faller: Michigan State

Dropped Out: Michigan State

Joined The Ranks: Villanova, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Dayton

Honorable Mention 

  • West Virginia (Last week: Not ranked)
  • Seton Hall (Last week: Not ranked)
  • Kentucky (Last week: Honorable Mention)

#10 – Dayton Flyers (Last Week: Not Ranked)

  • The Flyers appeared on just one of our ballots last week, but they got the nod in three of four ballots this week, after they dismantled St. Bonaventures and took down a solid Richmond squad on the road. An under-the-radar mid-major due to the success of San Diego State, the Flyers have their eyes on the Atlantic 10 title and an NCAA tournament run. 

#9 – Oregon Ducks (Last Week: 9)

  • Oregon choked up a late lead before surviving in overtime against USC, and they followed that up with a dominant victory over a struggling UCLA squad. We didn’t learn too much about the Ducks, as we already knew they were extremely good at home (12-0) so the Ducks tread water at #9 until further notice. 

#8 – Villanova Wildcats (Last Week: Not Ranked)

  • The Wildcats shot up our rankings, after being little more than an afterthought on last week’s ballots. Villanova looked absolutely dominant in beating #16 Butler by 15 points, and they edged out Providence for a key road conference win to secure their sixth straight win. They are our biggest risers of the week, joining the rankings for the first time this year at #8. 
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

#7 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: 5)

  • The Blue Devils drop due very little to their own doings. They played one game against a horrendous Miami team and won handily, but their elite ACC competition had more wins against better competition, and so Duke slides two more spots to #7 this week. 

#6 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: 7)

  • The Aztecs continue to win and continue to climb. In a prior mid-major report, we identified their road game at New Mexico as a potential trap game. The Lobos have struggled recently, but they are 13-0 at home, so whether the Aztecs continue their climb up the rankings remains to be seen. 

#5 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: 6)

  • There are two ways to look at Florida State’s lone game and win of the week – an 85-84 thriller over Notre Dame. One is a really close game against a below-average ACC squad. The other way is a gutsy finish against a resilient team that plays everyone close. We tended to side with the latter, as the Seminoles won their twelfth straight to move up a notch on the ladder. 
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

#4 – Louisville Cardinals (Last Week: 4) – 1 First Place Vote

  • The ACC-leaders looked shaky in holding off Georgia Tech before rebounding with one of their most complete performances of the year against Clemson. The Cardinals utilized a 20-0 run to seize control and dominated the upstart Tigers for their sixth straight victory. They are holding off Florida State, but they’ll need to keep winning if they want the top seed in the ACC tournament because the Seminoles aren’t backing down. 

#3 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week: 1) – 1 First Place Vote

  • Gonzaga slid in the AP Poll out of the #1 slot, and they slide here, largely due to their weak schedule. It’s hard to make a statement when you beat every team in your conference by 20 or 30 points, and that’s exactly Gonzaga’s issue currently. Whereas other top teams are winning huge statement games, the Bulldogs are cruising through the West Coast conference, beating up on a cupcake schedule. 

#2 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: #3) 

  • The Jayhawks haven’t lost since their home defeat to Baylor, but they’ll play second-fiddle to the Bears in these rankings. They showed flashes of brilliance in putting away Tennessee, and they sandwiched that outing with dominant performances versus Kansas State and Oklahoma State. They’re a legitimate national title contender. 

#1 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: #2) – 2 First Place Votes

  • Baylor shut down a lot of haters with a dominant performance at an unranked Florida team. The #1 team in the nation, the Bears entered the game as 2-point underdogs. They played with a chip on their shoulder and stifled the Gators to the tune of a 72-61 victory that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. With 15 straight wins, the Bears finally rise to the top of our Power Rankings.

January 20, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

After a crazy week in college basketball, Cal, Nathaniel, Andrew, and Aidan put together the second version of our NCAA Basketball Power Rankings. Florida State was one of several risers, while Auburn very nearly crashed out of the rankings. Butler dropped from #8 to off the list entirely, and Ohio State fell from honorable mention to not mentioned as their Big 10 slump continued.

POWER RANKINGS

Biggest Riser: Florida State 

Biggest Faller: Auburn

Dropped out: Butler, Ohio State

Honorable Mention: Kentucky (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

The Rankings

#10 – Auburn Tigers (Last week: #4)

  • The Tigers are far less scary than they were a week ago, having been blown out twice by unranked SEC teams in Alabama and Florida. The Tigers are still 15-2, but they have some major questions to answer, and another loss could very well drop Auburn out of the rankings. 

#9 – Oregon Ducks (Last Week: 9)

  • Oregon lost a tough road game to Washington State, but they had a big comeback at Washigton to win 64-61 in overtime. That, plus a crazy week in college basketball, keeps the Ducks in the rankings. They’ll be home both games this week with a chance to start climbing. 

#8 – Michigan State Spartans (Last Week: 6)

  • As mentioned last week, the Spartans were given the #6 slot right before they got ripped apart by Purdue. A win at home over Wisconsin kept them in the rankings, but they slide nonetheless. This team is too dependent on Cassius Winston, and they’ll look to find a secondary source of scoring. 
San Diego State guard KJ Feagin (10) celebrates during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Nevada, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

#7 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: 10) 

  • The Aztecs won two more times this week and took advantage of all the losses at the top of the rankings to move up three slots to #7 this week. In this past week’s Mid-Major report, we identified San Diego’s biggest trap game as their road game at New Mexico, which may be the game that prevents them from going unbeaten. 

#6 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • The Seminoles are quietly establishing themselves as a top ACC contender. They won two close ones this week, taking down Virginia at home and Miami on the road. They are now 6-1 in ACC play, which was enough to be our biggest riser of the week. 

#5 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: 1)

  • It was quite the dropoff from last week for the Blue Devils. Last week, we were discussing that if not for the Blue Devils’ upset loss to Stephen F. Austin, they would be undefeated and potentially could stay that way throughout the year. One week later, and Duke is nursing a two-game losing streak, to Clemson and Louisville, and have fallen four spots in this week’s power rankings. 

#4 – Louisville Cardinals (Last Week: #7) – 1 first place vote

  • The Cardinals were another big riser this week, largely courtesy of their huge road upset of the Blue Devils. It was their third straight conference road victory, and their fourth straight overall. The Cardinals are rising in the ACC and national picture, with their recent upset, they’re looking like a bona fide Final Four contender. 
Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) brings the ball up court against Texas guard Matt Coleman III (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

#3 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: #2)

  • Kansas didn’t lose this week, but they looked less than impressive in closing out a mediocre Texas team, resulting in their slight slip in the rankings. The Jayhawks are still an elite team in this country, and their defense has looked the part, but their shooting woes may plague them down the stretch. 

#2 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: #5) – 1 first place vote

  • The Bears may have caught a little disrespect from our ranking last week coming off their big win against Kansas. They responded this week with an easy win over Iowa State and a gutsy comeback versus Oklahoma State. Their offense, a prior concern, has established some small level of consistency, and their defense remains elite. 

#1 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week #3) – 2 first place votes

  • BYU gave Gonzaga their biggest challenge of the past two weeks – and they lost by 23 points. Gonzaga has been absolutely dominant, possibly exemplified no more than in their 50-point win over a 15-3 Santa Clara team. West Coast Conference or not, this team is legit, and they’re our #1 squad this week.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Power Rankings – January 13, 2020

With the launch of our website comes the first of our weekly NCAA Men’s Basketball Top 10 Power Rankings. Aidan Thomas, Nathaniel Lapoint, Andrew Degeorge, and Cal Christoforo all voted to create this week’s edition. We will offer three honorable mentions in no particular order before jumping into the top 10:

Honorable Mentions

Florida State – 14-2, 4-1 in ACC

Ohio State  – 11-5, 1-4 in Big 10

Kentucky –  12-3, 3-0 in SEC

The Rankings

#10 – San Diego State (17-0, 6-0 Mountain West)

  • The mid-major program has thoroughly impressed in their unbeaten start to the season. Massive wins over #25 Creighton and Utah were very impressive, as well as their domination in Mountain West play earned them the tenth spot this week. 

#9 – Oregon (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12)

  • The Ducks slipped up at Colorado to start Pac-12 Play, but they have rebounded with three straight wins to earn their spot in the Top 10. One of their losses was a 1-point road loss to Gonzaga, and they have ranked wins over Michigan and Seton Hall. 

#8 – Butler (15-1, 3-0 Big East)

  • Despite their gaudy record, the Bulldogs slot in at #8 due their lack of a statement victory. Their win over #25 Creighton is their only ranked victory. While their only loss was a 1-point defeat to Baylor, the Bulldogs have been led by their defense, with their offense scoring 71 or less points 12 times already. They’ve been impressive here, but the boys are a little cautious about putting them higher than this. 

#7 – Louisville (13-3, 4-1 ACC)

  • Two recent slip-ups versus Kentucky and Florida State took the Cardinals off the national radar a little bit, but they’ve still been very impressive of late. They boast a signature win – a 58-43 thumping of Michigan, and outside of the FSU loss, they’ve been impressive in ACC play, cruising past Miami twice, routing Pittsburgh, and pulling off a gutsy road win at Notre Dame. If they continue to slip against ranked teams, they won’t stay here, but for now they earn the #7 spot in our rankings. 

#6 – Michigan State (13-4, 5-1 Big 10)

This slot was determined right before Michigan State went in and laid an absolute dud at Purdue yesterday. So they’ll need to rally in impressive fashion to keep their #6 spot next week after their 71-42 setback. However, that loss did snap an impressive 8-game win streak for the Spartans, who racked up blowout wins over ranked opponents in Illinois and Michigan during the run. The Spartans are a good team, but they’ll need an answer for when opponents key in on Cassius Winston. 

#5 – Baylor (13-1, 3-0 Big 12)

  • This may be a touch too low for the Bears, but they’re facing some tough competition at the top. Their win over Kansas was very impressive, but we’re keeping the Jayhawks above them due to their overall body of work to this point. Christoforo listed Baylor as the team he trusted the least in the Top 10, and a lot of that may be due to inconsistencies offensively. While they’re defense is elite, having given up just one game of over 70 points, they’ve been held under 60 points three times, and under 70 three additional times. In their wins over Butler, Texas Tech, and Kansas, Baylor averaged just 59 points per game. The Bears are finding ways to win and could rise further up this list, but for now they slot in at #5. 
Auburn freshman Allen Flanigan (Mike Kittrell/AL,com)

#4 – Auburn (15-0, 3-0 SEC)

  • On Feburary 23, 2019, the Auburn Tigers were run out of Kentucky by the Wildcats, losing an embarrassing game, 80-53. Since then? The Tigers have lost exactly one game – a controversial 63-62 Final Four loss to Virginia. The streak last year was impressive, but after losing several key contributors, the Tigers were supposed to return to the pack this year. But they’ve done anything but so far, and they land at #4 in this week’s power rankings. A recent 22-point beatdown of a tough Georgia team cemented their status as national contender. 

#3 – Gonzaga (18-1, 4-0 West Coast) – 1 first place vote

  • The Bulldogs have finally locked down the #1 spot in the AP Poll for several straight weeks, after the slot was a revolving door to start the year, with several teams moving in and out, including Duke and Kentucky suffering unthinkable upsets. A takedown of Oregon is their only ranked win to date, and their ugly home loss to Michigan prevents them from moving further up in the rankings. It’ll be tough for them to overtake the two teams ahead of them with a lack of quality opponents ahead of them on their schedule. 

#2 – Kansas (12-3, 2-1 Big 12) – 1 first place vote

  • We’re well aware that Kansas just lost to Baylor. But before that, Kansas had lost two games by a total of three points to Duke and Villanova. They just beat the life out of Iowa State on the road, and they boast impressive ranked wins over Colorado and West Virginia. Their record may be a little less than Baylor, but we are still convinced their style of basketball is more sustainable than Baylor’s approach. Kansas takes the #2 slot and eyes their February 22nd rematch with the Bears. 

#1 – Duke (15-1, 5-0 ACC) – 2 first place votes

  • The Blue Devils, outside an absolutely shocking loss to Stephen F. Austin, have been the best team in basketball this year. Coach K lost one of the best core group of guys he’s ever had in Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett, and Zion Williamson, but his team has come back and performed as well and possibly even better. Since their upset loss, Duke is winning by nearly 23 points a game, including 3 ACC wins by over 30 points. Wouldn’t want to face this team at all right now, and they’re our pick for #1 in the debut of the Top 10 Power Rankings.

Come back next week to see the updates after another week of conference play!