After a relatively quiet week in college basketball, things will certainly heat up this week.
Amongst the must see games are Kentucky-Tennessee, Missouri-Kansas State, BYU-New Mexico and Michigan State-Purdue. Not to mention Saturday’s showdown in the Big East, between No. 7 Villanova and No. 4 Syracuse.
But as much as these College Basketball Power Rankings change, they remain the same, starting with the top team in our poll…
1. Kansas (26-1, 12-0): What can we say about the Jayhawks that hasn’t been said already? As our good friend Seth Davis of CBS Sports tweeted on Monday morning, “If I could put Kansas higher than No. 1, I would.”
2. Kentucky (26-1, 11-1): After beating Mississippi State and Vanderbilt on the road this week (two teams which hadn’t lost a single home game between them this season), we’re really nitpicking to try and find flaws with this team. Kentucky doesn’t play again until Thursday, when they have a chance to avenge their only loss of the season, against South Carolina.
3. Purdue (23-3, 11-3): So Kansas got two more victories, Kentucky won two epic road games, and Syracuse won a thriller at Georgetown, yet it was Purdue who was most impressive last week. After beating Ohio State and Illinois, there’s little reason to think the Boilermakers will lose again for the rest of the regular season.
4. Syracuse (25-2, 11-2): The Orange won the game of the week, and one of the games of the season, at Georgetown Thursday night. As for this week, they’ve got high-scoring Providence on Tuesday, before the game we’ve all been waiting for, against Villanova at the Carrier Dome Saturday night.
5. Duke (23-4, 11-2): Duke used a 29-9 second half run to wrap up an exciting game at Miami, and was even more impressive against Virginia Tech Sunday night. Right now, whatever the Blue Devils are selling, we’re buying.
6. Kansas State (22-4, 9-3): Kansas State continues to just creep, creep, creep up these rankings, and have now won seven of their last eight games. Like Kentucky, they too have a chance to avenge an early season loss, when they host Missouri, in what promises to be an exciting game Saturday. Set your Tivo!
7. Villanova (22-4, 11-3): A week ago, Villanova was a lock for a No. 1 seed, but after two straight losses, that is now in jeopardy. A visit from South Florida on Wednesday night should heal all that ails these Wildcats.
8. West Virginia (21-5, 10-4): If you watched West Virginia’s win over Seton Hall Saturday, you know that while the final score might not have been close, the game itself was. The Mountaineers are talented, but have trouble putting teams away, which is not a good sign as they get set to play at UConn on Monday night.
9. Ohio State (21-7, 11-4): The Big 10 did the Buckeyes no favors by putting Purdue and Michigan State on the schedule in the same week. Even still, after Ohio State’s win at Michigan State Sunday afternoon, it’s time to wonder if this team is a Final Four sleeper.
10. New Mexico (25-3, 11-2): A big win, followed by a poor performance against Utah, put a damper on what should have been a joyous two win week. The Lobos will need a better effort when they host BYU Saturday, a team they beat earlier in the year.
11. Butler (25-4, 17-0): Of everyone who played on Bracket Buster Saturday, nobody had a better win than the Bulldogs, against a very, very good Siena team. Butler has now won 18 games in a row, and will close out their regular season Friday night against Valparaiso.
12. Georgetown (18-7, 8-6): The Hoyas played just once last week, and lost a tight game against Syracuse. With a high NCAA Tournament seed slipping through their fingertips, there’s no margin for error against Louisville and Notre Dame this week.
13. Pittsburgh (21-6, 10-4): Having won five games in a row (including two against top five teams), we couldn’t keep the Panthers out of the Power Rankings any longer. While there are still doubts about this group heading into March, right now, they’re the team that no one in the Big East wants to play.
14. BYU (25-3, 10-2): BYU did what they were supposed to do last week, beating up on two of the Mountain West’s worst teams. They’ll have a much tougher challenge on Saturday, when they visit No. 10 New Mexico.
15. Michigan State (21-7, 11-4): Another week, another loss to a top team, this time to Ohio State at home. While Tom Izzo’s teams have earned the benefit of the doubt over the years, it’s becoming harder and harder to see this team as a real contender.
16. Gonzaga (22-5, 10-2): Every team has bad games now and then, but there is just absolutely no excuse for the Zags loss at Loyola Marymount last week, none. Even still, it’s tough to see Gonzaga losing any of the remaining games on their schedule.
17. Vanderbilt (20-6, 9-3): My oh my, how close the Commodores came to upsetting Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. After that tough loss, will they be able to recover in time to beat a deceptively good Georgia team on Thursday?
18. Wisconsin (20-7, 10-5): Bo Ryan’s boys still don’t have a truly impressive road victory on their resume, after losing at Minnesota Thursday. And with their only quality game away from the Kohl Center at Illinois in two weeks, will these road woes effect their NCAA Tournament seeding?
19. Tennessee (20-6, 8-4): The Vols quietly had a nice week, getting two good wins against Georgia and South Carolina. The question now, is if they can avenge their most recent loss, when they host Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.
20. Temple (22-5, 10-2): The fact that the Owls needed overtime to hold off Temple shows that they are still entirely too inconsistent for a team with as much veteran experience. Will that hurt them Wednesday, when they host Dayton?
New to the Power Rankings: Pittsburgh
Dropping Out: Texas