College Basketball Power Rankings – Week 12
Two weeks have passed since my last College Basketball Power Rankings as we’ve seen some movement throughout. MLK Day saw Kansas erase a 16-point lead in Morgantown to take down West Virginia as Duke got a resume-boosting win at Miami. Saturday saw Xavier get an impressive road win at Seton Hall while Arizona got a much-needed win at Cal. Last week also saw Oklahoma, Wichita State, and Texas Tech lose both of their games. Speaking of Oklahoma and Texas Tech, I don’t think their can be a debate on which conference is the best.
The Big 12 sports five teams (West Virginia, Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and TCU) amongst the top 20 of Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency rankings. Three more teams (Kansas State, Texas, and Baylor) find themselves in the top 50. These teams will continue to beat up on each other as losses will add up. It’s not crazy to think that the Big 12 will get 80% of its teams into the tourney though. But can any of them string together multiple wins and cut down any nets?
16.) Clemson Tigers
- Clemson makes their debut in my rankings this week after losing a tough one at North Carolina before coming back home and defeating Notre Dame. All five starters average double figure scoring led by Junior Marcuise Reed’s 15.5 ppg. Clemson sports the 11th ranked defense (Ken Pomeroy) while surprisingly being top 20 in strength of schedule. Things won’t get any easier for coach Brad Brownell as second leading scorer and rebounder Donte Grantham tore his ACL over the weekend.
15.) Arizona State Sun Devils 15-4 (3-4) PR: 11
- The Sun Devils barely stay in the rankings this week after splitting games on the road; losing to Stanford but then holding on against California. Stanford controlled most aspects of the game while beating the Sun Devils. They shot 51% from the floor, 42% from deep, outrebounded ASU 44-30, and won the assist battle 21-14. I’m having trouble figuring these guys out. They had an impressive non-conference beating Kansas State and Xavier on neutral floors while also winning at Kansas. But since Pac 12 play has started, they’ve proceeded to drop four of seven. The Pac 12 is also not very strong. I question what team we’ll see in March.
14.) Wichita State Shockers 15-4 (5-2) PR: 7
- It was shocking to see the Shockers drop two conference games this week. They lost to SMU at home before losing by 14 at Houston. They allowed SMU to shoot a blistering 64% from the field and 50% from deep. The latter game saw Wichita State shoot 33% from the field, 20% from deep, and commit 18 turnovers. They continue to share the ball though, averaging 18.8 assists per game (5th nationally). Wichita State will look to get back on track with two conference home games this week.
13.) Texas Tech Red Raiders 15-4 (4-3) PR: 15
- The Red Raiders stick in the rankings this week after dropping both games on the road to Texas and Iowa State. Their defense is the biggest reason for this. They rank 4th in adjusted defensive efficiency (Ken Pomeroy). They also hold opponents to 61.6 points per game (5th nationally), 38.8% shooting (11th nationally), and outrebound opponents by 6.9 boards per game (20th nationally). Their two losses this week came as a surprise but if their offense (58th Ken Pomeroy) can catch up to their defense, they will be a tough out in March.
College Basketball Power Rankings – Week 12 – Teams 9-12
12.) Ohio State Buckeyes 17-4 (8-0) PR: NR
- Coming out of nowhere and making their debut in my rankings this week are the Buckeyes of Ohio State. They’re an impressive 8-0 in Big Ten play following wins over Northwestern and Minnesota this past week. This team is led by junior Keita Bates-Diop and his 20 points and 9 rebounds per outing. This is coming off a year where he averaged less than 10 points and 5 rebounds per game. The Buckeyes are also 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency (Ken Pomeroy). Can Ohio State really challenge for the Big Ten this year? Their impressive 16-point win over then #1 Michigan State says that this may be a juicy run for the Big Ten title.
11.) Oklahoma Sooners 14-4 (4-3) PR: 8
- Lon Kruger’s team dropped both games this week, both on the road against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. These two games speak to the depth that is the Big 12. Freshman star Trae Young combined to cough up 19 turnovers in these two losses. He scored an amazing 48 points against Oklahoma State but needed 39 shot attempts to get there. 39! No one else scored in double figures for the Sooners. Trae Young is so amazing to watch that his own teammates will stand around on offense and become stale. It was endless isolation plays in Stillwater on Saturday. The sooners will need more guys to contribute if they want any shot to challenge for the Big 12.
10.) Arizona Wildcats 16-4 (6-1) PR: 9
- The Wildcats picked up two road wins this week winning at California and Stanford. The win against Cal saw Arizona put all five starters in double figure scoring while shooting 62% from the field and 58% from deep. Sean Miller is a little too over-reliant on his starters at the moment. They don’t have a reserve averaging more than 5 points or 14 minutes per game. Foul trouble or an injury could spell trouble for this team. It still looks like it’s their Pac 12 to lose though.
9.) West Virginia Mountaineers 16-3 (5-2) PR: 3
- The Mountaineers drop 6 spots after splitting games at home last week, losing to Kansas before pounding Texas by 35. West Virginia gave up a 16-point lead in the loss to the Jayhawks. They shot an abysmal 5-27 from deep while losing the turnover battle 16-13. This team’s offense is so reliant on generating points off turnovers that points can be hard to come by if they’re not turning you over. Everyone better familiarize themselves with big man Sagaba Konate. He had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks against the Jayhawks. Three of those blocks came within a 5-minute stretch where Kansas’ athletic guards all tried to dunk on him on 2-1 fast breaks. This guy is the rim protector of West Virginia’s scary full court press. College Gameday will be in Morgantown this weekend for the Big 12/SEC Challenge where we’ll see Kentucky come to town.
College Basketball Power Rankings – Week 12 – Teams 5-8
8.) North Carolina Tar Heels 16-4 (5-2) PR: 13
- The Tar Heels took care of business this week beating Clemson and Georgia Tech at home. The latter game saw UNC outrebound the Yellow Jackets 46-25. Upperclassmen Luke Maye and Theo Pinson both had double doubles. They’ve also seen a boost from the recently healthy Pittsburgh transfer Cam Johnson, who is averaging 12 points and 5 boards per outing. Roy Williams has inserted him into the starting lineup and that has led to a 4-game win streak.
7.) Xavier Musketeers 18-3 (6-2) PR: 6
- Xavier had a good week, beating St. John’s at home before winning at Seton Hall. These two wins made Chris Mack the winningest coach in program history. They shot 54% from the field AND from deep in the win over St. John’s. They also outrebounded the Red Storm 39-21. I was surprised to see the Musketeers outrebound their opponents by 7.9 boards per game (11th nationally). It looks as though Xavier may be the only threat to Villanova’s Big East crown.
6.) Kansas Jayhawks 16-3 (6-1) PR: 12
- Kansas had an impressive week, coming back to win at West Virginia and then escaping with a win against a resilient Baylor team at home. It looks as though Bill Self’s 4-guard lineup will stay after this week’s news of prized-freshman Billy Preston signing a pro contract in Bosnia. This 4-guard lineup has been shooting the ball quite nicely though. The Jayhawks are shooting 50.2% from the floor (14th nationally), 41.1% from deep (14th nationally), and connect on 10.6 threes per game (16th nationally). A win in Norman against the Sooners on Super Tuesday will give Kansas a firm grasp on the top spot in the Big 12. Those are words I didn’t think I’d be typing just two weeks ago.
5.) Purdue Boilermakers 19-2 (8-0) PR: 10
- There has been a lot of talk and hype about the Boilers recently; and rightfully so. They are the only team to be ranked in the top 5 in offensive AND defensive efficiency (5th offense, 3rd defense; Ken Pomeroy). These guys are also shooting the crap out of the ball. They shoot 37.7% from the field (4th nationally), 43.7% from 3 (3rd nationally), and connect on 10.5 threes per game (18th nationally). Vincent Edwards is having a quietly nice senior season averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds. They host Michigan on Thursday on ESPN in what will be a rematch of Purdue’s 1-point win in Ann Arbor earlier this month.
College Basketball Power Rankings – Week 12 – Top Teams
4.) Michigan State Spartans 17-3 (5-2) PR: 5
- Sparty won their lone game of the week, at home against Indiana. They shot 54% from the floor, 50% from deep, outrebounded the Hoosiers 45-27, and won the assist battle 23-9. All those stats equal a 28-point beat down of Indiana. Michigan State is one of two teams to rank in the top 10 of both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency (10th offense, 9th defense; Ken Pomeroy). They are also still banging boards, outrebounding opponents by 11.6 boards per game (2nd nationally). The Big Ten race is heating up with Sparty, the Boilers, and 8-0 Ohio State all jockeying for position.
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3.) Virginia Cavaliers 18-1 (7-0) PR: 4
- Virginia climbs into the top 3 after they went on the road and picked up two double-digit victories this week; defeating Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. They held both opponents under 50 points. That now makes nine games where the Cavs have held their opponents under 50. That’s a big reason why we see Virginia ranked as the #1 defensive team (Ken Pomeroy). It’s a huge week for Tony Bennett’s crew as they host Clemson before traveling to Durham to take on the Dukies.
2.) Duke Blue Devils 17-2 (5-2) PR: 2
- The Dukies hit the road and took down the Hurricanes of Miami before returning home and smacking Pittsburgh by 27. Freshman Gary Trent went for a career high 27 points on 6-9 from down town against Miami. Trent is shooting a ridiculous 17-23 from deep over the last three games. He had also only scored 20 points once before this game. Duke also sports the #2 adjusted offensive efficiency ranking (Ken Pomeroy). Virginia comes to town on Saturday in what will be a huge conference clash.
1.) Villanova Wildcats 18-1 (6-1) PR: 1
- Villanova finds themselves sitting atop the rankings again this week after going on the road and defeating both Georgetown and Connecticut. Super-sub Donte DiVincenzo scored in double figures in both games. He’s in fact scored in double figures in all but four games this year. This veteran team is still top 5 in scoring (87.9 ppg) while shooting 41.7% from deep (8th nationally). These statistics help give Villanova the #1 adjusted offensive efficiency in the nation (Ken Pomeroy). We could be looking at the #1 overall seed come March as their Big East schedule isn’t all that daunting.
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