Rauf 25: Oklahoma surges in latest college basketball power rankings

College basketball is known for its unpredictability, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why we love it. However, from a power rankings perspective, it can lead to chaos.

And chaos is exactly what we have on our hands.

Six ranked teams lost on Saturday alone and, of the 25 teams I have ranked here, 10 suffered at least one defeat this week! We also had four teams drop out, the biggest name of which is Kansas. The Jayhawks have lost four of their last five games and simply are not playing good basketball right now.

On the flip side, the most impressive week belongs to Oklahoma. The Sooners knocked off two top 10 teams in Texas and Alabama to make their first appearance of the season in these power rankings. Lon Kruger’s squad has now won five games in a row and became the first team since 1974 to win four games over top 10 teams in a single month.

How high do they end up in these power rankings? Here’s my full top 25:

Can anyone catch Garza in POY race?
BRACKETOLOGY: Latest field of 68
SUBSCRIBE to today!

25. DRAKE BULLDOGS (15-0)

Last week: 25
Games: Missouri State (68-61 W, 78-73 W)

Drake returned from a lengthy COVID-19 pause to sweep Missouri State on the road. The Bulldogs continue to show their elite and balanced shooting.

24. Purdue Boilermakers (12-6)

Last week: NR
Games: Minnesota (81-62 W)

The Boilermakers have been rolling over the last few weeks, winning five of their last six games. Their only two losses in January came against Illinois and Michigan, both of whom appear much higher on this list.

23. Oklahoma state Cowboys (11-4)

Last week: NR
Games: Iowa State (81-60 W), Arkansas (81-77 W)

The Cowboys continue to be much more than just Cade Cunningham, but having the projected No. 1 pick certainly doesn’t hurt! The only loss in their last five games came against Baylor without Cunningham, and their three other losses came by a combined eight points.

22. FLorida Gators (10-4)

Last week: NR
Games: Vanderbilt (79-71 W), West Virginia (85-80 W)

Florida has now won four games in a row with signature wins over Tennessee and West Virginia. The Gators appear to have adjusted and found a rhythm after losing Keyontae Johnson for the year.

21. SAINT LOUIS BILLIKENS (7-2)

Last week: 16
Games: Dayton (76-71 L)

Saint Louis dropped its first game since Dec. 23 and rust certainly showed. The Billikens are now off again until Saturday when they face George Washington.

20. MISSOURI TIGERS (11-3)

Last week: 14
Games: Auburn (88-82 L), TCU (102-98 W)

Mizzou looked shaky this week as the Tigers put forth two of their worst defensive showings of the season. A big week looms with home games against Kentucky and Alabama.

19. Oklahoma Sooners (13-1)

Last week: NR
Games: Texas (80-79 W), Alabama (66-61 W)

Oklahoma has ripped off three consecutive victories over teams ranked in the top 10 at tipoff. The Sooners have found themselves defensively (60.8 points allowed over last five games), which has spearheaded this run.

18. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS (11-4)

Last week: 15
Games: Seton Hall (85-81 W), DePaul (69-62 W)

Creighton trailed Seton Hall by nearly 20 and was losing to DePaul well into the second half. Despite winning both games this week, the Bluejays did not look good.

17. VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (13-3)

Last week: 21
Games: Notre Dame (62-51 W), Virginia (65-51 W)

The Hokies continue an impressive season that will lead to Mike Young winning ACC Coach of the Year. Even without suspended star Tyrece Radford, Virginia Tech picked up a pair of big wins.

16. WISCONSIN BADGERS (13-5)

Last week: 11
Games: Maryland (61-55 W), Penn State (81-71 L)

Wisconsin avenged its earlier loss to Maryland before being upset by Penn State in convincing fashion. The Badgers have now lost two of their last three games and are 5-4 in their last nine games.

15. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (9-2)

Last week: 12
Games: Miami (81-59 W), Georgia Tech (76-65 L)

Florida State was playing as well as anyone in the country before running into Georgia Tech, which held the ‘Noles to one of their worst shooting nights of the season.

14. VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (11-3)

Last week: 9
Games: Syracuse (81-58 W), Virginia Tech (65-51 L)

Virginia lost its newfound offense in the second half of the loss against the Hokies and was outscored 44-21 in the second frame.

13. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (12-3)

Last week: 19
Games: Mississippi State (56-53 W), Kansas (80-61 W)

Tennessee has been struggling recently — which I wrote about in Friday’s Rauf Report — but got back to looking like itself in a dominant win over Kansas. We’ll see if the Vols can maintain that level of play with two road games on tap (Ole Miss, Kentucky) this week.

12. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (11-5)

Last week: 18
Games: Iowa (80-75 W)

Illinois picked up its best win of the season on Friday against the Hawkeyes. When the Illini are engaged, they’re as good as anyone in the country outside of Gonzaga and Baylor.

11. WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (11-5)

Last week: 13
Games: Texas Tech (88-87 W), Florida (85-80 L)

Miles McBride came up huge in the win over Texas Tech, yet the loss to Florida dropped the Mountaineers to 4-4 in their last eight games. However, all four losses came against teams ranked in this top 25.

10. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (12-5)

Last week: 10
Games: West Virginia (88-87 L), LSU (76-71 W)

I know West Virginia just beat Texas Tech, but that game was far closer than WVU’s loss to Florida. The Red Raiders were a few inches away from beating West Virginia on the road before pulling off an epic comeback (12-0 run in final minute) to beat LSU. Mac McClung is starting to play like an All-American.

9. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (13-4)

Last week: 17
Games: Penn State (83-79 W)

Ohio State has won five of its last six games thanks to a surging offensive that now ranks in the top five in the country. The Buckeyes could be a factor in the Big Ten title race.

8. IOWA HAWKEYES (12-4)

Last week: 7
Games: Illinois (80-75 L)

The Hawkeyes lost a close one at home to Illinois that really could’ve gone either way. But, as we’ve seen, Iowa’s defense limits its ceiling. The team needs more from Jordan Bohannon, who only has 15 combined points in Iowa’s four losses.

7. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (14-4)

Last week: 3
Games: Kentucky (70-59 W), Oklahoma (66-61 L)

The Crimson Tide had their win streak snapped by Oklahoma in Norman. This is still a very good team but struggled offensively against the shorthanded Sooners.

6. TEXAS LONGHORNS (11-3)

Last week: 5
Games: Oklahoma (80-79 L)

Texas was down three players and still nearly knocked off an Oklahoma team that we’re learning is pretty good! But the Longhorns have now lost two of their last three games by a combined three points.

5. HOUSTON COUGARS (14-1)

Last week: 8
Games: Tulane (83-60 W)

It doesn’t look like anyone in the American will challenge Houston. The Cougars continue to roll.

4. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (13-1)

Last week: 6
Games: None

Michigan did not play this week due to a COVID-19 pause.

3. VILLANOVA WILDCATS (11-1)

Last week: 4
Games: Seton Hall (80-72 W)

Villanova hasn’t lost since it fell to Virginia Tech on the first Saturday of the season. The Wildcats aren’t perfect and have their holes defensively, but they’re as solid as they come outside of the top two.

2. BAYLOR BEARS (16-0)

Last week: 2
Games: Kansas State (107-59 W), Auburn (84-72 W)

Baylor continues to roll the way you’d expect against two lesser opponents. The Bears might be tested Tuesday against Texas, but this group remains ahead of everyone other than Gonzaga.

1. GONZAGA BULLDOGS (17-0)

Last week: 1
Games: San Diego (90-62 W), Pepperdine (97-75 W)

Did you expect anything less from the Zags in WCC play?

Brian Rauf
Brian Rauf

Heat Check CBB Lead National Writer