Texas and Iowa both slide in the latest top 25 college basketball power rankings.
Another week of games, another week of upheaval in my college basketball power rankings.
Five teams ranked in the top nine of the AP poll lost at least one game this week, creating a lot of turnover that the top. That’s something we haven’t really seen this season. While it raises questions about each of the teams that lost, it also solidifies perhaps the lone fact we know to be true in the sport: Baylor and Gonzaga are the nation’s two best teams and there’s a giant gap between them and everyone else.
The teams to be most concerned about this week are Alabama, Iowa and Texas. All three looked like stable top five teams at some point in the last couple of weeks yet all have limped since. Now, none of them are ranked in my top 10.
How far did they fall and who took their respective places in my top 25 power rankings? Let’s find out.
25. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (16-3)
Last week: NR
Games: Missouri State (72-46 W, 70-50 W), Evansville (68-55 W)
Loyola-Chicago is now up to No. 12 in KenPom and No. 14 in the latest NET rankings. This is a team that has been absolutely rolling but still lacks a significant win. The Ramblers will get their chance next weekend against Drake.
24. DRAKE BULLDOGS (18-0)
Last week: 25
Games: Illinois State (78-76 W, 95-60 W), Valparaiso (80-77 W)
Drake pulled off two double-digit comebacks this week to remain undefeated yet also lack that big win. That’s why this weekend’s matchup with the Ramblers is huge for both sides.
23. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (12-5)
Last week: 23
Games: TCU (81-78 L), Texas (75-67 W)
Oklahoma State lost its second game of the season to TCU in incredibly disappointing fashion but bounced back in a big way with its upset over Texas. The Cowboys can be a dangerous team, albeit an inconsistent one.
22. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS (14-5)
Last week: 18
Games: Georgetown (86-79 L), Marquette (71-68 W)
Creighton’s struggles continued this week as consistency has escaped the Bluejays. I break down those struggles and why they’re concerning here.
21. USC Trojans (15-3)
Last week: NR
Games: Stanford (72-66 W), UCLA (66-48 W)
For as up-and-down as the Pac-12 has been, USC has been rather steady. The Trojans have won 10 of their last 11 games and are in first place. They rank in the top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency and might be the only Pac-12 team capable of making the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend.
20. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11-6)
Last week: NR
Games: Northwestern (64-56 W), Minnesota (76-72 W)
Rutgers rose to as high as No. 8 in these rankings before injuries struck this group and they lost six games in their last seven. Now *relatively* healthy again, the Scarlet Knights have won four games in a row. Their biggest test of this stretch comes this week against Iowa.
19. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (12-5)
Last week: 19
Games: Texas Tech (57-52 L), Iowa State (79-72 W)
Oklahoma’s surge was ended by Texas Tech on Monday but that’s certainly not a bad loss, especially considering that the Sooners were shorthanded. The Sooners bounced back in a big way against the Cyclones.
18. VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (14-4)
Last week: 17
Games: Pittsburgh (83-72 L), Miami (80-76 W)
The Hokies stumbled this week following a big win over Virginia last weekend, falling at Pitt and needing overtime to get past Miami. They will be tested again on Saturday against Louisville.
17. WISCONSIN BADGERS (14-6)
Last week: 16
Games: Penn State (72-56 W), Illinois (75-60 L)
The Badgers have struggled mightily since Christmas. They’re 6-5 since their win over Michigan State on that day and are just 2-3 in their last five games. This group simply lacks the firepower to truly challenge the best teams in the Big Ten.
16. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (13-4)
Last week: 13
Games: Ole Miss (52-50 L), Kentucky (82-71 W)
Tennessee’s lack of half-court offense is a real problem and is why it has lost three of the last six games. But talent is still there as is defensive dominance, both of which the Vols flashed this week as well.
15. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (10-3)
Last week: 15
Florida State did not play this week due to COVID-19 protocols.
14. MISSOURI TIGERS (13-3)
Last week: 20
Games: Kentucky (75-70 W), Alabama (68-65 W)
Mizzou shook off its bad week with two quality wins, particularly the one over Alabama. The Tigers are still in the SEC title race because of the win and aren’t scheduled to face a currently ranked team for the remainder of the season.
13. IOWA HAWKEYES (13-5)
Last week: 8
Games: Michigan State (84-78 W), Ohio State (89-85 L)
The Hawkeyes have lost three of their last four games and are a middling 5-5 against KenPom top 45 teams largely due to their lack of defense.
12. TEXAS LONGHORNS (11-5)
Last week: 6
Games: Baylor (83-69 L), Oklahoma State (75-67 L)
Texas has lost three games in a row, is 1-4 in their last five, and has only one win over a team with a winning record since their resounding win over Kansas (which, in retrospect, doesn’t look as good as we thought at the time). The Longhorns have still proven enough to remain in the top 15 even though they aren’t playing like a top 15 team right now.
11. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (15-5)
Last week: 7
Games: LSU (78-60 W), Missouri (68-65 L)
The Crimson Tide were dominant in their win over LSU and in the second half of the game against Missouri. However, their defense was nonexistent in the first half as Mizzou built a 22-point lead. They’ve now lost two of their last three games.
10. VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (13-3)
Last week: 14
Games: NC State (64-57 W), Pittsburgh (73-66 W)
Virginia bounced back from their loss to Virginia Tech with two very business-like wins in conference play.
9. HOUSTON COUGARS (16-2)
Last week: 5
Games: SMU (70-48 W), ECU (82-73 L), Our Lady of the Lake (112-46 W)
Houston has been dominant in every conference game except that shocking upset to ECU, one of the American’s worst teams. The Pirates got uncharacteristically hot from three-point range in that game and isn’t anything I’m concerned about for the Cougars.
8. WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (13-5)
Last week: 11
Games: Iowa State (76-72 W), Kansas (91-79 W)
Miles McBride is becoming a national star, and his performance against Kansas (29 points, eight assists) only made his star brighter.
7. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (14-5)
Last week: 10
Games: Oklahoma (57-52 W), Kansas State (73-62 W)
The Red Raiders also benefit from almost everyone in the top 10 losing and move up with a quality win over Oklahoma. There are still some questions about this group’s offense, but they’re one of the most consistent teams in the country.
6. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (13-5)
Last week: 12
Games: Indiana (75-71 W), Wisconsin (75-60 W)
A lot of people wrote Illinois off following back to back losses to Maryland and Ohio State last month, but it has won four in a row since, including big wins over Iowa and Wisconsin. Plus, the loss to the Buckeyes doesn’t look so bad.
5. VILLANOVA WILDCATS (11-2)
Last week: 3
Games: St. John’s (70-59 L)
Villanova suffered its first loss since November in a game where it simply had a poor shooting night. I wrote about why I’m not concerned about the Wildcats here.
4. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (15-4)
Last week: 9
Games: Michigan State (79-62 W), Iowa (89-85 W)
The Buckeyes have completely turned a corner, winning four road games over ranked teams in the past month. Chris Holtmann’s squad has as good of a resume as anyone other than Baylor and Gonzaga.
3. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (13-1)
Last week: 4
Michigan did not play this week due to a COVID-19 pause.
2. BAYLOR BEARS (17-0)
Last week: 2
Games: Texas (83-69 W)
Baylor pulled away from Texas in the second half as it simply kicked it into an extra gear that Texas didn’t display.
1. GONZAGA BULLDOGS (18-0)
Last week: 1
Games: Pacific (76-58 W)
Gonzaga’s slow starts continue to be an issue as it trailed Pacific at halftime, but the Bulldogs have proven they can turn it on when necessary. It’s something to watch moving forward, though.