NCAA Power Rankings: Jayhawks return to the top
The battle for the top of this week’s Power Rankings lived up to the billing, as Kansas took down Baylor in a one-possession thriller. Elsewhere, four other teams in last week’s top 10 tasted defeat, so let’s jump into the rankings and see where the dust has settled.
1. Kansas (25-3)
Udoka Azubuike put on a show against the Bears, with 23 points and 19 rebounds in Kansas’ 64-61 win at Baylor. He followed up that performance with a 19-point, 16-rebound game in a blowout of Oklahoma State.
He is the most dominant center in the nation, and he has the Jayhawks playing on a totally different level.
This week: at Kansas State
2. Baylor (25-2)
There is no shame in losing to Kansas, in a game where you had a shot at the end to tie it. Baylor is still one of the two best teams in the nation, and it is a pair of three-point losses away from being unbeaten. The Bears rebounded nicely with a 19-point win over Kansas State and are still in line for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they have two regular-season games left against ranked teams.
This week: at TCU
3. Gonzaga (27-2)
The Bulldogs suffered their first defeat since November, with a 91-78 loss on the road to a BYU team that is ranked and likely will make the NCAA Tournament.
Outside shooting played a role in the defeat. They missed 20 of 25 attempts from three-point range including a dismal 1-for-10 performance from Corey Kispert, who is shooting better than 43% from distance this year.
This week: vs. San Diego, vs. St. Mary’s
4. Dayton (26-2)
The Flyers clinched the Atlantic 10 title with a 62-55 win at George Mason on Tuesday night, a game that was tied with less than 10 minutes left.
Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher scored more than half of the team’s points. If someone doesn’t step up to help them, the Flyers could struggle to beat better teams. Shooting 3 of 16 from behind the arc didn’t help matters, either.
This week: Davidson
5. Florida State (24-4)
The Seminoles made a statement and kept their ACC regular-season title hopes alive with an 82-67 win over Louisville on Monday night.
Florida State trailed by 12 points early in the second half and used a 15-0 run to swing the game in its favor. Florida State made 20 of its 38 shot attempts from two-point range, and went 21 of 27 from the free-throw line.
This week: at Clemson
6. Maryland (23-5)
The Terps slip just a bit after a road loss to a ranked Ohio State team. They mounted a comeback from 14 points down but were unable to fully close the gap after Anthony Cowan Jr. fouled out. There are concerns about the fact that Ohio State outrebounded Maryland 36-27, and the Terps allowed 13 offensive boards to the opposition.
Maryland bounced back with a win over Minnesota on Wenesday.
This week: vs. Michigan State
7. Kentucky (23-5)
The Wildcats should be thankful all NCAA Tournament games are played away of Rupp Arena. After struggling to shoot at home, they have made 32 of 59 three-pointers in their last four road games and went 11 of 22 in Tuesday’s 69-60 win at Texas A&M.
Immanuel Quickley has cemented the SEC Player of the Year Award, after he scored 26 points against Florida, followed by a 30-point performance against the Aggies.
A win over Auburn this weekend would lock up another SEC title.
This week: vs. Auburn
8. San Diego State (26-1)
The Aztecs finally suffered their first defeat, a 66-63 loss to a 14-14 UNLV team. They followed that up with a close win over Colorado State but trailed that game at halftime.
If they lose another game, their strength of schedule will cost them a No. 1 seed, and a tough road game at Nevada to finish out the regular season could result in another loss.
This week: at Nevada
9. Creighton (22-6)
A demolition job of Butler highlighted a great week for the Bluejays. The 81-59 win gave them three victories over ranked teams in their last four games.
If they win out, they would clinch at least a share of the Big East title, as they trail Seton Hall by only one game. They could be contending for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
This week: at St. John’s
10. Villanova (22-6)
Villanova has played its last three games on the road and won them all. The Wildcats still have an outside shot at the Big East championship, with a game against Seton Hall still on the schedule.
The improvement in the Wildcats’ defense has been the catalyst for their late-season surge.