NCAA Men’s Basketball Power Rankings
1. Gonzaga (3-0)
The Bulldogs look every bit the part of the nation’s number one team. They have a roster that is talented, deep, and experienced. Mark Few is one of the best coaches in the nation and they have wins over top 15 teams in Kansas and West Virginia. Iowa is next up on the schedule and there is still hope to reschedule the game against Baylor. If Gonzaga can survive both of those games, the Bulldogs should head into the NCAA Tournament with an undefeated record.
Drew Timme and Corey Kispert are both averaging over 22 points a game. Add to that Jalen Suggs, who is looking like an early favorite for freshman of the year, and you have a three-headed monster that will be tough to stop. Joel Ayayi is the team’s best defender and rebounder (7.7 per game). Unless this team suffers some injuries they will be the clear favorite heading into March.
2. Baylor (4-0)
College basketball fans everywhere were disappointed when Baylor versus Gonzaga had to be canceled due to coronavirus concerns. There is quite a gap in my rating after Baylor and Gonzaga. These two teams have really separated themselves from the rest of the field. The metrics place the Bears inside the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Baylor’s win over Illinois was impressive as the Illini look like a team who could make a run at a Big Ten championship.
Unlike Gonzaga, Baylor is guard dominated. Jared Butler (15.3), Adam Flagler (15.3), MaCio Teague (14.0), and Donovan Mitchell (12.5) make up one of the deepest backcourts in the nation when it comes to scoring. One of the concerns I have is the inside game. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is the only non-guard averaging more than four points a game (Yes, Matthew Mayer is 6-9 but is listed as a guard). If this team is going to win it all Flo Thamba will have to take his game to the next level.
3. Tennessee (3-0)
The Volunteers got a late start to the season due to being shut down for the coronavirus, but they have been very impressive in their three games. Tennessee’s defense may end up being the best in the nation when the season is over. Josiah-Jordan James and Keon Johnson and stealing machines. They held Colorado, who has scored at least 75 points in every other game this season, to only 47 points. While the Volunteers’ slowed tempo may not be the most exciting, it is effective. The big concern for Tennessee is who is going to do the scoring. Only John Fulkerson is averaging in double figures at 12.7 per game. If James and Jaden Springer start asserting themselves more on offense don’t be surprised if this team comes away with an SEC Championship and a trip to the Final Four.
4. Iowa (6-0)
It was a tough call between Tennessee and Iowa for the number three spot. I have no worries about the Hawkeyes offense, but the defense is questionable. If they have an off night shooting I’m not sure they have the team that can win a defensive battle. With Gonzaga next on the schedule, we will find out how good Luka Garza and company really are. The Hawkeyes are averaging a ridiculous 100.5 points per game on offense led by Garza’s 29.2.
5. Houston (4-0)
Kelvin Sampson has this team playing well on both ends of the floor. The Cougars also have an impressive neutral court victory over Texas Tech. Like Baylor, this is an extremely guard dominated team so I have my worries if this team can hold up against bigger bodies. Quentin Grimes is in a shooting slump to start the season but still averaging 17.8 points per game. If Grimes can find his shot Houston is a legitimate contender to be cutting down the nets in Indianapolis.
6. Illinois (5-2)
While the rankings have Illinois outside of the top 10, this team has been playing like a top 5 team. The Illini have played one of the better schedules in the nation and the metrics really love them. Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn might be the best inside, outside combo in the nation. If freshman Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo can continue to make strides this team could be right up there with Baylor and Gonzaga at the end of the year. The biggest question mark for this team is a lack of an inside presence after Cockburn. It didn’t seem to matter much as Illinois put up a 27 point win over Minnesota in their Big Ten opener.
7. Michigan State (6-0)
The Spartans have been surprisingly good to start the season. Not that it is ever a big shocker when a Tom Izzo coached team is good, but Michigan State looked to be a team on the outside looking in on the top of the Big Ten. The Spartans have a nice win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium but will get a really big test as they host Wisconsin in their second conference game. Aaron Henry has struggled from outside the arc, but he and Rocket Watts make for a dynamic backcourt that will give coaches nightmares.
8. Kansas (5-1)
The Jayhawks recovered after losing their season opener to Gonzaga 102-90 by winning five straight. While this is not Bill Self’s most talented team they have made up for it with the defensive effort. Kansas’ win over Creighton should look better and better as the Bluejays will be a contender for the Big East crown. If Self can get Marcus Garrett going Kansas has a shot at competing with Baylor for the Big 12 crown.
9. Villanova (5-1)
The Wildcats have earned their 5-1 record by playing one of the harder schedules in the nation. Their only loss is to a very good Virginia Tech team in overtime. Four of their five wins have come against teams inside of the Kenpom top 100. Collin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl give Jay Wright a chance to win every time his team steps on the floor.
10. West Virginia (6-1)
Derek Culver has taken his game to the next level for Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers. Culver is averaging a double-double and teammate Miles McBride leads the team in scoring at 14.6 per game. West Virginia hung with top-ranked Gonzaga and lost a close one 87-82. While West Virginia doesn’t have a marquee win, victories over Richmond, VCU and Western Kentucky look better every day. The Mountaineers might find themselves inside the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency come year’s end, which could foreshadow good things to come in tournament play.
- St. Louis
- Texas Tech
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- San Diego State
NCAA Men’s Basketball Bracketology
Keep in mind where the power rankings are more about how good I think teams actually are, bracketology is putting them where I think the committee would have them if the season ended today.
- 1 Seeds
- Gonzaga, Baylor, Iowa, and Villianova
- 2 Seeds
- Michigan State, Kansas, Houston, and West Virginia
- 3 Seeds
- Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Florida State
- 4 Seeds
- Texas, Virginia, Rutgers, and Texas Tech
- 5 Seeds
- St. Louis, Michigan, Ohio State, and Missouri
- 6 Seeds
- San Diego State, Louisville, Creighton, and Indiana
- 7 Seeds
- Xavier, Clemson, North Carolina, and Florida
- 8 Seeds
- Duke, UCLA, Oregon, and Virginia Tech
- 9 Seeds
- Richmond, Arkansas, Syracuse, and Arizona State
- 10 Seeds
- LSU, UConn, Alabama, and Oklahoma State
- 11 Seeds
- Stanford, Penn State, Oklahoma, and Marquette/USC
- 12 Seeds
- NC State/Maryland, Furman, Marshall and Loyola-Chicago
- 13 Seeds
- New Mexico State, Vermont, Murray State, and Georgia State
- 14 Seeds
- South Dakota State, Winthrop, Liberty, and Toledo
- 15 Seeds
- Wright State, Abilene Christian, Hofstra and UC Santa Barbara
- 16 Seeds
- Texas Southern/Norfolk State, Mount St. Mary’s/Saint Peter’s, Eastern Washington, Colgate