College basketball power rankings: Kansas and Dayton pulling away from the rest thanks to big winning streaks
Duke plummets, Kentucky climbs higher for the fourth straight week -- and hello to you, BYU
For the first time in months, we have significant shift in the top five the Hey Nineteen.
The power rankings below reflect team performance, tracked from the past month-plus, with overall record taken into account. There are the obvious teams, and then there are the powerhouse squads from small conferences that are tracking toward the NCAA Tournament.
Amid all this, a tip of the cap to Kansas and Dayton. Nineteen days ago, the selection committee revealed its one-time-only in-season top 16, seeded and podded exactly how it would look if the NCAA Tournament started on Feb. 8. Have you forgotten what that looked like? I got you.
I hand credit to Kansas and Dayton because you'll notice that those are the only two schools that haven't lost since the reveal. Funnily enough, they happened to be in the same region then and now would constitute the strongest possible No. 1 vs. No. 2 seed, so the committee would not repeat this bracketing decision if the tournament started today. The other 14 teams have a total of 28 losses (2.0 defeats per, natch), with West Virginia having the worst turn with five losses in the past 19 days.
The Mountaineers fell out of this week's rankings, while a team that blazed onto the scene unexpectedly early in the season, then fell into the background, has once again reemerged and in fact plays Thursday night. You can find out who by touring the latest edition of the 19 most impressive and consistent teams in college basketball as of late. Let's go.
|⤴️ Previous: No. 3 | The 25-3 Jayhawks are the almost-universal No. 1 team in college basketball across all metrics. Not every system in fact puts KU atop the list, which is funny and bizarre. Which ones don't? The Massey Composite monitors such things and lists five out of 59 systems it tracks that do not have Bill Self's team as the best in college hoops as of Feb. 23. At KenPom, KU's efficiency margin is more than four points ahead of second-place Baylor (31.54 to 27.32).|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 5 | The 26-2 Flyers -- who I would have oh-so narrowly behind San Diego State AND Gonzaga for the final No. 1 seed as of today -- own the the nation's longest win streak (17). The beautiful combo for Dayton is how its efficient offense (No. 3 per possession) and its shooting (52% field goal shooting leads the sport) is helped by the distribution game. Dayton is a dunking team and gets it done thanks to 17.5 assists per game, No. 5 in college basketball.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 2 | for the terrific tilt between the Jayhawks and the Bears. My thoughts on Waco, Texas: Nice little town, and Magnolia Table lives up to the hype. (Chip and Jo, I'm sorry we couldn't meet up.) My thoughts on the 25-2 Bears: the defense is for real and this team is capable of winning the national title if it's at full health. Mark Vital's ability and want-to as a defender is very impressive to see up close. Jared Butler and MaCio Teague are both capable of hitting big shots. I would highly suggest you do not fade Baylor before the Elite Eight in your bracket. |
|⤴️ Previous: No. 7 | I The Seminoles tidal-waving Louisville on Monday night was an awesome display. The Cardinals led 55-45 in the second half, and then FSU pulled off a 19-2 run that was hammered home by a 9-3 run to close it, including Trent Forrest's detonation dunk on Jordan Nwora. The velocity of FSU's second-half run was a sight to behold and a flaming arrow into the night sky to remind us all that this team is Final Four-capable. The Seminoles are 24-4 and will look to avoid a letdown game at Clemson on Saturday.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 1 | The Zags have been so dominant that, even after getting wiped out by 13 at BYU, their 20-point win margin, on average, is almost four points better than second-place San Diego State. Gonzaga (27-2) still projects as a No. 1 seed. If it gets that, it will be 21 NCAA Tournaments in 21 seasons for Mark Few, with GU's average seed across those 21 seasons at 5.8.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 4 | The Aztecs taking that home loss to UNLV was a bummer on a couple of fronts. Sure, the loss happening the way it did was a shocker, so in that way it's an appetizer for March. But the game wasn't incredibly compelling and SDSU didn't even make it to the regular season finale with a chance to not have a loss. It shot 35.2% against UNLV, the Aztecs' second-worst shooting display this season. They go for 28-1 in the Mountain West capper Saturday at Nevada.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 8 | Still just 26th in KenPom despite a 23-5 record and only one loss since Jan. 15. It is inarguable that Kentucky has played like one of the seven or eight best teams in February. Immanuel Quickley's star turn to SEC Player of the Year has been unexpected but welcomed with the most open of arms in Lexington. Quickley had a career-high 30 points on a career-best eight 3s in UK's win at Texas A&M on Tuesday. He's averaging 19.2 points in his last 17 games. He's overtaken his own teammate, Nick Richards, for league player of the year favorite!|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 6 | Wednesday night's mini-miracle win was the latest example of Maryland's flair for drama and knack for avoiding catastrophe. Maryland's come back from a 15-point deficit to beat Illinois, Michigan State and Northwestern, plus 17 down on Wednesday night. It also rallied late against Indiana. A 23-5 team that could easily be 21-7 or 20-8, but the wins are the wins and Maryland's one away from finishing atop the league for the first time since moving to the Big Ten. Its 13 conference wins in back-to-back seasons are a first in school history.|
|🔁 Previous: No. 9 | How about this stat: Creighton's Ty-Shon Alexander only trails scoring studs Markus Howard and Myles Powell for Big East scoring. He's at 16.9 points per game. Yet Alexander's a better 3-point shooter (40.0%) than those two and his true shooting percentage (58.8%) exceeds Howard (58.2%) and Powell (52.8%). He's also the No. 3 free-throw shooter (87.3%) in conference play. The best player on a very good team that is 22-6 and has a healthy chance at a No. 2 seed. |
|⤴️ Previous: No. 12 | A two-game losing streak is followed up by a two-point home W vs. Butler and a 16-point home swatting of St. John's. The Johnnies game could've been 25 if SHU really wanted it. Seton Hall (20-7) has three conference games remaining and a one-game cushion on Creighton and Villanova ... both of which still get one more crack before the Big East Tournament. But first: Seton Hall at Marquette on Saturday. Feels like two teams will finish at the top of the standings.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 13 | Villanova (22-6) is on a five-game winning streak after that three-game skid earlier in the month. Losses are all good: Ohio State, Baylor, Marquette, Creighton, Butler and Seton Hall. All top-30 KenPom teams. Saddiq Bey has 65 points on 50% shooting in his past three games. An aside: I feel like people forget Nova beat Kansas.|
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 11 | The Nittany Lions (21-7) avoided a plunge thanks to Myles Dread hitting a winning 3-pointer against Rutgers on Wednesday night. PSU continues to play well despite not having Myreon Jones (14.1 ppg), who has now missed six games due to an illness that has not been revealed publicly. Hopefully the young man is close to returning and in improving health. The Nitts will need him come postseason play.|
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 16 | Steve Forbes' team flirted with some fire on Wednesday night but got out of Wofford with a 60-54 win to bump their record to 26-4. I am of the belief that if ETSU wins easily on Saturday at home against 18-10 Western Carolina, the Bucs getting to 27-4 would mean they would be a lock to make the NCAAs, even if they lost in the quarterfinals of the SoCon. The entirety of the résumé in such a scenario, combined with the upgraded mindset of the selection committee has me faith-based that ETSU would not get snubbed in such a scenario. But ... that's likely not happening anyway. This team should strut to the SoCon title game. |
|⤴️ Previous: No. 18 | After three straight overtime games, the Tigers (24-4) have mostly dodged drama in the past two wins. Did you know Auburn's riding a 19-game home winning streak? Huge roadie at Kentucky on CBS this Saturday, then the home finale next Wednesday vs. Texas A&M. Samir Doughty, who Bruce Pearl told me is "Philly smart, and slippery" has become a reliable scorer this season. If he can corral his turnovers, it's huge for the Tigers.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 17 | Now at 25-3 thanks to a 12th straight win, which came Wednesday. The problem with Stephen F. Austin in the predictive metrics is that it's not beating its Southland opponents into the ground. In 17 games, SFA's average margin is a win by 12.4 points. That's good but it's not broken-bones dominant. However, the Lumberjacks have hit a new gear recently, winning their past three games by a total of 70 points.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 14 | Two more losses and Louisville fans might be uneasy with the seed the 23-6 Cards get on Selection Sunday. This is a 4-5 team vs. Quad 1 opponents. The Florida State game was a great opportunity given away. I worry that sometimes it's Nwora-or-bust.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 10 | I've had a nagging feeling for a bit that this Duke team is not trustable at a top-tier level; the past nine days have confirmed the notion. Duke's 113-101 loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday was the school's first defeat despite scoring at least 100 since 1995, ending a 71-game streak. It was also Duke's first loss to Wake Forest since 2014. NC State and Wake hit 58.3% of their 3-pointers in their wins vs. Duke. Next up for the 23-5 Blue Devils is a burdensome trip to Virginia. |
|⤴️ Previous: unranked | Welcome to the fun jungle, Cougars. BYU sits at 23-7 with one game left on its regular-season schedule: Saturday at 15-14 Pepperdine. Yeah: this weekend is the end of conference play for a few leagues. I know! It always goes faster than we realize. BYU is highly likely to win 25 games before Selection Sunday for the first time since 2012.|
|⤴️ Previous: unranked | This was my toughest call of the season in terms of the final team. Wolverines beat out Houston, Oregon and Arizona State. The clincher was BartTorvik.com's ranking of the best teams since Feb. 1. Since these power rankings have recency bias, the fact Michigan came in second in the past 27 days -- only behind Kansas -- made them the pick. Welcome back, Wolverines. Now 18-9 and winners of seven of their past eight, the only loss to Ohio State. Now No. 9 at KenPom. Wisconsin is in town tonight.|
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Omoruyi picked Rutgers over Auburn and Arizona State
Get the latest updates on on this season's college basketball's coaching changes
CBS and CBS Sports Network will air classic NCAA Tournament games from the past
The Elite Eight games of NCAA Tournament play that we will never forget
The Shaka Smart era at Texas isn't finished yet
Johnny Juzang, part of Kentucky's heralded 2019 recruiting class, is entering the transfer...