Believe it or not, we are in the final week of the regular season.
And there is no lack of shakeup in the power rankings. Top-10 teams (not named Gonzaga or Michigan) are losing with some increased regularity. March is here, so you know how that goes. We are seeing shifting, with the promise of more surprises soon to come.
Let's not waste any more time. This is the penultimate edition of the Hey Nineteen; next Tuesday will be the finale. And for reference, you can see where each team below projects into the field of 68 by heading over to our Bracketology hub, where Jerry Palm is updating matters daily.
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Hey Nineteen Power Rankings
Norlander's Hey Nineteen is a weekly encapsulation of the 19 hottest and/or most successful teams in college basketball, combining team quality with win quality but also leaving no shame for recency bias and rewarding significant winning streaks.
|🔄Last week: No. 1 | Record: 24-0. Uh, so, kinda feel like this small little detail has gone a little overlooked? I know it's a shortened season and all, but, you know: Gonzaga just completed its first undefeated regular season in school history. And it did beat the likes of Kansas, Iowa, Virginia, West Virginia and BYU twice -- all top-25 KenPom teams -- in doing it. Congrats to those players and Mark Few and the staff. This will become a much bigger thing if/when Gonzaga wins the WCC Tournament and enters the NCAA Tournament with an unblemished record.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 3 | Record: 18-1. For the first time this season, a team not named Gonzaga or Baylor is in the top two of these power rankings -- and the AP poll. The Wolverines have earned it. Now it's time for Franz Wagner to start earning more widespread praise. The sophomore forward ranks ninth in KenPom's player of the year algorithm thanks to this shooting-percentage line: 84.2% from the foul line, 63.0% from 2-point range, 37.1% from 3-point range. Wagner's offensive rating is a lofty 127.8. He's one of the 10 best players in America.|
|🔻Last week: No. 4 | Record: 18-1. In Baylor's loss to Kansas on Saturday, the Bears had just three turnovers. Something I'd love the answer to: the last time a team had three or fewer turnovers and lost by double digits. Feels like a once-a-decade kind of event. Still on the table for Baylor: its first conference title since 1950. It gets it if it wins at West Virginia on Tuesday night. Bill Henderson was coaching Baylor 71 years ago. He also took the Bears to the Final Four that year. In fact, Henderson took the Bears to the Final Four twice, yet finished with a sub-.500 record (201-233).|
|⤴️Last week: No. 7 | Record: 18-6. My deepest respect to everyone at Illinois responsible for getting Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn and Trent Frazier to recreate the classic Sports Illustrated cover shoot photo from 2005. Thinking it must have been done prior to Dosunmu's facial injury. Speaking of that, he remains day-to-day and we don't yet know if he'll be available for Illinois' huge game at Michigan on Tuesday night. If not, Andre Curbelo will need to continue to be a spark plug. The freshman averaged 13.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists last week.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 9 | Record: 20-3. Quentin Grimes just won AAC Player of the Week for the second time. He's hitting his stride for a Cougars team that, despite a really good record and consistent presence in these power rankings' top 10, still seems like a Final Four dark horse. Grimes averaged 27.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game last week, including a career-best 33 points against a good Western Kentucky team Thursday. Serious potential to be a March Madness Dude. |
|⤴️Last week: No. 15 | Record: 18-7. The Hawkeyes sit sixth here and fifth in the Massey Composite, which is a master ranking of 40 different systems. With Iowa's win over Ohio State on Sunday, Fran McCaffery's team earned its seventh victory vs. a ranked opponent this season. That's tied with Kansas for the most. The Hawkeyes are 5-1 in their last six, the lone loss coming by 22 points against Michigan. Torvik ranks Iowa as the second-best team in college basketball since Feb. 10, behind only Houston.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 13 | Record: 17-6. Mountaineers' only loss since the end of January came in double overtime at home against Oklahoma. West Virginia was 6-1 in February, scoring as many as 91 and as few as 65 points en route to victory. Don't forget that Oscar Tshiebwe was a top-10 freshman a season ago, left the team in December, yet WVU continued to get better. Bob Huggins is not going to win coach of the year nationally or in his conference, but he should get heavy consideration for both.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 19 | Record: 19-5. The best freshman you probably don't know (unless you're locked in on the Frosh Watch, as you should be) plays for Arkansas. Rangy guard Moses Moody was stellar last week, dropping 21.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists against Alabama and LSU. The Razorbacks are 9-1 in their past 10 and have clearly been a top-10 team in college hoops in that span. It's time they were rewarded here for it.|
|🔻Last week: No. 5 | Record: 19-6. We've got an in-depth, must-read profile up on Alabama right now that published earlier today. It's about how Nate Oats uses NBA concepts to steamroll teams. The roster Oats inherited two years ago was not tractable with his system. He always knew it was going to be Year Two when the team really followed his vision. Oats prefers big guards, long wings, strong power forwards who can shoot and a center that can rim-run and shoot with consistency. "In order to play this way, you can't play two traditional bigs," Oats told me. "I don't even want to play one. When I say traditional, I mean just slow, plodding and post-up like. If I got one really athletic big that can shoot threes, we can still go like that." Head on over and read the piece and get ready for Alabama to make a deep tournament run.|
|🔻Last week: No. 6 | Record: 14-4. Leonard Hamilton, 72, was given a contract extension Monday that goes through the 2024-25 season. The deal is worth just shy of $2.3 million annually which, all things considered, is still an outrageously good deal for Florida State. Hamilton should be making at least $3 million base salary at this stage. FSU is 138-52 since 2015-16 and could be a two-time ACC regular-season champ this season. That will come to pass so long as FSU wins at home vs. Boston College on Wednesday night, which seems like a metaphysical certitude.|
|⤴️Last week: N/R | Record: 17-6. The Cowboys crack into the rankings in the final month of the season and is it ever deserved. OSU has won five straight in league play for the first time under Mike Boynton. It has a sweep of Oklahoma to its name this season, which is something OU hadn't done in four years. This is setting up to be, at minimum, OSU's best season since 2013, when the Pokes were a No. 5 seed (yet fell in the first round). Conference-wise, it's their best record since 2013 as well. Cade Cunningham committing to Oklahoma State (where his brother is an assistant) was the most influential decision by any 2020 college basketball recruit. Team's good enough to make the second week of the NCAAs.|
|🔻Last week: No. 4 | Record: 18-7. The Buckeyes are enduring a three-game losing streak and coming off their worst offensive output of the season, averaging .86 points per possession in Sunday's 73-57 loss to Iowa. Like much of the Big Ten, Ohio State is going to get a full league slate in -- all 20 games. The final one is scheduled for Saturday and it is a doozy: Illinois comes to town. Have to figure Ayo Dosunmu will be back in time for that one. A loss would make Ohio State's chase for the final No. 1 seed leave no choice but for the Buckeyes to win the Big Ten Tournament thereafter.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 14 | Record: 21-4. Congrats to Cameron Krutwig and Lucas Williamson. The seniors clinched a third Missouri Valley title in their four years with the Ramblers. Loyola Chicago is 16-2 heading into this week's Missouri Valley tournament. The last time this program went four seasons with at least 20 wins was the 1940s. Its seeding situation remains fascinating because of how its predictive metrics are different from its results-based ones, but the Ramblers are clearly dangerous enough to make a second-weekend run.|
|⤴️Last week: N/R | Record: 18-8. Simply have to have the Jayhawks back in the power rankings. Kansas beating Baylor improved Bill Self to 9-1 at home against teams ranked in the top five of the AP poll. Get this: Kansas has won at least 12 conference games 21 years in a row. That's laughable. Only knock on KU in the big picture is its three most recent road wins date back to Jan. 5 and only come against the three non-NCAA Tournament teams in the Big 12: TCU, Iowa State and K-State. Otherwise, the defense is the story, as I detailed in my column here.|
|🔻Last week: 8 | Record: 15-4 The Wildcats' three most recent losses have all come on the road: at St. John's, at Creighton, at Butler. The 73-61 loss at Butler marked the fourth time in five trips to Hinkle Fieldhouse that Villanova not just lost, but lost as a favorite and lost as a team ranked in the top 10. Next is maybe the last Quad 1 opportunity Villanova will have this season: home vs. Creighton Wednesday. Villanova has only played eight home games but has not lost one. If it wins vs. Creighton it will mark seven Big East regular-season titles in the eight years since the league realigned.|
|🔄Last week: N/R | Record: 19-4. The Aztecs haven't lost since Jan. 16. Their 10-game winning streak is second-longest in the nation to, oh yeah, a little school tucked away in the Pacific Northwest. Brian Dutcher's team is a lock to make the tournament in the eyes of some after sweeping Boise State over the weekend. A win at UNLV on Wednesday night will erase any traces of doubt. Credit to Dutcher for keeping SDSU on an upper echelon after losing a first round NBA pick (Malachi Flynn). Remember, had we had a 2020 NCAA Tournament, Jerry Palm projected SDSU to be a No. 2 seed a year ago.|
|⤴️Last week: N/R | Record: 21-1. I quietly told myself three weeks ago that if the Eagles made it to the end of their regular season with only one loss, they'd get the same love and treatment I've given to Loyola Chicago, Drake and Belmont in the Hey Nineteen. Welcome to Pat Kelsey's Eagles, which are the only team on this list to have played a postseason game. Winthrop ended High Point's season Monday night in the Big South tournament, doing so mercifully as High Point's final three losses all came to against Winthrop. This team's only loss came by two points at home to UNC Asheville.|
|⤴️Last week: N/R | Record: 17-5. Gotta put the Ducks in. Dana Altman's team is 8-1 in its past nine games, the only loss at USC. Oregon's moving toward a role it's played before: double-digit Sweet 16 threat. Chris Duarte is a stud. I underrated him heading into the season. He does so much for this team alongside Eugene Omoruyi and LJ Figueroa. There's a big-time game at home vs. UCLA on Wednesday that will have consequences both for the Pac-12 bracket and for UCLA's NCAA Tournament positioning. I'll be locked in on that one.|
|⤴️Last week: N/R | Record: 17-5. A bottleneck for the 19th spot this week, like most weeks. Colorado is the pick. The Buffaloes just beat USC and UCLA, throwing a wrench into the Pac-12 proceedings in the process. McKinley Wright IV is wrapping up his final regular season impressively: 20.7 points and 7.7 assists on average in Colorado's three most recent games/wins. The Buffaloes are projected on the No. 9 line in Jerry Palm's most recent Bracketology rundown.|