The NET rankings debuted on Monday, giving us a little conversational fodder around the sport. The NCAA's official sorting tool for every team in men's D-I college basketball will now update daily for the public to see from now until Selection Sunday.
It's important to remember that the NET is one of six officially recognized sorting tools the NCAA men's basketball committee uses to seed and select the field. It gets the most attention because it's attached to the NCAA, but I've been told by multiple committee members that Sagarin, KenPom, BPI and the others all get referenced nearly, if not just, as much. The NET is not perfect; none of these rankings systems are. But using a collective gets us closer to an objective picture of the best teams in the sport. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the NET until we get to February, once almost every team has played at least 10 games, with some even creeping in on 20.
What is perfect? My rankings. Every week. It's amazing how that works out! Here we go.
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Hey Nineteen Power Rankings
Norlander's Hey Nineteen power rankings is a weekly encapsulation of the 19 hottest and most successful teams in college basketball as of late, combining team quality with win quality and leaving no shame for recency bias while rewarding significant winning streaks.
|🔄Last week: No. 1 | Record: 10-0. Elias Sports brought this stat to my attention: Gonzaga is the first team in 27 seasons (since Arkansas in 1993-94) to score at least 85 points in its first 10 games. Genuinely surprising! Gonzaga received 63 of the 64 available first-place votes in Monday's AP Top 25. One thing Gonzaga hasn't done yet: play a road game. That comes Saturday at Portland. The Bulldogs have a hammerlock on this No. 1 spot until or unless Baylor starts romping every single Big 12 team, which wasn't the case over the weekend. Let's move on to the Bears ...|
|🔄Last week: No. 2 | Record: 9-0. Scott Drew's team pulled off a 13-0 run with less than 10 minutes remaining on Saturday to finish with an 11-point edge (76-65) over mediocre Iowa State. Baylor's 76 points were its fewest this season; the 4-of-19 3-point shooting (just 21.2%) was also the worst effort by BU this season. Jared Butler had 16 in the second half -- and also had four steals -- to will his team to the win. |
|⤴️Last week: No. 4 | Record: 8-1. Jay Wright, who on Monday said he continues to feel better as he's mending from having the coronavirus, must be more relieved by the day that his team managed to get four games in during the first week of the season at Bubbleville. Villanova is now on a second pause in two weeks' time due to two positive tests in its program. That means Nova, which last played Dec. 23, had to push back its home games against DePaul (Tuesday) and Marquette (Saturday) and at Xavier (Jan. 13) to later this month, or in February. Villanova's next scheduled game is now Jan. 15 at UConn. |
|⤴️Last week: No. 7 | Record: 8-1. The Longhorns' lone loss came at home to Villanova, so for the time being it's fair to slot UT just a notch below VU, though that won't continue if Texas keeps winning while Nova is on COVID pause. What transpired Saturday was monumental for Shaka Smart's team: a 25-point win at Kansas, the second win ever for UT in that building and the worst home loss in Bill Self's career. UT sank 46% of its 3-pointers (12 for 26) and Kansas went a putrid 3 for 23 from beyond the arc. The game was a wrap when the Horns made their first six 3-point attempts of the second half. Texas is now ranked No. 4 here and No. 4 in the AP poll, its highest placement since February 2011.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 8 | Record: 9-0. Hunter Dickinson continues to climb up the Frosh Watch rankings and with great reason. He's impacted his team's success as much as any player in America through the first seven weeks of the season. The 7-1 stud went 18-of-23 from the field in Michigan's two wins last week, which was highlighted by his best showing yet: 26-and-11 in UM's 84-73 road win over Maryland. Dickinson's yet to shoot under 55% in a game this season. He's won Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times. The Wolverines haven't convinced everyone they're the best team in the long run in the Big Ten, but if Dickinson doesn't fall off, that case is going to be strong.|
|🔄Last week: No. 6 | Record: 7-1. Weird week for the Vols. They go into ranked Missouri and have their way with the Tigers (a 73-53 win). Then Saturday comes, and a home game against Alabama winds up with one of the more surprising scores of the weekend: Tide 71, Vols 63. It was Bama's first road win against a top-10 squad in 17 years. And it was the first time this season Tennessee allowed a team to score more than 66. But the Missouri win counts too, so UT will hold steady at 6 this week thanks to other teams in the top 10 taking losses.|
|🔻Last week: No. 5 | Record: 8-1. A 1-1 past two games means only a slight dip for the shorthanded Cougars. A week ago it was a one-point road loss against a 6-3 Tulsa team riding a five-game win streak. On Sunday night, a road win against previously undefeated SMU -- and without Caleb Mills on the court. Houston announced Mills, who is the team's best player, is stepping away indefinitely for personal reasons. To win 74-60 at SMU without him was significant. Senior Justin Gorham proved essential, averaging 12.5 rebounds and 9.5 points in the past two games.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 13 | Record: 9-2. Hawkeyes' only losses have come to Gonzaga on a neutral and in overtime to a pretty good Minnesota team. After beating Northwestern by 15 and then squeaking past Rutgers by two on the road Saturday, Fran McCaffery's team has earned its spot back in the top 10. Luka Garza went NPOY vs. Rutgers and had 13 straight points (he finished with 25 and made all but two of his shots) to tug Iowa to that W. If Rutgers doesn't go 4-of-12 from the foul line, it's a different story. But what a game: 19 lead changes and 18 ties. Iowa-Rutgers always brings the goods. (Weirdly!)|
|⤴️Last week: No. 14 | Record: 9-2. The Badgers had one game between last week's Hey Nineteen and this one: a 71-59 victory at home over Minnesota. The Badgers woke up Monday morning to discover they were No. 11 in the debut edition of the NCAA's NET rankings (which will update daily up to Selection Sunday). Bucky and Baylor are the only teams that rank in the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom.|
|🔻Last week: No. 3 | Record: 8-2. The Jayhawks predictably take a slide after the disastrous loss to Texas at home. The 25-point defeat more than doubled KU's worst home L under Self (which was 12 points). Surprisingly enough, KU is 27th in the NET. It plays at TCU on Tuesday night, then is scheduled to host Oklahoma on Saturday. Something to monitor: David McCormack is playing less than 20 minutes per game at this point, which wasn't expected in the preseason. Does the big man need to be good in order for KU to be great?|
|⤴️Last week: No. 16 | Record: 8-1. T. The Tigers won late at Miami over the weekend thanks to an Aamir Simms basket, giving Brad Brownell's team its sixth win over a team from a Major Seven league. Simms matched his career high with 25 vs. the Hurricanes, in addition to seven rebounds, four assists and four swats. He's only the second Clemson player in a decade to have a 25/7/4 game. As I noted over the weekend, Clemson is the most undervalued power-conference team in the country (except right here).|
|🔻Last week: No. 11 | Record: 10-2. Here's what's so fascinating: Minnesota is thriving in no small part because of 7-foot junior Liam Robbins, who came by way of Drake. And Drake has the best record in college basketball this season? (More on it below.) Robbins put up 19.0 points and 10.7 rebounds in his past three games vs. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Minnesota went 2-1 in those games. Against OSU, Robbins had a career-high 27 points and 14 boards. If he's going to do this alongside potential All-American Marcus Carr, Minnesota can make the Sweet 16.|
|🔻Last week: No. 9 | Record: 7-2. The Scarlet Knights came so close to beating Iowa, they can't be put any lower than this after where they were a week ago in the Nineteen. A two-point difference at the fan-less RAC? That's acceptable. Tuesday night brings a real test, though. It's Rutgers-Michigan State, with the Spartans having as much purpose and urgency in the first week of January as they've had in years. One of RU's two losses is against Ohio State. Steve Pikiell's team can avenge that one Saturday.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 15 | Record: 8-1. The Hokies started 6-0 a season ago but finished 16-16. This group is better. What's changed? Last season the team had no post presence, was way undersized, too young and didn't draw fouls. The group this season has a good balance with its inside-out attack, is drawing a lot more contact and is much more willing as a group to fight on the glass on both ends. With Keve Aluma making the jump thanks a redshirt year (he was previously at Wofford under Mike Young), this is one of the more surprising teams in the country.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 19 | Record: 13-0. I put Drake at 19th last week as a reward for having the best record in college hoops. I was skeptical it'd still be undefeated a week later. Well, this team still has the best record in college basketball and it had a relatively light schedule to go up against on Monday night, meaning a portion of the country caught the Bulldogs on CBS Sports Network. What they saw was a team that's quick, strong and sturdy. Drake was playing an SIU team with a win over Butler and, when it was 7-1, had its best start through eight games in EIGHT DECADES. And then Drake won two games in two days vs. the Salukis by a combined 49 points, its 86-55 shellacking Monday night being the biggest win over SIU in program history. Rank Drake, cowards!.|
|⤴️Last week: No. 17 | Record: 13-0. The Tigers put up one of the best team defensive performances of the weekend with their 81-68 win at previously unbeaten Arkansas. It was the Hogs' worst offensive output of the season (easily). Missouri forced 21 turnovers and Jeremiah Tilmon had maybe his best game in a Missouri uniform. He finished with 25 points, 11 boards in 28 minutes. For Missouri to rebound after a shabby 20-point home loss sent a good message. It was good enough to convince me this team will be in the NCAA Tournament.|
|⤴️Last week: N/R | Record: 8-2. The Bluejays are in, Xavier is out. Creighton's ranked No. 7 in the latest AP poll, which matches the program's highest mark in school history. Creighton is coming off a hard-earned two-point win at Providence, meaning CU's two longest flights in the league (PC and UConn) both ended in victories for the Jays. Coaches cherish that stuff. How about this note from Creighton stud SID Rob Anderson: "Creighton has been ranked at least one week in eight of McDermott's 11 seasons on The Hilltop after doing it just five different seasons in program history before his 2010 arrival."|
|🔄Last week: No. 18 | Record: 9-2. The Cougars haven't played since Dec. 23, but their scheduled return comes with a twist. A source tells CBS Sports that BYU will play at Gonzaga on Thursday due to COVID issues and logistics with Santa Clara and Pacific, which were Gonzaga and BYU's next scheduled opponents. But I want to use this spot primarily to wish former BYU coach Dave Rose all the best. He retired in 2018 as the best coach in school history, and over the weekend it was announced that Rose suffered a stroke on New Year's Eve -- but he is said to be in stable condition and recovering quickly in the hospital. How about this: Rose beat pancreatic cancer (which is harrowing) almost a decade ago, had a heart attack in 2019, and now is working his way back after a stroke. As tough now as just about anyone still connected to the game. That program will be as inspired as any to play well for Rose as he works his way back.|
|⤴️Last week: N/R | Record: 8-1. The Ducks' lone loss came in their first game of the season against Missouri in Omaha, Nebraska. Dana Altman's team has defeated, most notably, Seton Hall and Stanford. Given how many teams are standing at the doorstep of these here rankings, Oregon's going to need to win on the road against Colorado and Utah this week in order to stick around come Jan. 12.|