College basketball power rankings: Virginia takes back No. 1 from Duke, Kentucky moves up to No. 3
Matt Norlander's weekly power rankings welcome in the best-kept secret in college hoops: the Wofford Terriers
The Zion Williamson injury is not the reason Duke is slipping this week.
A 16-point home loss, one of the worst of Mike Krzyzewski's career, is the reason Duke is slipping this week. The Blue Devils aren't the only ones, no way. Tennessee, Nevada, LSU and others had to get knocked down a bit after losses of varying importance happened in recent days.
As expected, the latest iteration of the power rankings have a lot of movement after a week in which many ranked teams provided interesting results. What's more, this weekend could be a great one; we're overdue for a stacked set of results, if not surprising ones. Six of the teams listed below will play each other this weekend.
These are the 19 most impressive and/or hottest and/or most dangerous teams in college basketball as of right now.
⤴️ means a team is higher than where it stood last week, ⤵️ indicates a drop and 🔄 means no change from last Thursday.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 3 |
Cavaliers (23-2) swoop back into the No. 1 spot in light of Duke's home loss. UVA is also trending as the No. 1 team across most predictive metrics. Tony Bennett's Cavs are undefeated against all teams not named Duke. Next up is at Louisville on Saturday. Four players are shooting 42 percent or better from 3.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 4 |
The Bulldogs (26-2) beat Pepperdine 92-64 on Thursday night, marking the 36th straight win for the Zags over Pepperdine. Yikes! Gonzaga is the only team to have clinched its conference. Congratulation to senior Josh Perkins, who set the school record for assists, breaking Matt Santangelo's mark of 668 which had held since 2000.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 6 |
This is Kentucky's (22-4) highest placement yet in this season's power rankings. John Calipari's team shot 54 percent against the Vols last Saturday. It was the best shooting performance any team has had vs. Tennessee this season. Kentucky is without forward Reid Travis for at least the next 10 days as he recovers from a sprained knee suffered during UK's win at Missouri on Tuesday night.
|⤵️ Last week: No. 1 |
With Zion Williamson's injury listed as day-to-day, figure that he should return -- at the latest? -- for Duke's road game against Virginia Tech on Tuesday. He hasn't been ruled out of the road tilt vs. Syracuse on Saturday. The Blue Devils (23-3) had to fall from No. 1 not just for losing at home without him, but because UNC won by more points over a No. 1-ranked team, playing at home, than any school in almost 20 years.
|⤵️ Last week: No. 2 |
Vols forward Grant Williams (19.1 ppg) is trying to become the third UT player in the past two and a half decades to lead the SEC in scoring. Tennessee (24-2) has a tricky test Saturday against a fellow power-ranked team: on the road for an 11 a.m. tip against LSU. Want a shocker? Tennessee ranks second in offensive efficiency (to Gonzaga) at KenPom.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 10 |
Roy Williams has now won eight team vs. the No. 1-ranked team in America, which is a men's Division I record. He broke the tie he had with former Maryland coach Gary Williams. Also, UNC's 16-point win at Duke marked the fourth-worst loss by margin for Mike Krzyzewski since he got to Durham. The 21-5 Tar Heels host another team in these rankings, FSU, on Saturday.
|🔄 Last week: No. 7 |
I said on CBS Sports HQ this week that Houston can win the national title. And why not? The Coogs (25-1) are the only team left with a single loss, have an elite defense, a veteran coach and a reliable backcourt. Don't judge based on conference affiliation alone. If you missed it: this team is currently fourth in the NET rankings.
|🔄 Last week: No. 8 |
Tom Izzo's Spartans (22-5) have a tall task on Sunday with a road game against Michigan, a game in which they will not have Nick Ward. MSU got off to a sloppy start Wednesday night vs. Rutgers before winning by 11. Amid all the roster issues -- Kyle Ahrens is no guarantee to play due to his back -- Sparty is still the No. 4-rated team at KenPom.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 12 |
The Golden Eagles (22-4) have lost to zero teams not named St. John's since Nov. 21. They're 11-2 in the Big East and now have the lead in the standings after Villanova's awful stretch in which the Wildcats have dropped three of four -- and dropped out of these power rankings. The two teams meet Wednesday at Nova.
|⤵️ Last week: No. 5 |
The Wolf Pack will cling to top-10 status here, but even at 24-2, for bracketology purposes, it's probably unlikely that this team can land on the 2 line going forward. Nevada fell 65-57 at San Diego State on Wednesday night and the Pack lacks Quad 1 opportunities. Seed projection aside, I still think this is one of the 10 best teams in college basketball.
|🔄 Last week: No. 11 |
The Wolverines (24-2) will play Michigan State two times in their next four games to finish out the regular season. There is also a road game against Maryland mixed in there. Safe to say that we're about to see if this team is as good now as it seemed two months ago.
|⤵️ Last week: No. 9 |
The Tigers (21-5) fell at home on Wednesday against a desperate Florida team. Next up is Tennessee in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The story with this team is not how well it's playing, but how well it's playing in spite of losing a player to murder in the preseason. . If you could take the time to read it, I think/hope you'll come to appreciate the gravity of the situation that program is going through.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 14 |
The Bulls (23-3) set a program record on Tuesday when, in their 114-67 win over Ohio, they made 19 3-pointers. This team is a threat to win at least two in the Dance. Buffalo, Lipscomb, Belmont, Vermont and UC Irvine lead the nation in road wins, all with 10 apiece.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 17 |
It's a loaded/terrific weekend of games in college basketball, with Texas Tech hosting Kansas right up there among the best tilts we've got. The Red Raiders (21-5) have won all their games in the past month with the exception of the road test against Kansas. A win here would keep TTU's chances of finishing atop the league alive. Chris Beard's team has the No. 1 effective field goal percentage defense in America.
|⤴️ Last week: No. 18 |
The Seminoles have won a school-record eight straight ACC games by an average of 13.9 points. It's possible I've got Leonard Hamilton's team too low here. It's 21-5 and has a fascinating matchup at UNC on Saturday.
|⤵️ Last week: unranked |
The Terrapins have gone 2-1 in their last three road games, beating Nebraska and Iowa. The home win came against Purdue. Mark Turgeon's got a talented team. It's a bit inconsistent, but at 20-7 there is still hope for a very good seed and a top-four finish in the league. Slipping up at home vs. Ohio Sate on Saturday is no doubt an anxiety-builder for Terps fans as Saturday creeps closer.
|⤴️ Last week: unranked |
I'm bringing the Boilers back into the fold in what's proving to be a dense crowd of teams in the 17-25 range. Purdue's trended well across most mainstream advanced metrics this season. At 19-7, Purdue has an opportunity to solidify itself as a Final Four contender. Its final five games in league play come against Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota and Northwestern. If this is one of the 15 best teams in America, it wins at least four of those games.
|⤵️ Last week: unranked |
The 20-6 Wildcats clutch a one-game lead in the Big 12 (10-3) with a winnable home game against Oklahoma State set for Saturday. A big reason for K-State's success this season is its minutes continuity. The only team that brought back more players with experience is Washington, which just missed out on cracking this week's rankings.
|⤴️ Last week: unranked. |
Oh yes, it's time! The second-longest win streak in the nation belongs to the 23-4 Wofford Terriers, who have won 14 straight and are 15-0 in a good SoCon. Strong at-large candidate and the third-best 3-point shooting team in college basketball; Mike Young's team is making 41.9 percent of its 3s. But things are about to get as tough as they've been since November. This team's three final games come on the road, starting with a huge tilt at Furman on Saturday.
Dropped out: Virginia Tech, Villanova, Iowa State
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