This college basketball season is impossible to predict.
So, of course, we have another major shakeup. The rankings are based on how I see the teams in this snapshot in time and the quality of wins.
Let’s digest and debate:
1. Baylor (6): Won at Texas Tech and Kansas. Best week by a team this season.
2. Gonzaga (1): The Zags are still rolling, but can’t match what Baylor did last week.
3. Duke (4): The Blue Devils may only have one or two challenges (Florida State and/or Louisville) in the ACC if they are playing their A game.
4. Auburn (5): Another week, another week as an undefeated team for Bruce Pearl’s crew.
5. Butler (6): The Bulldogs stunned Providence and look like the team to beat in the Big East.
6. San Diego State (7): The Aztecs have a legit shot to go through the season undefeated.
7. Kansas (2): The Jayhawks simply lost to a better team in Phog Allen.
8. Florida State (9): The Seminoles look like the toughest challenger to Duke in the ACC.
9. Oregon (10): The Ducks showed real grit in beating Arizona in overtime.
10. West Virginia (11): The Mountaineers are going to be one of the toughest outs in March.
11. Kentucky (12): The Wildcats are getting better, more mature, tougher and proving they can handle adversity.
12. Dayton (15): The Flyers may have the player of the year in Obi Toppin leading them deep in March.
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13. Seton Hall (18): The Pirates have handled every challenge so far in the Big East.
14. Michigan State (3): The Spartans deserve to drop after that dreadful performance at Purdue. They were the clear favorite in the Big Ten a week ago. Now, who knows after what happened in Mackey.
15. Wichita State (24): The Shockers needed double overtime to win at UConn. But if you watched that game there aren’t many teams tougher than the Shockers. And they now have Dexter Dennis playing at a high level. Look out.
16. LSU (30): The Tigers are off to a fantastic start in the SEC and are closing out games.
17. Arkansas (17): The Razorbacks are a few seconds away from swapping spots with LSU.
18. Villanova (21): The Wildcats picked up a monster road win at Creighton.
19. Illinois (NR): The Illini are back to the team that was projected in the preseason. And that spells trouble for the rest of the Big Ten.
20. Iowa (29): The Hawkeyes are all over the map, but their domination of Maryland at home gives them plenty of credibility in the Big Ten.
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21. Maryland (14): The Terps are one of the hardest teams to figure out. They play like a champ at home but on the road can be brutal.
22. Louisville (27): The Cardinals need another elite win, but are at least taking care of the teams below them.
23. Colorado (NR): Welcome back Buffaloes. Colorado had a convincing win over Utah to get the league’s attention Sunday.
24. Stanford (NR): The Cardinal is the only undefeated team in the Pac-12.
25. Rutgers (NR): The Scarlet Knights are on the path to get their first bid since 1991.
26. Memphis (20): The Tigers lost to Wichita State. No shame in that and then they escaped with a road win at South Florida Sunday.
27. Wisconsin (28): The Badgers split the week, losing at home to a solid Illinois and then stunning Penn State in State College.
28. Creighton (NR): When the Bluejays shoot the way they did at Xavier in the second half they will compete near the top of the Big East.
29. Purdue (NR): The Boilermakers were obliterated at Illinois and then destroyed Michigan State. Hard to figure.
30. Minnesota (NR): The Gophers have quietly put together a solid start to the Big Ten by protecting their home court.
31. Oregon State (NR): The Beavers bounced back off a loss to Arizona State with a win against Arizona by rolling the Wildcats in the second half.
32. Texas Tech (23): I still believe in the Red Raiders, despite a rough week by dropping two games to two high-level, potential Final Four teams.
33. Michigan (19): The Wolverines beat Purdue, but then turned around and lost at Minnesota. Life in the Big Ten.
34. Arizona (26): This is a good-faith pick. The Wildcats were within a whisker of beating Oregon in Eugene. But then faded in the second half at Oregon State to get swept on the weekend.
35. BYU (35): The Cougars get a pass here to stay in the rankings. Yoeli Childs (dislocated finger) got hurt and missed the overtime loss at Saint Mary’s.
36. William & Mary (NR): I had the Tribe as my pick out of the Colonial in the preseason. The Tribe are on pace for a historic bid with a 5-0 start, 13-5 record and a five-game win streak. The Tribe have beaten the projected top three in the preseason CAA poll (Hofstra, Charleston and Northeastern, numbers 1 and 3 on the road). And get to know Nathan Knight. We highlighted him in the preseason and he has delivered, averaging 20 and 10. And Wisconsin transfer Andy Van Vliet has found a home, stroking shots from inside and out.
Out: Penn State (13), Marquette (16), Ohio State (25), Virginia (31), Washington (32), Xavier (34), Georgia (36).
Team of the Week
Baylor: The Bears won at Texas Tech and then won their first game ever at Phog Allen. The defense was locked in and Jared Butler played like the player of the year in the conference. There is no discussion. This was one of the easiest decisions for team of the week this season.
Player of the Week
Payton Pritchard, Sr., G, Oregon: Pritchard led the Ducks to a home sweep of Arizona and Arizona State with 18 and 29 points, respectively. Pritchard hit the deciding shot to knock off the Wildcats in thrilling fashion. Pritchard’s leadership, decision making and ability to get to the free-throw line make him one of the most improved and toughest guards in the country.