With college basketball in full swing, I will be writing a weekly power rankings article to get you up to speed on the risers and fallers of the week, along with any other important storylines to be aware of.
How the mighty have fallen. With Baylor and USC’s both going down, there are zero undefeated teams left. The biggest storyline has to be the Bears losing back-to-back games after being such an impressive force all season. Every team has now shown weaknesses, and ways they can be beaten. On the other hand, there are some serious squads picking up steam like Oregon. Don’t sleep on Murray State either. They are a team that has a very realistic chance at an at-large bid. Make sure to check out my bracketology article that I will be updating weekly as we get closer and closer to the tournament as well.
When I write these college basketball rankings, I write them based on how teams are in the moment, rather than based on where I expect them to be come March. I will mention my anticipation of future positive or negative regression, but the rankings themselves simply express teams’ rankings to date. Let’s take a look at mid-season rankings.
College Football Power Rankings Week 14
Dropped from Rankings: Alabama, Tennessee, Seton Hall
Next Up: BYU, Murray State, Iowa, UConn
Movers & Shakers
I considered this to be my re-rankings week, looking more so at blind resumes and not considering where teams were in past rankings at all. That’s why there was a lot of movement and some leapfrogging. To start, I see Arizona and Auburn as 1a and 1b. Both teams I’ve been on beating the drum for all season and it is awesome to see them at the top of the AP Poll. You may be surprised by Houston dropping so far after a win, but they continue to be hurt by injuries meaning the team they are fielding is not the same team that has built their resume.
It took me a bit but I have finally come around on Villanova and Kentucky. Usually, the blue-bloods will earn higher praise simply because of the name on their jersey, so I always want to make sure they actually earn their spot. Both Wildcat teams have been dominating of late with Villanova riding a six-game win streak while Kentucky has crushed their last three opponents. Illinois is another team that has come out of the woodworks and despite a lack of resume-building wins, they have still played elite teams such as Arizona and Purdue neck-in-neck, which should not go unnoticed.
I included a “next-up” section this week because the teams ranked 20-32 could honestly be rearranged in nearly any fashion. I dropped Tennessee, Alabama, and Seton Hall. All three teams have been struggling of late and rank 80th, 73rd, and 89th respectfully across their last two weeks of play, according to Bart Torvik. I decided to give Davidson and Colorado State the final two spots because both teams have played incredibly well. I do expect Davidson to lose tonight against VCU however, considering the Rams' second-ranked three-point defense should suffocate Davidson’s main shooting threats.
I figured to give a focus on a team each week outside of the top-25 that still could very well hold an argument to not only be ranked but to be on everyone’s radar come tourney time. This week’s focus: Murray State.
While Ja Morant is long gone from the program, this Murray State team is still talented and capable of making waves in the tournament. Their win over Belmont was impressive on its own, combined with the fact that it was by 22 points on the road makes it all the more reason to give this team some credit. Justice Hill is an all-around scoring threat who went nuclear against Belmont, shooting 8-for-11 from beyond-the-arc in the win. KJ Williams is a tenured vet who is capable to score from anywhere on the floor, and this team is deep with plenty of contributing talent. The Racers combine top-25 three-point shooting, efficient interior scoring, and powerful offensive rebounding into an incredibly difficult offense to stop. Their defense needs work, but they excel at limiting second-chance opportunities and still rank 61st in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Covid-19 and Injuries
While there is absolutely light at the end of the tunnel with fewer teams needing to go on pause due to covid, it is still imperative to remember the impact the pandemic and injuries had on teams during the season. I am going to include this paragraph in each one of my power rankings from here out, as a reminder that some teams' losses in December do not equate to how they will perform in March, for countless reasons.
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Ryan Coleman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive.