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.
The pandemic’s influence was felt this week with a number of games rescheduled and programs put on pause. Hopefully, college basketball will be able to safely continue with winter officially upon us, keeping the players and staff safe.
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 early season rankings.
College Basketball Power Rankings Week 7
Movers & Shakers
Villanova is the team in the top-25 with the most question marks moving forward. The Wildcats' last two 20+ point losses have shown the flaws in their offense, shooting sub-25% from beyond-the-arc in both matchups, where 44% of Villanova’s points come from. Their next three games against tough opponents will make it clear if this is just a fluke for Jay Wright’s team or something to monitor for the rest of the year.
After an incredible showing vs. Houston, Alabama’s defense struggled, allowing Memphis to shoot 46% (30-for-65) from the field, falling 92-78. The 20 turnovers by the Crimson Tide is concerning, especially for when they face a more turnover savvy team such as Tennessee in the coming weeks. Alabama has clearly shown how when they play at their peak they can take down teams such as Gonzaga and Houston, now it’s just a matter of consistency.
Besides Villanova and Alabama, there wasn’t much movement across the board in the rankings. Providence and Kentucky both make their first respective appearances in the top-25, and rightfully so. The Friars have flown under the radar until their road win vs. UConn put them on a national stage. They also hold wins over Wisconsin and Texas Tech. Kentucky’s win over UNC was impressive, but it will be interesting to see how it will age, as I do not have much trust in the Tar Heels this year. San Francisco’s loss to Grand Canyon knocked them out and UConn’s defeat in the hands of Providence meant they fell out of the top-25 as well.
With 30-plus teams on pause due to coronavirus concerns, it will be difficult to pass down accurate judgment for when teams on pause resume play. For example, I cannot imagine Memphis playing at their peak level against Tulane (if the game goes on as planned) after having to take a break from the spread of the virus. Simply from the angle of rankings and when we look back on these games, remember how teams play after coming out of Covid-19 pause, and perhaps take it with a grain of salt. I have to imagine this will only continue impacting teams further with the Omicron variant sweeping the nation, so it is an important item to keep in mind when filling out your brackets come March.
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