Merry Christmas and Completely happy Holidays to all school basketball followers! The absence of sports activities in 2020 has proven us how a lot of a present they honestly are, so be sure to do not take them without any consideration and luxuriate in them as a lot as you may.
Many groups have lots to be cheerful about this vacation season, however in what order? Discover out that and extra beneath in our newest school hoops energy rankings and participant of the week!
The Boilermakers appeared unstoppable to begin the season exterior their home of horrors in Evanston. With wins over 4 groups within the top-15, Purdue seems to be an early favourite to chop down the nets in March, so long as they’ll work out how you can beat the double-digit seeds of their area.
2. Kansas (11-1)
It isn’t yearly that you simply discover a workforce that may make a case for 2 all-American first-team gamers. The Jayhawks have that chance with Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar enjoying on the stage they’re now. How the remainder of the function gamers fill their roles will decide how far this workforce can go in 2024.
3. Houston (12-0)
How Houston averted a ranked opponent till late January is past me, however the Cougars have dominated inferior competitors to earn their spot within the high 4 within the nation. It begins with the protection, which confirmed up Thursday and held Texas State to 37 factors.
4. Arizona (9-2)
Taking part in within the recreation of the 12 months is at all times thrilling. Till you are the workforce that goes house with out including to the win column. That is what occurred to the Wildcats on Saturday evening once they blew an early 14-point lead in a loss to FAU in Las Vegas. Don’t fret Cats followers, that is nonetheless probably the greatest groups within the nation and one of many elite contenders for a nationwide championship.
5. UConn (11-2)
With Donovan Clingan out for a number of weeks, the Huskies might be examined as Large East play begins. They dropped their opener Wednesday at Seton Corridor, however overcame a late surge by St. Johns to select up their first convention win of the season Saturday evening. It is going to be as much as some inexperienced huge males to maintain the season entering into Clingan’s absence.
6. Kentucky (9-2)
Kentucky’s 95 factors at Louisville on Thursday broke a document for many factors by an opponent on the KFC Yum! Centre. Search for these Cats to proceed breaking offensive information with probably the most versatile and proficient guards within the nation, backed by five-star middle Aaron Bradshaw, who solely continues to enhance in his return from harm.
7. North Carolina (8-3)
The Tar Heels got here up with a powerful response to back-to-back losses, dealing with beforehand undefeated Oklahoma in Charlotte. If RJ Davis is not an all-American this season, I would be the first advocate for locating a brand new voting system. He is merely enjoying like the perfect guard in school basketball proper now.
8. Marquette (10-3)
UConn wasn’t the one top-10 workforce to fall within the Large East this week. The Golden Eagles trailed towards Windfall for the ultimate 32 minutes as they began 0-1 in convention play. A 30-point loss at Georgetown received them again on observe heading into a giant showdown with Creighton on Saturday.
9. Tennessee (9-3)
The Vols are set till 2024 and ought to be pleased with their out-of-conference achievements up to now. All three losses got here to top-10 groups, and so they additionally boast a pair of Large Ten wins at Wisconsin and in Knoxville towards No. 13 Illinois. Rick Barnes was additionally nominated this week as a finalist for the Naismith Basketball Corridor of Fame.
10. Illinois (9-2)
Talking of Illinois, the Preventing Illini are flying excessive after an enormous bragging rights win within the rivalry recreation towards Missouri. Terrence Shannon dropped 30 factors within the win, extending his scorching begin into the 12 months he rapidly climbed the checkerboards this winter.
11. FAU (10-2)
Are there nonetheless individuals calling final March’s FAU run a fluke? Everybody? In what was nearly a highway recreation towards the No. 4 workforce within the nation, the Owls earned the win of the 12 months within the recreation of the 12 months towards Arizona. Dusty Might introduced everybody again and has his workforce prepared for one more deep run with elite guard play and a never-give-up mentality.
12. Gonzaga (9-3)
The WCC has had a resurgence lately, nevertheless it seems to be like it is going to be all Gonzaga once more when convention play begins in 2024. Unlocking their proficient guards, getting Graham Ike going and creating extra consistency might be keys for the Zags as they put together. for one more deep run within the NCAA event.
13. Duke (9-3)
Even with out Tyrese Proctor, Duke picked up a much-needed win towards Baylor to construct some confidence heading into the brand new 12 months. The ACC is as up for grabs as ever earlier than, so if the Blue Devils can get it going, the convention might be up for grabs in 2024.
14. Baylor (10-2)
Whereas a loss to Duke is nothing to be ashamed of, it could be time to place the brakes on the Bears after their 9-0 begin to the 12 months. With out a true signature win and a devastating Large 12 schedule forward, Baylor might slip out of the nationwide highlight earlier than you assume.
Oklahoma received off to a scorching begin to the season, climbing to No. 7 within the AP Ballot, however issues are about to get lots trickier for Porter Moser and the Sooners. A loss to North Carolina is only a signal of what is to return within the aforementioned Large 12, which already options six ranked groups with much more potential on the way in which.
16. Colorado State (11-1)
The Mountain West is arguably the perfect convention west of Texas this season and Colorado State is a giant purpose why. With wins already over Creighton and Colorado, the Rams are off to a great begin and look poised to guide one of many high conferences in school basketball with Isiah Stevens main the backcourt.
Subsequent 5: Texas, Creighton, Ole Miss, Memphis, Clemson
Gamers of the week:
Kevin McCullar, No. 1; 2 Kansas Jayhawks
McCullar scored 20 of his career-high 34 factors to stave off an upset bid from Yale to ship the Jayhawks into as glad a Christmas as attainable. His return to varsity continues to appear like probably the greatest selections of this season as he exhibits he’s a lot greater than only a 3-and-D wing.
Antonio Reeves, No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats
First it was Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley. Now it is Antonio Reeves. In fact, I am referring to Kentucky’s elite scoring guards who possess unstoppable drivers within the lane. Reeves used that, and 80% capturing from past the arc, to energy the Cats previous Louisville by a 30-point rating on this bitter rivalry.
Terrence Shannon, No. 13 Illinois battles Illini
It could be time to provide Shannon a frequent flyer card on this record exhibiting how usually he earns a spot as participant of the week. This time it was for a 30-point, 11-rebound recreation through which he led the Illini to a loss to Missouri on Friday evening. Shannon shares are rising heading into 2024, so get on the hype practice whilst you can.
Johnell Davis, No. 14 FAU Owls
One of the best participant from this season’s greatest recreation ought to discover a spot on this record. For FAU’s win over Arizona, it was Johnell Davis. The darling of final season’s NCAA Match took management of the match with 35 factors in 49 minutes because the Owls defeated No. 4 Arizona in double time beyond regulation.
Jahmir Younger, Maryland Turtles
One of many high returning guards in school felt it when he compounded UCLA’s issues with a 69-60 victory over the Bruins. Younger was red-hot from everywhere in the ground, scoring 37 factors on 13-19 capturing, together with 4-6 from past the arc. If the Terps need to flip issues round this season, it should begin with extra Jahmir Younger main the cost.
Recreation of the week:
Rob Dillingham’s monstrous windmill slam was the exclamation level on an exciting Kentucky victory over Louisville on Thursday evening. The freshman class in Lexington is as thrilling as we have ever seen within the John Calipari period. This dunk is among the many the explanation why it is best to go to the Wildcats if you wish to get pleasure from a 40-minute present.
Video credit score: British sports activities video