March is simply across the nook and this season refuses to attend till that lovely month to unleash the insanity. This week, one other handful of top-10 groups fell and induced a little bit of a stir in our personal rankings.
With buzzer-beaters, upsets and unimaginable performances flying left and proper, it may be laborious to maintain monitor of every little thing that is taking place. Fortunate for you, we have got every little thing you must know as we flip the calendars to February this week.
1. UConn (18-2)
It has by no means been clearer who’s one of the best workforce in faculty basketball this season. The Huskies are again at full energy and simply dismantled a gifted Xavier workforce in a 99-56 loss to get some separation in a top-heavy Large East convention.
Do not look now, however that is three straight wins for the Boilermakers in three arenas the place Large Ten groups sometimes go to die. A matchup with Wisconsin in Madison might be an early Large Ten regular-season championship recreation and one that every one faculty basketball followers ought to tune in for.
3. North Carolina (17-3)
Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels are ROLLING. They’re comparatively unchallenged because of a weak ACC schedule, however this week’s wins should not be missed. UNC-Duke needs to be a doozy on Saturday when the Heels host their archrival. Then again, RJ Davis is undoubtedly the highest guard within the nation proper now, which we’ll dive right into a bit extra beneath.
4. Tennessee (15-4)
It was a quiet week for the Vols with just one recreation in opposition to Vanderbilt, however Dalton Knecht burst onto the scene with one other 30-point efficiency. It is time to discuss transferring to Northern Colorado as a possible first-team All-American. We’ve got a giant week forward with South Carolina coming to city and a visit to Lexington on Saturday.
5. Houston (18-2)
Whereas the Cougars seem to have discovered their place within the Large 12, life is about to get a lot more durable with a pair of street video games in opposition to Texas and Kansas. Will probably be a profitable week if they will steal only one and advance to the highest of one of the best convention within the nation in February.
6. Kentucky (15-4)
The issue with having no semblance of defensive effectivity is that when your gamers inevitably have a foul night time, issues can get ugly rapidly. That is precisely what occurred to Kentucky in Columbia when the Wildcats left the health club in opposition to South Carolina. If Coach Cal takes this group of kids someplace in March, that will likely be the very first thing he ought to give attention to within the ultimate month of the season.
7. Arizona (15-5)
I mentioned final week that even one win for Arizona this week could be essential to their confidence the remainder of the season. I assumed it might come Thursday in opposition to Oregon State, however after the upset loss, Caleb Love and the Wildcats responded with an enormous street win in opposition to Oregon.
8. Wisconsin (16-4)
After barely surviving on the street in Minnesota, Wisconsin defeated a determined and gifted Michigan State workforce with an 81-66 victory on Friday night time. The Badgers stay atop the Large Ten with a giant problem for No. 2 Purdue on Sunday.
9. Marquette (16-2)
That is 4 straight wins for Marquette to get again into the Large East title race after a 2-3 begin. With 4 street video games within the subsequent 5, Shaka Sensible and the Golden Eagles should keep caught collectively to maintain their convention championship hopes alive.
10. Kansas (16-4)
It is laborious to recollect the final time Kansas seemed this susceptible in convention play beneath Invoice Self. A loss at Hilton Coliseum is the third within the Large 12 and we’re not even into February but. The Corridor of Fame coach has his work lower out for him if he desires to show this 12 months’s Jayhawks into an actual nationwide championship contender.
11. Duke (15-4)
As controversial as it’s, Duke’s win over Clemson is big for the workforce’s psyche as it might have been the third of the 12 months on the vaunted house ground. The win units up a top-10 showdown in Chapel Hill and a have a look at who’re simply the 2 finest groups within the ACC.
12. Illinois (15-5)
A second-half comeback in opposition to Indiana averted an 0–2 week for the Illini after an time beyond regulation loss in Evanston. That is nonetheless one of many high groups within the Large Ten and one of many few locks to even make the NCAA Event in March.
13. Creighton (16-5)
Whereas different high conferences face setbacks each week, Creighton and Marquette are arising with issues to proceed their rise in these rankings. The Blue Jays are doing it by the pores and skin of their tooth most nights, however each win in faculty basketball this 12 months is one thing to savor.
14. Alabama (14-6)
No workforce in America is as inconsistent because the Tide, however there could also be no greater ceiling than once they play like they did on Saturday. All 5 starters scored in double figures as they romped to a 109-88 win over LSU. This capacity to beat any opponent each night time places Alabama on this record for the primary time this season.
15. Iowa State (16-4)
Hilton Coliseum stays a home of horrors for anybody displeased to make the journey. Kansas was the newest casualty and now the Cyclones are setting their sights on a two-game street journey by Texas, the place they may face Baylor and Texas for the primary time this season.
16. Chestnut brown (16-4)
A lot for Auburn’s momentum. Confronted with an enormous problem this week, the Tigers had been unable to safe a win and fell considerably in our rankings as they’re nonetheless with out a Quad 1 win.
Subsequent 5: New Mexico, TCU, Baylor, Dayton, Saint Mary’s
Gamers of the week:
RJ Davis, No. 3 Tar Heels from North Carolina
The highest guard within the nation continued his dominance in ACC play with a career-high 36 factors and led the Tar Heels to a formidable loss at Wake Forest on Monday night time. After including one other 24 factors to beat Florida State, Davis is now averaging over 21 factors per recreation at 45/41/93 and will soar with extra constant manufacturing.
Dalton Knecht, No. 5 Tennessee Volunteer
Three weeks, three Participant of the Week nominations for Tennessee’s breakout star. Knecht scored 32 factors in his solely recreation of the week at Vanderbilt, which precisely matches his scoring common over the past 5 video games in SEC play. In case you’re late to the social gathering this 12 months and desire a new face to cheer for, look no additional than Knecht.
Caleb Love, No. 8 Arizona Wildcats
RJ Davis’ former partner-in-crime matched his career-high 36 factors in an important win for Arizona Saturday night time in opposition to Oregon. Love performed 39 minutes and shot 12-18 from the ground, together with 5-8 from past the arc, to offer the Wildcats the enhance they wanted to get their first actual street win of the brand new 12 months.
Boo Buie, Northwestern Wild Cats
Northwestern picked up its second top-10 win of the convention season on Wednesday night time, which has turn out to be so widespread that followers did not really feel the necessity to storm the sphere. Buie scored 29 factors with seven assists within the win and has now elevated his scoring common in all 5 seasons of his Wildcat profession.
Tommy Bruner, Denver Pioneers
The nation’s main scorer, and a participant few had heard of earlier than this week, set a brand new highest single-game efficiency of the 2023-2024 season with 49 in a 111-110 double-overtime win on Thursday night. Even higher, Bruner despatched the sport into the second time beyond regulation with a four-point play with 10 seconds left. His season common is now above 26 factors, setting him up for a tv appointment if he ever will get the possibility to be there.
Recreation of the week
We talked about Oregon State’s upset win over Arizona above, however determined to depart out how they had been in a position to storm the court docket. That spotlight of Jordan Pope’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer is a transparent decide for the play of the week. To take a look at!
Video credit score: Pac 12 Community (by way of John Canzano Youtube)