The top six stayed intact for the week.
Michigan came back off pause and won after being down 14. Baylor extended its pause. Ohio State is still scorching hot. Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger is making a case for national coach of the year.
And suddenly the SEC is much deeper than we originally thought.
Take a dive into the Power 36 and see if you agree.
1.Gonzaga (1): Zags could be done playing road games. Five straight. That’s it. Don’t hold your breath for the Zags to make up the Santa Clara game.
2.Baylor (2): The pause is extended for a few more weeks. How they come back could determine if they can still run the table.
3.Michigan (3): The Wolverines came back from 14 down and won at Wisconsin after not playing for 23 days. Enough said.
4.Ohio State (4): The Buckeyes were a No. 1 seed over the weekend. They deserve it.
5.Illinois (5): The Illini survived at Nebraska. Chasing a two or one seed is still within reach.
6.Villanova (6): The Wildcats lost at Creighton. I’m not going to drop them for losing at Creighton.
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7.Virginia (10): The Cavaliers are making it clear that they are the team to beat in the ACC.
8.Oklahoma (8): Lon Kruger is going to make the choice for coach of the year in the Big 12 very interesting.
9.Iowa (11): The Hawkeyes finally have Joe Wieskamp back knocking down big shots.
10.West Virginia (13): The Mountaineers are one of the best stories in the country. And I will say it again: Bob Huggins needs to be in the Hall of Fame.
11.Texas Tech (7): The Red Raiders are going to be in every game and will continue to be a tough out.
12.Alabama (12): The Tide are still the best in the SEC.
13.Texas (14): The Longhorns are starting to get back to their pre pause play.
14.Florida State (15): The Seminoles had a legit scare against Wake Forest. But that shouldn’t be a shock coming out of pause.
15.USC (16): The Trojans handled the snow in Washington and got a sweep to remain atop the Pac-12.
16.Missouri (9): The Tigers weren’t whole and still nearly beat Arkansas.
17.Houston (18): The class of the American won’t lose the lead in this league.
18.Creighton (24): The Bluejays finally got the win they desperately needed to prove they belong in elite company by beating Nova at home.
19.Virginia Tech (19): The Hokies are on a bit of a pause.
20.Rutgers (25): The Scarlet Knights are starting to look like a top 25 team again — at least for me.
21.Kansas (NR): The Jayhawks have won three in a row and are climbing back into top three contention in the Big 12.
22.Oklahoma State (20): The Cowboys have Cade Cunningham and no one else does.
23.Maryland (27): The Terps have had an unusual season but still rise up and win key games.
24.Seton Hall (32): The Pirates took down Marquette Sunday and are going to find their way into the field.
25.VCU (NR): The new league leaders in the A-10 and the latest team to beat.
26.Arkansas (NR): The Hogs took down Mizzou and Kentucky to get everyone’s attention in the SEC.
27.Ole Miss (NR): The Rebels beat Missouri and South Carolina to be in play for a bid.
28.Clemson (NR): The Tigers are finally off their post pause funk. They are starting to play like they did earlier in the season.
29.UCLA (17): The Bruins got bopped in the Palouse. But they are still not fully healthy.
30.Purdue (23): The Boilermakers are still a threat to beat anybody in the Big Ten and have the ability to be a sleeper threat in the Big Ten tournament.
31.Oregon (NR): The sweep of the Arizona schools should serve notice that the Ducks are going to stay in the chase for a top three finish in the league.
32.Wisconsin (22): The Badgers blew a 14-point lead to Michigan Sunday. They need to find some consistency.
33.Louisville (33): Still on pause.
34.Loyola-Chicago (34): The Ramblers got the split at Drake. This squad can make another run.
35.Drake (35): The Bulldogs somehow pulled off the split without ShanQuan Hemphill.
36.Belmont (36): Grayson Murphy with the triple double and the Bruins continue to roll in the OVC.
Dropped out: No. 26 Indiana, No. 28 Colorado, No. 29 Florida, No. 30 North Carolina, No. 31 Xavier.
Team of the week
Michigan: The Wolverines had one game back from being on pause for 23 days. Sure, they could have had two, but they decided against playing the Illinois game earlier in the week to ensure they were ready to play after such a long pause. They weren’t able to practice unlike other teams who have had some players able to do something. This was an all-out lockdown on Michigan’s campus due to the UK COVID-19 variant. The Wolverines were awarded a No. 1 seed by the men’s basketball selection committee Saturday — based on their body of work earlier in the season. The pressure was on and yet after a slow start, and down 14, the Wolverines came roaring back to beat Wisconsin by eight. They looked the part as a potential Final Four team in the second half. Hunter Dickinson dominated the backboard with 15, Isaiah Livers didn’t miss a beat with a team-high 20, his third-straight 20-point game, and Franz Wagner came through with a key, clinching bucket. The Wolverines held Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers to zero boards.
Player of the week
Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton: The lead guard stepped up in the biggest game of the season for the Bluejays. He scored 25 points with five assists and three turnovers in a 16-point win over Villanova in Omaha. Earlier in the week, he led Creighton to a win at Georgetown, after losing at home to the Hoyas the previous week, with nine points, six boards, four assists and three turnovers. The win over the Wildcats put the Bluejays within two games of first place.
The top 10 thoughts from the week:
1.The Drake/Loyola-Chicago back-to-back series created great buzz for the Missouri Valley and enhanced the argument for it to be a two-bid league. But they can’t fall flat in the next two weeks.
2. The SEC is becoming a deeper league potentially. Arkansas has played its way in and Ole Miss isn’t far behind. Both had 2-0 weeks.
3. The A-10 has had multiple leaders this season, but VCU might be the team with the most staying power. Saint Louis, St. Bonaventure, Richmond and Dayton still have the potential to make a run, with the latter two having the potential to win the A-10 tournament. But getting multiple bids isn’t a certainty yet.
4. Pepperdine is one to watch out West. The Waves survived against Saint Mary’s and could win out. Assuming there is a WCC tournament, the Waves could put themselves in position for some sort of postseason consideration (NIT?) if they can knock off BYU one more time.
5. Great to see Nebraska get its first Big Ten win of the season. The Huskers should have beaten Illinois at home Friday. They then turned around to play Penn State on the road Sunday. The Huskers have gutted out their pause and were rewarded with a win. Fred Hoiberg also agreed to play Maryland on back-to-back nights Tuesday and Wednesday to get games in with only a few weeks left in the season.
6. UConn had a potentially season-changing win at Xavier behind RJ Cole’s 24 points. The Huskies still don’t have James Bouknight back. The Huskies’ NCAA tournament candidacy wouldn’t be an issue had he not been injured (elbow surgery).
7. Alabama put up 115 on Georgia. Nate Oats’ squad is having a freedom-loving season in Tuscaloosa. Oats lets this team play.
8. Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor, one of the top seniors in the country, scored 32 for the Governors against SEMO.
9. Colorado would be another team that could be in a much more comfortable position had it not lost to the two worst teams in the league in Washington and Cal, the latter last weekend.
10. The most interesting conference race getting no attention may end up being the Mountain West. Utah State has a one game lead on Boise State, Colorado State and San Diego State in the loss column and three on Nevada.