Well, the national player of the year chase has a frontrunner.
His name is Johnny Davis.
The sophomore from Wisconsin is our March Madness men’s National Player of the week after a stellar week where he scored 37 in an upset win at Purdue, 26 in a win over Iowa in a matchup against fellow top-3 national scorer Keegan Murray and then 19 in a road win at Maryland.
And there is a new team in our Power 36 that can claim, for this week, to be the best in the ACC: Miami. Yes, our March Madness men’s National Team of the week are the Hurricanes after they upset Duke in Cameron Saturday night. The Canes have won nine in a row, are undefeated in the ACC at 5-0 and can say they are the team to beat in the league.
There were plenty of standout individuals and teams this week as well:
- Kadary Richmond, Seton Hall: 27 points off the bench in an OT win over UConn.
- EJ Liddell, Ohio State: 34 in a Sunday win over Northwestern.
- Texas Tech: Stunning Kansas at home to vault back into the Power 36.
- San Diego State: Humbling then-undefeated Colorado State.
- Kobe Brown, Missouri: Dropping 30 in an upset over Alabama.
- Josh Carlton, Houston: 30 in a win at South Florida, 22 in a win over Wichita State.
- James Akinjo, Baylor: 27 against Oklahoma and 20 at TCU for the No. 1 and undefeated Bears.
Onto the Power 36:
1. Baylor (1): The Bears keep rolling — home, road or neutral.
2. Gonzaga (4): The Zags are back after a pause and punished Pepperdine.
3. UCLA (6): The Bruins may be rusty but it’s not showing up in the results. Getting Cody Riley (nine points, five boards and four steals against Cal) back allows UCLA to reset.
4. Michigan State (7): The Spartans’ game against Michigan was postponed, but Michigan State has looked like the best team in the Big Ten of late.
5. Arizona (9): The Wildcats haven’t had a COVID issue but have been affected by others. And when they play in the Pac-12 so far, they win.
6. Southern California (10): The Trojans are the quietest undefeated team in recent memory.
7. Auburn (11): The Tigers are one of the most entertaining teams to watch. And they are really, really good.
8. Villanova (13): The Big East will go through Nova again.
9. Kansas (5): I know the Jayhawks laid an egg against Texas Tech. I’m going to go with that being an anomaly for now.
10. Wisconsin (27): The Badgers have the player of the year frontrunner in Johnny Davis and just went 3-0 this week with wins at Purdue, over Iowa and at Maryland.
11. Purdue (3): The Boilermakers suffered a rare home loss to Wisconsin and need to continue to tighten up their defense.
12. Duke (2): The Blue Devils had a few defensive lapses in the loss at home to Miami. But they are still not right since their pause.
13. Houston (16): The Cougars continue to roll and Josh Carlton was sensational last week.
14. Illinois (19): The Illini had an impressive road win at Minnesota that served notice this team can win the Big Ten.
15. Ohio State (12): The Buckeyes bounced back well Sunday with a win over Northwestern after a humbling loss at Indiana.
16. LSU (25): The Tigers had quite a week with home wins over Kentucky and Tennessee.
17. Kentucky (8): The Wildcats were rolling until they ran into LSU. They are going to have scrap and claw to win the SEC.
18. Miami (Fla.) (NR): The Hurricanes had the win of the week over Duke for their ninth in a row, are 5-0 in the ACC and are now on track for a bid.
19. Oklahoma (24): The Sooners didn’t let a 10-point loss at Baylor faze them by turning around and beating Iowa State by 13.
20. Seton Hall (23): The Pirates won a classic Big East battle in OT against UConn. This team has New Jersey toughness.
21. Iowa State (20): The Cyclones are settling in to being a solid Big 12 top-two (behind Baylor) contender.
22. Texas Tech (NR): Welcome back to the Power 36, Red Raiders. A shorthanded TTU team without top two scorers Terrence Shannon Jr., and Kevin McCullar handled Kansas by eight.
23. Indiana (NR): The Hoosiers beat Ohio State behind Trayce Jackson-Davis’ 27 and then held off Minnesota Sunday.
24. Providence (14): The Friars were allowed a stinker, losing at Marquette. But they didn’t let it linger by beating St. John’s at home.
25. Loyola Chicago (36): Credit to Drew Valentine for taking on San Francisco in Salt Lake City. The Ramblers won the game and then beat Bradley in OT.
26. Alabama (21): The Tide did beat Florida on the road but then somehow got rocked at Mizzou behind Kobe Brown’s 30.
27. Tennessee (22): The Vols have lost two of three but that’s what life in the SEC will be like this season.
28. UConn (28): The Huskies are close to being an elite Big East team. Close. They just need to get in a rhythm after a long pause.
29. Davidson (29): The Wildcats have established themselves as the clear favorite in the A-10.
30. North Carolina (30): The Tar Heels, behind Armando Bacot’s 29 and 21 boards, crushed Virginia. Let’s see if that’s the real Heels, not the team that lost at Notre Dame or got rocked by Kentucky in Las Vegas.
31. Xavier (32): The Musketeers had games postponed but resumed after the break to beat Butler by 15 at Hinkle.
32. Creighton (26): The Bluejays started the road trip with a win at Marquette but then got squashed in a rematch at Villanova, losing by 34 after beating the Wildcats by 20 a few weeks earlier.
33. Texas (15): The Longhorns need to pick up some quality wins again. Texas didn’t have Tre Mitchell but still scored only 51 points in a loss at Oklahoma State.
34. West Virginia (34): The Mountaineers are starting to get healthy again and will end up being just fine in the Big 12 top-four chase.
35. San Diego State (NR): The Aztecs just took a bit of time to get going. Well, now they’ve won five in a row and absolutely blitzed previously undefeated Colorado State by 30.
36. Colorado State (17): The Rams had a long pause. They came back and beat Air Force. But then lost by 30. Sorry, as much as this is a possible second-weekend team, a loss by that margin means you have to drop far.
Dropping out: Minnesota (18), SMU (31), Louisville (33), TCU (35).
Also under consideration: Memphis, Texas A&M, BYU, Colorado.