The unpredictable nature of the season continued last week with Duke, Auburn and Butler all losing.
The turnover in the top five, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 36 of the Power 36 will continue into the final weekend of the season. But for this week, the top two from last week didn’t lose and didn’t change.
Onto the debate:
1. Baylor (1): The Bears keep rolling, coming back to beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Baylor remains the team to beat in the Big 12.
2. Gonzaga (2): The Bulldogs blitzed BYU and have won a record 34-straight home games, 33-straight regular-season WCC games and they were the first in the country to win 20 games.
3. San Diego State (6): The Aztecs are undefeated at 19-0 and continue to look like they could run the table.
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4. Kansas (7): The Jayhawks bounced back quite well off the Baylor loss by beating Oklahoma and Texas.
5. Florida State (8): The Seminoles are not just an ACC title contender but have to be considered for a run to Atlanta.
6. Seton Hall (13): The Pirates are back to being a Final Four contender and the team to beat in the Big East after besting Butler.
7. Louisville (22): The Cardinals are back in the top 10 after knocking off Duke in Durham and beating Pitt on the road.
8. Dayton (12): The Flyers needed a buzzer-beater to win at Saint Louis, proving that this team has something special brewing. There is no quit in this crew.
9. Michigan State (14): The Spartans are the team to beat in the Big Ten, despite the poor outing a week ago at Purdue.
10. LSU (16): The Tigers are the only remaining undefeated team in SEC play. Full stop.
11. Illinois (19): The Illini survived a gritty effort by Northwestern to remain on the heels of the Spartans and to stay on pace with Rutgers in the Big Ten standings.
12. Villanova (18): The Wildcats are in position for a showdown with Seton Hall and still possibly Butler for the Big East title.
13. Duke (3): The Blue Devils lost at Clemson and at home to Louisville. They are still a title contender but they are showing their youth again.
14. Auburn (4): The Tigers had a rough road week, losing to Alabama and Florida to drop back to the pack.
15. Oregon (9): The Ducks got stung at Washington State but rebounded by winning on a last-possession shot by Payton Pritchard at Washington.
16. Butler (5): The Bulldogs got a dose of reality that the Big East grind is real by losing at home to Seton Hall and then at DePaul.
17. Kentucky (11): The Wildcats had a terrific effort to take down Arkansas on the road after losing on a buzzer beater at South Carolina. Expect Kentucky to surge back up but the loss to the Gamecocks has to force a drop.
18. West Virginia (10): The Mountaineers got dinged on the road at Kansas State. They have been playing extremely well, and this was bound to happen on the road in the Big 12.
19. Iowa (20): Luka Garza continues to play like a national player of the year candidate. And that means the Hawkeyes are winning at home, and lately, on the road.
20. Wisconsin (27): The Badgers pulled off an improbable home win over Maryland thanks to Brad Davison forcing a turnover and hitting a 3-pointer for the win.
21. Maryland (21): The Terps rebounded from the Wisconsin loss to knock out Purdue and continue to protect their homecourt.
22. Rutgers (25): The Scarlet Knights are one of the best stories of the season, and perhaps the decade, if they complete the journey and make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991. They do, however, need to pick up a road win in the Big Ten.
23. Arizona (34): The Wildcats looked the part of being a Pac-12 title contender with a home weekend sweep of Colorado and Utah.
24. Texas Tech (32): The Red Raiders handled Kansas State and Iowa State to get ready for a monster week ahead — a sneaky tough road game at TCU and then Kentucky in Lubbock.
25. Houston (NR): The Cougars leaped back into the American title chase with wins over SMU and at Wichita State.
26. Memphis (26): The Tigers didn’t lose in the past two games, but they did struggle at times at USC and at home against Cincinnati. They have a rough road test ahead at Tulsa this week.
27. Colorado (23): The Buffaloes got the split on the Arizona trip. If they can continue to do that, at the very least on the road in the Pac-12, they will be in contention.
28. USC (NR): The Trojans did what they needed to do after the disastrous loss at Washington — and that was to win. USC won at UCLA before this past week, sweeping Cal and then coming back to beat previously Pac-12 unbeaten Stanford.
29. Stanford (24): The Cardinal suffered its first loss of the conference season, blowing a 21-point lead before losing in overtime at USC.
30. Wichita State (15): The Shockers had a rough week, losing at Temple and then falling at home to Houston. But the Shockers are still a viable team to compete for the conference title.
31. Minnesota (30): The Gophers split the week, besting Penn State at home before losing at Rutgers.
32. Penn State (NR): The Nittany Lions snapped a three-game losing streak with a convincing home win over struggling Ohio State.
33. Florida (NR): Welcome back to the Power 36, Gators. Florida had an impressive win over Auburn to change the narrative on the SEC season.
34. Arkansas (17): I’m still high on the Hogs despite their loss at home to Kentucky. They have a good test this week at Mississippi State and then at home against TCU.
35. Tulsa (NR): The Golden Hurricane have quietly put together a 4-1 start to the AAC season with key wins over Temple and Houston. They can send a strong statement with a win over Memphis, too.
36. Duquesne (NR): The Dukes are 15-2 overall and 5-0 in the A-10 (and without a home court since it is being redone). The Dukes will find out where they stand at Rhode Island this week.
Team of the Week: Louisville
The Cardinals swept a pair of road games, winning at Pitt 73-68, and then coming up with their most significant win of the season by winning at Duke, 79-73, to reassert themselves as an ACC title contender with Florida State and Duke. The Cardinals also made a strong statement that they will be in play for a high seed with the win and potential Final Four berth.
Player of the week: Myles Powell, Sr., Seton Hall
Powell scored 29 points in a 78-70 win at Butler and then followed that up with 29 points in a comeback, 82-79 win at St. John's to push the Big East preseason favorites to a 6-0 start in Big East play. Powell is now one of the frontrunners for national player of the year.