This is a mea culpa. Missouri should have been in the Power 36 last week. That was my mistake. Mine alone. The Tigers then bailed me out by beating Tennessee in Knoxville. There is now no mistaking the Tigers for anything but a contender in the SEC.
Oh, and the biggest jump from a team that was ranked? Florida State. The Seminoles have come out of pause and been the best team in the ACC. That doesn’t seem like that’s going to change one bit.
Still, it’s strange to think Duke and Kentucky aren’t in the rankings at all — and if the season ended this week they wouldn’t be in the tournament field. There still have 6-7 weeks to change their fate. But they better start putting up wins — and fast.
These are my Power 36 college basketball rankings for Jan. 25, 2021.
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1. Gonzaga (1): The D was the story last week, holding Pacific to 49 points.
2. Baylor (2): The Bears took down Kansas and Oklahoma State. Who will challenge Baylor? Texas? Maybe no one.
3. Villanova (3): Two games back and two wins after the long pause.
4. Houston (5): The Cougars may not lose again in the American.
5. Texas (7): The Longhorns remain a team with the ability to grow more than most. So young and so good.
6. Alabama (8): The Tide keep getting better and better and are now the dominant team in the SEC.
7. Michigan (6): The Wolverines were rolling before an abrupt 14-day pause due to a new variant that has hit the athletic department.
8. Virginia (10): The Cavaliers survived a scare from Georgia Tech, but it shows how this team has become a tough out once again.
9. Iowa (4): The Hawkeyes were shocked by Indiana at home. That’s enough to force a drop. But Iowa has been too consistent this season to be too worried.
10. Florida State (29): The Seminoles are back. And are a threat for a Final Four run.
11. Ohio State (11): The Buckeyes win at Wisconsin is another reason to start buying stock in this squad.
12. Missouri (NR): See above. Mistake to omit them last week. The Tigers belong in the top 15 after a win at Tennessee.
13. Texas Tech (13): The Red Raiders are a good watch this season with Mac McClung and will only be more entertaining as the season progresses.
14. UCLA (12): Stanford beat the Bruins in OT in Santa Cruz. That’s what it took to hand the Bruins their first Pac-12 loss.
15. Boise State (15): When will the rest of the country get on this bandwagon? The Broncos are for real.
16. Wisconsin (14): The Badgers are hard to figure. They have looked Final Four good in some games and in others pedestrian.
17. Creighton (22): The Bluejays got the sweep of UConn and re-asserted themselves as the second-best team in the Big East.
18. West Virginia (27): The Mountaineers have figured out how to play without Oscar Tshiebwe.
19. Oklahoma (NR): The Sooners avenged an earlier loss at Kansas by knocking off the Jayhawks in Norman.
20. Tennessee (9): The Vols are in a mini slide. But there is no shame in losing/splitting the season series with Missouri.
21. Illinois (26): The win over Penn State should be a signal that the Illini are turning the corner — again.
22. Minnesota (21): The Gophers lost at home to Maryland. They get one egg to lay at home before they drop too far.
23. Oklahoma State (30): The Cowboys were shorthanded (no Cade Cunningham) against Baylor and put up quite a fight.
24. Kansas (16): The Jayhawks have lost three straight and trending out of the poll. But it’s hard to dismiss them outright — yet.
25. Purdue (25): The Boilermakers won at Ohio State and had to play Michigan after knowing Sasha Stefanovic was out due to COVID.
26. USC (19): The Trojans had a false positive and didn’t get the Stanford game in but then rebounded to beat Cal.
27. Seton Hall (32): The Pirates showed tremendous fight in losing at Villanova in a late possession game.
28. Xavier (33): The Musketeers need to come out of pause playing like they did before to be a top-four Big East team.
29. Louisville (28): The Cardinals rebounded from the Florida State loss to take out Duke.
30. Drake (31): Still on pause but still the team to beat in the Valley.
31. Saint Louis (36): The Billikens still haven’t played a game in the A-10. The long pause ends this week.
32. Florida (NR): The Gators are back in after beating Tennessee.
33. North Carolina (NR): The Tar Heels are on a mini streak and took out rival NC State. This squad is going to improve and be in the chase for a bid.
34. Winthrop (NR): Undefeated. It’s time to recognize the special season brewing.
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35. St. Bonaventure (NR): The Bonnies are the surprise team in the A-10. And, for now, atop the league.
36. Belmont (NR): The Bruins have played 17 games. 17. And they are 16-1. That’s quite a start.
Dropped Out: No. 17 UConn, No. 18 Virginia Tech, No. 20 Colorado, No. 23 LSU, No. 24 Oregon, No. 34 Utah State, No. 35 Pittsburgh
Below are the weekly honors for the week ending Jan. 24 in college basketball.
Team of the Week
The Seminoles have the look of being a back-to-back ACC champ. Florida State is 5-1 in the ACC, 9-2 overall. They took out Louisville on the road and avenged an earlier road loss at Clemson by beating the Tigers at home handily.
Player of the week
Jared Butler, Baylor
Butler dropped 30 in a win over Kansas and 22 in a victory at Oklahoma State. He’s averaging 17 points a game on one of the two best teams in the country. Butler dished out 14 assists and had just six turnovers in the two games. He’s a first-team all-American as the season heads toward the final six to seven weeks.
10 storylines from the week that was:
1. Kansas has lost three straight.
2. Duke lost at Louisville and still lacks a high-profile win.
3. Kentucky took out LSU to keep hope alive.
4. Syracuse suddenly has changed the narrative on its season with wins over Miami and Virginia Tech.
5. Indiana had the win of the season at Iowa, only to neutralize it a bit by losing at home to Rutgers.
6. Rutgers ended a five-game slide by winning at Indiana.
7. Penn State ended a five-game slide by beating Rutgers at home.
8. Maryland won at Minnesota, handing the Gophers their first loss at home and serving notice that the Terps aren’t going anywhere with road wins at Illinois, Wisconsin and now Minnesota.
9. Best buzzer-beaters were in the Pac-12 as Oscar da Silva converted an inbound pass for Stanford to beat UCLA in their new home in Santa Cruz. Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis’ tip-in beat Arizona State in Tempe.
10. Justin Champagnie had the performance of the season for Pitt with 31 in a win over Duke.