Pauses, postponements and cancelations are at their lowest point of the Omicron surge.
That’s the best news we’ve had in January.
The league races are heating up with a number of leagues wide open among a handful of teams.
One of those teams that cannot be dismissed is Marquette. The Golden Eagles are 6-3 in the Big East, but they’ve got wins over Providence, Seton Hall and now this past week at Villanova and over Xavier to earn our March Madness Team of the Week honors. Shaka Smart was the perfect hire for Maquette. He’s got the Golden Eagles trending in the right direction.
And do not eliminate Missouri State from consideration from the Missouri Valley race. The Bears have won six of seven, including winning at league favorite Loyola Chicago behind our March Madness National Player of the Week Isiaih Mosley, who dropped 40 on the Ramblers. Earlier in the week, he scored 24 on Illinois State. Mosley is averaging 21.1 points a game. The Bears are 6-2 in the league, 15-6 overall. The two losses were to Northern Iowa by one (Mosley had 43 in that loss) and to Illinois State earlier in the season in overtime.
🔮: Check out the latest March Madness men's bracket predictions
Onto the Power 36:
1. Auburn (1): Tremendous week, highlighted by the win over Kentucky. What an atmosphere.
2. Gonzaga (2): The WCC was supposed to provide a tough sled this season. It hasn’t happened yet.
3. Arizona (3): The Wildcats keep on rolling — onto a showdown with UCLA Tuesday.
4. Kansas (13): OK Jayhawk fans. They shouldn’t have been in the teens last week. All is well. The win at Kansas State was a gritty, gutsy win.
5. Purdue (7): The Boilermakers had quite the week with the tremendous win at Illinois on Monday, a crazy loss at Indiana and then followed up with the win over Northwestern.
6. Kentucky (8): Not going to penalize the Wildcats for losing at Auburn.
7. Duke (9): The Blue Devils destroyed Syracuse and showed their potential.
8. Baylor (10): The Bears rolled Oklahoma and showed they have righted themselves.
9. Michigan State (11): The Spartans avenged the home loss to Northwestern with a win at Wisconsin. That win may go down as one of the best in the Big Ten.
WILD SATURDAY: Auburn hunts No. 1 spot, Florida State holds off Miami and more
10. UCLA (12): The Bruins swept the Mountain schools in Utah and Colorado to set up momentum for the Arizona game.
11. Houston (13): Kelvin Sampson will be in the coach of the year conversation. Amazing stuff from Sampson and the staff with an injury-riddled lineup.
12. Villanova (5): The Wildcats lost at home to Marquette to offer hope to the rest of the Big East.
13. Wisconsin (6): The Badgers didn’t have Tyler Wahl for the Michigan State game and it clearly affected them in the loss.
14. Illinois (4): Rough week for the Illini with the home loss to Purdue and then losing at Maryland without Kofi Cockburn, who was held out due to concussion protocols.
15. Ohio State (15): The Buckeyes had their game postponed with Nebraska over the weekend so I’ll keep Ohio State in the same spot.
16. USC (16): The Trojans, like UCLA, got the sweep of Utah and Colorado to get set for a three-game home stand.
17. Providence (18): The Friars came off pause and have picked up where they left off — winning.
18. Texas Tech (19): Great week for the Red Raiders with wins over Iowa State and West Virginia.
19. Oregon (24): The Ducks hadn’t played in eight days and then beat Washington Sunday night.
20. Florida State (29): The Seminoles knocked off Miami on the road in a raucous environment to take over first place in the ACC.
21. Davidson (26): The Wildcats have something special going on this season.
22. UConn (33): A healthy UConn is a danger to the rest of the Big East, save Nova.
23. Marquette (NR): The Golden Eagles had a season-changing week with the win at Villanova and at home against Xavier.
TOUGH TEST: Why IUPUI had college basketball's toughest test on Saturday
24. Arkansas (NR): Welcome back to the Power 36, Hogs, winners of four in a row, including Texas A&M in OT.
25. Boise State (NR): The Broncos are now the team to beat in the Mountain West — winners of 12 in a row.
26. Alabama (NR): The Tide are back. The win over LSU should send a clear statement to the rest of the SEC.
27. Tennessee (NR): The Vols bounced back after the loss to Kentucky with two wins, including knocking off LSU.
28. Loyola Chicago (17): The Ramblers lost to Missouri State, but are still the team to beat in the Valley.
29. Michigan (NR): The Wolverines still have a hill to climb to get into the field, but wins over Maryland and at Indiana should reset the season.
30. Miami (30): The two ACC losses are both to Florida State. The ‘Canes need to ensure the win at Duke has shelf life.
31. Indiana (20): The Hoosiers followed up the epic win over Purdue with a disappointing home loss to Michigan.
32. Iowa (27): The Hawkeyes had a close road loss at Rutgers but then followed it up with a convincing win over Penn State.
33. TCU (NR): The Horned Frogs beat Iowa State by 15.
34. Wake Forest (NR): Alondes Williams will be a first-team all-ACC member. The Demon Deacons destroyed North Carolina.
35. Murray State (36): The Racers are rolling in the OVC.
36. Missouri State (NR): The Bears won at Loyola Chicago and are 6-2 in the Valley.
Dropped out: Iowa State (21), Texas (22), North Carolina (23), LSU (25), West Virginia (28), San Diego State (31), Colorado State (32), Texas A&M (34), Mississippi State (35).
Also under consideration: Princeton, Creighton, BYU, Seton Hall, SMU, Notre Dame, Wyoming, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s, South Dakota State.