Selection Sunday is a month away and we’re starting to get a clearer picture of who can chase NCAA tournament bids.
To do so, a team has to win Quadrant 1 games when it has opportunities.
Rutgers is making the most of its chances. The Scarlet Knights, the NCAA.com men's basketball national team of the week, have six Quadrant 1 wins after a stellar week, beating Ohio State and winning at Wisconsin.
Rutgers still has to overcome significant losses to Lafayette, UMass and DePaul, but the Scarlet Knights are doing just that one Quadrant 1 win at a time. Their schedule provides two more chances with monster games against the two best teams in the Big Ten in Illinois and Purdue.
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Meanwhile, the race for national player of the year has a new front runner in Kentucky’s Oscar Tschiebwe. The West Virginia transfer has been putting up monopoly numbers. He is NCAA.com’s national player of the week after a 27-point, 19-rebound performance in a win over Florida after posting 18 and 14 in a road win at South Carolina. He’s averaging 16.4 points and 15.3 rebounds a game.
Onto the Power 36 with a new No. 1 team (previous ranking in parentheses):
- Gonzaga (2): The Zags are absolutely crushing WCC competition.
- Kentucky (4): The Wildcats have the current front runner for national player of the year in Oscar Tshiebwe.
- Arizona (8): The Wildcats swept three road games at Arizona State, Washington State and Washington.
- Auburn (1): The Tigers dropped a road game at Arkansas in overtime. No shame in that defeat.
- Kansas (7): The Jayhawks are currently the new favorite in the Big 12.
- Duke (6): The Blue Devils did lose at the buzzer to Virginia but they pass the eye test of being a title contender.
- Purdue (3): The Boilermakers had a brutal week with three games and the loss at Michigan seemed to be an anomaly. This team is tired.
- Illinois (5): The Illini are having trouble with Purdue and that’s about it when they’re healthy.
- Providence (10): The Friars have a two-game lead on Villanova with a major showdown against the Wildcats Tuesday night.
- Villanova (13): The Wildcats are primed for a showdown with the Friars Tuesday night.
- Baylor (17): The Bears did beat Texas handily but lost Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to a season-ending knee injury.
- Ohio State (12): Yes, I know the Buckeyes lost at Rutgers. But they finished the week with an impressive win at Michigan.
- Texas Tech (15): The Red Raiders did lose to Oklahoma but then rebounded to knock off TCU.
- Wisconsin (16): The Badgers lost at home to Rutgers, but earlier in the week did win at Michigan State.
- Tennessee (23): The Vols are back in the good graces of the poll and moving up in the SEC.
- Arkansas (20): Yes, the Hogs lost to Alabama but earlier in the week they knocked off No. 1 Auburn.
- USC (28): The Trojans shot up in the Power 36 after knocking off rival UCLA.
- Alabama (26): The Tide is turning toward 'Bama in the SEC with wins over Arkansas and Mississippi State.
- Texas (21): The Longhorns got past Kansas but couldn’t get over Baylor.
- Wyoming (22): The Pokes have won six in a row and are now the team to beat in the Mountain West.
- UCLA (14): The Bruins slide back after losing to rival USC.
- Notre Dame (25): The Irish have won four in a row and have a one-game lead for second place in the ACC.
- Murray State (34): The Racers have won 14 in a row. KJ Willaims scored 39 points in a win over Tennessee State last week.
- Michigan State (18): The Spartans ended the week with a home win over Indiana after a loss to Wisconsin.
- Miami (NR): The ‘Canes are back in the top 25 of the Power 36 after winning at Wake Forest.
- SMU (NR): The Mustangs are now in first place in the AAC after beating Houston.
- Houston (9): The Cougars had a rough week losing to SMU and Memphis. But they have been running on fumes and deserve one bad week.
- UConn (27): The Huskies had a wild week with a win over Marquette, a frustrating loss at Xavier and then a road win at St. John’s.
- Rutgers (NR): The Scarlet Knights aren’t in the field just yet, but are firmly on the bubble after beating Ohio State and winning at Wisconsin for their fifth and sixth Quadrant 1 wins.
- Memphis (NR): Penny Hardaway has the Tigers back in position to get an NCAA tournament bid after winning five in a row and beating Houston.
- Oregon (19): The Ducks take a tumble after losing to Cal at home. But the Ducks are still an NCAA tournament team — barely.
- VCU (NR): The Rams have won six of seven and are in a position to overtake Davidson in the A-10.
- San Francisco (35): The Dons have won five of six and look like an NCAA tournament team.
- Colorado State (NR): The Rams have won four in a row since falling at Wyoming.
- Boise State (24): The Broncos fell at home to Colorado State but are still in a position to get a bid.
- Virginia (NR): The Cavaliers have won four in a row, including stunning Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium to get back on the bubble.
Dropped out: Marquette (11), Washington State (29), Wake Forest (30), Saint Mary’s (31), Indiana (32), Davidson (33), Ohio (36).
Also under consideration: Michigan, Iowa, Seton Hall, Xavier, North Carolina, Oklahoma, TCU, Kansas State, LSU, San Diego State, BYU, Loyola Chicago, Vermont, North Texas, South Dakota State.