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Andy Katz | Correspondent | February 20, 2023

Houston clings to top spot, Kansas soars to No. 2 in men's college basketball's latest Power 36 rankings

Kansas takes No. 2 spot in men's Power 36 rankings

Buzz Williams was upset when Texas A&M was left out of the NCAA Tournament in 2022.

So how did the Aggies respond in 2023?

They put themselves in a position to potentially get a share of the SEC title and solidly earn an NCAA Tournament berth.

RELATED: 2023 March Madness men's bracket predictions by Andy Katz, following the top 16 reveal

The regular-season ends in two weeks and the Aggies are one game behind first-place Alabama, three games ahead of third-place Tennessee and Kentucky. The Aggies play Tennessee and Alabama at home among their final four games. They have a legitimate chance to get a piece of the SEC title. 

And the wins this past week over Arkansas and at Missouri earned Texas A&M our March Madness National Team of the Week

The Aggies were a 10 seed in our latest bracket. Expect Texas A&M to move up a few seed lines if they continue to win in the final two weeks and in the SEC tournament. 

While Texas A&M is looking like a solid NCAA tournament team, Penn State has still a lot of work to do. But Jalen Pickett gave the Nittany Lions a chance this past week with a combined 73 points in two wins over Illinois and at Minnesota to earn our March Madness Player of the Week. Pickett scored 41 in the win over Illinois, which gave Penn State a season sweep of the Illini, and 32 in a win over Minnesota. Penn State still has a lot of work to do to climb into contention for a bid, but it’s not out of the question. 

Pickett is a lock for all-Big Ten and if the Nittany Lions can find a way to get into the field then he will be one of the toughest matchups in March. 

Onto the rankings this week:

1. Houston (1): The Cougars got the first of two wins over Memphis and are entering lock status for a one-seed. 

2. Kansas (12): The Jayhawks are again the team to beat in the Big 12 after beating Baylor. 


3. Alabama (2): The Tide lost at Tennessee, but that’s just their first loss in the SEC.

4. UCLA (4): The Bruins are the team to beat now in the Pac-12 and making a late surge for a possible No. 1 seed. 

5. Texas (6): The Longhorns are tied atop the Big 12, even though the league will go through Lawrence. Oh, give Rodney Terry the full-time job. 

6. Purdue (3): The Boilermakers got back with a get-well win over Ohio State Sunday. Expect Purdue to reset and keep rolling after back-to-back court storms in Evanston and College Park. 

7. Arizona (26): The Wildcats got the home sweep of Utah and Colorado and are poised for a showdown in two weeks against UCLA. 

8. Virginia (7): The Cavaliers have ascended to the top of the ACC, where they have been hovering outside of last season. 

9. Miami (10): The ‘Canes are right there with Virginia and could push for a top-four seed with a deep run in the ACC tournament. 

10. Marquette (9): The Golden Eagles are now the team to beat in the Big East. 

11. Kansas State (16): The Wildcats got a solid win over Iowa State and were a top three-line seed in the top 16. 

12. Baylor (8): The Bears lost to Kansas, but they have been surging at the right time. 

13. Northwestern (17): The Wildcats are alone in second place in the Big Ten with 11 wins after following up a Purdue win with Ws over Indiana and Iowa. 

14. Tennessee (11): The Vols did beat Alabama but then dropped a road game at Kentucky. 

15. Indiana (5): The Hoosiers had a great comeback at Northwestern fall short. And then found a way to beat Illinois to stay in the hunt for second in the Big Ten. 

16.  Xavier (15): Marquette beat Xavier in the final possession. The Musketeers aren’t going anywhere. 

17. Creighton (13): The Bluejays fell to Providence in a wild one on the road but are still in the thick of the Big East race. 

18. Saint Mary’s (20): The Gaels continue to defend as well as any team in the country and are trying to get a sweep of Gonzaga Saturday. 

19. Gonzaga (21): The Zags blasted LMU, avenging the home loss to the Lions. 

20. Maryland (18): The Terps had the court-storming win over Purdue and then lost in overtime at Nebraska. But this team will be a factor in March. 

21. Texas A&M (22): The Aggies get the sweep of Missouri and are alone in second place in the SEC. 

22. San Diego State (29): The Aztecs are still the team to beat in the Mountain West. 

23. Kentucky (NR): The ‘Cats are back — for now — getting the sweep of Tennessee. 

24. Vanderbilt (32): Yes, rank the ‘Dores. They’ve won five in a row, including beating Tennessee and most recently Auburn. 

 25. Providence (33): The Friars outlasted Creighton and are back in the Big East title race. 

26. NC State (36): The Wolfpack got the win they needed Sunday over North Carolina. 

27. Duke (NR): The Blue Devils crushed Syracuse on the road and are starting to find their groove. 

28. Iowa State (27): The Cyclones got a split this week and were a top-16 team. 

29. UConn (35): The Huskies avenged an early season loss to Seton Hall. They are lurking in the middle of the Big East, ready to pounce. 

30. Iowa (23): The Hawkeyes got run by Northwestern Sunday night. But they had been rolling. 

31. Pitt (24): The Panthers fell at Virginia Tech but are still looking at a top-four finish in the ACC.

MORE: These 22 ingredients make up the DI men's basketball selection committee's top-16 rankings

32. USC (NR): The Trojans got the home sweep they needed to remain a top-three Pac-12 team. 

33. VCU (NR): The Rams re-asserted themselves as the team to beat in the A-10. 

34. TCU (34): The Horned Frogs beat Oklahoma State by 25. So let’s get them back in here. 

35. Toledo (NR): The Rockets have won 11 in a row and are going to be in a tight race with Kent State for the MAC title.

36. Hofstra (NR): Time to give the Pride some love. They’ve won 10 straight and sit atop the CAA. 

Dropped out: Oklahoma State (14), Illinois (19), Missouri (25), Rutgers (28), Nevada (30), Wake Forest (31). 

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