The top 3 seem to be set in stone.
The fourth spot is a revolving door.
So, too, is the rest of the top 10 and for that matter — the majority of slots 11-36.
But that’s what makes this final month of the season so intriguing. The committee won’t have to fret about geographic concerns but trying to separate the seed lines will be incredibly difficult.
Remember, the Power 36 is a snapshot of the current week in college basketball. The seed report for our March Madness bracket is more of an overall analysis of the body of work.
Time to digest and debate the first Power 36 of February.
1. Gonzaga (1): Zags are rolling through the WCC.
2. Baylor (2): The Bears remain unscathed in the Big 12.
3. Villanova (3): The Wildcats continue to dominate the Big East.
4. Houston (4): The Cougars are making a case for a top seed.
5. Michigan (7): The Wolverines move up by not playing. Hopefully they come back from pause soon.
6. Oklahoma (19): The Sooners deserve the recognition after beating four ranked teams in January.
7. Texas (5): The Longhorns missed out on Kentucky game to reset after Oklahoma loss.
8. Ohio State (11): The Buckeyes are playing the second best basketball in the Big Ten.
9. Illinois (21): The Illini played the game of the season in the conference in the win over Iowa.
10. Iowa (9): The Hawkeyes matched Illinois possession for possession, despite having to play without CJ Frederick.
11. Alabama (6): The Tide had chances to win at Oklahoma but couldn’t finish. Still, they are the best in the SEC.
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12. UCLA (14): The Bruins are one last-second bucket away from being undefeated in the Pac-12.
13. Virginia (8): The Cavaliers suffered their first loss in the ACC to Virginia Tech.
14. Florida State (10): The Seminoles took a hit when Georgia Tech stunned them in Atlanta.
15. Creighton (17): The Bluejays got Seton Hall and survived against DePaul.
16. Missouri (12): The Tigers got pushed by TCU, but won a game they needed after losing to Auburn.
17. Drake (30): The Bulldogs deserve this ranking. They have not been rattled yet.
18. Florida (32): The Gators had one of the best wins by an SEC team this season by winning at West Virginia.
19. Purdue (25): The Boilermakers had a strong comeback win over Minnesota and proved they have staying power.
20. Virginia Tech (NR): The Hokies jump back into the top 25 with the impressive win over Virginia.
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21. Oklahoma State (23): The Cowboys got Cade Cunningham back and beat Arkansas.
22. USC (22): The Trojans are the top contender to UCLA in the Pac-12.
23. Tennessee (20): The Vols desperately needed a quality win and got one by humbling Kansas.
24. West Virginia (18): The Mountaineers are still in the chase in the Big 12.
25. Texas Tech (13): The Red Raiders dispatched LSU and maintain a steady hold as a contender for a top three Big 12 finish.
26. North Carolina (33): The Tar Heels are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time.
27. Xavier (28): The Musketeers may end up as the third best team in the Big East.
28. Wisconsin (16): The Badgers split a road swing to Maryland and Penn State.
29. Rutgers (NR): The Scarlet Knights have figured out how to win again.
30. Louisville (29): The Cardinals lost to Clemson after beating Duke.
31. Duke (NR): The Blue Devils have climbed back to 5-3 in the ACC.
32. Georgia Tech (NR): The Yellow Jackets had the stunner of the week by upsetting Florida State.
33. Boise State (15): Getting the split at Colorado State was significant. The Broncos quickly avenged their only loss of the MWC.
34. St. Bonaventure (35): The Bonnies are the new class of the A-10.
35. Belmont (36): The Bruins are 18-1 overall, 12-0 in the OVC.
36. Loyola-Chicago (NR): The Ramblers have won seven in a row are 9-1 in the Valley and play Drake in two weeks.
Dropped out: No. 22 Minnesota, No. 24 Kansas, No. 27 Seton Hall, No. 31 Saint Louis, No. 34 Winthrop.
Below are the weekly honors for the week ending Jan. 31 in college basketball.
Player of the Week
Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois: He scored 25, one better than teammate Trent Frazier, in an 80-75 win over Iowa — easily the best game of the rugged Big Ten season.
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Team of the week
The Sooners knocked off Alabama at home in the marquee matchup of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. The Sooners won without Austin Reaves and Alondes Williams. Earlier in the week, Reaves scored 23 to beat Texas.
Storylines from the week Jan. 25-31
- Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger must now be in the top 10 list for Naismith Coach of the Year after the Sooners beat four ranked teams in January.
- Michigan State is in serious trouble after losing twice last week since coming off pause. The Spartans would not be in the field as of this week.
- Kansas has stumbled lately, losing four of five.
- Kentucky missed out on a golden opportunity for high-level win when the Wildcats had to go on pause and cancel the Texas game.
- Mark Schmidt is easily one of the most underrate coaches in the country, leading St. Bonaventure to the top of the A-10.
- Saint Louis came off a long pause and lost to Dayton and then had its game against Richmond postponed, leaving the Billikens in the odd position of playing only one conference game so far.
- Penn State interim coach Jim Ferry is making a case for the permanent job by winning three of the last four games since the Nittany Lions came off pause.
- Yes, it’s troubling UConn had to postpone two games due to an official who tested positive after the Butler win. But it should speak volumes that this was only the second game postponed due to an official this season. The other one was UCLA at Oregon.
- Meanwhile, Oregon is on pause and remains an intriguing team in the Pac-12.
- The Mountain West has four teams worth tracking in Boise State, Utah State, Colorado State and San Diego State. They all won’t make it, but there could be a case for 2-3.
- David Duke has had a phenomenal season for Providence. He should hold his head high and not fret over a missed free throw that would have sent the Georgetown game into overtime.
- Colorado’s loss to Utah could sting in the quest for a bid.
- St. John’s has crawled into contention as a possible bubble team.
- Some of the best performances of the week were: Keve Aluma’s 29 for Virginia Tech over Virginia; Xavier Pinson’s 36 for Missouri over TCU; Jalen Crutcher’s 27 for Dayton over Saint Louis; Brandon Newman’s 29 for Purdue over Minnesota; Cameron Tyson’s 31 for Houston over Tulane and Colorado State’s David Roddy’s 27 and 15 boards in the win over Boise State.
- I wish Illinois and Iowa played twice this season. That was the best game so far in the Big Ten.
- Sending good vibes to Michigan so the Wolverines can get back off pause and continue the quest for a Final Four run.