Not a lot of movement in this week’s version of the Power 16.  The only top 10 team to take a loss last week was Butler, who dropped on to Indiana State on Wednesday but then followed that up with a double digit win against Cincinnati.  

Go figure. Two teams, South Carolina and Baylor, took the entire week off.  All 16 teams suite up this week with the highlight of the week coming on Saturday as North Carolina and Kentucky square off in Chapel Hill.  Maybe Roy Williams will be happy with the fans’ energy level in that one since, you know, it isn’t "a Duke game".

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Villanova (1)
Road win at La Salle by double digits and then a home win against a really good Notre Dame team.  Pretty standard week for Jay Wright’s bunch.  Josh Hart continues to impress.  His 37 points against the Fighting Irish were a career high to go along with 11 rebounds.  He’s my pick for POY at this point and it isn’t even close.
2. UCLA (2)
Michigan never stood a chance.  The Bruins allowed the Wolverines to hang around in the first half but after Lonzo Ball‘s three from almost half court connected at the buzzer, that was all she wrote.  The Bruins are tops in college basketball with a 56.2% team field goal percentage.
3. Duke (3)
Grayson Allen is back ladies and gentleman and with his return it makes you wonder how good this Blue Devil team can actually be.  If you didn’t see the highlights of the UNLV game, I suggest you give them a watch.  It was a dunk fest out in Vegas.  Both Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden have settled in nicely, next up…Harry Giles.
4. Kentucky (4)
The Wildcats bounced back well after their home loss to UCLA a week or so ago.  Home wins against Valpo and Hofstra aren’t anything to get too excited about but how a young team and young players respond after a tough loss is.  They took care of business and didn’t have a hangover after an emotional first loss of the season.  They get their first true road test on Saturday against the Tar Heels.  Big game for both teams.
5. Gonzaga (5)
The butt kicking they gave Washington was no joke.  This is a team that could go into the NCAA Tournament undefeated.  Obviously there are plenty of games left on the schedule but they’ve gotten through the tough part of their slate and outside of St. Mary’s, no one in their conference should give them any trouble.
6. Kansas (7)
Frank Mason continues to be the engine that makes this team go.  They had a light week schedule wise and unfortunately were having to deal with off the court issues with sophomore forward Carlton Bragg. Games against Davidson and UNLV loom large this week as they will try and concentrate on what’s happening on the court rather than off of it.
7. North Carolina (6)
Too close for comfort against Tennessee on Sunday. The offense just doesn’t click the same way when Joel Berry isn’t on the floor.  Nate Britt is a tough kid and a good defender, but he just isn’t Berry on the offensive end. If he isn’t able to go on Saturday against Kentucky then it could be a long day inside the Dean Dome.
8. Creighton  (8)
The Blue Jays put up 100+ points for the third time this season and are 5th in the NCAA in scoring and second in FG% behind only UCLA. This team has taken care of business in the OOC so far and I’m looking forward to seeing if they can keep up their scoring output against some better defenses once conference play begins.
9. Baylor (9)
Well, they didn’t lose last week. And they shouldn’t this week either as they welcome in Southern University and Jackson State.
10. Indiana (11)
Didn’t even know Houston Baptist was a school until this weekend.  The health of OG Anunoby is something to continue to monitor as this team will need him in a bad way as the schedule gets tougher when they get into conference play.
11. Louisville (12)
The Cardinals have over seven players averaging 7 or more points per game and no one averaging more than 12. That is what I call extremely balanced.  They continue play extremely well and force me to eat my pre-season words with every win they notch.
12. South Carolina (14)
The second team on our list to take the week off, the Gamecocks will travel to Seton Hall on Monday. Come out of there with a win and Frank Martin’s squad will really start to turn some heads.
13. Wisconsin (NR)
That was a big win at Marquette. After struggling in a few games earlier this season, this team looks to be rounding into form. Both Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig have put this team on their shoulders over the last few weeks. The duo is averaging 37 points per game so far in December and the team is 3-0 with wins over Oklahoma and now Marquette.
14. West Virginia (NR)
The Mountaineers make their first appearance in our Power 16 Rankings after wins against Western Carolina and VMI. Much like Louisville, Bob Huggins’ squad is extremely balanced. They sport 8 players averaging over 7 points per game and are right behind Creighton in total offense in the NCAA.  I’m still not sold on this team and I don’t think their win against Virginia will be that good once all is said and done.
15.  Virginia (15)
Based on what I said above, you can tell that I’m not a huge believer in the Cavaliers this season. I wasn’t very high on them pre-season and I haven’t been high on them since. Conference play will be where they either prove me right or wrong. Just not enough fire power without Austin Nichols.
16. Notre Dame (NR)
The Fighting Irish lose to Villanova and they jump into our rankings.  How does that happen?  Mostly because I’ve overlooked them as a team and focused too much on a few of their individual stars. They showed toughness on the road against the #1 team in the country.  And if it weren’t for Josh Hart‘s heroics, they would have come out with a victory.

First Five Out

Xavier (8-2), Butler (9-1), Purdue (8-2), Arizona (8-2), Florida State (10-1)

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft


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