NCAA Men’s Basketball Week 19 Power Rankings
My initial reactions from Selection Sunday were mostly outrage. How in the world does Arizona State get in over a USC? How does Oklahoma get in over Oklahoma State? What the hell happened with Saint Mary’s?
Although I was initially angry and upset with some of the bubble teams that got in, I then quickly realized that this tournament is going to be great no matter what goes down. It’s March (freaking) Madness. What more could you ask for?
With that being said, I’ve got 48 teams to break down and rank in the NCAAB Week 19 Power Rankings. Let’s get started!
1. Virginia (31-2)
- The ACC Champion Virginia Cavaliers were clearly the best team in college basketball this season, and the most interesting part of their journey was that they were unranked (I had them at #30 in Week 1.) to start the year and they were picked to finish 6th in a strong ACC. They are the best defensive team in the country, and they’re not going to look exceptionally pretty while playing, but they get the job done. Also, the recent success of Kyle Guy is something to behold. Props to him for a noteworthy end to the season.
2. Villanova (30-4)
- Villanova won the National Championship two years ago on a buzzer-beater. You have to be a pretty good shooting team to execute a play and buzzer-beating three the way Villanova did in 2016. However, head coach Jay Wright has gone on record to say that this is the best shooting team he’s had. That is scary. Brunson and Bridges are players to watch in the NCAA Tournament. Those guards can really play at the most elite of levels in college basketball, and maybe even the NBA.
3. Gonzaga (30-4)
- Gonzaga ended up being a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament, but in an NCAAB Power Rankings sense, #3 is a good spot for them heading into March Madness. The West Coast Conference champs won their last 14 to lock up their league’s automatic bid. The one thing holding them back is RPI at the moment, but this team has a high-powered offense that can score easily. (All you need for proof of that is the second half of the WCC championship game versus BYU.) Gonzaga’s First Round opponent is UNC Greensboro, who has a very efficient defense. It’ll be a great matchup to watch.
4. Kansas (27-7)
- Some aren’t fans of the fact that the Big 12 Tournament is in Kansas City as its basically a home game each time they play. Regardless of your views on this issue, no one can argue that Kansas isn’t a team to be reckoned with in the NCAA Tournament. Udoka Azubuike will be back for the start of the tourney, which is a total plus.
5. Xavier (28-5)
- This is the first time Xavier has been a 1-seed in their program’s history. That gives me doubts about them and a potential Final Four run, quite honestly. They were a 6-seed in 2015 and went to the Sweet 16. In 2016, they were a 2-seed and got ousted in the Second Round. Last year, they were an 11-seed and made it all the way to the Elite 8. You tell me.
6. Michigan (28-7)
- The Big Ten Champions deserved better than a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Coming into this past week, they were the hottest team in college basketball. We don’t know how this week off will help/hurt them, but regardless, Michigan is as dangerous as they come.
7. Cincinnati (30-4)
- Cincinnati does have trouble scoring the ball from time to time, but they won’t go down quietly this month. They’re also in the same region as Virginia. If that’s the Elite 8 matchup we get, expect the first team to score 35 points to win that one as Cincy is 2nd in defense behind Virginia.
8. Michigan State (29-4)
- The Selection Committee undervalues Michigan State. They’re a team that can win it all this year if they get past the first weekend. Miles Bridges is one of the best players in the country, and Michigan State is nearly completely healthy. When healthy, this team is better than the great one they were projected to be at the start of the season.
9. Purdue (28-6)
- Just like in the Bahamas, Purdue hit a rough stretch to close out the last few games of the regular season. Despite this, they had a strong showing in the Big Ten Tournament, losing to Michigan in the championship, and ended up with a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They have enough talent to get them to the Final Four for the first time since 1980. If they’re going to do it, I think they’re going to need to use Isaac Haas as much as possible down in the paint and get him the ball as much as possible. And, of course, Dakota Mathias, Carsen Edwards, and Vincent Edwards need to shot the 3-ball well enough to put them into a winning situation.
10. Arizona (27-7)
- It was nice to see Arizona pull away with the PAC-12 Championship even though it was a weaker year for the league, and a controversial year for the team with everything that’s happened between Sean Miller and Deandre Ayton. Speaking of Ayton, he’s going to need to be the guy that gets the ball on nearly every possession for Arizona to make a run in this tourney. Buffalo is a good defensive team as they can force turnovers. Let’s see if Ayton can torch that defense.
11. North Carolina (25-10)
- North Carolina played four games in as many days, losing to Virginia in the finals of the ACC Tournament. They are ready, willing, and able to defend their title this year. Lipscomb will be a tough out in the First Round, so the Tar Heels must not overlook them.
12. Duke (26-7)
- Losing to North Carolina for the second time this season hurt Duke but the Blue Devils were able to still lock down a 2-seed with the successful season they’ve had. Here’s to the hope that Grayson Allen doesn’t trip any more people along the way.
13. Houston (26-7)
- As much as I love how great of a player Rob Gray is and how important he is on this Houston team, he did make some questionable decisions in the AAC Championship Game versus Cincinnati on Sunday. Nevertheless, this is a team that can win a few games in this tournament. In my opinion, they have one of the hardest First Round matchups out there as they will take on San Diego State, one of the hottest teams in the country. And yes, this Houston team did lose to Drexel. Don’t forget that.
14. Tennessee (25-8)
- The SEC Championship was weird. After Kentucky went on a run, Tennessee fought their way back. After Tennessee went on a run, Kentucky fought their way back. This kept going until Kentucky went on a run and Tennessee just ran out of time. The Volunteers have been consistent throughout this season. If you think that will result in a few wins in the NCAA Tournament, then good on you.
15. West Virginia (24-10)
- On a true neutral site, I would’ve taken West Virginia over Kansas in the Big 12 Championship. That’s all I’ll say about that. I really do like West Virginia. They can play to any style thrown out them and sometimes outplay the style they switch to (depending on the matchups). This will pose well for a possible Final Four run.
16. Texas Tech (24-9)
- If Texas Tech was healthy throughout the season, this is a 1-seed. That’s how miraculous of a year it has been for the Red Raiders. Does anybody else think it is a coincidence that Texas Tech as a 3-seed is taking on 14-seed Stephen F. Austin in Dallas, Texas? The selection process is rigged.
17. Wichita State (25-7)
- Wichita State’s move to the American is probably the single greatest conference realignment in college basketball history. They elevated that conference to the nth degree, and it really helped them out in the selection process and evaluation this year. Just last year in the Missouri Valley, Wichita State was 30-4 heading into the NCAA Tournament and they ended up as a 10-seed. This year, they are 25-7 and got a 4-seed. Some still think that last year’s team was better than this year’s squad.
18. Auburn (25-7)
- Auburn is not looking good heading into March Madness. Simply put, they’ve lost their swagger. They were 2-4 to finish the season, and their defense gave up 78 points per game, which is well above their season average. Getting Charleston in the First Round could mean that the Tigers will be having a pretty stressful Friday night.
19. Kentucky (24-10)
- John Calipari is mad and doesn’t quite know where Boise, Idaho is. If you don’t have Kentucky in your Final Four at the moment, do so now.
20. Ohio State (24-8)
- Now, this is a team that is in real danger of not making it to the Round of 32. Sure, South Dakota State is a fine team and will pose a threat to the Buckeyes, but the real threat is the mediocrity of Ohio State themselves. Ohio State better hope that South Dakota State doesn’t beat them in the 3-point FG% category.
21. Miami (FL) (22-9)
- The worst possible First Round matchup that Miami could’ve gotten is what they got. Loyola-Chicago is the real deal. To give you an idea of how close they are not just in NCAAB Power Rankings, but in the entire landscape, Miami’s RPI is 27. Loyola’s is 28.
22. Clemson (23-9)
- Clemson was REALLY good in the nonconference portion of their schedule. However, teams in the ACC began to exploit them and had some injuries along the way. The big thing for the Tigers is they need to take care of the basketball to try to make it to their first Final Four.
23. Rhode Island (25-7)
- Dan Hurley will be having a wonderful Thanksgiving after all now that his brother, Bobby Hurley will be joining the NCAA Tournament as well with Arizona State.
University of Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley reacts to his brother, Bobby Hurley and Arizona State making the tournament 🙏
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 11, 2018
24. Loyola-Chicago (28-5)
- I have a gut feeling that everybody and their mother is going to pick Loyola over Miami because that’s what all the experts are predicting. Oh, really? Just keep in mind that this Loyola team lost on the road to Milwaukee, a team that lost to a Divison II school this year.
25. Nevada (23-7)
- Nevada is not a good rebounding team. That could be their downfall in the NCAA Tournament. Don’t buy into the Wolfpack past the First Round, if at all.
26. Kansas State (22-11)
- Kansas State is a team that will play you in an absolute dogfight.
27. Providence (21-13)
- You have to applaud the way Providence performed in the Big East Tournament. I loved the way they played so much that they moved up somewhere around 30 spots in the NCAAB Power Rankings. Sure, they went to overtime in each of their three games, but they performed at an elite level. Big East basketball is so much fun, and if you’re not down with that, I’ve got
twoseven words for you: Why do you not think that, bruh?
28. USC (23-11)
- I don’t know how USC didn’t get it. They could’ve made it easy for everyone involved and go on to win the PAC-12 Tournament, but that didn’t happen. I just don’t understand how a team that places 2nd in a Power 5 Conference like the PAC-12 gets snubbed from the Field of 68. I just don’t. They finished at 34th in the RPI, ahead of USC (35) and Arizona State (61). They also have a better BPI than Arizona State and UCLA. Sure, you could play the case that USC lost twice to UCLA and also lost to Arizona State, but then you could compare the Trojans to the likes of a Syracuse team that looked to be dead in the water for the longest time. I don’t know. The system isn’t perfect. All I can hope for is a strong showing for USC in the NIT.
29. Arkansas (23-11)
- Arkansas just seems to be a rock-hard team. And Sometimes, that’s all you want in a unit in March. Can they win? Absolutely.
30. Seton Hall (21-11)
- The Pirates are a team that did go 2-6 at one point in the season, but they were able to string together a few wins down the stretch to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall is a fascinating case this season because you’ve got a team that is very good but has a hard time at winning some of the close games. In fact, in games decided by six points or less, Seton Hall is 5-6 on the year. If a couple of shots here and there would’ve gone their way in those games, we could be looking at a 5-seed.
31. Florida (20-12)
- I can’t buy into Florida. They’re good, but they’re not. They might be the first SEC team out of this tournament.
32. St. Bonaventure (25-7)
- St. Bonaventure was snubbed hard in 2016 when I thought they had an outstanding team that deserved a bid. (They went on to lose to Wagner in the First Round of the NIT that year, but who really cares?) The Niagara loss this year is inexcusable, but after that, their body of work is nice. UCLA in the First Four and Florida in the First Round will be good matchups for the Bonnies. I look forward to seeing how point guard Jaylen Adams comes into play in those games.
33. New Mexico State (28-5)
- People are just now starting to buy into New Mexico State, saying that they will upset Clemson in the First Round. Are you kidding?! I bought into the Aggies when they beat Miami on Christmas. Bandwagon fans suck.
34. Saint Mary’s (28-5)
- I thought this was a huge snub from the NCAA Tournament just like USC was. The thing is, their body of work just wasn’t up to par. If they didn’t lose to BYU in the Semifinals of the WCC Tournament and lost to Gonzaga in the Championship instead, they would’ve easily been. There were just too many bad losses when there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room for the Gaels.
35. Virginia Tech (21-11)
- Some Virginia Tech fans were sweating this Selection Sunday because they felt like their team hadn’t done enough to get in. In my opinion, it didn’t matter what they did for the rest of the season after they beat Virginia on the road.
36. TCU (21-11)
- This year is TCU’s first NCAA Tournament appearance as a member of the Big 12, which is monumental for the 2017 NIT Champions. Things finally gelled together enough for the Horned Frogs. I look forward to seeing them try to prove why Arizona State and Syracuse don’t deserve to be in the Field of 68.
37. San Diego State (22-10)
- Mr. Steal Your Bid. How about the Aztecs of San Diego State? They are hotter than Kate Upton right now, and they are poised for a Sweet 16 run if they have the kind of shooting performances that were present in the Mountain West Tournament.
38. Creighton (21-11)
- All things considered, I like Creighton. They move the ball around perfectly, and they can score. What more do you want in a tournament team?
39. Davidson (21-11)
- Mr. Steal Your Bid. The Steph Curry’s have made it back to the “Big Dance.” Davidson plays at a slow pace, so if they aren’t making some of their shots, they could be in trouble. Also, a hot Kentucky team will pose a problem, but it always seems like a team out of the Atlantic-10 goes on a run in March. This could be that team.
— Matthew "Joneszee" Jones (@joneszee_jones) March 11, 2018
40. Middle Tennessee (24-7)
- Middle Tennessee can complain all they want about how they scheduled tough in the nonconference. The thing is, the only game that was big that they won was versus Murray State! The only injustice about Middle Tennessee not getting to play in the “Big Dance” is that Giddy Potts won’t get another shot at an upset. That’s the only real injustice.
41. South Dakota State (28-6)
- This was a 16-seed last season. Believe it or not, but they are an excellent shooting team, and the fact that they’re playing in Boise, Idaho for the first weekend poses a danger to all involved.
42. Murray State (26-5)
- Murray State is 1-1 against tournament teams this season. I just wanted to throw that out there. I’m not saying that a win over Wright State has any real significance, but what the heck? The Racers are a fantastic basketball team this season. They’ll give West Virginia a run for their money, but don’t expect a victory from the Ohio Valley champ.
43. UCLA (21-11)
- If LiAngelo Ball never shoplifted in China, how do you think the UCLA season would’ve panned out?
44. Oklahoma State (19-14)
- Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma twice this season and have incredibly identical resumes. I’ll leave it at that.
45. Oklahoma (18-13)
- Trae Young and money. That’s what I believe got them in.
46. Buffalo (26-8)
- Buffalo won the MAC yet again and are headed to Boise to take on Arizona. The Bulls (or Bills if you are Ernie Johnson who botched all over the Selection Show but still did a better job than Greg Gumbel) have tournament experience. That’s dangerous.
47. Florida State (20-11)
- I was really high on Florida State for most of the year when no one else was ever since they beat Florida. What do I think of them now? I believe they are better than Syracuse.
48. Alabama (19-15)
- Collin Sexton. If he’s not your driving force for decisions regarding if Alabama can win or not, you need to find a new sport to watch.
Next Set (in no particular order):
- Bucknell (25-9), Nebraska (22-10), Notre Dame (20-14), Arizona State (20-11), Marquette (19-13), Butler (20-13), Texas A&M (20-12), UNC Greensboro (27-7), Charleston (26-7), Missouri (20-12), Stephen F. Austin (28-6), Marshall (24-10), Oregon (22-12), Syracuse (20-13), Penn State (21-13), Georgia State (24-10)
That’ll do it for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Week 19 Power Rankings. What did you think of the list this week? Where would you rank these teams as March Madness begins? Be sure to tell us about it in the comment section below. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter: @PowerRank_More, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Instagram page for all of the latest information from Power Rankings and More.
By the way, this is my NIT bracket if you want to take a gander. It’ll probably be way off as the NIT is sometimes less predictable than the NCAA Tournament itself!
Published on 3/12/18 at 1:50 AM EST.Share this post on:
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