My NCAA tournament March Madness bracket came out before Houston’s loss at home to Temple. That might not have knocked the Cougars off the No. 1 line, but it definitely meant they are down deeper in the top 10. That’s two home losses for the Cougars this season.
Purdue should be the top team in the country, jostling with Alabama for the top spot in any rankings/polls. Kansas’ stunning home loss to TCU combined with a road loss at Kansas State knocked them off their perch.
Gonzaga had to drop out of the top 10 after losing to Loyola Marymount. The Lions, my March Madness National Team of the Week, snapped Gonzaga’s 75-game win streak. LMU is having a resurgence under Stan Johnson. The Lions won 68-67 behind Cam Shelton’s 27 points. The Lions are 14-7 overall and 4-3 in the WCC. But the win is program-changing for LMU and gives hope to every other team not named Saint Mary’s that they can beat the Zags.
The highest newcomer in the Power 36 is Indiana, checking in at 14 behind March Madness National Player of the Week, Trayce Jackson-Davis. TJD put himself back on the scene as a first-team all-American candidate and possible player of the year with two stellar performances. TJD scored 35 points in 35 minutes in a 15-point win at Illinois. Then, on Sunday, TJD poured in 31 and 15 in a home win over Michigan State. Those two results helped catapult the Hoosiers back into the conversation of a possible second-place finisher in the Big Ten (sorry, don’t see any team catching Purdue just yet).
Men's college basketball rankings: The Power 36 for Week 9
1. Purdue (2): The separation continues with Purdue and the rest of the Big Ten. Sure, the games are getting closer, but they still can actually close them out.
2. Alabama (6): The Tide have established themselves as the SEC’s best — so far.
3. Tennessee (10): The Vols are setting up for a monster showdown with the Tide on Feb. 15 in Knoxville.
4. Kansas State (12): The Wildcats got the home sweep over Kansas and Texas Tech.
5. TCU (11): The Horned Frogs bounced back off the loss to West Virginia and dominated Kansas in Lawrence.
6. UCLA (4): The Bruins were within a few possessions against Arizona from sweeping the state.
7. Kansas (1): The Jayhawks are suddenly in a real fight for the Big 12 title after losing at Kansas State and at home to TCU.
8. Texas (7): The Longhorns got a sweep on a road swing to Iowa State and Oklahoma State, finishing the trip on the latter.
9. Houston (3): The Cougars lost at home to Temple by one, the second home loss of the season.
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10. Baylor (34): The Bears are 4-3 and back in the Big 12 chase.
11. Iowa State (9): The Cyclones beat Texas but lost by two at surging Oklahoma State.
12. Arizona (30): The Wildcats are back. Arizona swept USC and UCLA and has returned to the Pac-12 title chase.
13. Auburn (18): The Tigers have won five in a row and are one game back from rival Alabama in the SEC.
14. Indiana (NR): The Hoosiers are back. Indiana won at Illinois and beat Michigan State behind all-American performances from Trayce Jackson-Davis.
15. Xavier (8): The Musketeers suffered their first loss in the Big East in stunning fashion — to DePaul.
16. Gonzaga (5): The Zags have been playing with fire lately and finally got burned, losing for the first time in 75 games at home when LMU won.
17. Charleston (22): The Cougars have won 20 in a row. 20.
18. Virginia (24): The Cavaliers have won five in a row and are starting to look like the ACC favorite again.
19. Marquette (21): The Golden Eagles are having an overall exceptional season under Shaka Smart.
20. New Mexico (27): The Lobos won a thriller in OT against Boise State at the Pit and already won at San Diego State.
21. Michigan State (20): The Spartans had a late-possession loss to Purdue and beat Rutgers, but couldn’t get a W at Indiana.
22. North Carolina (31): The Tar Heels have won five of six and are going to be a tough out going forward.
23. Duke (NR): The Blue Devils beat Miami at home. Jeremy Roach is back and so is Duke.
24. Kentucky (NR): The Wildcats have figured out how to play together and close, beating Tennessee and Texas A&M in two of their last three games.
25. Clemson (13): The Tigers lost their first game in the ACC, falling at Wake Forest.
26. Saint Mary’s (25): The Gaels continue to win and are now atop the WCC. Quality W over rival Santa Clara.
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27. Rutgers (15): The Scarlet Knights got revenge on Ohio State but couldn’t hang with Michigan State in East Lansing.
28. Providence (14): The Friars came down to Earth in the Big East with road losses at Creighton and at Marquette.
29. Southern Cal (29): The Trojans got the split they needed on the tough road swing through Arizona by beating Arizona State after the loss in Tucson.
30. Iowa (17): The Hawkeyes’ win streak ended at Ohio State, a team that desperately needed a W after losing five in a row.
31. San Diego State (33): The Aztecs got a much-needed road sweep at Colorado State and Wyoming, not an easy trail for any Mountain West team.
32. Oklahoma State (NR): The Cowboys are officially mounting an NCAA tournament bid campaign after a sweep of Oklahoma and Iowa State last week.
33. Temple (NR): The Owls are now a threat to finish in the top two in the American after beating Houston on the road, now just one game back of the lead.
34. UConn (NR): The Huskies are back in the good graces after a blowout home win over Butler and Dan Hurley has returned to the bench after missing the Seton Hall one-possession loss with COVID-19.
35. VCU (35): The Rams have won five in a row and are now the latest team to beat in the A-10.
36. FAU (36): The Owls have won 18 in a row and are 9-0 in Conference USA.
Dropped out: Arizona State (16), Illinois (19), Pitt (23), NC State (26), Texas A&M (28), Tulane (32).