CBB Power Rankings 2/24/2017
A little more than two weeks until selection Sunday and the top three seeds are beginning to clear up. Gonzaga, Villanova, and Kansas will all be 1 seeds barring a major collapse, with North Carolina holding the other top seed, but have do not have as tight a grip as the other three teams. The real battle will be positioning on the 2 seed line, with multiple teams having a chance to improve their seeding. Still much to be determined in these last two weeks of the regular season. The madness is just beginning my friends…….
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs-Refer to each of my posts for the last few weeks on Gonzaga. They will almost certainly enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated barring a major upset in the WCC Tournament. This is the most complete team in America and I cannot wait to see them stack up with the big boys in March
2. Kansas Jayhawks-Kansas wrapped up their 13th straight Big 12 title with a thrilling win on the road against Baylor on Saturday. The Jayhawks are all but assured of a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, regardless of the result of the Big 12 Tournament. The only questions that remain is if the Jayhawks will be the top overall seed, and will Frank Mason win the National Player of the Year.
3. Arizona Wildcats-The Wildcats survived a strong showing from USC on Thursday, setting up a massive showdown on Saturday against UCLA that could clinch Arizona the Pac-12 title. Sean Miller’s team won 96-85 in their trip to Pauley Pavilion last month. Arizona is still in play for a 1 seed should North Carolina slip up in these last two weeks.
4. Villanova Wildcats-Despite a slip up on Wednesday night at home to Butler, Villanova is still in line for a 1 seed and just needs to win 1 of their final 2 games in order to clinch the Big East title. I expect National Player of the Year candidate Josh Hart to rebound and get that done Saturday at home against Creighton.
5. UCLA Bruins-While the Bruins need a lot of help to win the Pac-12 regular season title, even with a win Saturday at Arizona, these last two weeks will be crucial for their seeding in the NCAA Tournament. They are a 4 seed right now according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, which is far too low in my opinion. A victory against Arizona will vastly improve their seeding come March.
6. Oregon Ducks-Dillon Brooks did it again on Wednesday, hitting another clutch buzzer beater to complete a huge comeback for the Ducks against California. Oregon will be big UCLA fans on Saturday, needing the Bruins to beat Arizona in order to move into a tie in the Pac-12 standings with the Wildcats.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels-The team who gained the most this week has to be the Tar Heels. A big time victory over Louisville paired with a very lucky Syracuse victory over Duke has the Tar Heels two games up on Duke, Louisville, Notre Dame and Florida State in the ACC standings with just three games remaining, and also keeping UNC in that final 1 seed position. Games against Virginia and Duke still remain, however.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers-West Virginia bounced back from a tough loss to Kansas well this week, with two victories over Texas Tech and Texas. While the Big 12 regular season title is no longer possible, a clash with Baylor lies ahead on Monday that will likely decide the 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament and will have seeding implications in the NCAA Tournament.
9. Florida Gators-I am personally not as high on the Gators as most, but it is hard to ignore what they have done this season, even in the weak SEC. The biggest game of the season for Florida lies ahead on Saturday, with a trip to Lexington to take on Kentucky that will likely determine the SEC regular season title. A victory for the Gators could also enter them in the conversation for a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
10. Duke Blue Devils-Duke fell victim to the classic 2nd half comeback in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday to Syracuse, and a very unfortunate one at that. Two 3-Poiners off the glass, including the buzzer beater is a rough way to lose for Coach K’s squad, who were one of the hottest teams in America. It will be interesting to see how such a tough loss will affect this team that has faced so much adversity. A tough final three games to fiish the season lie ahead: at Miami, home to Florida State, and at North Carolina.
11. Louisville Cardinals
12. Florida State Seminoles
13. Kentucky Wildcats
14. Purdue Boilermakers
15. Baylor Bears
16. SMU Mustangs
17. Cincinnati Bearcats
18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
19. Butler Bulldogs
20. Wichita State Shockers
21. St. Mary’s Gaels
22. Wisconsin Badgers
23. Virginia Cavaliers
24. VCU Rams
25. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders