Power Rankings: January 14, 2019

1. Duke (14-1, 3-0 ACC; 0)
2. Kansas (14-2, 3-1 Big XII; +2)
3. Virginia (15-0, 3-0 ACC; -1)
4. Michigan (17-0, 6-0 Big Ten; -1)
5. Tennessee (13-1, 3-0 SEC; +1)
6. Michigan State (15-2, 6-0 Big Ten; -1)
7. Gonzaga (16-2, 3-0 WCC; +1)
8. Texas Tech (15-1, 4-0 Big XII; +6)
9. Oklahoma (13-3, 2-2 Big XII; -2)
10. Nevada (16-1, 3-1 MWC; -1)
11. Virginia Tech (14-1, 3-0 ACC; +2)
12. Houston (16-1, 3-1 AAC; -2)
13. Buffalo (14-1, 3-0 MAC; +7)
14. Auburn (11-3, 1-1 SEC; -2)
15. Maryland (14-3, 5-1 Big Ten; +9)
16. North Carolina (12-4, 2-1 ACC; +1)
17. Florida State (13-3, 1-2 ACC; +2)
18. TCU (12-3, 1-2 Big XII; -7)
19. Marquette (14-3, 3-1 Big East; +8)
20. LSU (12-3, 2-0 SEC; +10)
21. Villanova (13-4, 4-0 Big East; +11)
22. UCF (13-2, 3-0 AAC; 0)
23. Kentucky (12-3, 2-1 SEC; +5)
24. Ole Miss (13-2, 3-0 SEC; +17)
25. Iowa (14-3, 3-3 Big Ten; +14)
26-30. Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Minnesota, Iowa State

Hey y’all, here’s this week’s top 25! We’re through two full weeks of conference play now, and things keep shuffling in a major way. There are six teams in this week’s 25 that weren’t here last Monday, so let’s go through them a bit.

Marquette keeps bouncing in and out of my top 25, this time back in with two big wins this week. First, surviving in Omaha against Creighton, with Sam Hauser’s buzzer-beater to send the game into overtime, where Markus Howard took over. Then Saturday, a solid win over Seton Hall at home, where the Golden Eagles briefly trailed late but were able to pull it out. A great week for them, back in at #19.

LSU makes their first appearance of the season, if I remember correctly. The Tigers sit at 12-3, with two of their losses against ranked opponents and all three taking place away from Baton Rouge. They started SEC play 2-0 this week with wins over Alabama and Arkansas, the latter in overtime but also away from home. They don’t play Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky or Mississippi State until February, so they could rise a bit more here with their weaker up-front schedule.

Villanova makes it two for the Big East, a conference that was shut out of last week’s rankings. They, too, won in Omaha against Creighton this week, in a game they trailed by as many as nine but ended up winning comfortably, a 13-0 run in the middle of the second half providing the difference. More in jeopardy was their home win over St. John’s earlier in the week, as Nova trailed by 5 with four minutes left but eventually won by 5.

Speaking of Kentucky, they’re back in, having won their last two conference games following their opening loss at Alabama. Unlike the next two teams, this was a pretty small jump, so I don’t have a ton to say about them at the moment, except to say that Kentucky @ Auburn is one of the games I’m looking forward to this upcoming weekend.

Ole Miss is also here for the first time this season, making a trio of new arrivals from the SEC. The Rebels have won 10 straight, and have started conference play 3-0, including an upset win over Auburn on Wednesday night. Having followed that up with a win in their arch-rival’s building on Saturday, knocking Mississippi State out of the 25, they’re storming ahead. Big matchup with LSU tomorrow night!

Finally, Iowa is here! It’s so hard to win consistently in the Big Ten, and Iowa just pulled off three quality wins in a row. When I posted this feature last Monday, they had already notched up a great home win over Nebraska, but now they own new wins over Northwestern and Ohio State. Those aren’t the marquee-est of marquee names in the Big Ten, but there are ten teams in that conference that are solid résumé builders.

Six teams fall out, and I’m going to try to cover them in one paragraph for my sake. Mississippi State falls all the way out from #15 – as covered above, they lost their home rivalry game with Ole Miss, but also lost a tough overtime matchup with #125 South Carolina. Minnesota was the #25 team last week, so even though a loss to a surging Maryland team isn’t so bad, any loss was probably going to knock them out. Iowa State, fresh off their high point at #18 last week from their win over Kansas, dropped two straight to Baylor and K-State to fall to #30. Ohio State falls from #16 all the way to #31 – there’s not much to be said, other than “they lost to Rutgers”. #110 Rutgers is a little bit better than usual this season, but yikes. #35 St. John’s now has three conference losses, including one against #100 DePaul, who is playing fairly well recently but is still pretty comparable to Rutgers, especially historically. They fall to that #35 spot from #21. And finally, Texas, who also went 0-2 this week, drops out from #23 all the way to #39.

Notable unranked teams, besides those mentioned above, include #33 Purdue, #36 Indiana, #40 Arizona, #43 Washington, #47 Arizona State, #49 Oregon State, #50 Alabama, #52 Arkansas, #61 Florida, #72 Notre Dame, #75 UCLA, #77 Georgetown, #84 Missouri, #117 Loyola-Chicago, #138 USC, #170 Illinois State, #192 Illinois, and #322 SIUE. UNC-Asheville is the worst of the 353 teams this week, by my count – they’re 0-14 vs D1 competition, and last week’s team of the week, New Hampshire, pulled out a conference win this week against UMass-Lowell.

If you want to know where your team stands, check the rankings page on the website! I’m keeping it updated every single day, so come see how your team fares with each passing moment.

Games of the Week: As usual, I’ve included my predicted margin of victory in these games, so you’re free to compare those against the lines set by bookmakers, but you’re doing that at your own risk.

A number of huge matchups this week, none bigger than a game between the two teams that I think are most likely to win it all in March, Duke and Virginia. Despite the 4.5 point spread in Duke’s favor, these two teams are so good that it will be guaranteed entertainment even if it’s a blowout. Make sure that you’re able to watch that game this weekend!

1. Virginia @ Duke (-4.5), Saturday
2. Michigan State (-1.5) @ Nebraska, Thursday
3. Nebraska @ Indiana (even), Monday
4. Michigan (-3.5) @ Wisconsin, Saturday
5. Oklahoma @ Texas (even), Saturday
6. Virginia Tech @ Virginia (-7), Tuesday
7. Indiana @ Purdue (-3), Saturday
8. Maryland @ Ohio State (-3), Friday
9. Florida @ Mississippi State (-1.5), Tuesday
10. Wisconsin @ Maryland (-3.5), Monday

That’s all for this one – come back next week for another rankings post, and check the website throughout the week for updates on who I think is going to make the NCAA tournament (Tuesdays and Fridays) and simulations of how the rest of the season could play out (Wednesdays and Sundays)! See y’all back in this space soon!

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