Power Rankings: January 28, 2019

Hey all, here are this week’s power rankings:

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

Not much movement near the top this week from last Monday. There was a day or two at the end of last week where Michigan State had been occupying the #2 spot, but yesterday’s loss to Purdue ended all hope of that. Tennessee had some struggles this week, both in their narrow win over Vanderbilt and a game vs. West Virginia in which they trailed by 12 early, but survived both to stay put.

I continue to be higher on most than Kansas, as much as I hate saying those words. It’s the same story that Kansas follows every year: they have played the toughest schedule in the country, #1 of 353, so far ahead of everyone else’s that a record of 16-4 is still really, really impressive. Often, when a team has an uncharacteristic number of losses for where they’re ranked, it’s a sign that their underlying statistics indicate that they’re probably better than their record is. One team that does fit that mold is Purdue, who I’m going to talk about in a bit, but Kansas doesn’t fit that bill at all. A 16-4 Kansas is just impressive all on its own, no other caveats required.

Two new teams in the top 25, starting with one of the most impressive jumps I’ve seen a team make in a single week – Purdue jumping all the way from outside the top 25 to #14 in a week’s time. The Boilermakers had nearly cracked the top 25 last week after their big win over rivals Indiana, but landed at #27. They followed that with two huge wins this week, first beating Ohio State by 12 in Columbus, then putting the whole Big Ten on notice with their win over Michigan State. As I mentioned before, Purdue is a team that’s a lot better than a 14-6 record indicates. Three of their losses are to teams that are in this top 25, and two more are to teams I have ranked #26 and #44. 4 of the six were by single digits, and all of them were away from home (where everything is harder).

Also moving back in is Cincinnati – not much to say about them but they picked up a nice win at Temple this weekend. Iowa took a couple of losses on the week, first Michigan State (fine) and then Minnesota yesterday (less fine). At #23 last week they weren’t gonna stick around after that, but they only fell to #30. Auburn’s heavy free-fall out of the rankings is now complete. For a team that was ranked in the top ten earlier this year, dropping to 2-4 in the SEC is a really tough place to be. The week started with probably their worst loss of the season, @South Carolina, and ended with another loss, this time to Mississippi State. That drops them from #22 last week to #32 this week.

Notable unranked teams include #31 Syracuse, #32 Auburn, #33 Minnesota, #35 Ohio State, #36 Ole Miss, #38 Arizona State, #44 Texas, #56 Arizona, #57 Seton Hall, #60 Indiana, #73 Arkansas, #77 Saint Louis, #87 UCLA, #99 Missouri, #101 Loyola, #107 Notre Dame, #157 Illinois State, #164 Illinois, and #326 SIUE. #353 UNC-Asheville is last for the third straight Monday. If you’re curious about where your favorite team stands, or want to get a bigger picture of how the rankings came together, the full list is available at thebracketbot.com/rankings.

Games of the Week: this week’s slate doesn’t have many games that would have to be classified as “must-watch”, but there’s a ton of depth, so to speak. Any of these 10 games could be the best game of the week, so I hope you make time to watch a couple of them.

1. North Carolina @ Louisville (-2), Saturday
2. Kentucky @ Florida (even), Saturday
3. Texas Tech @ Kansas (-3.5), Saturday
4. Kansas (-1.5) @ Texas, Tuesday
5. Wisconsin @ Nebraska (-5.5), Tuesday
6. Virginia Tech (-3.5) @ NC State, Saturday
7. Michigan (-5.5) @ Iowa, Friday
8. TCU @ Baylor (even), Saturday
9. Marquette (-1.5) @ Butler, Wednesday
10. Mississippi State @ Ole Miss (-1), Saturday

Thanks all for reading, and stay tuned for more! There will be a new bracketology update tomorrow, with plenty more throughout the week, all on thebracketbot.com. Hope you enjoy, and I hope your team wins this week!

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