BracketBot Power Rankings: March 2, 2020

Less than two weeks until Selection Sunday! The first set of conference tournaments start tomorrow, which is wild. If you’re interested in reading about the early slate of tourneys, I’ve written previews of eight of them, including probabilities for each team’s advancement, which can be found here:

https://thebracketbot.com/2020/03/01/bracketbots-conference-tournament-preview-part-1/

With that all said, let’s rank!

1. Kansas (25-3, 15-1 Big XII; 0)
2. Baylor (25-3, 14-2 Big XII; 0)
3. Dayton (27-2, 16-0 A-10; +1)
4. San Diego State (27-1, 17-1 MWC; +1)
5. Gonzaga (29-2, 15-1 WCC; +1)
6. Duke (23-6, 13-5 ACC; -3)
7. Florida State (24-5, 14-4 ACC; +1)
8. Louisville (24-6, 15-4 ACC; -1)
9. Auburn (24-5, 11-5 SEC; +1)
10. Kentucky (24-5, 14-2 SEC; +5)
11. Maryland (23-6, 13-5 Big Ten; -2)
12. Oregon (22-7, 11-5 Pac-12; +1)
13. Villanova (22-7, 11-5 Big East; -2)
14. Seton Hall (21-7, 13-3 Big East; +3)
15. Creighton (21-7, 11-5 Big East; -3)
16. Michigan State (20-9, 12-6 Big Ten; +6)
17. Houston (22-7, 12-4 AAC; +3)
18. BYU (23-7, 13-3 WCC; +1)
19. West Virginia (19-10, 7-9 Big XII; -5)
20. Colorado (21-9, 10-7 Pac-12; -4)
21. Ohio State (20-9, 10-8 Big Ten; +2)
22. Arizona (19-10, 9-7 Pac-12; -4)
23. N Iowa (23-5, 14-4 MVC; +3)
24. Penn State (21-8, 11-7 Big Ten; -3)
25. Virginia (21-7, 13-5 ACC; +9)
26-30. Wichita State, Iowa, Butler, LSU, Wisconsin

No movement for #2 BAYLOR despite their stunning loss to TCU on Saturday. The Big XII’s big II have been the class of the college basketball world for a bit now, and so Baylor’s dip in ratings was only enough to drag them mostly down to Dayton and SDSU’s level. Suddenly, though, the Bears have lost two of three, and have just two games left before postseason play really gets into gear next week. They need to find themselves this week against a difficult pair – #53 Texas Tech in Waco and a trip to #19 West Virginia.

Speaking of top teams in peril, what’s up with #6 DUKE? The Dukies were 0-fer this week on the road, losing in double overtime at #119 Wake Forest and by a pair to #25 Virginia. They’ve now lost three of four and seem to be really out of sorts. They’ll finish the season with two home in-state opponents, #57 NCSU and #123 UNC, so maybe time to get back on track?

On the flip side, #10 KENTUCKY is absolutely rolling. UK has won eight straight games, including avenging their most recent loss this weekend against #9 Auburn. Top seed in the SEC tournament has been secured, and in fact they’ll probably win the league by multiple games. Kentucky winning the SEC is never outright surprising, but they seemed to fly under my radar at a lot of points this year behind teams like LSU and Auburn.

#16 MICHIGAN STATE is also apparently back, with two very strong wins this week over #27 Iowa and #11 Maryland, the latter on the road. It doesn’t get any easier this week (it rarely does in the Big Ten) with a trip to #24 Penn State and ending the regular season at home against #21 Ohio State.

Two new teams in this update. The first is #23 NORTHERN IOWA, who finished the season with three straight wins and went 14-4 in Missouri Valley Conference play. UNI is favored over the field to win Arch Madness this weekend in my estimation (check the post linked above for more stats & info on that). They’ve been in and out of the rankings lately, so I’ve said most of what I need to about this Panthers team, but I am looking out for them as a probable #12 seed in the tournament and probably an extremely popular upset pick.

The other new team is another returnee, but back for the first time in a while – #25 VIRGINIA! The Hoos were at one point 4-4 in ACC play and looking like they might miss the tournament entirely, but that is in the rearview mirror now. 9 wins from 10 games puts them at 13-5, with still a prayer at winning a share of the ACC’s regular season title (they would need to beat #8 Louisville, plus have #7 Florida State lose at least one of their final two games).

#27 IOWA has been in and out of the top 25 near-constantly over the past month or so, and now they’re out after losing to Michigan State, as mentioned above. The other team out of the top 25 is another who has cycled in and out constantly, that being #29 LSU, who have now lost 5 of their last 8 games. This week they fell against #43 Florida, which isn’t a bad loss unless you lose by 15 like they did.

Notable unranked teams include #34 USC, #36 Stanford, #37 Michigan, #39 Illinois, #42 Arizona State, #46 Arkansas, #51 Indiana, #54 Saint Louis, #60 UCLA, #71 Purdue, #72 Notre Dame, #93 TCU, #113 Washington, #120 Missouri, #123 North Carolina, #128 Murray State, #132 Ole Miss, #148 California, #238 Illinois State, #336 SIUE and #342 SEMO. Full rankings are available at thebracketbot.com/rankings and are updated daily.

Games of the Week – this does not include conference tournament games, which are largely unscheduled at this point (or the good ones are, anyway). All times Central:
Monday: Texas Tech/Baylor, 8:00 on ESPN; Baylor, 68-59
Tuesday: Michigan State/Penn State, 6:00 on ESPN; MSU, 73-72
Wednesday: Villanova/Seton Hall, 7:30 on FS1; Seton Hall, 72-68
Thursday: Houston/Connecticut, 6:00 on CBSSN; Houston, 68-65
Friday: Richmond/Duquesne, 6:00 on ESPN+; Richmond, 69-68
Saturday: Baylor/West Virginia, noon on ESPN+; WVU, 64-63
Sunday: Ohio State/Michigan State, 3:30 on CBS; MSU, 71-66
Game of the Week: Villanova/Seton Hall

That’s all for this post, but I have plenty more going on this week and next at thebracketbot.com, including projected tournament brackets, previews of every conference tournament, and more. See y’all in this space again soon!

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