Fourth Quarter Sports’ College Basketball power rankings: Week 15
Another week has passed us by. That means we’re even closer to the madness everyone is waiting for! With most teams having five or six games left to play, time is running out for those out of the top 25 to try to make it in. For those teams who are in the top 25, they are all fighting to keep their spot. Last week’s games were full of excitement and surprises that may have played a bigger role in this week’s rankings.
But first, let’s compare where we are from last week’s rankings and also have a look at last week’s schedule. As you can see from the schedule, at least half of the teams in the top 25 lost a game last week, which makes this week’s rankings interesting. The teams who lost were Virginia, Marquette, Michigan State, Kansas, Virginia Tech, Villanova, Louisville, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Buffalo, Maryland and Cincinnati.
We also saw other teams like Kansas State and St. John’s beat ranked opponents and try to earn their way in the top 25 rankings. So let’s see where they and all the teams ahead of them are placed.
Top 25 Rankings
- Duke (21-2)
- Tennessee (22-1)
- Gonzaga (23-2)
- Kentucky (20-3)
- Michigan (22-2)
- Virginia (20-2)
- Nevada (23-1)
- North Carolina (19-4)
- Marquette (20-4)
- Michigan State (19-5)
- Houston (23-1)
- Kansas (18-6)
- Purdue (17-6)
- Villanova (19-5)
- Virginia Tech (18-5)
- Iowa (19-5)
- Maryland (18-6)
- Kansas State (18-5)
- Louisville (17-7)
- LSU (19-4)
- Texas Tech (19-5)
- Florida State (18-5)
- Iowa State (18-6)
- Buffalo (20-3)
- Cincinnati (20-4)
On the Bubble
South Florida, TCU, UCF, St. John’s, Syracuse, Arizona State, Fresno State, Toledo, Ohio State and North Carolina State
Dropped from the Rankings
Wisconsin and Washington
Top 25 Breakdown
Numbers One through Five
With the convincing win over Virginia, Duke had now jumped Tennessee for the No. 1 spot. We could see Tennessee take it back with a win over Kentucky this week. That game between Tennessee and Kentucky is biggest game of the week.
For Kentucky, it could be their chance to make it in the top three after two solid games against ranked conference opponents. Gonzaga hasn’t lost a game since North Carolina beat them. They probably won’t be losing another game until maybe the tournament, so we’ll be seeing them here for the rest of the season.
Michigan used a big win over Wisconsin and a Virginia loss to Duke to jump back into the top five. They may not be here long with a tough schedule remaining, so let’s keep an eye on how this plays out.
Numbers Six through 10
Virginia’s failure to beat Duke has knocked them out of the top five for now. If they can finish strong with a couple wins over North Carolina, they might be able to get one of those top four seeds in the tournament.
North Carolina and Michigan State look to take advantage of the remaining part of the schedule, as they both have two games against their conference rivals who are ranked ahead of them. For North Carolina, it’s both Virginia and Duke they need to take care of if they want any real chance in the top five. Michigan State will have two games against Michigan over the last month of the season. They want to prove they are better than the five losses they have.
Unfortunately, Nevada will most likely stay in the top 10, but not be able to move up. Both Nevada and Gonzaga have easier schedules compared to the rest of the teams around them. They will repeatedly get jumped in the standings regardless of their wins.
Numbers 11 through 15
Houston continues to look impressive as they continue to climb in the standings. As long as they keep winning, other teams in front of them like North Carolina and Michigan State need to lose. The Cougars are going to be one of those teams you pick to go further than others in your bracket.
Kansas, Villanova and Virginia Tech were all in the fight for a spot in the top 10, until they all took a loss or two in the last two weeks. I had Virginia Tech there last week and Kansas the week before, but they have both lost important conference games that pushed them back. Kansas is still a favorite to win their conference, but Virginia Tech has a lot of work to do.
Villanova probably would’ve made it in the top 10 had they beaten Marquette Saturday. Villanova still has one more game against Marquette. They’ll be looking to win their conference again. Purdue is sneaking their way back into the top. We shouldn’t be surprised, because we know how competitive this Purdue team is. They look to give Michigan and Michigan State a run for their money.
Numbers 16 through 20
All five of these teams are still trying to find themselves at the top of their conferences. Kansas State is currently running their conference in terms of conference record, but Kansas is slightly ahead in overall. Iowa has had a rocky season all year. They have battled their way in and out of the top 25 all season. With only a few weeks left, they hope to climb into the top 10 and take care of the Big Ten conference.
Maryland and Louisville are two really good teams who have been caught in an even better conference. Most of their losses have been against top opponents in their conference. That is expected when you play in the ACC and Big Ten. LSU hasn’t gotten to the toughest part of their schedule yet, but this week will be a nice test for them as they face Kentucky. A win here will likely spark LSU for a long month of March.
Numbers 21 through 25
Texas Tech and Florida State have been two of the regular teams to have been in the top 10, top 25 and out of the rankings all this season. Their recent stretch of games has given them a chance to prove why they belong here one last time. Iowa State is in the same situation, but they could still win their conference because of how they have been able to play and stay in the hunt.
But for Buffalo and Cincinnati, this could be their last chance to prove why they are worthy of a top 25 spot. They both suffered tough losses recently, but I am not going to let that affect why they are not in the rankings. Cincinnati lost to Houston in a close one on Sunday, but I will keep them in the 25th spot over other teams like TCU and St. John’s, who have already had their chance. Can Cincinnati prove they deserve to be here? Let’s wait and see!
Until then, we will be looking forward to seeing if the same teams are in the top 25 next week. Who will rise? Who will fall? Can one of the bubble teams make their case for a top 25 spot? Stay tuned next week and see who’s in and out of the top 25. Also, share who you believe should be in the top 25 based on what you’ve seen this season!