Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Read Option Sports' Inaugural NCAA Men's Basketball Top 30 Power Rankings 1/9/19

If you follow men's college basketball, you know a lot goes on around division 1 every night. As a result, we are creating our top 30 power rankings that will update very often as the season progresses. On a personal level, I have always met the AP Top 25 and Coaches Polls with puzzling thoughts and questions, and with these rankings, I can give my reasoning and rationale as to why I think these teams may be under looked/valued. So, without further delay, I present to you ROS's very first top 30 power rankings!

1. Duke (12-1)

This one comes without much surprise, as they have had only two games decided by single digits all season (a two point loss to Gonzaga and a six point win over Auburn). All of their other games have been very lopsided with the exception of the Texas Tech game. Zion Williamson is really something special, and as skeptical as I've been of him, I'm finally starting to believe that. There are very few teams in the country that can put up with Duke.

2. Michigan (15-0)

I really wanted to pull the trigger with Michigan at #1 here, but I just couldn't place a team over Duke just yet, despite Duke having one loss. Michigan's defense has been absolutely stellar this season allowing only 55.6 PPG. Although, after the scare by Northwestern, they weren't as dominant as the Michigan team we saw the first 8 games. That changed in their recent 11 point victory over Indiana with the final score showing the game to be closer than it really was. Still, a difficult schedule lies ahead with two games against rival Michigan State, another game against Indiana in Bloomington, and a match up against Ohio State. The Big Ten has been arguably the best conference in basketball this season.

3. Virginia (13-0)

Another Stout defense here at #3, impressively allowing just 51.5 PPG, even better than Michigan's and the very reason they remain as one of three undefeated teams. They have only had a few challenges on the schedule so far, but after dominating Florida State, they earned the right to the #3 spot in our rankings. A big match up against Duke is coming soon..

4. Tennessee (12-1)

With their only blemish being an overtime road loss to Kansas, their one loss is not very penalizing. However, they lack a quality win outside of their home win over Gonzaga. They have impressed over their last three games, winning by 24+ in all three of those games. Some sleeper teams in Vanderbilt and Alabama could give Tennessee some trouble over these next couple of weeks, so we shall see if Tennessee can continue its hot streak.

5. Texas Tech (13-1)

This is where the jumbled mess begins. I put Texas Tech up here because its only loss is to the #1 team on this list in Duke. In addition, their first 10 games prior to that loss were by double digits. Tech has also padded its resume with wins over West Virginia, Kansas State, and Oklahoma in its last three games as well.

6. Gonzaga (14-2)

After playing very well in their non-conference slate, Gonzaga has returned to WCC play and has been pounding opponents into the dirt. With losses coming to Tennessee and North Carolina, its hard to penalize them for those losses, and the win against Duke is probably the biggest win on any resume this season. Rui Hachimura has really been something special for this team.

7. Michigan State (13-2)

This team has really rebounded since an overtime loss on the road to Louisville. Picking up big wins over quality teams such as Iowa and Ohio State, not to mention a blowout win over a scrappy Northwestern team.

8. Virginia Tech (13-1)

An overlooked team with a good record, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here. Most of their games have been wins of convincing fashion, and they'll have a big opportunity to knock off an impressive Virginia team next week. If there is a game to show up to, it's that one, Hokies.

9. Kansas (12-2)

Kansas was dealt two bad blows over the weekend, losing Azubuike and losing by 17 to Iowa State. The injury to Azubuike is what drops them down to here on this list, as they will have to adjust without their big man on the court going forward.

10. North Carolina (12-3)

A big win over NC State sneaks UNC into the top 10 here. The Heels also own a win over Gonzaga. The Tar Heels have kicked off ACC play on the right foot.

11. Houston (15-0)

One of three undefeated teams left in the country, and they haven't been getting the credit they deserve. You also can't tell my they don't have any good wins. LSU, Utah State, Oregon, and heck, even NJIT. If you just keep winning, you're going to get a lot of credit in my book.

12. Auburn (11-2)

With both losses coming against ranked teams, it's hard to penalize them for that. However, they started the season ranked high, so those losses weren't going to drop them far. The bad news is that so far, their best win of the season is against Arizona, something that the selection committee will look at when it comes to seeding.

13. Florida State (12-2)

They didn't look great against Virginia, but no team has looked good against Virginia this year. With quality wins over LSU and Purdue, and two good losses, it keeps FSU in good standing in the rankings.

14. Nevada (14-1)

As good as they looked for their first 14 games, I can't overlook the ugly loss to New Mexico. After dominating Utah State, it looked like it was smooth sailing in conference play, but it may have been a fluke, who knows? We'll have to see how they rebound in the next week or so.

15. Buffalo (13-1)

A team that has gone out at beat good teams without even bringing their "A" game. Great quality road wins over Syracuse and West Virginia with their only blemish coming against a ranked Marquette team.

16. Ohio State (12-2)

Losses to Michigan State and Syracuse won't hurt you too much, but OSU has yet to beat a ranked team this season and doesn't have much in the quality wins department. A lot can change with the Big Ten schedule coming up.

17. Kentucky (10-3)

I find it hard to believe Kentucky won't find its rhythm here soon, two of their three losses have been by two points or less with the other one coming to Duke. They have one good win over UNC and that is good enough to keep them afloat..for now.

18. Marquette (12-3)

All three of Marquette's losses have come to teams who are currently ranked. In addition, they have three wins against ranked teams, including being the only team to beat Buffalo so far this season.

19. TCU (12-1)

Another team flying under the radar with a good record. They have a big week coming up with games against Kansas and Oklahoma, two great opportunities to show they are better than the 18 teams above them.

20. NC State (13-2)

Suffering just their second loss of the year against UNC tonight. They have one big win on their resume over Auburn, so that keeps them hanging around.

21. Mississippi State (12-2)

Also dropped their second game of the season tonight against South Carolina in OT. This team also lacks a quality win however, and didn't do themselves any favors with the loss tonight.

22. Iowa (12-3)

Their only three losses came in Big Ten Play, all against good teams in Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. They also own two wins over ranked teams (Oregon and Nebraska). And another win over currently ranked Iowa State.

23. Indiana (12-3)

When two of your three losses come to teams ranked #1 and #2, that isn't going to count against you. Its best win of the year has come over Marquette, with many more opportunities for quality wins down the road.

24. North Texas (15-1)

Here's where I show yet another mid-major some love. 15-1 is quite the start to the season and it bugs me that they have only received 1 vote in the AP Top 25 poll each of the last two weeks. Keep winning Mean Green, and you'll get your just desserts.

25. St. John's (14-2)

Yet another team losing their second game of the season tonight. I was ready to double down on this team as well. Still, they will have their opportunities down the stretch.

26. Wisconsin (11-4)

Only one bad loss on the slate for Wisconsin, but they make up for it with wins over Oklahoma, Iowa, and NC State. After all, they're in the conference of opportunity as I've brought up many times.

27. Arizona State (10-4)

With wins over Mississippi State and Kansas, it's hard to keep them off this list despite their recent losses to Princeton and Utah. A softer Pac-12 conference schedule should assist their win column.

28. Villanova (12-4)

Yes, the reigning champs squeeze onto this list thanks to a win over St. John's tonight. Their two losses to mid-majors are hard to ignore, but they also have a nice win over Florida State.

29. Furman (14-2)

A good win total and a win over Villanova gets Furman some credit here. The loss to LSU isn't bad, but the 23 point loss to ETSU is quite an eyesore.

30. Louisville (10-4)

Rounding out our inaugural rankings is Louisville. All four of their losses are against currently ranked AP Top 25 teams, mix that with a big win against Michigan State, and that's a formula good enough for #30 on our power rankings.

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