College basketball power rankings: Ohio State is the clear No. 3; USC and Missouri leap into the top 10

1 馃攧Last week: No. 1 | Record: 19-0. The Zags got their seventh, and potentially final, Quad 1 win on Monday night with an 82-71 victory at BYU. There’s an interesting debate about Gonzaga vs. Baylor for No. 1 overall status. As of today I’d narrowly put Gonzaga on top. It’s No. 1 in four of the six team sheet metrics (and No. 2 in the two others), has a 7-0 Q1 record and claims wins over Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa and Virginia — all on neutral courts.聽 2 馃攧Last week: No. 2 | Record: 17-0.聽聽The Bears on Monday announced three more games would be postponed, putting them on the shelf until at least Feb. 20. The Bears are ranked No. 1 in the NET and have a 6-0 record in Quad 1 games. The selection committee has six metrics referenced on its team sheets. Baylor is No. 1 in four of them (NET, BPI, KenPom and Sagarin) and No. 2 in the other (KPI, Strength of Record). The question has moved from “Can Baylor go undefeated?” to “Will Baylor be able to play at its previous level when it returns? 3 猡达笍Last week: No. 7 | Record: 16-4.聽No one’s going to put Ohio State on that top tier with the other two yet, but know this: the Buckeyes’ nine Quad 1 wins outpace the rest of the sport. OSU is 9-3 in Q1 and also has six road wins, which matches Baylor and Gonzaga for the most among non mid-major teams. Monday night’s win at Maryland moved OSU up from No. 7 to No. 6 in the NET. There are three obvious No. 1 seeds at this point, then you can begin sorting through the rest. 4 馃攧Last week: No. 4 | Record: 13-1. The Wolverines are scheduled to finally return this weekend at Wisconsin. Michigan is 4-1 in Quad 1 games. It’s a low inventory, but the Big Ten will get that number from five to 10 Quad 1 games by the end of the month, provided there are no more stalls in the schedule for U-M. All things considered at this stage, this is probably the third No. 1 seed.聽 5 猡达笍Last week: No. 9 | Record: 13-3. The Wahoos are No. 5 here but No. 7 in the latest NET rankings. But they’ve got much to prove thanks to a 2-2 Quad 1 record. This team’s best win is at Clemson. It’s next best win is at Notre Dame. There’s also that neutral-court loss to San Francisco we can’t forget. Fortunately, UVA’s been playing so well for much of the past month-plus, it’s continued to rise up the rankings by going 9-1 since Christmas.聽 6 馃敾Last week: No. 3 | Record: 12-2. The Wildcats have been getting more consistent respect in the human rankings than the computer ones. This is a 2-2 team in Quad 1 that’s played 14 games overall and really doesn’t have a claim to 1-seed status at this point. VU is No. 11 in the NET, its highest ranking in any of the six metrics being No. 7 in Strength of Record (SOR). The win at Texas was worth a lot for a long time, but a win at Creighton this Saturday would really enhance Jay Wright’s team’s profile.聽 7 猡达笍Last week: No. 15聽| Record: 15-3. The Trojans barged into the rankings this week, but I’d argue this group still isn’t getting the attention it warrants. USC has high-level wins against BYU on a neutral court, at Arizona and at Stanford, in addition to a home win over UCLA. I’m not saying this is a No. 3 seed as of today, but it’s clearly a No. 4 at worst. A 3-1 mark in Quad 1 with only a couple more top-end games left on the schedule. This looks like the Pac-12’s best team.聽 8 猡达笍Last week: No. 16 | Record: 13-3. Here’s a team with real black-or-white metric discrepancy. You see the solid record. Yet Missouri is No. 34 in BPI and No. 32 in Sagarin … while ranking fourth in KPI and fifth in SOR. That’s wild. As of today, Mizzou is 24th in the NET and has a 4-3 Quad 1 record, with no losses outside that quadrant.聽 9 馃敾Last week: No. 5 | Record: 16-2. Unfortunately for the Coogs, the 112-46 elbow-dropping on Our Lady of the Lake over the weekend does not count toward this team’s r茅sum茅. Houston’s getting no help at all from the AAC this season. The team’s top three wins include a nice one on a neutral over Texas Tech and then a sweep of SMU. It’s going to take winning out to give this two-loss crew — which is No. 5 in the NET — any shot at a No. 2 seed.聽 10 馃敾Last week: No. 8 | Record: 14-4. Big disparity between Hey Nineteen love and what almost every other ranking system thinks of the Hokies. Thirty-fifth in the NET, 36th in KenPom … but 14th in SOR! Two major wins to note, one coming against Villanova, a highlight victory back during the time of Bubbleville. The other coming against Virginia (at Virginia Tech) on Jan. 30. No ugly losses here. Long-term projection, I think Virginia Tech’s ceiling is a No. 3 seed and its floor is a No. 7.聽 11 馃攧Last week: No. 11 | Record: 10-3. The Seminoles are preparing to play their 14th game of the season on Saturday at home against Wake Forest. FSU’s best wins are at Louisville and home vs. Florida by 12. There’s a weird loss at home vs. UCF, which is Quad 3, and the reason why the Noles are No. 23 in the NET. Just four opportunities (2-2) in Q1. This is a talented team that can make a move north in the coming weeks if the schedule can remain in tact.聽 12 馃敾Last week: No. 10 | Record: 16-5. The only team that’s played just one Quad 4 games in these rankings is Villanova. Lack of low-end competition could ultimately boost Bama and help it secure a No. 2 seed next month. The Tide are 5-3 in Quad 1, 6-1 in Quad 2 and 3-1 in Quad 3. What’s interesting is there’s still relative disagreement in the predictive metrics at this point; Bama’s No. 6 according to KPI but No. 11 per Sagarin and No. 13 per BPI.聽 13 猡达笍Last week: N/R聽| Record: 13-5. For the first time in a good while, welcome back in, Illini. The No. 4 team in the NET, Illinois has a 7-4 mark in Quad 1 games. Those seven Ws are more than every other team except Ohio State. The Illini have won four in a row and might have the best batch of five losses through 18 games of any team in recent memory: Baylor on a neutral; at Missouri; at Rutgers; vs. Maryland; vs. Ohio State. 14 馃敾Last week: No. 13 | Record: 13-4. The Volunteers’ wins at Missouri, home vs. Colorado and home vs. Kansas are giving them life. Has a 4-4 Quad 1 record, yet somewhat remarkably is sitting at No. 8 in the NET. Can’t catch Alabama in the SEC standings but still seems to has a healthy shot at a No. 3 seed.聽 15 馃敾Last week: No. 6聽| Record: 12-5. The r茅sum茅 has unquestionably taken a huge hit as of late. Texas is 1-4 in its past five, its only win in that stretch being against lowly Kansas State. UT, most notably, has road wins against Kansas and West Virginia. It’s 18th in the NET and currently holds a 4-5 mark in Quad 1. Sort of similar overall profile to Kansas at this point, really.聽 16 猡达笍Last week: N/R聽| Record: 14-5. The Mountaineers hop in and kick Texas Tech out in the process. West Virginia is now 20th in the NET and 5-5 in Quad 1 games. No losses outside the top quadrant, and just one game in Quad 4, which will wind up boosting WVU, or serving as a cushion, to prevent it from maybe slipping one seed lower than expected. Almost no bad teams on its board will matter when the committee splices up the stats next mont. 17 猡达笍Last week: N/R | Record: 17-3. The Ramblers are in the AP Top 25 this week and currently project as a better team than the one that made the Final Four. But their only Quad 1 game game on Dec. 15 at Wisconsin and they lost by 14. And in Quad 2, Loyola Chicago is 3-2. A pair of huge Quad 1 games on the road against 18-1 Drake await this weekend. This team is 13th in the NET, which is amazing, but as low as 57th in KPI and 45th in SOR.聽 18 猡达笍Last week: No. 19聽| Record: 20-1. Here’s a team whose r茅sum茅 seems like it’s been inked in rice paper. The Bruins get love here because of a 20-1 record and a win margin of 15.3 points. But SOR is Belmont’s only metric giving it any hope for an at-large at this point. It’s 43rd in Strength of Record, yet 68th in the NET and all the way down at 200 in KPI and 97th at Sagarin. Best win is at Murray State, which at 9-9 and sitting 145th in KenPom is playing well below expectations this season. 19 馃敾Last week: No. 18 | Record: 12-5. Methinks the Sooners’ recent run of wins over Kansas, Texas and Alabama is going to eventually wind up putting OU in really good standing on a nice seed line. Lon Kruger’s team woke up on Tuesday ranked 19th in the NET. I’ve pointed out a few teams above that have some big variation between the metrics; that’s not the case here. OU falls within five spots across all six metrics. All its losses are Quad 1, where it holds a 4-5 record. It will get to 5-5 with a win at West Virginia this weekend.

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