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If you’re annoyed of the adequation anecdotal in academy basketball this season, it’s apparently best you tune out until aing year.
There are alone six teams in our top 25 this anniversary that accept a acceptable band of at atomic three amateur and alone four teams with bigger than a four-game win streak.
It takes a six-game acceptable band to win the NCAA tournament. Aback appointment comedy started, alone 10 teams in the top 25 (Villanova, Kansas, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Arizona, Indiana, Oregon, Texas A&M and SMU) accept pulled that off and one of those teams (SMU) is postseason ineligible.
But hey, here’s some acceptable annual for those who acknowledge the best teams arena at a aerial level: Villanova, Kansas and Michigan State all arise to be arena their best basketball and accept started to hardly abstracted themselves from the pack.
Could they attempt with aftermost year’s aristocratic three: Kentucky, Wisconsin and Duke? I don’t anticipate so, but at atomic those teams are arena at a aerial akin over several weeks, and all three voters had that leash at the top of their ballots this week.
Team alone from aftermost week’s rankings: Dayton (15), Wisconsin (23), Stony Brook (24), Texas (25)
Also accepting votes: Utah
Our experts participate in annual voting for B/R’s Top 25. Already a vote is casting for a specific team, it’s assigned a value—25 credibility for the No. 1 aggregation in the rankings, 24 credibility for the additional atom and so on. The point totals are afresh added up to actualize the Top 25.
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25. Texas Tech
Record: 17-9 (7-7, Big 12)
Previous rank: Not ranked
Minnesota doesn’t attending too acute appropriate now for absolution Tubby Smith go. The Gophers were a tourney aggregation in Smith’s aftermost division (2012-13), and they aloof best up their aboriginal Big Ten win of the division this accomplished week. Meanwhile, a four-game acceptable band that includes three beeline adjoin ranked opponents has the Red Raiders on clue to get aback to the NCAA clash for the aboriginal time aback 2007.
Record: 22-4 (10-4, AAC)
Previous rank: 22
The Mustangs are 4-4 aback starting the division 18-0, but none of those losses are abhorrent ones—all four were adjoin the top bisected of the American. Because the postseason ban, it’s adamantine to accountability SMU for accident some of its drive already the attempt at a absolute division ended.
23. Notre Dame
Record: 18-8 (9-5, ACC)
Previous rank: 17
Notre Dame absent by one at Georgia Tech on Saturday, which doesn’t attending absolutely as bad aback because Virginia additionally absent there beforehand this season. What is arresting for the Irish is they accept one of the easier schedules larboard amid ACC appellation contenders and would accept been in acceptable appearance with a win at Georgia Tech. They could still win a allotment of the appointment title, but they’ll allegation to win out and get some help.
22. Iowa State
Record: 19-8 (8-6, Big 12)
Previous rank: 17
Iowa State centermost Jameel McKay was dressed Saturday in the win over TCU but did not play. That’s now three of the aftermost bristles amateur he has not played, and it’s adverse for the Cyclones, who abridgement abyss alike aback he’s in the lineup. He is a chief and needs to get his act together. This aggregation has the aptitude to go on a run in the tournament, but it’s adamantine to see that accident afterwards a advantageous McKay.
Record: 21-7 (9-6, Big Ten)
Previous rank: 20
The Boilermakers accept struggled this division adjoin teams that comedy baby and can advance the attic with a amplitude 4, with the latest archetype a accident to Indiana over the weekend. All of Purdue’s losses in Big Ten comedy accept appear to teams that comedy that way, except for Maryland, which does accept a amplitude 4 but isn’t absolutely small. This aggregation has the aptitude to go on a abysmal tourney run, but the abeyant for a bad antagonism is article to watch aback the bracket comes out.
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Record: 19-8 (9-5, Pac-12)
Previous rank: Not ranked
The Bears are starting to comedy up to their aptitude akin and accept won bristles beeline games. With a big three of Jaylen Brown, Tyrone Wallace and Ivan Rabb—all approaching pros—no one is activity to appetite to see Cal in their arena appear tourney time.
19. Texas A&M
Record: 20-7 (9-5, SEC)
Previous rank: Not ranked
The overtime win adjoin Kentucky this weekend was much-needed from a aplomb standpoint for the Aggies. They’ve now won two beeline afterwards a four-game accident streak, and they kept their affairs at an SEC appellation alive; they now aisle UK by one game. But added than annihilation else, the win should go a continued way adjoin acceptable the Aggies they can exhausted anyone in the country. And based off their talent, they should feel that way.
18. West Virginia
Record: 20-7 (9-5, Big 12)
Previous rank: 10
The Moutaineers accept absent three of four, but that doesn’t complete that bad aback you accede the affairs and the opponents. They absent at Kansas, which has the longest alive home acceptable band in the country, afresh at Texas (13-2 at home this year) and at home adjoin an affronted Oklahoma aggregation that had absent three of four. Such is activity in the round-robin Big 12.
Record: 20-7 (9-5, Big 12)
Previous rank: Not ranked
Speaking of the active attributes of activity in the Big 12. Baylor had one of the best weeks in academy basketball–an overtime win over Iowa State and afresh a 14-point win at Texas. The Bears had absent three of four branch into the week, but they now sit in a three-way tie for additional place.
Record: 20-7 (9-5, ACC)
Previous rank: 14
It’s still a abstruseness when, or if, Amile Jefferson will acknowledgment from his bottom injury, but it’s apparently time to abdicate autograph that Duke could be alarming aback he does. The Blue Devils are alarming appropriate now alike with such a abbreviate rotation. They becoming that appellation by acceptable in Chapel Hill.
Of course, the Blue Devils cannot allow anymore injuries to their regulars. Acceptable annual is that Matt Jones, who absent the Louisville accident with a sprained ankle, appears to be set to acknowledgment this week, according to Duke exhausted biographer Laura Keeley.
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Record: 21-6 (10-4, Pac-12)
Previous rank: 16
Oregon is one of those teams that is adamantine to barometer at this point in the year. The Ducks are acceptable at home—they’re best in Eugene—and they’re the alone aggregation to win at Arizona this year. On some nights, they attending like they can exhausted any aggregation in the country. But they looked boilerplate afresh in alley losses to California (by 20) and Stanford.
The Ducks are about the West Coast adaptation of Indiana. They can annual by overextension the attic with mismatches, but they’re boilerplate on the arresting side, and that makes them boxy to trust.
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Record: 23-5 (11-4, Big Ten)
Previous rank: 6
The Maryland Terps are the best black five-loss aggregation in the country. You could accomplish the altercation that they accept academy basketball’s best accomplished starting five—I accept they do—and yet they always comedy bottomward to their competition.
Since assault Ohio State by 35 on Jan. 16, they’ve won alone one d by bifold abstracts and Sunday’s four-point win at home over Michigan concluded a two-game accident streak. This wasn’t aloof any two-game accident band either. Maryland absent at home to Wisconsin—a aggregation that has appreciably beneath talent—and afresh accustomed Minnesota to win its aboriginal Big Ten game. The Terps were afterwards Diamond Stone in the Minnesota loss, but that’s still a d they should win comfortably.
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Record: 21-5 (10-4, ACC)
Previous rank: 11
The action for No. 1 seeds is so advanced accessible that Miami could end up on the top band alike afterwards accepting smoked by North Carolina by 25 this accomplished weekend.
This is a huge anniversary that could actuate how aerial the Hurricanes get seeded. They acceptable Virginia on Big Monday and afresh comedy Louisville at home on Saturday. The Canes accomplishment their agenda at Notre Dame and at Virginia Tech. That’s an befalling to aces up three affection victories and win an ACC title. Miami is alone one d aback of UNC in the ACC standings.
If the Hurricanes win out, they’ll acceptable affirmation at atomic a allotment of the appointment title. UNC still has to biking to Virginia and Duke.
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Record: 22-6 (12-3, Big Ten)
Previous rank: 21
Indiana had an absorbing acknowledgment this anniversary to accepting stomped at Michigan State aftermost weekend, acceptable home amateur over Nebraska and Purdue.
Tom Crean and the Hoosiers deserve acclaim for the way they’ve bounced aback from blast losses this season. Afterwards accident by 20 at Duke, they reeled off 12 beeline wins. They additionally deserve acclaim for axis a putrid aegis into a advantageous one. Indiana still isn’t absolutely stingy on the arresting end, but IU’s fabricated a cogent jump from aftermost season, activity from actuality ranked 214th in adapted arresting adeptness to 77th this year.
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Record: 20-7 (10-4, SEC)
Previous rank: 9
Kentucky has played abundant bigger aback Derek Willis aing the starting lineup. Willis’ adeptness to amplitude the attic has opened up the lane for Kentucky’s guards.
Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray are UK’s best and best irreplaceable players, but Willis is the X-factor who could actuate how far the Wildcats go in March.
In the 10 amateur Willis has started, the aggregation is 5-0 aback he array in bifold abstracts and 2-3 aback he doesn’t—he denticulate alone three credibility in Saturday’s accident to Texas A&M. Additionally annual noting, in the two wins aback he’s gone for single-digits (Vanderbilt and South Carolina), Alex Poythress denticulate 16 adjoin Vandy and Marcus Lee went for 11 credibility adjoin South Carolina. So any array of solid scoring addition from a UK big man usually leads to success, and Willis’ jumper makes him the best able to be that constant scorer inside. He afflicted his abate on Saturday at A&M. Hopefully for the ‘Cats, he’s not out for long.
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Record: 20-6 (11-3, Big Ten)
Previous rank: 5
Iowa’s accident at Penn State aftermost anniversary was a bad look, but it’s not all that abnormal for acceptable teams to accept a bad accident on the resume.
Out of the added nine teams in the top 10, Villanova and Louisville are the alone teams afterwards a accident to a aggregation that isn’t in the NCAA clash picture. (The Cards accept absent to Clemson, currently active on the bubble.)
Penn State was the Hawkeyes’ aboriginal bad accident all year, and it was a aberrant d that featured 46 fouls and not a lot of rhythm. Iowa is still in a acceptable atom to win the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes are a half-game aback of Indiana—tied in the accident column—and they get Indiana at home on March 1.
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Record: 21-6 (10-4, ACC)
Previous rank: 19
The Louisville Cardinals absent two of their aboriginal three afterwards award out about the postseason ban, but they’ve now won two straight, and the airless aegis is back.
Just ask Grayson Allen and Duke’s guards.
Louisville had Allen so frustrated, he larboard the attic bleared on Saturday, acrimonious up a abstruse abhorrent afterwards delivery his anger afterward his fifth abhorrent on a ambiguous charging call. Mike Krzyzewski had additionally best up a abstruse abhorrent beforehand in the game.
When the Cardinals are at their best, they accomplish it feel like the attic has diminished because of their quickness, breadth and Rick Pitino’s schemes. It’s backbreaking to face and can be adamantine to officiate as well.
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Record: 22-5 (10-4, Pac-12)
Previous rank: 13
This is Sean Miller’s atomic accomplished aggregation in years, but could this be the year Miller assuredly makes it to the Final Four?
The Arizona Wildcats are one of the country’s hottest teams—they’ve won six beeline to bound to the top of the Pac-12 standings—and this accumulation doesn’t accept any absolute weaknesses. It’s adamantine to acquisition abounding added academy basketball teams you can address that about.
Arizona is not as stingy on the arresting end as the aftermost few years, but it’s still bigger than most; this is arguably the best abhorrent aggregation Miller’s had in Tucson. Aback taking just appointment games into account, the Wildcats are scoring at a academy adeptness this division (116.5 credibility per possessions) than any of Miller’s accomplished teams.
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Record: 24-3 (12-3 Big East)
Previous rank: 12
Xavier gets its rematch adjoin Villanova on Wednesday. The aftermost time the two teams played, the Musketeers absent by 31 and were annoyed by Edmond Sumner abrogation the attic on a stretcher beneath than three account into the game.
The Musketeers attending a lot altered with Sumner in the lineup, and the lightning-quick bouncer has been hot lately. Sumner put up 22 credibility Saturday in a win at Georgetown, and he’s averaging 15 credibility over his aftermost bristles games. Villanova is difficult to annual adjoin in the bisected court. Sumner’s adeptness to actualize amplitude and breach bottomward the aegis off the distill will be key to Xavier’s chances.
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Record: 22-5 (11-3, ACC)
Previous rank: 7
North Carolina’s best basketball aftermost division coincided with Justin Jackson arena his best brawl backward in the year, and Jackson is already afresh advancing about as the agenda approaches March.
Jackson went for 15 credibility and eight assists in Saturday’s blast win over Miami, and he’s averaging 15.5 credibility and 4.8 assists over the aftermost four games. Additionally cogent during that amplitude is his three-point cutting (7-of-12). It’s a baby sample size, but it is at atomic a confidence-builder, as Jackson is cutting alone 26.3 percent from abysmal this year.
In the accident to Duke aftermost week, abundant was fabricated about not accepting the brawl to Brice Johnson bottomward the stretch. But UNC’s shooters allegation to be a blackmail to anticipate teams from packing the acrylic and aggravating to booty abroad Johnson. That’s why it’s important Jackson is cutting able-bodied abundant to appeal attention.
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Record: 21-5 (9-5, Big 12)
Previous rank: 3
The Oklahoma Sooners got some of their mojo aback with an absorbing 14-point win at West Virginia on Saturday.
Buddy Hield already afresh accepted how difficult he is to apathetic down. The Mountaineers face-guarded him, and he still got up 21 shots and denticulate a game-high 29 points.
The Sooners’ contempo struggles—2-3 in their aftermost bristles games—have been in ample allotment because of struggles from aloft the arc. The country’s best three-point cutting aggregation attempt 39-of-128 (30.5 percent) from abysmal during the aftermost bristles games. Saturday’s win was cogent because the Sooners won calmly admitting authoritative alone eight of 27 threes, proving they can exhausted a affection adversary afterwards the three-ball.
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Record: 21-5 (10-4, ACC)
Previous rank: 7
The Cavaliers accept won eight of nine. The one accident during that band was to Duke at Cameron with Grayson Allen affairs off two campaign in one comedy to coffer in the game-winner.
Virginia has a adventitious this anniversary to put itself in position to win at atomic a allotment of the ACC and grab a No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers biking to Miami on Monday and afresh comedy North Carolina in Charlottesville on Saturday. The Heels authority a one-game advance over the Cavaliers in the appointment standings, but they haven’t won at Virginia aback 2012.
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Record: 22-5 (9-5, Big Ten)
Previous rank: 4
Throwing out almanac and resume, Michigan State looks like the country’s best aggregation appropriate now afterwards active both Indiana and Wisconsin.
When the Spartans are affable this year, they’re administration the ball, and Denzel Valentine’s teammates are benefiting from his accomplished vision. Michigan State leads the country in allotment of assisted baskets (72.3 percent), and that abetment amount is the second-best mark in Ken Pomeroy’s database, which goes aback to 2002. Belmont had the best mark—72.5 percent—in 2002.
The Spartans would acceptable be aloft that cardinal had Valentine not absent four games. In the amateur Valentine has played, Sparty is acceptable on 74.2 percent of fabricated baskets.
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Record: 24-3 (13-1, Big East)
Previous rank: 2
Villanova is activity to be a aggregation abounding bodies agnosticism in the NCAA tournament, artlessly because Jay Wright’s aggregation has been a top-two berry anniversary of the aftermost two years and hasn’t fabricated it out of the annular of 32.
One acumen to buy the Wildcats this year is they accept so abounding guys who can booty allegation on any accustomed night. During Big East play, six altered Wildcats accept led the aggregation in scoring. They can exhausted you up central with Daniel Ochefu. Josh Hart is one of the country’s best slashing wings. And the ‘Cats accept assorted guys who can get hot from deep, including amplitude 4 big man Kris Jenkins, who took over Saturday in a win over Butler.
So booty attention in action adjoin ‘Nova artlessly because of the aftermost two years. This is the best complete aggregation Wright has had during that stretch.
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Record: 23-4 (11-3, Big 12)
Previous rank: 1
Four weeks ago Monday, Kansas was 5-3 in the Big 12 and had self-destructed on the alley at Iowa State. It was the third accident in bristles games, and there was a lot of “what’s the amount with Kansas” actuality discussed.
The Jayhawks accept seemed to amount aggregate out aback then. They’ve won seven beeline amateur and are aing to locking up a 12th beeline Big 12 appellation with a two-game advance on Oklahoma and West Virginia—two of their victims during the accepted acceptable streak.
Before, KU’s guards couldn’t accumulate the brawl in advanced of them. Now they’re arena arch ambit aegis and rarely accepting exhausted off the dribble. Previously, any assurance of agitation led to the Jayhawks putting their active bottomward and aggravating to drive through people. Now the brawl is moving, and a assurance has returned.
Self didn’t assume to apperceive who to comedy at the 5 spot, but now Landen Lucas is arena the best basketball of his life, accouterment solid aegis in the acrylic while axis into an offensive-rebounding apparatus on the added end.
The Jayhawks are outscoring opponents by 19.3 credibility per 100 backing during this streak, and three of the seven wins accept appear adjoin ranked teams. All is able-bodied afresh in Lawrence.
Stats are address of KenPom.com, unless acclaimed otherwise.
C.J. Moore covers academy basketball for Bleacher Report. You can chase him on Twitter @CJMooreBR.
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