By Hocine Loukkaf on 1/17/2021
With all top 10 teams having lost recently, Auburn and its 13-win streak seems the evident number one for this second ranking of the season and potentially their first number one ranking in school history.
#1 Auburn (16-1)
Despite never having played another top 10 eam, the Tigers have been solid winning against top 25 ranked LSU and Alabama. Projected top 3 draft prospect Jabari Smith was the main force against Alabama with 25pts 7rbds and 4bl but 6-11 UNC transfer Walker Kessler (16pts 10rbds 11bl against LSU) and steady sophomore PG Wendell Green (at least 12pts in each of the last nine games) make it possible for Auburn to remain #1 until the end of the season.
#2 Gonzaga (14-2)
After two almost consecutive losses to Duke and Alabama, Gonzaga has won its last seven games. Despite playing mostly poor competition, the Bulldogs have been tested against the rising Red Raiders from Texas Tech, led by the shooting of guards Bolton/Nembhard (9/18 combined from three) while Holmgren was controlling the paint (11rbds 3bl). Once again, we will have to wait the Tournament to see Gonzaga’s real value.
#3 Wisconsin (14-2)
With recent wins at Purdue, Ohio State and Iowa, the Badgers look dangerous in that touth Big Ten. Johnny Davis’ performance against Purdue with 37pts and 14rbds will be one of the offensive highlight of the season but don’t understimate backcourt mate Brad Davison who had at least 15pts against the three aforementioned opponents including 25pts against Ohio State.
#4 Purdue (14-2)
Purdue has slipped in the ranking but with a 2pt-loss to Rutgers and a 5pt-loss to a now top-five-ranked team, the Boilermakers deserve their spot. While Ivey has been less impressive recently, Edey has been the man in the paint with three 21pts or more in three of the last four games, including 24pts against Wisconsin.
#5 Arizona (14-1)
As their games against UCLA and USC have been postponed, Arizona is one of the only teams with one loss. As long as the Wildcats will not be tested against another top 10 team, it will be hard to know their true value. Yet, with Mathurin, Koloko, Tubelis or Kriisa, it’s hard to argue about Zona’s lack of talent.
#6 Kansas (14-2)
Like Arizona, the Jayhawks lack some quality wins as they lost to the Red Raiders and won by one point only against Iowa State at home. They will be able to take their revenge against Texas Tech to start a serie of difficult matchups against Kentucky, Iowa State, Baylor and Texas. With at least 20pts and 50% 3pt on eight attempts or more in each of the last three games, Agbaji could see his stock rise if he can perform and help his team win in the games to come.
#7 Baylor (15-2)
Things were too perfect for the Bears as Baylor loss two consecutive games in waco against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. If the loss against Texas Tech could be accepted, the one against a struggling team of Oklahoma State could not be understood as Akinjo and Flager combined 8pts on 2/18 from the floor while freshman sensation Kendall Brown had his fith game in a row under 10pts (and fourth with 5pts or less over the last five games).
#8 Duke (14-2)
With a second loss this season against unranked Miami and no win against any top 25 ranked team since the game against Gonzaga, it’s hard to know how strong the Blue Devils are. Despite his 3pts on 1/6 against NC State, freshman AJ Griffin has displayed why he was one of the best HS prospects with averages of 15.5pts and 5rbds over the previous four games while his classmate Paolo Banchero has been solid with four of the five last games with 20pts or more.
#9 Kentucky (14-3)
Despite their three losses, the Wildcats have been pretty solid with two of their recent losses endured by 5pts or less. Freshman Washington needs to be consistent as he has been over the last three games with at least 17pts including 17as against Georgia and 28pts against 22nd ranked Tennessee. Inside, Tshiebwe has been terrific (29pts 17rbds vs Georgia, 30pts 13rbds vs Vanderbilt) but the challenge will be tougher against Auburn and Kansas over the next two weeks.
#10 Iowa State (14-3)
One of the main troublemakers this season, the Cyclones have already faced six top 25 ranked teams including wins against Memphis, Xavier, Texas Tech and Texas. They were also impressive in their losses as they lost only by 5pts against Baylor and by one against Kansas. Led until now by Isaiah Brockington, the Cyclones may have found a new dangerous weapon with senior guard Gabe Kalscheur who has shot a combined 10/21 from three over the last two games despite averaging only 28% ver the season.
Click below for ou latest mock draft.