Kentucky is on the Rise While Duke and Gonzaga Remain Steady: Week 16 Rankings

The regular season is coming to a close as we are one month away from Selection Sunday. Gonzaga and Duke are in a neck and neck race for the top spot in my rankings. Duke clearly has the better wins and more of them than Gonzaga however, Gonzaga took the chance with the games they did have and capitalized on them. Gonzaga still holds the head to head win over Duke and even though that was in November it still helps make a difference. The other factor that is pushing Gonzaga over Duke for me is the way the Zags have been able to handle the WCC. They have yet to lose a game in conference play, which for the Zags is expected. However, I have to give credit to the Bulldogs for handling the games the way they have. They enter the competition getting their opponents best and are playing teams that are clearly on a lower level but have yet to really been susceptible to playing at the level of their competition. If this does happen then Duke will be moving ahead of the Bulldogs to take over the top spot.

This week brings in some great excitement as teams are continuing to fight it out to win the regular season. Of the 32 conferences 28 of them are still up for grabs as there are at least two teams within two games for the top spot. The ACC, SEC, and SEC have big games coming up this week between top teams. Tennessee and LSU will meet as both are currently tied for the lead in the SEC with one loss each. Michigan and Michigan State will meet for their first match up of the season with both tied with Purdue in the Big Ten but most of the week will have there attention focused on the ACC. The top seven teams in the ACC are all within three games of the leagues lead and everyone seems to be playing everyone this week. #1 in the ACC, Duke, will take on North Carolina (#2) and Syracuse (#6), North Carolina will also play Florida State (#6). #3 Virginia plays both Virginia Tech and Louisville who are tied for 5th. Louisville will have to face Syracuse as well while Virginia Tech gets the lucky draw of Notre Dame (#11). Florida State like Tech gets an easier game as their second game this week is against Clemson (#9).

I am most intrigued to see how Duke can handle this final stretch of the season. In Duke’s final six games they will be playing four teams who will most likely be in the NCAA tournament and thus far haven’t completely fared that well when facing tournament teams back to back. They have faced Auburn and Gonzaga back to back earlier and lost to Gonzaga. Then Texas Tech and Clemson, a very hopeful bubble team, coming away with the win. Florida State and Syracuse, Duke’s other loss on the season. And finally this last stretch of Virginia, Louisville and NC State. Duke came out with the three wins but in their game with Louisville were completely unprepared and ran out of the gym for the first 30 minutes of the game. This last stretch will test the young team and show if they are true competitors for the National Championship.

1. Gonzaga

Record: 25-2 Previous: 2 Last 10 Games: 10-0
Last Week: W 73-60 @ Loyola Marymount W 79-67 @ San Diego
Quality Wins: Duke, @Creighton, @San Francisco

Losses: Tennessee, @North Carolina

Upcoming: 2/21 vs. Pepperdine 2/23 vs. BYU

2. Duke 

Record: 23-2 Previous: 3 Last 10 Games: 9-1
Last Week: W 71-69 @ Louisville W 94-78 vs. NC State
Quality Wins: Kentucky, Auburn, Texas Tech, Clemson, @Florida State, Virginia, @Virginia, @Louisville

Losses: Gonzaga, Syracuse

Upcoming: 2/20 vs. North Carolina 2/23 @ Syracuse

3. Virginia

Record: 22-2 Previous: 4 Last 10 Games: 8-2
Last Week: W 69-61 @ North Carolina W 60-54 vs. Notre Dame
Quality Wins: Wisconsin, @Maryland, Florida State, @Clemson, Virginia Tech, @NC State, @North Carolina

Losses: @Duke, Duke

Upcoming: 2/18 @ Virginia Tech 2/23 @ Louisville

4. Kentucky

Record: 21-4 Previous: 5 Last 10 Games: 9-1
Last Week: L 71-73 vs. LSU W 86-69 vs. Tennessee
Quality Wins: North Carolina, @Louisville, @Auburn, Mississippi State, Kansas, @Florida, @Mississippi State, Tennessee

Losses: Duke, Seton Hall, @Alabama, LSU

Upcoming: 2/19 @ Missouri 2/23 vs. Auburn

5. Tennessee

Record: 23-2 Previous: 1 Last 10 Games: 9-1
Last Week: W 85-73 vs. South Carolina L 69-86 @ Kentucky
Quality Wins: Louisville, Gonzaga, @Florida, Florida

Losses: Kansas, @Kentucky

Upcoming: 2/19 vs. Vanderbilt 2/23 @ LSU

6. Nevada 

Record: 23-1 Previous: 6 Last 10 Games: 10-0
Last Week: W 82-49 @ Wyoming
Quality Wins: @Fresno State

Losses: @New Mexico

Upcoming: 2/20 @ San Diego State 2/23 vs. Fresno State

7. Houston

Record: 25-1 Previous: 9 Last 10 Games: 9-1
Last Week: W 71-63 @ UConn W 85-50 @ Tulane
Quality Wins: LSU, @UCF

Losses: @Temple

Upcoming: 2/23 vs. South Florida

8. North Carolina 

Record: 20-5 Previous: 8 Last 10 Games: 8-2
Last Week: W 61-69 vs. Virginia W 95-57 @ Wake Forest
Quality Wins: @Wofford, Gonzaga, @NC State, Virginia Tech, @Louisville

Losses: Texas, @Michigan, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia

Upcoming: 2/20 @ Duke 2/23 vs. Florida State

9. Michigan State

Record: 21-5 Previous: 11 Last 10 Games: 7-3
Last Week: W 67-59 @ Wisconsin W 62-44 vs. Ohio State
Quality Wins: Texas, Iowa, @Florida, @Ohio State, Purdue, @Penn State, @Nebraska, Maryland, @Iowa, @Wisconsin

Losses: Kansas, @Louisville, @Purdue, Indiana, @Illinois

Upcoming: 2/20 vs. Rutgers 2/24 @ Michigan

10. Michigan 

Record: 23-3 Previous: 7 Last 10 Games: 7-3
Last Week: L 69-75 @ Penn State W 65-52 vs. Maryland
Quality Wins: @Villanova, North Carolina, Purdue, @Northwestern, @Illinois, @Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland

Losses: @Wisconsin, @Iowa, @Penn State

Upcoming: 2/21 @ Minnesota 2/24 vs. Michigan State

11. Marquette 

Record: 21-4 Previous: 10 Last 10 Games: 9-1
Last Week: L 92-73 @ DePaul
Quality Wins: Louisville, Wisconsin, Buffalo, @Creighton, @Butler, Villanova

Losses: @Indiana, Kansas, @St. John’s, St. John’s

Upcoming: 2/20 vs. Butler 2/23 @ Providence

12. Kansas

Record: 20-6 Previous: 13 Last 10 Games: 6-4
Last Week: W 82-77 @ TCU W 78-53 vs. West Virginia
Quality Wins: Michigan State, Marquette, Tennessee, Wofford, Villanova, @Baylor, Texas, Iowa State, Texas Tech, @TCU

Losses: @Arizona State, @Iowa State, @West Virginia, @Kentucky, @Texas, @Kansas State

Upcoming: 2/23 @ Texas Tech

13. LSU 

Record: 21-4 Previous: 17 Last 10 Games: 9-1
Last Week: W 73-71 @ Kentucky W 83-79 @ Georgia
Quality Wins: Saint Mary’s, @Arkansas, @Ole Miss, @ Mississippi State, Auburn, @Kentucky

Losses: Florida State, Oklahoma State, @Houston, Arkansas

Upcoming: 2/20 vs. Florida 2/23 vs. Tennessee

14. Purdue

Record: 19-7 Previous: 14 Last 10 Games: 9-1
Last Week: L 56-70 @ Maryland W 76-64 vs. Penn State
Quality Wins: Maryland, Iowa, @Wisconsin, @Ohio State, Michigan State, @Penn State

Losses: Virginia Tech, @Florida State, @Michigan, @Texas, Notre Dame, @Michigan State, @Maryland

Upcoming: 2/19 @ Indiana 2/23 @ Nebraska

15. Louisville

Record: 18-8 Previous: 15 Last 10 Games: 7-3
Last Week: L 69-71 vs. Duke W 56-55 vs. Clemson
Quality Wins: Michigan State, @Seton Hall, @North Carolina, @Virginia Tech, Clemson

Losses: Tennessee, Marquette, @Indiana, Kentucky, @Pittsburgh, North Carolina, @Florida State, Duke

Upcoming: 2/20 @ Syracuse 2/23 vs. Virginia

16. Texas Tech  

Record: 21-5 Previous: 16 Last 10 Games: 6-4
Last Week: W 78-50 @ Oklahoma State W 86-51 vs. Baylor
Quality Wins: Nebraska, @Texas, @Oklahoma

Losses: Duke, Iowa State, @Baylor, @Kansas State, @Kansas

Upcoming: 2/23 vs. Kansas

17. Villanova 

Record: 20-6 Previous: 12 Last 10 Games: 8-2
Last Week: W 85-67 vs. Providence L 65-71 @ St. John’s
Quality Wins: Florida State, @Butler, @Creighton

Losses: Michigan, Furman, @Penn, @Kansas, @ Marquette, @St. John’s

Upcoming: 2/20 @ Georgetown 2/24 @ Xavier

18. Iowa State

Record: 19-6 Previous: 19 Last 10 Games: 7-3
Last Week: W 758-64 @ Kansas State
Quality Wins: Kansas, @Texas Tech, @Ole Miss, Texas, @Oklahoma, @Kansas State

Losses: Arizona, @Iowa, @Baylor, Kansas State, @Kansas, TCU

Upcoming: 2/19 vs. Baylor 2/23 @ TCU

19. Maryland

Record: 19-7 Previous: 20 Last 10 Games: 6-4
Last Week: W 70-56 vs. Purdue L 52-65 @ Michigan
Quality Wins: @Minnesota, Wisconsin, @Ohio State, @ Nebraska, Purdue

Losses: Virginia, @Purdue, Seton Hall, @Michigan State, Illinois, @Wisconsin, @Michigan

Upcoming: 2/19 @ Iowa 2/23 vs. Ohio State

20. Wisconsin

Record: 17-8 Previous: 18 Last 10 Games: 6-4
Last Week: L 59-67 vs. Michigan State
Quality Wins: Oklahoma, @Iowa, @Penn State, Michigan, @Illinois, @Nebraska, Maryland, @Minnesota

Losses: Virginia, @Marquette, @Western Kentucky, Minnesota, Purdue, @Maryland, @Michigan, Michigan State

Upcoming: 2/18 vs. Illinois 2/23 @ Northwestern

21. Iowa

Record: 20-5 Previous: 21 Last 10 Games: 8-2
Last Week: W 71-69 @ Rutgers
Quality Wins: Oregon, Iowa State, @Northwestern, @Penn State, Michigan, @Indiana

Losses: Wisconsin, @Michigan State, @Purdue, Michigan State, @Minnesota

Upcoming: 2/19 vs. Maryland 2/22 vs. Indiana

22. Florida State

Record: 20-5 Previous: 22 Last 10 Games: 7-3
Last Week: W 88-66 vs. Wake Forest W 69-47 @ Georgia Tech
Quality Wins: Florida, LSU, Purdue, Clemson, @Syracuse, Louisville

Losses: Villanova, @ Virginia, Duke, @Pittsburgh, @Boston College

Upcoming: 2/19 @ Clemson 2/23 @ North Carolina

23. Buffalo 

Record: 22-3 Previous: 24 Last 10 Games: 8-2
Last Week: W 76-70 @ Akron W 88-82 @ Toledo
Quality Wins: San Francisco, @Syracuse, @Toledo

Losses:@Marquette, @Northern Illinois, @Bowling Green

Upcoming: 2/19 vs. Ohio 2/22 vs. Kent State

24. Virginia Tech

Record: 20-5 Previous: 25 Last 10 Games: 6-4
Last Week: W 76-68 vs. Georgia Tech W 70-64 @ Pittsburgh
Quality Wins: Purdue, Washington, @ NC State

Losses: Penn State, @Virginia, @North Carolina, Louisville, @Clemson

Upcoming: 2/18 vs. Virginia 2/23 @ Notre Dame

25. Wofford 

Record: 23-4 Previous: NR Last 10 Games: 10-0
Last Week: W 95-84 vs. VMI W 80-50 vs. UNC Greensboro
Quality Wins: @East Tennessee State

Losses: North Carolina, @Kansas, @Oklahoma, @Mississippi State

Upcoming: 2/23 @ Furman

Dropped from the rankings: Kansas State

New to the rankings: Wofford

Quality wins are based on KenPom rankings. Home wins over top 30 opponents, neutral wins over top 50 opponents and road wins over top 70 opponents.

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