B1G steady at top, MWC has strong week

The Big Ten maintained its lead over the Big East atop ESPN Stats and Info’s weekly college basketball rankings, while the Mountain West Conference had a strong week in the BPI and Top 25 polls. The rankings include a human element from the Top 25 polls and a computer portion, which is comprised entirely of the BPI.

The BPI is ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index. The BPI team rating takes into account the game score, where the game was played, the pace of the game and whether any of the team's top five players was missing. For a complete explanation on the College BPI, click here.

Indiana is in the No. 1 spot of both Top 25 polls this week, helping the Big Ten to the highest bonus from the human polls. Ohio State dropped out of the top 15 this week but the Big Ten still has five teams in the top 20 of the AP Poll, tied with the Big East for the most of any conference. While the Big East has six teams in the AP Top 25, its highest ranked team is Syracuse at number eight. The Big Ten has three teams ranked ahead of Syracuse (Indiana, Michigan State and Michigan) and has controlled the number one ranking in the AP Top 25 in 10 of the 16 polls this season.

The Mountain West closed the gap on the ACC for the number four spot from 6.5 points in last week’s rankings to 4.4 this week. The MWC saw its bonus from the human polls increase this week, despite losing San Diego State from the USA Today Coaches Poll. New Mexico is ranked 16th in this week’s AP poll and Colorado State moved up to the number 22 spot. The Rams have won six games in a row and were ranked in the AP poll last week for the first time since 1954. The Mountain West also has four teams in the top 30 of the BPI, more than the Pac-12, ACC or SEC.

Two matchups in this weekend’s BracketBusters could have an impact on next week’s rankings. Creighton will travel to Saint Mary’s Saturday in the most high-profile BracketBusters game. The Missouri Valley Conference is currently one spot ahead of the West Coast Conference in the rankings and a Saint Mary’s win could help the WCC move up. Creighton is 18th in the BPI, the highest ranking of any MVC team. South Dakota State at Murray State is the other game that could provide some movement in the rankings, with the Ohio Valley Conference less than 10 points ahead of the Summit League in this week’s rankings.

The Big 12 now controls the second-highest bonus from the human polls, with three teams in the top 15 of the AP Top 25. Oklahoma State is ranked 14th in this week’s AP Poll and has won its last seven games after starting 2-3 in conference play.