Well, at least we had one week with minimal No. 1 debate.
After Purdue solidified its position atop the rankings last week, chaos reigned supreme once again. Both the top-ranked Boilermakers and No. 2 Tennessee lost this past week, as did Nos. 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 16 and two of the three teams in the waiting room. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it's the third time this season that the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the AP poll lost in the same week.
So who is now No. 1 in the Power Rankings? Well, Purdue is still in the discussion, while top-five teams Alabama, Houston and Arizona all went 2-0 this past week and should figure into the conversation. So, let's figure this out.
Even with the loss, the Boilermakers are still tied for the most Quadrant 1 wins in the country with nine, including victories over Marquette and Gonzaga. They're in the top five in every metric, including No. 1 in ESPN's Strength of Record.
Of the other No. 1 options, the Cougars are 12-1 against Quadrants 1 and 2, but their only two wins over definite NCAA tournament opposition came against Saint Mary's and Virginia. They do rank No. 1 across the board in the three predictive metrics (KenPom, BPI, Sagarin).
Unlike Houston and Arizona, the Crimson Tide don't have a loss outside of Quadrant 1. They also beat Houston on the road. There's a pretty big drop to their next best win; chances will soon come at Auburn and at Tennessee, however.
The Wildcats' metrics don't compare favorably to the three aforementioned options, and they have three losses to teams unlikely to make the NCAA tournament in Utah, Washington State and Oregon. But they do have wins over the Volunteers, UCLA, Indiana and Creighton.
One team to watch is Texas, which rose into the top five of the Power Rankings this week. The Longhorns are first in the Big 12, have outstanding résumé-based metrics and are third nationally with eight Quadrant 1 wins.
For this week, though, Purdue remains at No. 1. The Boilermakers' body of work and metrics are still the best in the country, despite the loss.
Onto this week's awards and rankings ...
Team of the Week: Texas Longhorns
Texas opened this past week by snapping Baylor's six-game winning streak, holding off the Bears in the final minutes after leading for the final 33. On Monday, it was Timmy Allen (18 points) and Sir'Jabari Rice (21 points) carrying most of the offensive load. Saturday's win at Kansas State was a little more gritty. The Longhorns overcame a 14-point deficit with a high-energy second half, sparked by Christian Bishop's 14 points and six rebounds -- all of it coming after halftime. After Markquis Nowell gave the Wildcats a one-point lead with 1:01 left, Bishop finished at the rim and Rice extended the lead to three with a pair of free throws. What made the week more impressive is Texas did it with leading scorer Marcus Carr averaging just 7.5 points on 33.3% shooting.
The season could have easily gone sideways for Texas. The Longhorns lost head coach Chris Beard in early December and then, in their second Big 12 game of the season, gave up 116 points in a home loss to Kansas State. One month later, however, they've now won seven of their last nine games and sit in sole possession of first place in the toughest league in the country. Interim head coach Rodney Terry has done a tremendous job keeping this team on the right track.
Player of the Week: Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona Wildcats
Indiana holds on to a narrow win over No. 1 Purdue, and the fans celebrate by rushing the court.
After routinely coming up in All-American discussions early in the season, Tubelis' breakout junior campaign began to fly under the radar in conference play. This past week served as a reminder of his abilities. He had one of the best individual games from any big man this season, going for 40 points, nine rebounds and three assists in Thursday's win over Oregon. He shot 16-for-21 from the field, completely dominating Oregon's rotation of 7-footers. The Lithuania native became Arizona's first player with 40 points in a game since Damon Stoudamire in 1995, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Tubelis wasn't needed much against Oregon State on Saturday, but still finished with 19 points and eight boards in just 23 minutes on the floor. He went 6-for-10 against the Beavers.
Win of the Week: Indiana Hoosiers 79, Purdue Boilermakers 74
Azuolas Tubelis scores 40 points on an efficient 16-of-21 from the field, leading Arizona to the huge win over Oregon.
There was plenty of hype for this one. One of the best rivalries in the sport, a rejuvenated Indiana team hosting the No. 1 squad in the country, arguably the best head-to-head positional battle we'll see all season with Zach Edey taking on Trayce Jackson-Davis. And it didn't disappoint. Indiana had all the momentum early, extending its lead to 16 points late in the first half. As expected, the Boilermakers came back, cutting the Hoosiers' lead to one possession on several occasions. And while Edey (33 points, 18 boards) and Jackson-Davis (25 points, seven boards) held their own, it was freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino who made the biggest plays of the game. After landing awkwardly on a missed layup with 7:32 remaining, it looked like the freshman guard's night might be over. But he didn't leave the game, and scored eight points in the final 7:14 -- including the game-clinching layup with 25 seconds left.
It's not often beating the No. 2 team in the country doesn't land in any category, so honorable mention goes to Florida knocking off Tennessee by 13.
Coach of the Week: David Riley, Eastern Washington Eagles
With Charleston and Florida Atlantic both ending 20-game winning streaks in the last week and a half, the longest streak in the country now belongs to Eastern Washington. The Eagles have rattled off 14 in a row and sit at 12-0 in the Big Sky. They struggled during the nonconference portion of the season, starting 4-7 (although they did win at California) but haven't lost since. They're an offensive juggernaut, scoring at least one point per possession in every game during the winning streak, and dominated in two road wins this past week, scoring 1.42 points per possession at Sacramento State and putting up 98 points at Portland State. Riley, 34, was promoted to head coach in 2021 when Shantay Legans left for Portland, and he's continued the winning tradition. He has Eastern Washington on track for its first conference title since 2020, and perhaps the fourth NCAA tournament appearance in program history.
Three teams with questions
North Carolina Tar Heels: Are the Tar Heels going to end up with a worse NCAA tournament position than last year's 8-seed? Carolina dropped both of its games last week, to Pittsburgh at home and Duke on the road and have now fallen to seventh in the ACC standings. Its metrics aren't very good, and it's 1-7 against Quadrant 1 opponents.
Charleston Cougars: They did win at Delaware on Saturday, but the Cougars lost at Drexel on Thursday, their second loss in a row after a 20-game winning streak. Where does that leave their at-large chances? It's going to be tough. Their NET is pushing 70, they have zero Quadrant 1 wins and they no longer have an unbeaten league record on which to hang their hat.
Ole Miss Rebels: The Rebels lost their fifth straight game Saturday, dropping to 1-9 in the SEC and 9-14 overall. The wheels have fallen off a season that began with some preseason expectations, and even some promise, after a 6-0 start. Kermit Davis is squarely on the hot seat coming down the stretch of his fifth season in Oxford.
After Purdue's win over Penn State on Wednesday, Nittany Lions head coach Micah Shrewsberry made it pretty clear how he wanted to defend the Boilermakers: Double-team Zach Edey whenever he touched the ball, make life difficult for Fletcher Loyer and force the likes of Mason Gillis and Ethan Morton to beat them. Which they did -- Gillis had 29 points and nine 3-pointers, Morton made two 3s and the team made 14 3s as a whole. On Saturday against Indiana, that wasn't quite the case. The team shot 6-for-18 from 3 and Gillis and Morton combined for seven points. There were other issues, of course, like turnovers and defending the paint, but sometimes it's a make-or-miss game.
In case Alabama needed more offensive options moving forward, Nimari Burnett is very much back and hitting his stride entering the final month of the season. The former Texas Tech transfer who missed all of 2021-22 with a torn ACL and then missed nine games this season with a wrist injury, returned Jan. 21. He didn't really regain his footing for the first three games back, playing 20 combined minutes and scoring zero points. But over the last two games, he has returned to the form that made him such a sought-after recruit in high school. He had 16 points in the blowout win over Vanderbilt, then went for 13 against LSU on Saturday. He shot a combined 7-for-14 from 3 in the two wins.
Houston appeared to be in danger in both games this past week against Wichita State and Temple, but the Cougars ended up pulling away down the stretch of both to remain in the No. 1 discussion. Sunday's second-half performance against Temple was a clinic. They trailed by four at halftime, but opened the second half on a 13-0 run and the Owls never got closer than five after that. They shot 72% from the field after halftime, racking up 12 assists on 18 made field goals. Defensively, Houston held Temple to just seven made shots after the break, with three of those coming in garbage time when the game was already out of reach. Kelvin Sampson's team has played down to its competition at times this season, but it has an extra gear it can still get to when needed.
It's hard to find a better sixth man this season than Sir'Jabari Rice. There was buzz all offseason that Rice would make a bigger impact than expected, and he's been one of the key late-game players for the Longhorns. He's also playing arguably his best basketball right now. The former New Mexico State transfer averaged 18.7 points and 5.3 rebounds over his last three games, while shooting 50% from 3 and 81% on 21 free-throw attempts. Rice is unafraid to take, and make, big shots, he's terrific from the free throw line and he's earned the trust of Rodney Terry down the stretch in conference play.
The Wildcats have righted the ship since losing two of three in early January, with the improvement coming mostly on the defensive end. In their most recent six-game stretch, they've done the following: They've held four opponents to fewer than 0.90 points per possession, ranking No. 2 in adjusted defensive efficiency (and No. 1 adjusted efficiency margin, in fact) at BartTorvik.com. They rank No. 6 in 2-point percentage defense and No. 18 in 3-point defense. Their offense hasn't been too shabby, either. Arizona has found its stroke, shooting 40.6% from 3, and made at least 10 3s in four games.
While Tennessee found a lot of success going with a smaller lineup for several games following the return of Josiah-Jordan James, there was a concern for much of the season that the Volunteers might not be consistent enough offensively to win a national title. That certainly rose to the surface last week, in their 67-54 loss to Florida and 46-43 win over Auburn. In both games, they scored 100 points on 132 possessions, good enough for 0.76 points per possession. For reference, the least efficient offense in the country (LIU) scores 0.86 points per possession. The Vols simply couldn't score, either inside or outside the arc. They shot 7-for-46 from 3 and made just 34.1% of their 2s.
The difference between Kansas' offensive performance against Kentucky last weekend, Kansas State on Tuesday and Iowa State on Saturday was clear. Against both sets of Wildcats, Kansas took care of the ball and the Jayhawks' supporting cast gave Jalen Wilson plenty of help. In the Kentucky game, it was K.J. Adams Jr. who emerged with 17 points. Against Kansas State, Dajuan Harris Jr. had 18 points and Kevin McCullar Jr. had 16. Kansas had a combined 19 turnovers in the two wins. But against ISU, the Jayhawks coughed it up 20 times, leading to 19 Iowa State points -- and players not named Jalen Wilson scored just 27 points in the entire game.
Tamin Lipsey dishes to Osun Osunniyi for an emphatic dunk against Kansas.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Iowa State's 15-point win over Kansas on Saturday was the Cyclones' lack of any sort of residual loss of confidence from Monday's loss to Texas Tech. Blowing a 23-point second-half lead to the worst team in the Big 12 could have lingered, but ISU led Kansas for 39-plus minutes, with the Jayhawks not even within touching distance for most of the second half. The Cyclones were able to get the ball around the rim and take advantage of their size against the smaller Jayhawks. Osun Osunniyi had 13 points, while Tre King had one of his better games of the season, finishing with 10 points in 15 minutes off the bench.
KSU has finally hit some adversity this season. It gave up 90 points in a road loss at Kansas on Tuesday, then blew a 14-point lead and dropped one at home to Texas on Saturday. That's now three losses in four games, and four in seven. How will the Wildcats respond? Figuring out the offense is paramount. They haven't scored one point per possession since Jan. 24 against Iowa State, and have failed to hit that mark in five of their last eight games. They're having trouble with turnovers (Markquis Nowell had seven assists and 11 turnovers in the two losses) and are also struggling to make shots from the perimeter. While the Wildcats lead the Big 12 in 3-point shooting in league play, they're just 17-for-57 in their last three games (29.8%).
10. Baylor Bears (17-6)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: vs. Oklahoma (Wednesday), at TCU (Saturday)
Aidan Mahaney goes off late in the game, leading Saint Mary's to the huge home win over Gonzaga.
The return of Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua on Saturday was a huge boost from an emotional perspective, providing the Bears with plenty of energy to blow out Texas Tech. But "Everyday Jon" will also be a significant asset for Scott Drew moving forward. Before his knee injury, he played with one of the best motors in all of college basketball, aggressively attacking the offensive glass and competing at both ends of the floor. So, at the very least, Tchamwa Tchatchoua is added depth in the frontcourt. He also made both of his 3-point attempts Saturday. He only attempted 16 3s in his first three seasons in college.
11. UCLA Bruins (19-4)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: at Oregon State (Thursday), at Oregon (Saturday)
Jaime Jaquez Jr.'s scoring struggles of a couple weeks ago seem to be behind him. He had 15 points and 10 boards against Washington on Thursday, and against Washington State on Saturday had 24 points and 15 rebounds. He shot 4-for-7 from 3 in the two games and essentially looked how he did for the first two and a half months of 2022-23. It's also a good sign that Amari Bailey, who missed seven games with a foot injury, has hit double figures in all three games since returning. Bailey has had turnover issues, but he also adds a dynamic and explosive dimension to the offense.
We've talked about Tyler Kolek before, but he's beginning to become more consistently aggressive offensively as some of his teammates hit mini scoring slumps. After hitting double figures five times in the first 18 games of the season, he's hit that mark in five of his last six. Remember, this was a player who averaged nearly 11 points as a freshman at George Mason before he became one of the elite passers in the country. Over the last six games, though, Kolek is averaging 18.0 points and shooting 41.4% from 3 while still dishing out 7.2 assists a night. At this point, there's a strong argument for him as Player of the Year in the Big East.
With Zach Freemantle out at least four weeks with a left foot injury, Sean Miller will have to adjust his frontcourt dramatically. What did he do in Xavier's first two games without him? Jerome Hunter moved from the bench into the starting lineup, playing 36 minutes against Providence and 32 minutes against St. John's, averaging 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. Without Freemantle anchoring the interior, 7-footer Jack Nunge has also had to expand his production -- and he has certainly responded. The former Iowa transfer had 23 points and 14 rebounds against Providence and followed it up with 21 points and six assists against St. John's. He shot 7-for-12 from 3 in those two games, too.
Virginia's inability to keep Virginia Tech from scoring at the rim Saturday raised some questions about Kadin Shedrick's status. The 6-11 center and one of the best shot blockers in the ACC started 14 of the first 15 games of 2022-23, playing at least 20 minutes in 10 of those. Six games ago, Shedrick suddenly became an afterthought in the frontcourt rotation. He's played five or fewer minutes four times, including a DNP in Saturday's loss. The Hoos have been more effective offensively since going with Ben Vander Plas in the lineup instead. But Vander Plas struggled against the Hokies, and Shedrick remained on the bench. It could be something to monitor moving forward, especially against bigger teams.
Aidan. Mahaney. His stat line against Gonzaga wasn't eye-opening: 18 points on 8-for-19 shooting, 1-for-8 from 3, three assists. But the freshman became a household name in the wee hours of Saturday night, putting on one of the all-time late-game performances in the history of the Saint Mary's vs. Gonzaga rivalry. In the final 6:25 of regulation plus overtime, he had 16 points and three assists. He scored 10 straight during one stretch at the end of regulation, while also having the assist on Mitchell Saxen's game-tying bucket with five seconds left. Mahaney was simply unguardable, getting to the rim at will, finishing in a variety of ways: with his off-hand, going away from the basket, in traffic, etc. Welcome to the national stage, Aidan.
It's hard to penalize the Zags much for losing at Saint Mary's in overtime, especially given how good they looked in their 18-point win over Santa Clara Broncos on Thursday. But the Bulldogs' grip on the WCC is in serious jeopardy now. They've won at least a share of 10 consecutive regular-season titles, but now sit two games back of Saint Mary's. The Gaels do still have to come to Spokane and four of their final six games are on the road, but Gonzaga no longer controls its own destiny in the title race. It really struggled to contain Aidan Mahaney late in Saturday's game, and defense has been at the core of its issues in league play. The Zags have allowed at least one point per possession in four of their last five, and seven of 10 WCC games overall.
Dropped out: TCU Horned Frogs (No. 15)
In the waiting room
TCU Horned Frogs: They looked incredible at times this season, blowing out Kansas and Baylor on the road, handling Kansas State by 14 in Dallas. But the Horned Frogs have now lost five of their last nine, including Saturday's game at Oklahoma State. Jamie Dixon's team clearly misses Mike Miles Jr., and Eddie Lampkin Jr.,
Indiana Hoosiers: Mike Woodson's squad has now won six of its last seven, is coming off a win over No. 1 Purdue -- and also could be getting its point guard back. Xavier Johnson is out of his walking boot and has been doing some pregame work. There's no definitive timetable, but a return in time for the postseason would be another boost for the Hoosiers.
Creighton Bluejays: Don't look now, but Creighton has quietly become a legitimate threat for the Big East regular-season title. The Bluejays have won six in a row, nine of their last 11 and find themselves just one game back of first place in the loss column. With Ryan Kalkbrenner back and healthy, Greg McDermott has the best defense in the league.