Homecollege basketball

NCAAB power rankings: Can anyone beat Gonzaga?

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

February 10th, 2021

As we near the end of the strangest regular season in college basketball history, teams are beginning to jockey for positioning before the NCAA Tournament.

Who are the top teams to watch out for in the tournament? Let's take a look in our power rankings.

1. Gonzaga (19-0)

One of two remaining unbeaten teams, Gonzaga has steamrolled its opposition.

The Bulldogs have seven "Quad 1" victories, after they defeated BYU by 11 Monday night, and have neutral-court wins over two teams in this week’s power rankings. They lead the nation in most important team metrics and rank in the top three in the rest.

The Zags trailed Pacific at halftime last week, the second time all season Gonzaga has trailed at the break, but they outscored their opponent 24-8 in the final 9:56 of game time. They lead the WCC standings by 3 1/2 games and have four players that have scoring averages in double figures.

With only three conference games remaining, Gonzaga will likely end the regular season undefeated.

This week: at San Francisco

2. Baylor (17-0)

The Bears are also unbeaten but play in a tougher conference. They have had multiple Big 12 games cancelled because of COVID-19 issues, which has hindered their ability to move to No. 1. The missed games also bring into question the possibility of rust, as the Bears have not seen the floor since a dominant victory over No. 6 Texas on Feb. 2. As it stands, Baylor will not play again until at least Feb. 20.

With six "Quad 1" victories, the Bears have been robbed of games against three top 15 opponents, with the cancellation of games against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and West Virginia. They have just three games remaining, and only one (Oklahoma State) is against a potentially ranked team.

Baylor's chance to move up to the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament may hinge on a successful run through the Big 12 Tournament.

This week: no games

3. Michigan (13-1)

The only blemish on the Wolverines’ résumé is a stunning 18-point defeat at Minnesota, and Michigan sits with four "Quad 1" wins.

A chance to add another, against Illinois, has been removed because of COVID-19 issues, but Michigan has four ranked teams in its next five scheduled games.

Michigan may even have more rust than Baylor, as the Wolverines have not played since Jan. 22 and shut down their program because of an internal breakout of the virus.

The Wolverines will visit Wisconsin this weekend for a test that could push them closer to the No. 1 seed.

This week: at #21 Wisconsin

4. Ohio State (16-4)

The Buckeyes have won five straight games and eight of their last nine. They also have a pair wins over ranked teams in their last five outings.

With eight "Quad 1" victories, Ohio State has the most of any team in the nation, including six away from home. However, a terrible loss to Northwestern and a season sweep by Purdue knocks them behind Michigan.

The Buckeyes have games against three ranked opponents in their next six, including tilts with Michigan and Illinois that will likely determine tournament seeding.

The emergence of E.J. Liddell has been key. He has averaged nearly 20 points per game over the last few weeks.

This week: at Indiana

5. Villanova (12-2)

The Wildcats had to stop playing for nearly a month because of COVID-19 issues, which leaves them with just 14 games played this season. They looked sluggish against St. John’s last week and suffered an 11-point defeat but bounced back nicely with a 10-point victory at Georgetown.

Against "Quad 1" opponents, the Wildcats are just 2-2. A victory over Creighton this weekend would be a huge feather in their cap.

This week: Marquette, at Creighton

6. Illinois (13-5)

With two wins over ranked opponents in their last three games, the Illini have made a statement in the Big Ten.

Just a half-game behind Michigan in the conference standings, Illinois has a good chance to win the Big Ten crown. However, its opportunity to beat the Wolverines outright was taken away because of COVID-19 issues.

Illinois will play five unranked teams before it closes out the season with Wisconsin and Ohio State, both on the road. If Illinois wins out, a No. 1 seed is on the table, as they already have seven "Quad 1" wins.

This week: at Nebraska, Northwestern

7. Missouri (13-3)

The Tigers picked up a big win over Alabama on Saturday but nearly blew a 22-point lead. The Tigers’ last three wins are by a combined 12 points, which shows they can win close games late.

The Tigers have a 4-3 record against "Quad 1" teams, and their strength of schedule is one of the best in the nation. They will likely only have one more chance to add to that before the season ends.

If they win out and end the season at 20-3, it should be enough to secure a No. 2 seed.

This week: at Ole Miss, Arkansas

8. West Virginia (14-5)

The Mountaineers are surging, and they picked up a big win Tuesday night against No. 7 Texas Tech. It was their third win in the last five games over a ranked opponent, including a one-point victory over the Red Raiders a few weeks ago.

West Virginia has now played 10 "Quad 1" teams and has a 5-5 record. More importantly, the Mountaineers have a strong schedule with no bad losses. With two more ranked opponents ahead, they have a chance to sneak up to a No. 2 seed.

This week: #12 Oklahoma

9. Alabama (16-5)

Alabama has played a solid schedule, and two of its five defeats have come on the road to ranked opponents, but the Tide has just one win over a ranked team.

The Tide has five "Quad 1" victories to three defeats, but its remaining schedule provides little opportunity to improve its résumé. The best Alabama can do is avoid another defeat.

This week: Georgia

10. Virginia (13-3)

The Cavaliers have just two "Quad 1" wins this season, thanks to a down ACC. Two of their defeats came to ranked teams, including Gonzaga, but a loss to San Francisco may hurt come seeding time.

With nine wins in their last 10 games, the Cavaliers have just one ranked opponent in their final seven games. If they can win out, they should be a lock for a No. 2 seed. That won’t be easy, however, as they are scheduled to play three games in the next six days.

This week: at Georgia Tech, North Carolina, at #17 Florida State