Arizona, Baylor rise in first men’s college basketball Power 36 of March

Arizona, Baylor rise in first men’s college basketball Power 36 of March

The first week of March featured more upsets and breath-taking moments as the competition amps up — inching closer and closer to Selection Sunday on March 17. Andy Katz is back to break down his latest Power 36 rankings.


Power 36 | March 4

1. Houston (1): The Cougars’ Jamal Shead hit the game winner at Oklahoma to keep Houston in pursuit of the Big 12 title.
2. UConn (2): The Huskies got the outright Big East title with a win over Seton Hall.
3. Purdue (3): The Boilermakers clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title.
4. Iowa State (4): The Cyclones are peaking at the right time for a potential deep March run.
5. Tennessee (5): The Vols had a tremendous week with wins over Auburn and Alabama.
6. Arizona (8): The Wildcats have hit reset and bounced back to be on schedule still for a No. 1 seed.
7. Baylor (9): The Bears got revenge against Kansas and are primed for a Big 12 tournament run.
8. Kentucky (10): The Wildcats continue to show they can score at will.
9. North Carolina (12): The Tar Heels are in position to be a high 2 or a No. 1 seed in two weeks.
10. Duke (13): The Blue Devils destroyed Virginia and are ready to earn a piece of the ACC regular-season title with two wins this week.
11. Illinois (14): The Illini beat Minnesota by scoring over 100 and then went to Madison and got an impressive road win.
12. Creighton (15): The Bluejays have the offense to reach the Big East title game and beyond in March.
13. Marquette (7): The Golden Eagles lost to Creighton with a depleted roster. Big week ahead with a showdown with UConn.
14. Alabama (11): The Tide hung with the Vols and are still in contention for a top-two SEC finish.
15. South Carolina (32): The Gamecocks are back to being in the chase for a top-two seed in the SEC tournament.
16. South Florida (17): The Bulls are the outright American champs.
17. Gonzaga (19): The Zags won at Saint Mary’s and should be a lock for the NCAA tournament.
18. Washington State (18): The Cougars got a home sweep of the LA schools to remain tied with Arizona atop the Pac-12.
19. Saint Mary’s (16): The Gaels dropped their first game in the WCC, but still won the league outright.
20. BYU (34): The Cougars won two in a row, including at Kansas, to jump into the top four in the Big 12.
21. Auburn (26): The Tigers bounced back with a dominating win over Mississippi State.
22. Utah State (24): The Aggies head into the final week on a three-game win streak and a chance to win the MWC outright.
23. Florida (20): The Gators lost at South Carolina but have a monster showdown with Alabama this week.
24. San Diego State (25): The Aztecs finished with a road game at UNLV and a home game against Boise State in an attempt to still get a piece of the MWC title.
25. Kansas (6): The Jayhawks are hanging on by a thread in the top 25 with losses to BYU and at Baylor. Kevin McCullar Jr. not playing against BYU was a difference maker. He returned for the Baylor game.
26. Nebraska (22): The Huskers lost to suddenly hot Ohio State on the road but then bounced Rutgers in their home finale to finish 18-1 in Lincoln this season.
27. Richmond (NR): The Spiders are alone in first place in the A-10 after a win over VCU.
28. Loyola Chicago (23): The Ramblers beat Dayton at home after losing at St. Bonaventure. The Ramblers are a game back of Richmond with two to play.
29. Boise State (29): The Broncos have won five in a row after knocking off New Mexico.
30. Iowa (NR): The Hawkeyes are making a late push for an NCAA tournament berth with a road win at Northwestern. A huge home game against Illinois is up this week.
31. Indiana State (NR): The Sycamores won the Missouri Valley Conference outright, only the third Valley title ever in program history.
32. Northwestern (28): The Wildcats are the walking wounded. They found a way to win at Maryland without Ryan Langborg but couldn’t beat Iowa after Langborg still was out and then Matt Nicholson got hurt, too.
33. Nevada (NR): The Wolf Pack have won five in a row and are a game out of first in the MWC.
34. Villanova (NR): The Wildcats are trending toward a bid again with a road win at Providence.
35. Syracuse (NR): The Orange have won four in a row and could help their tournament chances with a road win at Clemson.
36. Princeton (NR): The Tigers are atop the Ivy with Yale and are riding an eight-game win streak.

Top 10 games to watch 

1. North Carolina at Duke, Saturday: This is the greatest rivalry in men’s college basketball. If Duke beats NC State and the Tar Heels take down Notre Dame, then the ACC regular-season title could be shared heading into the ACC tournament.

2. Purdue at Illinois, Tuesday: If Illinois takes down Purdue, that means the Illini could get a piece of the Big Ten title with a win at Iowa and a Purdue loss to Wisconsin. It’s a bit of reach, but it’s plausible.

3. Kentucky at Tennessee, Saturday: The SEC title could be decided by the time this game is played. But it doesn’t matter. This should be a monster showdown and a possible SEC tournament title preview, depending on the bracket.

4. Tennessee at South Carolina, Wednesday: The Gamecocks, led by potential national coach of the year Lamont Paris, are a game back of the Vols and tied with Alabama for second in the SEC.

5. Illinois at Iowa, Sunday: The Illini could be playing for a piece of the Big Ten regular-season title. Iowa could need this win to move into the field.

6. UConn at Marquette, Wednesday: The Huskies have already won the Big East outright. The Golden Eagles need to get healthy for the Big East and NCAA tournaments. A win over the Huskies would do wonders for Marquette’s momentum.

7. Alabama at Florida, Tuesday: The Gators could use this home win to lock in a bid and not have to sweat Selection Sunday one bit.

8. UConn at Providence, Saturday: All the pressure is on the Friars. If Providence can pull off the upset then they could be back in play for a bid.

9. Clemson at Wake Forest, Saturday: The Demon Deacons need this win over Clemson to get back on the right side of the bubble. The Tigers are in need of another win to improve its seeding.

10. New Mexico at Utah State, Saturday: The Lobos need to make up for the loss to Air Force with a road win in Logan. That would do wonders for the Lobos’ NCAA bid.

March Madness National Team of the Week

Tennessee: The Vols are now the top team in the SEC after getting through the state of Alabama. Dalton Knecht, a lock to be a first-team all-American after transferring from Northern Colorado, scored 39 in a 92-84 win over Auburn. And then the Vols beat Alabama 81-74 in a showdown in Tuscaloosa. The Vols still have to take care of business at South Carolina and against Kentucky, which is arguably one of the toughest finishes of any high-major conference title favorite. The Vols are still within reach of a potential No. 1 seed in March Madness.

March Madness National Player of the Week

RJ Davis, North Carolina: Davis is a lock for first-team all-American status. He continues to be a bucket-getter for the Tar Heels, putting up 42 points, six rebounds, four steals and just two turnovers in a 75-71 win over Miami. Davis followed that up with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and one turnover in a 79-70 win over NC State. The senior guard has led the Tar Heels to the top of the ACC and potentially to a No. 1 seed if UNC can win the ACC outright and then potentially the ACC tournament.

Related Articles