Men’s College Basketball Power Rankings: Week 17 (2021-22)

Mar 3, 2022 - 1:58 PM

First of all, welcome to March! After a wacky wavy inflatable armed tubed man-level of a college basketball week, how can I even do the power rankings? There were some ridiculous results this week, and a lot to unpack which is a reminder of the parity in college basketball. Gonzaga, Arizona, and Kentucky were all previously in my top tier. Now, it’s mostly a hodge-podge of teams in one top tier. Momentum and consistency are always important for the tournament but remember that there are still a million other factors to consider besides how a team is playing recently, so don’t overreact too much, even though it was an insane weekend.    

When I write these college basketball rankings, I write them based on how teams are in the moment, rather than based on where I expect them to be come tournament time. I will mention my anticipation of future positive or negative regression, but the rankings themselves simply express teams’ rankings to date. Let’s take a look at rankings.

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College Basketball Power Rankings Week 17

Team (AP Rank) Rank (Δ) Last Week This Week Notes
Gonzaga (1) 1 W @ San Francisco 89-73; L @ Saint Mary’s 67-57 Gonzaga loses but still stays as my number one team in the nation. 
Kentucky (7) 2 (+1)  W vs. LSU 71-66; L @ Arkansas 75-73 vs. Ole Miss (Mar 1st); @ Florida (Mar 5th) Kentucky fully healthy is the second-best team in the nation.
Arizona (2) 3 (-1) W @ Utah 97-77; L @ Colorado 79-63 @ USC (Mar 1st); vs. (Mar 3rd); vs. California (Mar 5th) Three games in one week is a lot, especially after a strange loss to Colorado. We will see if Arizona can bounce back.
Duke (4) W @ Virginia 65-61; W @ Syracuse 97-72 @ Pittsburgh (Mar 1st); vs. UNC (Mar 5th) Duke didn’t lose this week but I’m still out on their consistency. Trying to get a ticket to the UNC game? Might be tough. 
Auburn (5) 5 (+1) W vs. Ole Miss 77-64; L @ Tennessee 67-62 @ Mississippi State (Mar 2nd); vs. South Carolina (Mar 5th) A road loss in a game where they weren’t favored isn’t much to bring down the Tigers compared to how every other team played this week.
Baylor (3) 6 (+4) W vs. Kansas 80-70 W @ Texas 68-61 vs. Iowa State (Mar 5th) Baylor impressed against Kansas but I am still hesitant on them considering their injuries. 
Kansas (6) 7 (-2) W vs. Kansas State 102-83; L @ Baylor 80-70 @ TCU (Mar 1st); vs. TCU (Mar 3rd); vs. Texas (Mar 5th) Playing on the road in the Big 12 is always tough, this Kansas team is legitimate. 
Texas Tech (12) 8 (-1) W vs. Oklahoma 66-42; L @ TCU 69-66; W vs. Kansas State 73-68 @ Oklahoma State (Mar 5th) Kevin McCullar surprisingly didn’t play against Kansas State. Their loss against TCU was not a good one considering they more or less gave it away.
Providence (9)  9(+2) W vs. Xavier 99-92; W vs. Creighton 72-51 @ Villanova (Mar 1st) Congratulations to Ed Cooley for leading Providence to their first-ever Big East regular-season championship. 
Purdue (8) 10 (+1)  L @ Michigan State 68-65 @ Wisconsin (Mar 1st); vs. Indiana (Mar 5th) Purdue loses on a last-second three. Their last two games of the year will be electric. 
Wisconsin (10) 11 (+1) W @ Minnesota 68-67; W @ Rutgers 66-61 vs. Purdue (Mar 1st); vs. Nebraska (Mar 6th) Wisconsin’s game against Purdue could be for the number-one seed in the Big Ten. 
Villanova (11) 12 (-3) L @ UConn 71-69 vs. Providence (Mar 1st); @ Butler (Mar 5th) Villanova’s home game against Providence could be the game of the year. 
Tennessee (13) 13 (+5) W @ Missouri 80-61; W vs. Auburn 67-62 @ Georgia (Mar 1st); vs. Arkansas (Mar 5th) Tennessee is really coming to form, and at the perfect time too. 
Houston (14) 14 (+1) W @ Tulane 81-67; W vs. SMU 75-61 vs. Cincinnati (Mar 1st); vs. Temple (Mar 3rd) Houston isn’t a top-tier team necessarily, but they are starting to find their form again. 
Arkansas (14)  15 (+7)  W @ Florida 82-74; W vs. Kentucky 75-73 vs. LSU (Mar 2nd); @ Tennessee (Mar 5th) With their last three wins, Arkansas deserves a big bump in the rankings.
UCLA (17) 16 (-3) L @ Oregon 68-63; W @ Oregon State 94-55; W @ Washington vs. USC (Mar 5th) UCLA has the talent but cannot seem to put it all together this year. 
Illinois (20) 17 (-2) L vs. Ohio State 86-83; W @ Michigan 93-85 vs. Penn State (Mar 3rd); vs. Iowa (Mar 6th) When fully healthy, Illinois is a top-10 team in the nation. 
UConn (18) 18 (+2) W vs. Villanova 71-69; W @ Georgetown 86-77 @ Creighton (Mar 2nd); vs. DePaul (Mar 5th) UConn appears to be a great team poised to make a Final Four run. 
Murray State (22) 19 (-2)  W vs. Belmont 76-43; W @ Southeast Missouri State 70-68 A two-point game against SE Missouri State is not promising, but an absolute stomping of Belmont is. 
Texas (21) 20   W vs. TCU 75-66; W @ West Virginia 82-81; L vs. Baylor 68-61 @ Kansas (Mar 5th) The Longhorns complete their season with an incredibly difficult road game against Kansas. 
Iowa (24) 21 (+3) W vs. Michigan State 86-60; W @ Nebraska 88-78; W vs. Northwestern 82-61 @ Michigan (Mar 3rd); @ Illinois (Mar 6th) Iowa is one of the hottest teams in the nation, ranking 6th in the nation in efficiency since February 1st. 
Ohio State (23) 22 (-5) W @ Illinois 86-83; L @ Maryland 75-60 vs. Nebraska (Mar 1st); vs. Michigan State (Mar 3rd); vs. Michigan (Mar 6th) Ohio State is a weird team. How do you lose to Maryland?!
Saint Mary’s (19) 23 (+3) W @ San Diego 60-46; W vs. Gonzaga 67-57 Saint Mary’s claims quite possibly the best win out there entering the WCC tournament. 
USC (16) 24 W @ Washington State 94-91; W @ Oregon 70-69 vs. Arizona (Mar 1st); @ UCLA (Mar 5th) I simply cannot trust this team. They end the year with the top two Pac-12 teams. 


25 (-1) W @ Duquesne 74-50; W vs. Fordham 66-45 vs. George Mason (Mar 2nd); @ Dayton (Mar 5th) Davidson’s offense might be one of the most exciting offenses to watch in the nation. 


  • Dropped from Rankings: Wyoming
  • Next Up: Alabama

Movers & Shakers

Oh boy, where to begin? Basically, every top-10 team lost this past week so it was almost a mulligan week. Duke and Baylor were some of the few top teams to go undefeated this week, and I have to give Baylor credit for a revenge victory over Kansas despite not being at full strength. I gave Kentucky a boost in the ranking because they are oh so close to being fully healthy. And when they are, they are simply the second-best team in the nation for me. A road, one-possession loss against Arkansas is not that bad of a loss at all.   

Tennessee has officially entered the championship discussion. Kennedy Chandler can lead this team, along with their dynamic athleticism and suffocating defense, and that is what we saw when they clawed their way to a victory over Auburn. Providence continues to pull off close games, and I have to imagine it will come back to bite them in the tournament. USC is another team that has been playing dangerously of late, scraping by lowly teams. If there is any team I am absolutely loving right now though, it has to be Iowa

And-One Focus

I figured to give a focus on a team each week that should be on everyone’s radar come tourney time. This week’s focus: Iowa.  

After going 7-1 for the month of February, the Hawkeyes have shot up the rankings, cementing themselves in the tournament. Their only loss came to Michigan, where they still averaged 1.04 points per possession – essentially their floor. Keegan Murray is absolutely in the discussion for Naismith Player of the Year and is absolutely capable of taking over any game. I almost have more trust in this team than last year’s team simply because of their ability to keep their offense dynamic. The only thing that concerns me is Iowa’s defense, which was shown in losses against Penn State, and the inability to keep up with an even more elite offense in suffering a sweep against Purdue. This is absolutely a Final Four team, and we will see just how legitimate they are in these final two regular-season games, along with the Big Ten tournament.      

Covid-19 and Injuries

While there is absolutely light at the end of the tunnel with fewer teams needing to go on pause due to covid, it is still imperative to remember the impact the pandemic and injuries had on teams during the season. I am going to include this reminder in each one of my power rankings from here out, as a reminder that some teams’ losses in December do not equate to how they will perform in March, for countless reasons.

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