These power rankings take into account the current top-25 teams and their performance against other ranked opponents. The formula is pretty straightforward: A victory earns a team 3 points, a tie gets 1 point, and if one team beats up on another then that counts as 2 (Example: Kansas beating Texas Tech would count as 5). This system rewards consistency over single performances; not every win will be worth three points but those who consistently rack up wins all year should rank higher than those with an uneven schedule.
The “NCAA basketball power rankings 2021” is a blog that ranks the top teams in college basketball. The rankings are based on how well each team has been doing so far this season. Read more in detail here: ncaa basketball power rankings 2021.
We have our first No. 1 debate less than three weeks into the 2021-22 collegiate basketball season.
Gonzaga’s dominance against Texas and UCLA made it appear improbable that the Zags would surrender the top place very soon. Duke, on the other hand, displayed a level of skill, toughness, and talent that Gonzaga hadn’t seen since last year’s national championship game against Baylor, and the Blue Devils beat Gonzaga in Las Vegas. Following last week’s defeats by Kansas and UCLA, a clear two-team contest for the top place emerged: Duke vs. Purdue.
Purdue seemed like a serious national title candidate two weeks ago, when the Boilermakers won back-to-back games at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
This week, though, we’re going to give Duke a tiny advantage. The logic is straightforward: Duke’s triumphs against Gonzaga and Kentucky are somewhat more remarkable than Purdue’s wins over Villanova and North Carolina. So far, I like Duke a little bit more on a qualitative level.
In an ideal world, Duke and Purdue would have faced each other in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge this week. Although this is not the case, both teams will be put to the test. The Blue Devils will meet Ohio State in Columbus, while Purdue will host Florida State.
It’s rare that a club beats the country’s No. 1 team and then rises to the top of the Power Rankings, so picking someone other than the Blue Devils for Team of the Week is difficult.
Gonzaga hadn’t lost a regular-season game since the 2019-20 season, had thrashed top-5 opponents Texas and UCLA earlier this season, and held a nine-point lead over Duke at the start of the game. In the first few weeks of the season, we’ve been fortunate to have multiple blockbuster matches, but Friday’s game felt different. Even on television, the excitement in Las Vegas was palpable, with the stadium seeming to be on the verge of erupting after each basket.
And Duke lived up to his reputation. In their victory against Gonzaga, the Blue Devils were outstanding, with Paolo Banchero having one of the finest first-half performances we’ve seen from a rookie in a long time. Mark Williams had a first-round performance, restraining Drew Timme on one end while scoring 17 points on the other. Wendell Moore Jr. maintained his strong junior season with 20 points and six assists, most of which came after Banchero was forced to exit the game due to cramping. Trevor Keels provided six assists and was a defensive force, while Jeremy Roach produced clutch plays late in the game. Off the Blue Devils bench, even Joey Baker and Theo John had their moments.
It was one of the most complete performances we’ve seen from a squad this season, particularly in such a crucial game against such a strong opponent.
After the departure of multiple seniors, Greg Gard needed someone to step up and become a go-to player this season, and Davis has definitely done so. He didn’t start a single game last season, but in the first month of this season, he has emerged as one of the nation’s greatest breakthrough stars. Davis established career highs in points on two different occasions while helping Wisconsin win the Maui Invitational last week.
Davis scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first game against Texas A&M, then added 30 points, four rebounds, and four steals in the shock win against Houston. Davis made several key plays down the line to help Wisconsin stave off the Cougars’ second-half rally and secure the win. Davis had his poorest game against Saint Mary’s in the championship game, but he still ended with 20 points and seven rebounds.
Another note on Davis: Wisconsin’s lone loss this season (to Providence on Nov. 15) occurred while Davis was out due to a lower-body injury.
Week’s Win: Dayton 74, Kansas 73
Dayton entered the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando, Florida, on the heels of three straight losses at home to UMass-Lowell, Lipscomb, and Austin Peay. Three games later, the Flyers had won the tournament, with one of the finest wins of the season, a thrilling 74-73 victory against Kansas at the buzzer.
Early on against the Jayhawks, it seemed like Bill Self’s squad was going about their business as usual. Kansas had an early 13-2 lead and led by 10 at halftime. Dayton, on the other hand, came out of halftime on a 16-1 run to grab the lead. Even when Kansas seemed to be closing in on a victory with a 12-2 run late in the game — a stretch sparked by many Dayton errors — the Flyers never gave up.
With 45 seconds remaining, the Jayhawks came back down and delivered the ball inside to David McCormack after Malachi Smith trimmed Kansas’ advantage to one. With less than 20 seconds remaining, McCormack committed an offensive foul and handed the ball back to Dayton. Mustapha Amzil collected the loose ball, drove across the lane, and lofted a high-arcing shot that struck the rim and the backboard before dropping into the basket.
The HP Field House exploded, Dick Vitale went berserk, and we saw one of the most memorable events of the 2021-22 college basketball season so far.
AT THE BUZZER, DAYTON STUNS No. 4 KANSAS.
The Flyers haven’t won a top-5 game since 1984. pic.twitter.com/IWgGZfpzQh
November 26, 2021 — ESPN (@espn)
Iowa State (6-0) has already surpassed its previous season’s victory total. That may be the most succinct way to describe Otzelberger’s influence on the Cyclones since taking over for Steve Prohm last spring. Otzelberger was expected to take a couple of years to turn things around in Ames, but Iowa State is already on the rise after only one month of the season.
The Cyclones experienced one of the most shocking weeks in the nation, traveling to Brooklyn, New York, as the lone non-Top 25 team in the NIT Season Tip-Off and winning both games by a combined 31 points. They won their first game by a 12-point margin against Xavier, with to Penn State transfer Izaiah Brockington’s 30 points and freshman Tyrese Hunter’s 19 points. The eye-opener, though, occurred on Friday night, when Iowa State thrashed Memphis by 19 points. Gabe Kalscheur, a Minnesota transfer, scored 30 points, and the Cyclones forced 22 Memphis turnovers.
These two victories should reverberate, and Iowa State’s guards will keep the Cyclones competitive on most Big 12 nights. It’s a huge improvement from last season’s two-win record.
Three groups were given questions.
What’s going on with Dana Altman’s Oregon Ducks? The Ducks have dropped their last three games against Division I opponents, and they have looked terrible in the process. There was the 32-point loss to BYU, the 12-point loss to Saint Mary’s, and the 29-point win against Houston. In all three games, Oregon scored less than 0.80 points per possession and didn’t score more than 20 points in the first half.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights: After ending their lengthy NCAA tournament drought last season, the Scarlet Knights have gone plummeting back to Earth. They’ve now dropped three straight games, to DePaul, Lafayette, and UMass, with Saturday’s loss to the Minutemen coming on a last-second 3-pointer. With Clemson, Illinois, Purdue, and Seton Hall on the schedule over the next two weeks, things aren’t going to get any easier.
Most of the ACC: The entire ACC has just one victory against a club rated in the top 70 at KenPom heading into Thanksgiving. Over the weekend, that figure tripled, thanks to Duke’s victory over Gonzaga and Louisville’s victories over Mississippi State and Maryland. The remainder of the league, on the other hand, has failed to impress. Except for Duke, every team has at least one loss, while nine teams have two or more.
Duke Blue Devils, No. 1 (7-0) Previous position: 5 This week, I’ll be at Ohio State (Tuesday)
We’ve already discussed Duke a few times in this article, so let’s take a look at one of the team’s lesser-known players: Jeremy Roach. Roach, a former five-star recruit who started every game as a freshman and played at least 33 minutes in five of the team’s first seven games this season, hasn’t had much of an effect in terms of points and assists. Roach’s finest quality in high school was undoubtedly his confidence and tenacity late in games, as well as his winning attitude. On Friday, this was clear against Gonzaga. Roach didn’t have a great offensive night, going 3-for-13 from the field with one assist, but he did make a driving layup with 42 seconds remaining to give Duke a three-point lead, and then converted a free throw with one second left to secure the victory. In seven games this season, Roach has 23 assists, 11 turnovers, and nine steals.
Purdue Boilermakers, No. 2 (6-0) Previous position: 4 against. Florida State (Tuesday), vs. Iowa (Wednesday) (Friday)
Caleb Furst of Purdue hasn’t gotten enough national recognition when it comes to freshman. He’s started each of the Boilermakers’ first six games, adding a new dimension to Matt Painter’s frontcourt. The 6-foot-10 lefty has scored in double figures three times, grabbed at least eight rebounds four times, and contributed on defense on four occasions. More crucially, he has made four 3-pointers in his last four games, for a season-high 40% success rate. Furst’s ability to step out and pull defenders away from double-teaming Zach Edey and Trevion Williams on the block has been important to Purdue’s attack. After missing the first four games of the season, Mason Gillis, who started at forward last season, has returned to the club, although Furst has held his starting role.
Gonzaga Bulldogs, No. 3 (6-1) 1st place previously This week: Tarleton State (Monday), Alabama (Wednesday) (Saturday)
Make sure to check out ESPN’s college basketball team’s detailed coverage of Duke’s triumph against Gonzaga late Friday night. But there was one aspect of the game that I wanted to highlight: Gonzaga’s turnovers and 3-point shooting woes, since those are two areas where opponents may seek to target the Zags in the future. Gonzaga turned the ball over 17 times, compared to Duke’s eight turnovers. Instead of the Zags running out and scoring easy points in transition, where they are so dangerous, Duke took advantage of Gonzaga’s live-ball mistakes and terrible transition defense. Gonzaga was forced to play in the half court offensively, as the Blue Devils aggressively guarded Andrew Nembhard off of ball screens and had Mark Williams guarding the rim. Gonzaga had to make shots from the outside as a result, and they didn’t fall Friday night. The Zags were just 6-for-21 from three-point range.
Baylor Bears (#4) (7-0) Previous position: 7 This week’s game is against Arkansas Pine Bluff (Saturday)
Despite losing four starters from last season’s national championship squad, see who’s back in the top five. Following victories against Stanford, Arizona State, VCU, and Michigan State, Baylor makes the jump after playing four top-100 opponents in one week and looking very dominating. With a 17-point win against the Spartans, the Bears won the Battle 4 Atlantis title. The early-season success of freshman wing Kendall Brown, who has scored in double digits in all seven games this season while missing just 16 shots, has been one of the larger headlines for Baylor this season. He’s been a force on defense, dishing out 10 assists in a game against Nicholls State earlier this season, and hitting four 3-pointers. Moving ahead, his length and two-way abilities will be crucial.
UCLA Bruins, No. 5 (6-1) 3rd place before. This week: at Washington (Wednesday), vs. Colorado (Wednesday) (Sunday)
Given all that occurred during the later parts of Feast Week, UCLA’s 20-point defeat against Gonzaga seems like a lifetime ago, but the Bruins’ defense is worth a few comments. Gonzaga demolished UCLA, particularly in transition, with Andrew Nembhard doing anything he wanted with the ball. Gonzaga scored more than 1.17 points per possession than UCLA. Villanova scored 1.05 points per possession and shot over 46 percent from 3-point range in an overtime defeat to UCLA earlier this season. UCLA’s defense might be an issue, since the Bruins struggled on that end of the court until the NCAA tournament finals last season. Prior to meeting Abilene Christian in the NCAA tournament second round, the Bruins had allowed at least 1.03 points per possession in six consecutive games.
Villanova Wildcats, No. 6 (4-2) Previous position: 8 This week: vs. Saint Joseph’s at Penn (Wednesday) (Saturday)
This week, Villanova just played one game, an easy victory against La Salle at The Palestra. However, there were a handful of notable personnel developments for Jay Wright’s Wildcats. Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, who came off the bench for six minutes against the Explorers, was one of them. Cosby-Roundtree was not anticipated to participate this season after undergoing numerous leg operations throughout his collegiate career. Whatever he contributes this season will be a bonus, but he’s a seasoned veteran who stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 250 pounds and is a strong defender. Trey Patterson, on the other hand, was given a larger role off the bench. Wright has spoken about attempting to get Patterson more playing time, and the large margin of victory on Sunday undoubtedly helped. Patterson did not score in his 15 minutes on the floor, but he provides excellent size and variety in the frontcourt.
Kansas Jayhawks, No. 7 (5-1) Previous position: 2 This week, we’ll be at St. John’s (Friday)
The Jayhawks’ season-opening victory against Michigan State looks more impressive now than it did three weeks ago, so they don’t fall too much in the rankings. Bill Self has to get Jalen Wilson going for Kansas to live up to its preseason expectations. The sophomore forward was banned for the first three games of the season, and in his three games back, he has been mostly ineffective. Against North Texas, he scored seven points, five rebounds, and four assists, but against Dayton and Iona, he only had six points on ten shots. With his stature and diversified offensive skill set, this is a guy that averaged almost 12 and eight last season, causing matchup concerns. Wilson may be shaking off some rust or just isn’t as successful coming off the bench this season, but a return to last season’s form is critical for Kansas.
Longhorns of Texas, No. 8 (4-1) Previous position: 9 against. Sam Houston State (Monday), vs. UT Rio Grande Valley (Wednesday) (Friday)
It’s understandable that Chris Beard is still toying with his lineups. He brought Andrew Jones off the bench instead of retaining him in the starting lineup a few of games ago, and it worked nicely against San Jose State and Cal Baptist. Jones scored 13 points and three steals in the victory against San Jose State, then 15 points and five assists against Cal Baptist. That came after he scored nine points on 12 shots in games against Gonzaga and Northern Colorado. After starting the first two games, Christian Bishop has come off the bench in the last three, averaging 10 points and 4.7 rebounds as a reserve, compared to 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds as a starter. The next stage will be to include Vanderbilt transfer Dylan Disu into the lineup.
Arkansas Razorbacks, No. 9 (6-0) Previous position: 10 vs. Central Arkansas (Wednesday), against. Little Rock (Friday) (Saturday)
Au’Diese Toney wasn’t the most well-publicized of the Razorbacks’ offseason moves, with Chris Lykes and Stanley Umude getting more attention. And Toney didn’t receive much early-season attention because to JD Notae’s strong scoring figures and Lykes’ success as a sixth man. Toney, on the other hand, has been a wonderful match for Eric Musselman’s system, filling the position of an undersized 4-man. He scored 13 points and nine rebounds against Kansas State, 19 points and nine rebounds against Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame Classic championship game, and a respectable 12 points against Penn on Sunday. Last week, Toney got 14 offensive rebounds in three games and is shooting over 64% from inside the arc. Toney is the latest in a long line of talented wings and forwards for Musselman.
Wildcats of Kentucky, No. 10 (5-1) Previous position: 11 This week’s matchup is against Central Michigan (Monday)
As his high school career proceeded, Daimion Collins surged up the recruiting rankings, and he has continued that momentum into his freshman season in Lexington. His highlight-reel performances in practice generated positive preseason talk, and he has showed glimpses of it through six games. Collins made his first start against North Florida last week, scoring 12 points, grabbing six boards, and blocking a shot — but his length and explosiveness on both sides of the court were key. Given Oscar Tshiebwe’s strength and domination on the glass and in the paint, he makes for a fascinating foil next to him. Collins got the start because Keion Brooks Jr. was absent with a sickness, but it’s a fun option for John Calipari to deploy even if Brooks returns.
The Cougars of BYU are ranked 11th in the country (6-0) 14th place before. This week’s games are at Utah Valley (Wednesday) and Missouri State (Friday) (Saturday)
BYU’s previous victories against San Diego State and Oregon have lost some of their shine, since both teams haven’t looked as impressive as projected so far. However, the Cougars continue to impress, as seen by their 11-point victory against in-state foe Utah on Saturday. Alex Barcello has been outstanding, but the acquisition of Milwaukee transfer Te’Jon Lucas in the summer has been critical to BYU’s early success. Lucas began his career as a part-time starter at Illinois before establishing himself at Milwaukee for two seasons. However, his presence in Provo has provided Mark Pope with a legitimate facilitator at the point of attack, allowing Barcello to concentrate on scoring and shooting. Last week, Lucas scored 18 points in both games, and he has 30 assists to just 10 mistakes on the season. He’s also hitting more than 46 percent from three-point range, up from 27.5 percent last season (although it could be the result of a small sample size).
Arizona Wildcats, No. 12 (6-0) 15th place before. This week: at Oregon State (Thursday), vs. Washington (Thursday) (Sunday)
Christian Koloko’s development as a true force on both ends of the floor has been one of Tommy Lloyd’s most important achievements in his first six games as head coach. Koloko had shown glimpses of his potential throughout his first two seasons in Tucson, adding strength and muscle while developing a more well-rounded skill set than he had coming out of high school. As a junior, though, it’s all coming together. Koloko, who stands 7 feet 1 inches tall, is one of the best shot-blockers in the nation, with at least four swats in four of his last six games. But it’s his offensive development that elevates Arizona’s offense to the next level. He dominated against Michigan, scoring 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting in a head-to-head matchup with Hunter Dickinson, and then adding 20 points against Sacramento State over the weekend. Koloko has now scored 13 points in five consecutive games.
Gators of Florida, No. 13 (6-0) Previous position: Waiting in the lobby This week’s destination is Oklahoma (Wednesday)
The preseason talk in Gainesville was primarily about Charleston Southern transfer Phlandrous Fleming Jr., a great two-way player in the Big South who was adjusting well to life in the SEC. But that wasn’t the case during the season’s first two games, when Fleming came off the bench to score 13 points on 14 shots in victories over Elon and Florida State. Maybe the glitz of the preseason had worn off? Not so fast, my friend. Fleming has made strides over the previous four games, including 19 points and four steals against Ohio State last week. Fleming has scored in double digits in four consecutive games, and he started against Troy on Sunday, averaging 11 points, six rebounds, two assists, one block, and a steal in 24 minutes.
Tennessee Volunteers (14). (4-1) Previous position: Waiting in the lobby This week: Presbyterian (Tuesday), Colorado (Wednesday) (Saturday)
Rick Barnes relies on freshmen more than other SEC coaches, which is noteworthy in these era of quick-fix transfers. As predicted, Kennedy Chandler starts at point guard for Tennessee, but Zakai Zeigler is playing a greater role than most expected, and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield was a crucial contributor in the Volunteers’ weekend victory against Tennessee Tech. Chandler has recovered well from his Villanova problems, while Zeigler has played at least 26 minutes in back-to-back games, averaging 22 points, nine assists, and one turnover. Huntley-Hatfield dominated Tennessee’s preseason scrimmage, but he hadn’t put up numbers like that until this week. Against Tennessee Tech, he scored 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Jahmai Mashack, another rookie, hasn’t played as much as the others, but he is in the rotation.
Spartans of Michigan State (5-2) Unranked in the previous ranking against. Louisville (Wednesday), vs. Toledo (Friday) (Saturday)
Following Michigan State’s season-opening defeat to Kansas, there were serious doubts about the Spartans’ ability to compete this season. Was there a reliable point guard on the team? Offensively, is he a go-to guy? Which of the returnees would be the first to take the essential step forward? While not all of Tom Izzo’s questions have been addressed, his squad is far more optimistic today than it was three weeks ago. At the Battle 4 Atlantis last week, the Spartans defeated Loyola Chicago and UConn before falling to Baylor. Gabe Brown has consistently scored in double figures, A.J. Hoggard has been a competent facilitator, and Malik Hall has had a handful of game-changing performances. When Max Christie establishes himself as a scorer and Tyson Walker becomes more consistent and aggressive at point guard, this team’s true potential will be seen.
Houston Cougars (#16) (5-1) Previous position: 13 against. Northwestern State (Tuesday), vs. Bryant (Wednesday) (Friday)
Houston is still capable of becoming the top defensive team in the nation — the Cougars are ranked first in adjusted defensive efficiency at KenPom — but the Cougars have already had two head-scratching performances in their first six games. The first occurred in the season opener against Hofstra, when they needed to rally to overcome the Pride and giving up 75 points on 63 possessions. The second occurred in the Maui Invitational versus Wisconsin, but Houston’s comeback attempt fell short. Both teams approached offense in different ways, but the most important thing they had in common was taking care of the ball. Only 15.5 percent of Hofstra’s possessions were turned over, while 14.3 percent of Wisconsin’s possessions were handed over. Last season, both would have been among the top five opponents in that category.
Memphis Tigers (No. 6), Alabama Crimson Tide (No. 12), and Seton Hall Pirates all dropped out (No. 16)
Waiting in the lobby
USC Trojans: The Trojans won their first game of the season on Friday, defeating San Diego State by 15 points while keeping the Aztecs to to 43 points in the first half. Andy Enfield’s club hasn’t let up a single point per possession to any of its first six opponents. The game against Washington State on Saturday promises to be exciting.
UConn Huskies: The Huskies faced hardship in the Bahamas for a week, and although their results were uneven, they showed plenty of courage. Between the double-overtime triumph over Auburn and the overtime victory over VCU, there was a close defeat to Michigan State. Moving ahead, the objective is to take care of the ball and make shots from the outside.
LSU Tigers: The Tigers didn’t get much attention this week, but they had a quietly excellent week. They won the Emerald Coast Classic after defeating Belmont by 30 points and then defeating Penn State and Wake Forest. Tari Eason has been one of the finest sixth man in the country so far this season, averaging three double-doubles in seven games. Against Penn State, he had 20 and nine points, respectively.
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The “ncaa basketball rankings top 100” is a list of the best college basketball teams in the country. The list is updated weekly and includes schools from all divisions.
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