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2023 Faculty Basketball Energy Rankings: 3 groups have risen above the pack

A common theme in the weekly college basketball power rankings this season has been to expect the unexpected — and that parity rules. While that is the truth and there’s a wide-open nature to March that could produce historic levels of chaos, here’s a twist worth thinking about:There’s a clear-cut top three in the country:

2023 Faculty Basketball Energy Rankings: 3 groups have risen above the pack

A typical theme within the weekly college basketball energy rankings this season has been to count on the surprising — and that parity guidelines. Whereas that’s the reality and there is a wide-open nature to March that would produce historic ranges of chaos, here is a twist price serious about:

There is a clear-cut prime three within the nation: Houston, Alabama and Kansas.

Sure, that is completely different from the narrative of the season, however have a look at the best way these three groups have carried out this season. That is an affordable argument for every of them to have a stake as the highest crew within the nation. Wouldn’t it be a shock to see one other program rise to the highest and win all of it? In fact not. That is what makes March Insanity so watchable. However these groups have separated themselves, and here is why.

Whereas the narrative on Houston is that the Cougars haven’t been examined to the identical diploma as others as a result of they play within the American, Kelvin Sampson’s crew is 25-2 and ranks first within the NET rankings, in addition to analytics websites KenPom and T-Rank. Houston is the most secure wager to achieve the Elite Eight on the very least as a result of the Cougars lead the nation in scoring protection at 55.4 factors per sport — a system for successful in March. 

Named the No. 1 general seed within the NCAA Match choice committee’s top-16 reveal Saturday, Alabama has dominated the SEC with a 13-1 document, successful 11 of these video games by double-figures. The Crimson Tide bounced again from a loss to Tennessee with a 49-point win over Georgia on Saturday. I do not care who the opponent is: to beat an SEC crew by that margin is ridiculous. The Tide have the perfect all-around expertise within the sport in famous person freshman Brandon Miller. In addition they defend at a excessive stage and have a number of scoring choices with a veteran guard in Mark Sears to prepare them.

The third of those groups, Kansas, might need essentially the most ridiculous stat in school hoops related to them: The Jayhawks personal 13 wins over Quadrant 1 opponents. No one else in school basketball possesses greater than 9. On Saturday towards a Baylor crew that the committee had as a 2-seed in its reveal on Saturday, the Jayhawks trailed by 17 factors. The Bears had been beating them in all sides by way of 20 minutes. However then Invoice Self’s crew reminded all people what makes them so scary. Kansas outscored Baylor — sure, Baylor! — 55-26 within the second half behind Jalen Wilson and Dajuan Harris Jr. 

They flipped the sport on its head within the opening minutes of the second half and by no means regarded again with a raucous Allen Fieldhouse crowd solely including to the absurdity of the ultimate 20 minutes. Might the Jayhawks be the primary repeat champions since 2006 and 2007? Saturday made it really feel like that is very a lot on the desk.

This is my up to date prime 15 with simply three weeks remaining till Choice Sunday!

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1. Houston (25-2)

The Cougars swarmed Memphis defensively on Sunday, and a Tigers crew with out Kendric Davis was by no means capable of settle in. Houston pressured 18 turnovers whereas Marcus Sasser and J’wan Roberts every posted 20 factors in a 72-64 win. 

2. Alabama (23-4) 

Brandon Miller put up his tenth efficiency of 20-plus factors this season in Saturday’s 49-point win over Georgia, turning into the quickest Alabama participant to attain 500 profession factors. He joined Collin Sexton and James “Hollywood” Robinson as the one three Crimson Tide freshmen to achieve the mark.

3. Kansas (22-5)

Since becoming a member of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas had by no means overcome a double-digit halftime deficit and gained a sport by double-figures … till Saturday. One of many underrated issues that Invoice Self has carried out with this crew is getting KJ Adams to suit completely within the Jayhawks frontcourt. This isn’t a Kansas crew with an elite, true 5-man, however Adams (17 factors on Saturday) has crammed the position properly. The larger level: Harris Jr. is that this crew’s most vital participant. 

4. UCLA (23-4)

Jaime Jaquez Jr. is performing like one of many 5 greatest gamers in school basketball in current weeks. Over his final three video games, the senior wing is averaging 23.6 factors and 9.6 rebounds per contest. 

5. Purdue (24-4)

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The Boilermakers are coping with life because the hunted by way of the depth of the Big Ten. Matt Painter’s crew bounced again on Sunday, rolling previous lowly Ohio State as Zach Edey went for 26 and 11.

Maryland takes down Purdue

The Maryland Terrapins upset Purdue final week, prompting their followers to storm the court docket.

6. Texas (21-6) 

The Longhorns survived a scare towards Oklahoma earlier than pulling out an 85-83 additional time win on Saturday, displaying that there are actually no off days within the Massive 12. Sir’Jabari Rice has emerged as a key sixth man for Rodney Terry’s group, scoring 24 factors in two of the final three video games.

7. Baylor (20-7)

Though the Bears misplaced on Saturday, they nonetheless confirmed how harmful they could possibly be in March. It might be the perfect type of reward on the Massive 12 that this Baylor crew began 0-3 in convention play. With that backcourt, they may get scorching within the massive dance and win all of it. 

8. Arizona (24-4)

The Wildcats rolled to a 2-0 week within the Pac-12, with Oumar Ballo main them with 18 factors and 16 rebounds in a 78-68 win over Colorado on Saturday.

9. Miami (22-5)

The Hurricanes personal among the best three backcourts in school basketball. Whereas this top-10 rating could catch some without warning, it shouldn’t. They’ve gained six in a row behind Isaiah Wong and Nijel Pack, who mixed for 51 factors and 7 assists in Saturday’s victory over Wake Forest

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10. Marquette (21-6)

The Golden Eagles edged Xavier within the Big East sport of the 12 months to date, transferring into the driving force’s seat of the convention race at 13-3. An enormous sport comes Tuesday on FS1 at 8:30 p.m. ET, when Shaka Sensible’s crew visits Creighton, which sits at 12-4 together with Providence and Xavier. 

11. Creighton (18-9)

The Bluejays got here so shut to creating it 9 wins in a row, however fell simply brief to Windfall in double-overtime. There is a motive why the Friars have gained 17 consecutive house video games. Greg McDermott’s crew bounced again by successful at St. John’s on Saturday behind Arthur Kaluma, who had 13 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists. 

Creighton’s protection turns into offense

Arthur Kaluma flushed a pleasant two-handed jam towards St. John’s of their matchup on Saturday.

12. Virginia (21-4)

The Cavaliers gained two video games by a mixed 5 factors final week … over Louisville and Notre Dame. Their fashion of play and lack of offensive firepower may result in them getting picked off sooner than anticipated within the NCAA Match. That is why I’ve Miami forward of them out of the ACC. 

13. Indiana (19-8)

The Hoosiers have gained 9 of their final 11 video games and confirmed toughness in rallying again to beat Illinois on Saturday behind Trayce Jackson-Davis. The Indiana senior famous person put up 26 factors and 12 rebounds within the win, with 15 factors and 9 boards within the second half. Over the past 5 contests, TJD has posted 24.4 factors and 11.6 rebounds per sport, elevating his manufacturing because the plot of the season thickens to a constant All-American first-team stage.

14. Gonzaga (23-5)

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As a result of Drew Timme is a first-team All-American and Julian Strawther is such a matchup nightmare when he is in a rhythm, the Zags are a top-15 crew. The duo mixed for 62 factors and 14 rebounds in Saturday’s 97-88 win over Pepperdine

15. Kansas State (20-7)

Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson are one of many nation’s greatest duos, and the best way Jerome Tang has gotten this crew to at all times keep within the struggle has been admirable. Saturday didn’t begin effectively, because the Wildcats trailed Iowa State by eight on the half. However Nowell scored 18 within the remaining 20 minutes and Okay-State outscored the Cyclones 38-24 within the remaining body for the win. Are they worthy of staying on this top-15? We discover out this week after they host Baylor earlier than visiting Oklahoma State.

John Fanta is a nationwide school basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in a wide range of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Discipline of 68 Media Community. Observe him on Twitter at @John_Fanta.

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