9. Louisville - Nothing like playing Duke to get the offense going.
8. Baylor - 1-1 week was no surprise and quite frankly, that's a good week in the Big XII when both your games are on the road. All that said, don't be surprised if this week was the high water mark in their season.
7. North Carolina - Nice win over a surging Florida State team. Based on schedule, have as good a chance as any to win the ACC. Notre Dame is 22 in KenPom and won a lot of close games. I don't believe in them.
6. Kansas - I have them ahead of UNC largely on record but there's some defensive concerns here. Frank Mason has taken on the Buddy Hield persona this season. That alone could carry them deep in March.
5. UCLA - Only the 4th team to do the mountain hop to Utah and Colorado and sweep those teams. Hard to take them seriously just looking at the 94th spot they have in defensive efficiency but harder to ignore the results. Still, be wary in March.
4. Gonzaga - Won by 23 at home against St. Mary's. The Gaels play at a glacial pace but the Zags still dropped 79 on them. Was close until late but the Zags were always in control. Them and UCLA own the west.
3. West Virginia - 2nd in KenPom and a damn fun team to watch. Yes, a Huggy Bear team is fun to watch. Despite the hectic style they play, they're 8th best at protecting the ball and best at forcing turnovers. If I looked at the numbers blind, I'd probably pick them to win it all.
2. Kentucky - The big issue with Kentucky is, the SEC is trash. Florida and A&M will test them, maybe even beat them but I'm not sure we'll know just how good they are. This is a unique Kentucky team that really doesn't have a comp to past Kentucky teams. The tempo is much quicker than 2012, the d well behind 2015. If you want to defend Calipari the coach, this club could be the one.
1. Villanova - The surgical second half dissection of Xavier was a thing of beauty. Seem disinterested early in some games which will be their downfall in March. Let St. John's hang around yesterday in an unispiring win. Not sure teams can ever turn on a "sense of urgency". It's one of those immeasurables stat heads hate but it's a cliche I think is real.