9. North Carolina- I put the Tar Heels here in place of Duke. Duke probably has a higher ceiling but the Blie Devils in-game inconsistency is too much for me too overlook. Carolina will be an interesting team in March. They have the pieces.
8. Auburn- Lost at home by 1 to a suddenly frisky Texas A&M team. Home game against Kentucky on Wednesday against a desperate team will be a good test.
7. Texas Tech- The Red Raiders now hold a one game lead over Kansas in the Big XII. Of all the schools to possibly end the Kansas stranglehold of the league, raise your hand if you thought TTU would be the one to end it. They have a win in hand at KU and are on a 6-game winning streak.
6. Gonzaga- The Zags went into St. Mary’s last night and handled the Gaels with ease. They did so playing a Gaels like game with 62 possessions. By the numbers, the Zags have a Final 4 look.
5. Xavier- They went to Omaha and held off a frisky Creighton team despite an off-day from Trevon Blueitt. X is getting positive minutes from their youth. The defense is still a concern and they’ve been a lucky squad. They’ll definitely be a potential early upset candidate.
4. Purdue- Defense took a bit of a vacation this week and it cost them two games. They have a soft schedule coming in. Barring any kind of major upset, they won’t lose again until the Big 14 tournament starts in ONLY TWO WEEKS.
3. Virginia- Virginia losing at home, a thing of beauty.
2. Michigan State- Another Big 14 team with a soft schedule to end the year. Shouldn’t lose again until the Big 14 tournament that starts in ONLY TWO WEEKS.
1. Villanova- I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt having been down two key contributors against St. John’s. Still, they’re 48th in defensive efficiency. Like I said a few weeks back, they’re eerily similar to the 2015 Badgers team. That’s not a bad thing, obviously, but if the offense disappears, can the defense win one game?