One of the best ways to follow a sport is with power rankings. They give you an idea of who’s doing well and at what level, plus they’re easy to digest for rapid consumption. In this article, I will be ranking some college basketball teams from top-to-bottom that are predicted by experts in their conferences – Big East, ACC, A10 and SEC.
The “ncaa basketball power rankings 2021” is a ranking of the top college basketball teams in the United States. The rankings are based on a formula that takes into account how many games each team has won, their average margin of victory, and their opponents’ winning percentage.
It’s been argued that college basketball has to get off to a stronger start this season.
Over the years, the sport has attempted a few other things, such the 24-hour marathon and the Champions Classic, although these events usually took place a few days after the formal start. After the first week of the 2021-22 campaign, there should be few complaints.
The Champions Classic was a great start to the season, and two top-five matches — UCLA vs. Villanova and Gonzaga vs. Texas — drew a lot of attention throughout the first weekend. This year’s schedule should set the standard for the next several years, with three top-10 matchups.
The results from the rest of the nation, on the other hand, may have been even more intriguing than the headline matches. The ACC saw five teams lose at home, including Virginia, who was defeated by Navy, while the Pac-12 had six. Week 1 upsets included Louisville, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, California, Nebraska, Washington, Stanford, and other major league clubs.
Before we get into the honors and rankings, here’s a short rundown of the Rankings of Influence’ rules:
1. This isn’t a poll; teams don’t drop instantly after a defeat. Head-to-head competition is important, but it isn’t the sole factor.
2. We strive to avoid giving out rewards more than once in a week (for example, Gonzaga, Drew Timme and Mark Few winning Team, Player and Coach of the Week).
Let’s get started.
UCLA Bruins are this week’s team of the week.
Was UCLA going to be more like UCLA in the First Four or UCLA in the Final Four? Were the Bruins the squad that barely qualified for the NCAA tournament or the club who won five straight games and came within a 40-footer of making the championship game?
The answer, based on the previous week, is significantly closer to the latter. In the opening, Mick Cronin’s squad thrashed Bakersfield, then rallied late in the second half to defeat top-five Villanova in overtime on Friday night.
UCLA looked like a national title candidate all night, with Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr. causing problems for the Wildcats, and Tyger Campbell being his dependable, clutch self at point guard. Furthermore, the Bruins accomplished it all without Cody Riley, who went down with a knee injury only minutes into the season opener.
Pauley Pavilion on Friday night was excellent for college basketball in the broader picture. UCLA creating attention in front of a large audience, including celebrities like Jessica Alba and Cedric the Entertainer, was fantastic for college basketball. UCLA’s performance may not be ideal for college basketball fans who want to get some sleep before 1 a.m. ET every night for the next five months, but it is entertaining for the sport.
Drew Timme of Gonzaga is the Player of the Week.
Gonzaga could have easily been named Team of the Week, and its rout of Texas might have been named Win of the Week. But Drew Timme was by far the most outstanding component of the game, and it may have been his greatest performance of the season. That isn’t meant as a slur on Timme; he is the Wooden Award frontrunner for a reason. It’s a nod to his performance against the Longhorns on Saturday night.
Timme came out against Texas and dominated after taking a back seat to Chet Holmgren in the opening against Dixie State, ending with 11 points. On 15-for-19 shooting, he scored 11 points in the opening four minutes and ended with 37 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Texas chose to protect him from the start, and it didn’t work out too well.
Timme utilized his height and power to finish around the basket when Timmy Allen or Brock Cunningham defended him, and he found ways to score with his footwork and ability to finish with both hands when Christian Bishop or Tre Mitchell defended him. Timme was a paint specialist who could handle everything the Longhorns threw at him. It was one of the most impressive individual efforts of the season.
Duke Blue Devils 79, Kentucky Wildcats 71: Win of the Week
This week, another top-10 team, Duke, had a huge, statement-making victory. On opening night at Madison Square Garden, the Blue Devils handled Kentucky with relative ease, prompting many to believe Mike Krzyzewski’s club was undervalued going into the season. Trevor Keels and Paolo Banchero were outstanding.
Banchero, who is expected to be the first choice in the NBA draft in 2022, lived up to the anticipation. Banchero, who stands 6-foot-10 and weighs 250 pounds, was a thorn in Kentucky’s side all night, demonstrating an outstanding ability to handle the ball, hit contested shots within the arc, and absorb contact around the basket to get to the free throw line. When he had to go to the locker room for cramping, Keels took over, scoring 12 points in a game-changing 24-8 run and then hitting a couple of more shots to secure the game after Kentucky had narrowed the advantage to one point. The two stars scored a total of 47 points.
Wendell Moore Jr. was also excellent, while Theo John supplied much-needed muscle and toughness off the bench, enabling Duke to cruise despite shooting 1-for-13 from 3-point range. In Coach K’s last season, the Blue Devils should be a Final Four contender.
Jeff Boals of the Ohio Bobcats is this week’s Coach of the Week.
The post-Jason Preston era has begun with a bang. Few mid-majors have had a better week than Ohio, which defeated Ohio Valley favorite and preseason preseason top-25 club Belmont on Tuesday, then went on the road and defeated reigning Horizon League champion Cleveland State by 11 points.
Given how important Preston was to everything the Bobcats accomplished on offense in 2020-21, there were worries going into the season about how Boals would attempt to replace him. In a large manner, Mark Sears has offered the solution. Sears broke into the starting lineup after starting only five games last season and totaled 21.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in two games, nailing 5 of 6 3-point tries. Sears isn’t the same sort of player as Preston, but with Ben Vander Plas assisting in matchup difficulties and Jason Carter dominating since his return from Xavier, Boals doesn’t need him to be.
Although the top of the Mid-American Conference is congested, Ohio has made it plain that it will be a force in the championship fight this season.
Three groups were given questions.
Only five of the Atlantic 10’s 14 clubs have yet to lose in the first week of the season. Manhattan defeated Fordham, UC San Diego defeated George Washington, Sacred Heart defeated La Salle, and UMass Lowell defeated Dayton, with Richmond, VCU, Duquesne, and UMass all losing by double digits. Although it may be too early to speak about at-large bids, this conference seems to be dominated by St. Bonaventure and not much else this season.
Pittsburgh Panthers: Jeff Capel and the Panthers had a bad week. It began with a 15-point home defeat against The Citadel on the first night of the season. Judah Mintz, a top-50 2022 prospect, said on Wednesday that he was intending to decommit from Pitt and reopen his recruitment. The Panthers then travelled to West Virginia on Friday and lost by 15 points after trailing by as many as 21 points. Pitt lost 10 of its last 12 games last season, and the difficulties have continued this season.
Georgetown Hoyas: Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas won the Big East tournament and advanced to the Big Dance just eight months ago. However, they started the season with a nine-point defeat at home to Dartmouth, a team that hadn’t played in 20 months and had a 14-42 Ivy League record over the previous four seasons. Despite the fact that Georgetown was projected to have a rough season, Saturday’s performance was nonetheless a poor start.
Gonzaga Bulldogs, No. 1 (2-0) 1st place previously This week: Alcorn State (Monday), Bellarmine (Wednesday) (Friday)
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Holmgren recorded 14 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and seven blocks in his collegiate debut against Dixie State, becoming the only player in the last 25 seasons to have 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and five blocked shots in his Division I debut. Against the Longhorns, the likely No. 1 NBA draft selection didn’t have to do much, finishing with two points, five rebounds, and two blocks. In the first half, though, Holmgren’s presence near the rim was a big deterrent. Texas was afraid that Holmgren might change the shot if they tried to assault the paint. In the second half, the Longhorns went at him even harder, but it was too late. Holmgren may not put up the offensive statistics like Banchero does, but scouts will be pleased nevertheless.
Kansas Jayhawks, No. 2 (2-0) Previous position: 2 This week’s game is against Stony Brook (Thursday)
Kansas seemed to check all the boxes for a national title contender heading into the season. On the middle, the Jayhawks possessed depth, height, and strength; on the wings, they had enough scorers and shooters; and in Remy Martin, they had a top-tier point guard. However, others questioned if Bill Self had a true go-to person, someone who would show up late to grab a bucket when it was required. After two games, it seems like Ochai Agbaji will step into that position and perform well. The senior forward scored 29 points in the season opener against Michigan State and 25 points in a victory against Tarleton. Agbaji made three 3-pointers in each game, but it was his desire to drive off the bounce and search for his own shot at the basket that impressed the most. That’s a significant improvement over the previous several years.
UCLA Bruins, No. 3 (2-0) 3rd place before. This week: Long Beach State (Monday), North Florida (Wednesday) (Wednesday)
In Friday’s triumph against Villanova, Campbell fundamentally transformed the game. He was an underappreciated member of the Bruins’ Final Four run, since their offense was built on taking care of the ball and placing scorers into scoring positions. Campbell accomplished both. In six NCAA tournament games, he had 27 assists and seven turnovers. Against the Wildcats, he maintained his outstanding performance. Campbell came alive in the second half after a quiet first, hitting two huge threes as Villanova expanded its advantage and making crucial plays late in regulation and in overtime. He also played a vital role in containing Collin Gillespie.
Purdue Boilermakers (#4) (2-0) Previous position: 6 This week’s games include a Tuesday matchup with Wright State and a Saturday matchup with North Carolina in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament (Saturday and Sunday)
Matt Painter’s mission this season has always been to get Trevion Williams and Zach Edey to work together. Last season, Williams was one of the greatest big men in the nation and a possible All-American, while Edey, who is 7 feet 4 inches tall, dominated all summer and was a highlight in preseason sessions. So, what exactly was Painter’s strategy? Many people were surprised when he started Edey in both of last week’s games and benched Williams. It was successful. In two games, Edey averaged 19.0 points and 9.5 rebounds, while Williams scored 11 points and eight rebounds in Indiana State’s victory. “If you’re concerned about playing time and starting, you’re concerned about the wrong thing,” Williams said after the triumph on Friday. “All that counts is that Purdue wins.”
Villanova Wildcats, No. 5 (1-1) Previous position: 4 This week’s games include a Tuesday matchup with Howard and a Saturday matchup with Tennessee in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament (Saturday and Sunday)
Villanova can’t be faulted too harshly for failing to take one of the greatest teams in the nation to OT on the road, particularly in a game that may be one of the finest of the season’s nonconference slate. In terms of possible areas of concern, the Wildcats’ rim protection and overall defense were lacking. Villanova isn’t known for its shot-blocking ability, but KenPom.com estimates that UCLA’s 1.18 points per possession was the Wildcats’ second-worst defensive performance of the season. Much of it is due to UCLA’s ability to make difficult shots after difficult shots, but Villanova’s lack of depth and size was obvious, especially late in the game. On the plus side, Justin Moore is capable of taking the next step as a junior, while Jay Wright appears to have good starters in Brandon Slater and Eric Dixon.
Duke Blue Devils, No. 6 (3-0) Previous position: 11 against. Gardner-Webb (Tuesday), vs. Lafayette (Wednesday) (Friday)
Wendell Moore Jr., who I mentioned previously as one of Duke’s freshmen studs, seems to be poised for a much larger role on the offensive end this season. The junior winger drew a lot of attention heading into the season, and he’s already lived up to it. He looked much more fluid with the ball in his hands against Kentucky, as well as more skilled as a facilitator and confidence in his outside shooting. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school who utilized his power to score at the rim against most opponents. He had a shaky first two seasons in Durham, North Carolina, but this season he’ll be a terrific addition to Banchero and Keels. Moore is averaging 15.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in three games, including a triple-double (19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) versus Army. He’s also shooting 68.2 percent from inside the arc and has 14 3-pointers already.
Tigers of Memphis, No. 7 (2-0) Previous position: 7 against. Saint Louis (Tuesday), vs. Western Kentucky (Wednesday) (Friday)
I’ll reserve full praise for Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren until the schedule tightens up, but early results on Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren have been promising. Through two games, the two talented rookies — and possible top-five draft choices — have looked as predicted. Bates has probably gotten more ballhandling support than anticipated, with senior point guard Alex Lomax playing beside him in both games, despite preseason speculation that he would be the team’s key playmaker. Bates, on the other hand, had four assists in the season opener against Tennessee Tech, and he has looked the part as a scorer, averaging 16.0 points and shooting 50% on 12 3-point tries. Duren has been his usual energetic, high-motor self, particularly when it comes to defense. He got a double-double against North Carolina Central, and after two games, he has averaged 12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks.
Michigan Wolverines, No. 8 (2-0) Previous position: 8 This week: Tuesday versus. Seton Hall, Friday at UNLV, Roman Main Event (Friday and Sunday)
Transitioning from a mid-major star to a high-major role player may be difficult. Mike Smith did an excellent job adapting to Juwan Howard last season, and the Wolverines may have found another in Coastal Carolina transfer DeVante’ Jones. Jones, the Sun Belt Player of the Year, averaged 19.3 points per game and took more over 13 shots per game last season. He has tallied 12 shots and 10 assists to one turnover in two games this season. This kind of buy-in will be crucial for Michigan. Terrance Williams II is the next in line. Williams, a name that doesn’t appear on many breakthrough lists, seems to be a big contributor off the bench for the Wolverines. He scored 15 points and five rebounds in the first game against Buffalo, then eight points and five rebounds in the second game against Prairie View A&M.
Baylor Bears, No. 9 (1-0) Previous position: 10 This week’s games are against Nicholls (Monday), Central Arkansas (Wednesday), and Stanford (Friday) (Saturday)
It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from a single game, particularly when that game is against Incarnate Word. However, it was wonderful to see the new-look Bears, who have replaced four players from last season’s national championship squad. Both Adam Flagler and Matthew Mayer were anticipated to play greater offensive roles, and they did, although in limited minutes in the 87-60 rout. Kendall Brown, a five-star recruit, seemed more secure offensively than anticipated, while Jeremy Sochan, a classmate, showed the promise that garnered so much attention in the preseason. James Akinjo, who was the go-to man at Georgetown and Arizona, may have to take a back seat in Waco, Texas, according to one trend I’m following. He scored 10 points on nine attempts while also dishing out six assists and committing just two mistakes. Scott Drew’s squad may not face another top-25 opponent until the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament final later this month.
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Longhorns of Texas, No. 10 (1-1) Previous position: 5 against. Northern Colorado (Wednesday), vs. San Jose State (Friday) (Saturday)
Given all the incoming transfers and the time it takes to create chemistry in real game competition, I believed Texas would be a work in progress. The Longhorns, on the other hand, were ran out of Spokane, Washington, on Saturday night, behind by double digits in the opening ten minutes and never threatening again. On the defensive end, the absence of a response to Drew Timme was a concern, as was the offense’s trepidation. Unselfishness was a theme in the preseason for Chris Beard, who is bringing in numerous players who were high-level scorers at their prior stops — but the pendulum may occasionally swing too far. Returnees Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones, as well as Marcus Carr and Tre Mitchell, must stay aggressive, particularly when the game is slipping away. Against the Zags, this, along with their inability to attack the rim against Chet Holmgren, was a tough combination to overcome. However, I’m convinced they’ll figure it out.
Oregon Ducks, No. 11 (2-0) Previous position: 12 This week’s game is against BYU (Tuesday)
I was curious to see whether Dana Altman would go with a small-ball team with the 6-foot-8 front and 6-foot-7 Eric Williams Jr. as the lone frontcourt players after Oregon acquired Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier last summer. Altman has done exactly that through two games, and it has led the Ducks achieve one of the most under-the-radar week one victories: a 23-point thrashing of SMU, a possible NCAA tournament team. Following the exits of Chris Duarte and LJ Figueroa, Will Richardson has made a huge stride forward in the backcourt. Richardson had a 19.0 point per possession average and made eight of his 13 3-point tries. It’s also worth noting that, despite two blowouts, Altman has maintained a very tight seven-man rotation; considering that six of the players are between the heights of 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-8, the roster’s adaptability and interchangeability allows Altman to mix and match for various lines. It’s the ideal lineup for him.
12. Fighting Illini of Illinois (2-0) Previous position: 13 This week’s game is at Marquette (Monday)
The progression of Coleman Hawkins has been intriguing to follow. Hawkins had a solid high school senior season at Prolific Prep (California), and Brad Underwood praised him this summer; nonetheless, he battled to acquire regular minutes in an experienced frontcourt that won a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2021. Hawkins is expected to be a breakthrough player for the Fighting Illini this season, according to Underwood. And after two games, the constant drumbeat of the previous two years had reached a climax. The 6-foot-10 sophomore is averaging 15.0 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 2.5 assists per game. He’s also made a couple of 3-pointers. Hawkins is a fascinating possibility because of his size, talent, and two-way ability, but it will be interesting to see how he and Kofi Cockburn get along up front.
Arkansas Razorbacks (13). (2-0) 14th place before. This week’s game is against Northern Iowa (Wednesday)
Last season, former Jacksonville transfer JD Notae flourished as a sixth man, averaging 12.8 points off the bench and regularly giving a significant offensive lift. With his enlarged position, he might be a dark horse contender for SEC player of the year. Notae scored 30 points against Mercer and 18 against Gardner-Webb to start the season. In those games, he hit nine of his 21 3-point tries and had nine steals. Chris Lykes, a Miami transfer, has taken over as the sixth man in place of Notae, who hasn’t played since March 2018. Lykes, on the other hand, seems to have bought into it and is relishing his newfound offensive role. In the first game, he scored 16 points.
Kentucky Wildcats (14). (1-1) Previous position: 9 against. Mount St. Mary’s (Tuesday), vs. Ohio (Wednesday) (Friday)
While Kentucky has more experience than I’ve seen in the past, the Wildcats are still trying to form a cohesive unit out of a very deep and talented newcomer class, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their progress is lagging behind Duke’s, especially when you consider a couple of preseason injuries. On the positive side, Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler has been a revelation as a playmaker, throwing out 22 assists in two games, while West Virginia transfer Oscar Tshiebwe may finish up leading the country in rebounds. Tshiebwe started the season by averaging 20 rebounds per game in back-to-back games, 22 of which were on the offensive end. CJ Fredrick, an Iowa transfer, will have surgery this week and is anticipated to miss the rest of the season due to a hamstring issue. He was likely the greatest shooter in the portal and could have put a lot of pressure on the Wildcats’ defense.
Alabama Crimson Tide (#15) (2-0) Previous position: 16 against. South Alabama (Tuesday), vs. Oakland (Wednesday) (Friday)
With games against possible NCAA tournament contenders Louisiana Tech and South Dakota State, Alabama faced a daunting first week schedule. The Crimson Tide defeated both teams, averaging over 100 points each game and scoring 1.29 points per possession. Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford are continuing where they left off last season, but Alabama’s headline has been the rise of senior wing Keon Ellis. Throughout the winter, Ellis had created constant favorable buzz, propelling himself up NBA draft boards. He’s averaging 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game, while hitting five of his nine 3-pointers. Nate Oats now has another talented perimeter player in Ellis.
Houston Cougars (#16) (2-0) 15th place before. This week’s matchup is against Virginia (Tuesday)
Houston came close to being one of the greatest shock victims of the opening week, overcoming a double-digit deficit in the last 10 minutes to win in overtime against Hofstra. It was never going to be simple to replace Quentin Grimes and DeJon Jarreau, but Marcus Sasser is making the most of his opportunities. Last season, the 6-foot-2 guard had back-to-back 20-point performances in the Elite Eight and Final Four, and he’s looking to continue where he left off. He scored 25 points in the victory against Hofstra and then added 26 against Rice. In both games, he hit 44 percent of his 3-point tries and threw out eight assists. Kyler Edwards, a Texas Tech transfer, and Sasser will make a potent attacking backcourt. In a matchup of two of the greatest defensive teams in the nation, the Cougars will meet Virginia this week.
None of the students have dropped out.
Waiting in the lobby
Tennessee Volunteers: Five-star freshman Kennedy Chandler, the nation’s best point guard prospect last season, has performed well so far. In the opener against Tennessee-Martin, he scored 20 points, four assists, and three thefts. He next had 16 points, six assists, and three steals against East Tennessee State. He seems to be the genuine thing.
North Carolina Tar Heels: While the Tar Heels eventually won, their defensive effort against Brown was one of the most eye-opening “efforts” of the first weekend. Before the Tar Heels pulled away, Brown, which hadn’t played a Division I club since March 2020, scored 50 points in the first half and averaged 1.23 points per possession. The first important in-season challenge for Hubert Davis is obvious.
Mike White went out and secured perhaps the greatest defensive class in the nation via the portal after Florida struggled to defend during SEC play previous season. The Gators demonstrated it on Sunday, holding Florida State to 55 points on 35% shooting from inside the arc and 0.80 points per possession. This season, White’s best six players are seniors, and they might be a force in the SEC.
The “NCAA Basketball Rankings Top-50 2021” is a website that provides the top-50 teams in college basketball for the 2021 season. Reference: ncaa basketball rankings top-50 2021.
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