RSN Bracketology V.5 (Dec. 31)

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of our RSN followers! Due to the hectic holiday season, we were unable to post our weekly power rankings this week. They will resume next Monday, January 2. As for today, here is our 5th edition of bracketology this season. As conference season moves along, bracketology will continue to be posted at a more rapid pace. Along with bracketology will be the weekly power rankings, as well as bubble watch posts towards March.

BOLD= AQ

      Midwest                          East                               South                       West

1. Baylor 1. Villanova 1. Duke 1. Kansas
2. Creighton 2. Virginia 2. Gonzaga 2. UCLA
3. North Carolina 3. Kentucky 3. West Virginia 3. Louisville
4. Purdue 4. Wisconsin 4. Oregon 4. Xavier
5. Notre Dame 5. Cincinnati 5. Maryland 5. Florida State
6. Arizona 6. USC 6. Indiana 6. Butler
7. Florida 7. Iowa State 7. Virginia Tech 7. Miami (Fl)
8. Saint Mary’s 8. South Carolina 8. Kansas State 8. Michigan
9. Colorado 9. Oklahoma State 9. Seton Hall 9. Colorado
10. Clemson 10. Wichita State 10. TCU 10. Minnesota
11. VCU 11. Northwestern / Pittsburgh 11. Dayton 11. Michigan State / SMU
12. Middle Tennessee 12. Nevada 12. NC Wilmington 12. Monmouth
13. Winthrop 13. Chattanooga 13. Tennessee State 13. Valparaiso
14. North Dakota State 14. Florida Gulf Coast 14. Akron 14. Lousiana-Lafayette
15. New Mexico State 15. Eastern Washington 15. UMBC 15. Bucknell
16. UC Davis / New Orleans 16. North Carolina Central 16. Brown 16. Wagner / Grambling State

On the Bubble:

Last 4 Byes: Colorado, Minnesota, Clemson, TCU

Last 4 In:  VCU, Michigan State, SMU, Pittsburgh

First 4 Out:  Texas Tech, Marquette, Temple, Texas A&M

Next 4 Out:  Providence, Illinois, Ohio State, Wake Forest

Four More:  California, North Carolina State, Houston, Rhode Island

RSN Bracketology V.5 (Dec. 31)

RSN Bracketology V.4 (Dec. 24)

Here is our final bracketology before conference season begins:

BOLD= AQ

      Midwest                          East                               South                       West

1. Baylor 1. Villanova 1. Duke 1. UCLA
2. Louisville 2. Gonzaga 2. Kansas 2. Kentucky
3. Creighton 3. West Virginia 3. North Carolina 3. Virginia
4. Indiana 4. Wisconsin 4. Purdue 4. Butler
5. Notre Dame 5. USC 5. Xavier 5. Florida State
6. Virginia Tech 6. Miami (Fl) 6. Cincinnati 6. Maryland
7. Florida 7. Kansas State 7. South Carolina 7. Oklahoma State
8. Arizona 8. Saint Mary’s 8. Oregon 8. Michigan
9. Seton Hall 9. Colorado 9. Iowa State 9. Arkansas
10. Minnesota 10. Texas A&M 10. VCU 10. Wichita State
11. NC Wilmington 11. TCU / California 11. Texas Tech / Northwestern 11. Clemson
12. Nevada 12. Chattanooga 12. Monmouth 12. Middle Tennessee
13. Winthrop 13. Akron 13. Tennessee State 13. IPFW
14. Sam Houston State 14. Oakland 14. Lousiana-Lafayette 14. George Mason
15. UMBC 15. Sam Houston State 15. Portland State 15. New Mexico State
16. LIU Brooklyn / UC Davis 16. Brown 16. Bucknell 16. North Carolina Central / Grambling State

Bids: ACC (9), Big 12 (8), Big Ten (7), Pac 12 (6), SEC (5), Big East (5), Atlantic 10 (2), West Coast (2)

On the Bubble:

Last 4 Byes: VCU, Texas A&M, Minnesota, Clemson

Last 4 In:  TCU, Northwestern, Texas Tech, California

First 4 Out:  Providence, Dayton, Pittsburgh, Temple

Next 4 Out:  SMU, Auburn, Wake Forest, Illinois

Four More:  Ole Miss, NC State, Memphis, Marquette

Looking In: Michigan State, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Ohio State, LSU

RSN Bracketology V.4 (Dec. 24)

RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 19)

Week 4

  1.  Villanova (11-0)

Last week’s ranking:  1  (-)

Villanova retains the top spot for the 3rd straight week after easily defeating their only opponent, Temple, this week. The Wildcats have one non-conference game remaining, hosting American on Wednesday. After American, Nova kicks off Big East play with a relatively easy home tie against Depaul. Josh Hart and the Wildcats will be expected to win their next two before a huge matchup in Omaha on New Year’s Eve where they will face arguably their biggest conference contender, Creighton.

2.  Baylor (11-0)

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

After a week off last week, the Bears had three games this week, easily disposing of lowly opponents including Southern, Jackson State, and a Non-Divison I side. Despite two weeks straight of virtually no real competition, Baylor remains #2 in our rankings. Wins over Louisville, Oregon, Xavier, Michigan State, and VCU highlight a dazzling resume. Next up for Baylor is Texas Southern, before they tip off Big 12 action with a tough road test at Oklahoma.

3.  UCLA (12-0)

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)

UCLA continues to rack up wins, up to 12-0 and likely 13-0 after their upcoming game against Western Michigan. Lonzo Ball has become one of the most elite players in the country and along with Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford, UCLA is set to contend for a championship. The Bruins defeated Ohio State to gain another quality win in the non-conference season this past week.

4.  Gonzaga (11-0)

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)

With their next six games being against relatively weak teams, Gonzaga may fall in our rankings a bit in the coming weeks. Despite this, the Bulldogs really have the makeup of a  top 5 team. Przemek Karnowski leads the way for the Zags who are 11-0 with wins over Florida, Iowa State, and Arizona. This past week, Gonzaga handled Tennessee for their 5th major conference win.

5.  Duke (10-1)

Last week’s ranking: 6 (UP 1)

Duke moves up in our power rankings this week despite not facing an opponent. This occurred for a few reasons. Despite Kansas knocking off Duke earlier this season, Kansas has looked rather unconvincing in their wins lately. Duke meanwhile has been playing its best basketball. The Blue Devils will continue to climb and are one the most talented teams in the country. With a core of Allen, Kennard, Tatum, Giles, and Jefferson, Duke will be the favorite in the ACC this season. The Blue Devils still have two remaining games before kicking off the ACC season with matchups against Tennessee State and Elon.

6.  Kansas (10-1)

Last week’s ranking: 5 (DOWN 1)

The score may have said 89-71, but Kansas-Davidson was a lot closer than it looked. In fact, Davidson led by a point at the half at Allen Fieldhouse. Many people are high on the Jayhawks, and this is not to say that they won’t contend in March, but we feel that the Jayhawks really are not all that. With an extremely soft non-conference schedule for a top-10 team thus far, Kansas does not have the resume or experiences thus far to match up (on paper at least) with a Villanova or a Baylor in terms of rankings.

7.  Kentucky (10-1)

Last week’s ranking: 9 (UP 2)

Malik Monk put up one of the most memorable, historic performances in Kentucky history on Saturday. The freshman poured in 47 against North Carolina in maybe the best game of the season thus far. A slip up at home against UCLA still is not acceptable per Kentucky standards, but the Bruins are on an elite level and have shown that the win in Lexington was not a fluke. With a road test at rival Louisville looming on Wednesday, the Wildcats have an opportunity to rack up a second top-tier win in as many tries.

8.  North Carolina (10-2)

Last week’s ranking:  8 (-)

The heartbreaker in Las Vegas really should help the Tar Heels in the long run. By losing 103-100 to Kentucky, it showed that North Carolina can not only keep up, but pour in points against top teams. It also opened eyes for Roy Williams’ side on the defensive end. It simply needs improvement. With two games remaining until their conference opener at Georgia Tech, UNC will look to fix the problems that occurred in Vegas and begin their conference season with momentum.

9.  Louisville (9-1)

Last week’s ranking:  11 (UP 2)

The Cardinals enter our top 10 for the first time this season with a 10-1 record and a date with Kentucky on Wednesday in Louisville. A win over UK would be enormous and would spring Louisville further up the ranks. Similar to Virginia, Louisville’s only problem is that they don’t have a superstar scorer or even a player they can absolutely go to for points. Donovan Mitchell leads the way with only 12 PPG, a small number for a top 10 squad’s leading scorer. Despite this, they have taken care of business and have been the closest team to knocking off Baylor.

10. Creighton (10-0)

Last week’s ranking:  10 (-)

Creighton remains undefeated after a scary 1 point victory at home over Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles gave the Jays all they could handle but ultimately came up short. A trip to Arizona State on Tuesday will be a tough but manageable task. After the Sun Devils, the Blue Jays will return back home to open up Big East play against Seton Hall and #1 Villanova.

11. West Virginia  (UP 1)

12. Wisconsin  (UP 1)

13. Butler  (UP 4)

14. Florida State  (UP 2)

15. USC  (UP 3)

16. Indiana  (DOWN 9)

17. Purdue  (UP 3)

18. Virginia  (UP 1)

19. Virginia Tech  (UP 4)

20. Xavier  (UP 1)

21. Maryland  (UP 3)

22. Arizona (-)

23. Notre Dame  (DOWN 9)

24. South Carolina  (DOWN 9)

25. Cincinnati  (NEW)

Dropped Out: Wichita State

RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 19)

RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 12)

Week 3

  1.  Villanova (10-0)

Last week’s ranking:  1  (-)

Villanova is our #1 ranked team for the second week in a row thanks to two more wins including a tough test against undefeated Notre Dame. The Wildcats headed to Prudential Center for a neutral floor matchup with the 9-0 Irish and took care of business, 74-66. Assuming Josh Hart continues to play at his elite level, Villanova will be a real contender for their second straight National Championship.

2.  Baylor (8-0)

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

Baylor did not partake in any games this week after last week’s big win over Xavier. Despite this, the Bears remain at #2 with their nation-leading 4 ranked wins. Johnathan Motley will lead Baylor into three games this week, all against opponents they will be expected to handle easily.

3.  UCLA (10-0)

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)

The Bruins came off their thrilling victory in Lexington over Kentucky with another signature win. The Bruins drubbed Michigan in their lone game this week, keeping them at #3 in our rankings. Lonzo Ball continues to prove to be the real deal, averaging 9 assists per game to go along with his 15 points per game.

4.  Gonzaga (10-0)

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)

Gonzaga remains at #4 for the 3rd week in a row in our rankings after taking down Washington and Akron this week. The Zags already have wins over Florida, Iowa State, and Arizona to their name and face a pesky Tennessee team, who pushed North Carolina to the brink in Chapel Hill a few nights ago, later this week.

5.  Kansas (9-1)

Last week’s ranking: 5 (-)

The Jayhawks cap off an unchanged top 5 after easy wins over UMKC and Nebraska. Perhaps the real highlight of their week was the Josh Jackson failed alley-oop against Nebraska. Kansas continues their relatively unchallenging stretch of non conference games on Saturday against Davidson.

6.  Duke (10-1)

Last week’s ranking: 8 (UP 2)

Duke moves up in our rankings after a big week. Luke Kennard, Grayson Allen, and Jayson Tatum led possibly the most talented team in basketball to a good win over Florida and an absolute thrashing of UNLV in Las Vegas. With Harry Giles still to return, Duke is looking like the possible team to beat in the ACC.

7.  Indiana (8-1)

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)

Thomas Bryant and the Hoosiers claimed a win in their only fixture this week with a 42 point victory over Houston Baptist out of the Southland Conference. It’s been smooth sailing for Indiana since their huge win over North Carolina, but this week will be no easy task with a matchup with Butler looming. The Bulldogs were upset by Indiana State in their last game ending their unbeaten start, but remain a very dangerous threat to Indiana.

8.  North Carolina (10-1)

Last week’s ranking:  9 (UP 1)

Despite moving up in our rankings, North Carolina turned in a rather shaky week per their usual standards. Trailing Tennessee by 8 at halftime was a shock to many, but the Tar Heels battled back and defeated the Volunteers by 2. A win is a win, but a home game against one of the lower teams in the SEC was expected to go much smoother. Either way, the Heels went 2-0 and improved to 10-1 on the year with a huge matchup against Kentucky coming up on Saturday.

9.  Kentucky (9-1)

Last week’s ranking:  10 (UP 1)

After a hugely disappointing loss to UCLA at home, Kentucky bounced back with two wins over an underrated Valparaiso team and Hofstra. The Wildcats took care of business easily as they head into an enormous two-game stretch in which they will take on North Carolina in Las Vegas and Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center, where the Cardinals are undefeated this season.

10. Creighton (10-0)

Last week’s ranking:  11 (UP 1)

Marcus Foster and the Bluejays re-enter our top-10 at 10-0 with two games remaining until Big East play. With a home game against Oral Roberts and a tough trip to Arizona State on the 20th still remaining, Creighton has a manageable, good chance at heading into conference play undefeated. Should they remain unbeaten, a tough Seton Hall team and the #1 team in the country, Villanova, will be waiting to attempt to spoil their perfect start.

11. Louisville  (UP 2)

12. West Virginia  (UP 4)

13. Wisconsin  (UP 6)

14. Notre Dame  (UP 8)

15. South Carolina  (-)

16. Florida State  (NEW)

17. Butler  (DOWN 11)

18. USC  (UP 5)

19. Virginia  (DOWN 1)

20. Purdue  (-)

21. Xavier  (DOWN 7)

22. Arizona (NEW)

23. Virginia Tech  (NEW)

24. Maryland  (NEW

25. Wichita State  (NEW)

Dropped Out: Saint Mary’s, Florida, Cincinnati, TCU, Valparaiso

RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 12)

RSN Bracketology V.3 (Dec. 9)

BOLD= AQ

      Midwest                          East                               South                       West

1. Baylor 1. Villanova 1. Kansas 1. UCLA
2. Indiana 2. Gonzaga 2. North Carolina 2. Duke
3. Louisville 3. Kentucky 3. Creighton 3. Notre Dame
4. Virginia 4. West Virginia 4. Florida 4. South Carolina
5. Florida State 5. USC 5. Cincinnati 5. Butler
6. Wisconsin 6. Virginia Tech 6. Maryland 6. Xavier
7. Oregon 7. Michigan 7. Purdue 7. Oklahoma State
8. Arizona 8. Iowa State 8. Utah 8. Miami
9. Wichita State 9. Colorado 9. Providence 9. Kansas State
10. Oklahoma 10. Syracuse 10. California 10. Texas A&M
11. Arkansas / TCU 11. Seton Hall / Michigan State 11. Rhode Island 11. Auburn
12. Monmouth 12. Oakland 12. Colorado State 12. Middle Tennessee
13. Tennessee State 13. Texas A&M Corpus Christi 13. NC Wilmington 13. IPFW
14. East Tennessee State 14. Florida Gulf Coast 14. Eastern Washington 14. Arkansas State
15. UMBC 15. Ohio 15. New Mexico State 15. Bucknell
16. North Carolina Central 16. Cal Poly / Brown 16. Texas Southern / LIU Brooklyn 16. NC Asheville

On the Bubble:

Last 4 Byes: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Auburn

Last 4 In:  Seton Hall, Michigan State, TCU, Arkansas

First 4 Out:  Marquette, Minnesota, Dayton, Temple

Next 4 Out:  Pittsburgh, Stanford, Northwestern, Texas Tech

Four More:  Clemson, Illinois, Central Florida, VCU

Looking In: SMU, Ole Miss, Ohio State, NC State, Valparaiso, Loyola (IL)

RSN Bracketology V.3 (Dec. 9)

RSN Bracketology V.2 (Dec. 7)

BOLD= AQ

      Midwest                          East                               South                       West

1. Baylor 1. Villanova 1. Kansas 1. UCLA
2. Indiana 2. Gonzaga 2. North Carolina 2. Duke
3. Butler 3. Kentucky 3. Creighton 3. Notre Dame
4. West Virginia 4. Xavier 4. Louisville 4. Saint Mary’s
5. Virginia 5. South Carolina 5. Florida 5. USC
6. Wisconsin 6. Virginia Tech 6. Florida State 6. Cincinnati
7. Maryland 7. Oklahoma State 7. Wisconsin 7. California
8. Miami 8. Iowa State 8. Michigan 8. Purdue
9. Utah 9. Oregon 9. Arizona 9. TCU
10. Oklahoma 10. Wichita State 10. Kansas State 10. Temple
11. Syracuse / Texas A&M 11. Valparaiso 11. Michigan State / Auburn 11. Providence
12. Monmouth 12. Rhode Island 12. Colorado State 12. Middle Tennessee
13. Tennessee State 13. Texas A&M Corpus Christi 13. NC Wilmington 13. IPFW
14. New Mexico State 14. Ohio 14. Eastern Washington 14. Arkansas State
15. UMBC 15. NC-Asheville 15. East Tennessee State 15. Bucknell
16. North Carolina Central 16. Cal Poly / Brown 16. Texas Southern / LIU Brooklyn 16. Jacksonville

On the Bubble:

Last 4 Byes: Temple, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Providence

Last 4 In:  Syracuse, Texas A&M, Michigan State, Auburn

First 4 Out:  Dayton, Seton Hall, VCU, Stanford

Next 4 Out:  Marquette, UCF, Northwestern, Colorado

Four More:  Clemson, Texas Tech, San Diego State, Illinois

Looking In: Ole Miss, NC State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, SMU, Loyola (IL)

RSN Bracketology V.2 (Dec. 7)

RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 5)

Week 2

  1.  Villanova (8-0)

Last week’s ranking:  3  (UP 2)

The Wildcats continued their dominant start to the season with a road win at Penn and a victory over Saint Joseph’s. Josh Hart even recorded a triple-double in the 31-point thrashing of the Hawks. Nova is looking as strong as ever and vaults to our #1 spot after losses by North Carolina and Kentucky.

2.  Baylor (8-0)

Last week’s ranking: 5 (UP 3)

Four ranked wins. 3 top 10 wins. Baylor has had the most impressive start to the season out of any team in the country without a doubt. A comfortable 15 point win over #7 Xavier capped off another successful week for the Bears. Johnathan Motley continues to lead Baylor in scoring as the Bears continue to surprise the basketball world this season.

3.  UCLA (9-0)

Last week’s ranking: 16 (UP 13)

Wow. Heading into Rupp Arena as 11 point underdogs, the Bruins were poised to show the rest of the nation how talented they truly were. Lonzo Ball is proving to be one of the best point guards in basketball along with an impressive core of Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford. The Bruins took down Kentucky to earn their 9th win in 9 tries, as well as a third major conference win despite a horrid first half from Ball, which proved their depth and maturity as a team.

4.  Gonzaga (8-0)

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)

If it wasn’t for UCLA’s stunning win in Lexington and Baylor’s plethora of top-25 wins, Gonzaga would have moved up even further in our rankings. In arguably their biggest game of the season, the Bulldogs handled Arizona and earned their 8th win of the season. With 4 winnable games remaining in the non-conference schedule all before a relatively easy start to the WCC season, the Zags have a strong chance of starting the season 17-0 before a huge matchup with Saint Mary’s at the Kennel on January 14th.

5.  Kansas (7-1)

Last week’s ranking: 6 (UP 1)

After an opening night loss to Indiana, Kansas has responded with 7 straight wins. The Jayhawks easily handled Long Beach State and Stanford this week to move up in our rankings. Frank Mason, Devonte Graham, and Josh Jackson headline a deep squad this season which took down Duke earlier in the year. UMKC and Nebraska are next up for Kansas this week in games that the Jayhawks will be heavily favored.

6.  Butler (8-0)

Last week’s ranking: 10 (UP 4)

How Butler is not ranked higher in the AP and Coaches Poll is a real mystery. The Bulldogs are undefeated led by the talented duo of Kelan Martin and Tyler Lewis. A road win at Utah highlighted another 2-win week for Butler which came after a resume-capping win over Arizona and solid wins over Vanderbilt and Northwestern.

7.  Indiana (7-1)

Last week’s ranking: 14 (UP 7)

Indiana has responded well since the shocking upset to IPFW in Fort Wayne with 4 straight wins including a comfortable win over our previous #1 North Carolina. With two top-5 wins to their name thus far, Indiana is a clear national contender. The IPFW loss, though puzzling, may have helped the Hoosiers understand weaknesses which they clearly corrected in their massive win over the Tar Heels at Assembly Hall.

8.  Duke (8-1)

Last week’s ranking:  11 (UP 3)

Though the only loss to Duke’s name is Kansas, the Blue Devils’ resume up to this point is rather unimpressive compared to the teams they will be fighting with in March. With their best wins being against a down Michigan State team and an overrated Rhode Island squad, Duke may not be all that they seem. Tuesday will be a chance to prove their talent when they take on Florida, who had a strong showing in the Advocare Invitational with wins over Seton Hall and Miami.

9. North Carolina (7-1)

Last week’s ranking:  1 (DOWN 8)

A loss at a powerhouse like Indiana normally wouldn’t drop a team this far, but with the number of talented, undefeated squads they are competing with, it was necessary to drop the Tar Heels this far. North Carolina still has solid wins over Wisconsin and Oklahoma State to their resume and can easily bounce back to the disappointing loss in Indiana. Their next marquee matchup is a December 17th tie with Kentucky.

10.  Kentucky (6-0)

Last week’s ranking:  2 (DOWN 8)

Few saw Kentucky losing at Rupp Arena to Steve Alford’s UCLA. The Bruins defeated the Wildcats in a stunning upset over the weekend, nearly knocking Kentucky out of our top-10. Despite the loss, Kentucky is still a perennial power in College Basketball and should respond positively to the loss. Malik Monk will continue to lead Kentucky, who still have to deal with North Carolina, Louisville, and Kansas all on their remaining schedule.

11. Creighton  (DOWN 1)

12. Saint Mary’s  (UP 5)

13. Louisville  (DOWN 1)

14. Xavier  (DOWN 6)

15. South Carolina  (UP 3)

16. West Virginia  (NEW)

17. Florida  (UP 4)

18. Virginia  (DOWN 10)

19. Wisconsin  (UP 3)

20. Purdue  (DOWN 7)

21. Cincinnati  (NEW)

22. Notre Dame  (NEW)

23. USC  (NEW)

24. TCU  (UP 1)

25. Valparaiso  (NEW)

Dropped Out: Maryland, Iowa State, Arizona, Rhode Island, Syracuse

RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 5)