While Kentucky has grabbed the headlines all season, Duke has made an impressive run of late and Gonzaga has quietly reeled off 17 straight wins. Here are the best 10 teams in the country:
10. Kansas (19–4): Kansas lost at Oklahoma State Saturday 67–62, giving Bill Self a 3–5 record at his alma mater, while with the Jayhawks. Perry Ellis continues to be the team’s best offensive player, leading the team in both points (12.8) and rebounds (6.9) per game.
This week: at Texas Tech (Tuesday), versus Baylor (Saturday). Previous: 10
9. Notre Dame (21–4): It’s been a forgettable week and a half for the Fighting Irish, ever since they beat Duke on January 28. First they lost to Pittsburgh on the road, then they edged Boston College at home, before getting blasted by the Blue Devils 90–60 in a game that was over before halftime.
This week: at Clemson (Tuesday). Previous: 7
8. Louisville (19–4): The Cardinals nearly pulled off the upset against Virginia, despite going more than 12 minutes without a point, thanks to a solid second half where they finally got through the Cavaliers top-ranked defense.
This week: versus Pittsburgh (Wednesday), versus NC State (Saturday). Previous: 8
7. Villanova (21–2): The Wildcats have now won four straight including a 16-point drubbing of Georgetown—less than three weeks after the Hoyas dominated them in a 78–58 loss. Six players average more than nine points a game for Jay Wright’s balanced team.
This week: at Providence (Wednesday), at Butler (Saturday). Previous: 9
6. Arizona (20–3): The Wildcats’ three losses are by a combined nine points and their setback Saturday at Arizona State was one in which the Sun Devils shot 50 percent from the floor and had a 28–14 advantage in free throws attempted.
This week: at Washington (Friday), at Washington State (Sunday). Previous: 4
5. Wisconsin (21–2): The Badgers have won six in a row and had it not been for Frank Kaminsky’s one-game injury (where they lost to Rutgers) Wisconsin would likely be undefeated in conference play. As it is, they have a two-game lead with eight to play.
This week: at Nebraska (Tuesday), versus Illinois (Sunday). Previous: 6
4. Gonzaga (24–1): The Bulldogs’ winning streak is at 17 now and Mark Few’s team is leading the country in shooting at 53.2 percent. Although the conference slate is pretty weak, Gonzaga did play UCLA, St. John’s, Arizona, and SMU in their non-conference schedule.
This week: versus Loyola Marymount (Thursday), versus Pepperdine (Saturday) Previous: 3
3. Duke (20–3): No team had a better three-game stretch than Duke after they gave Virginia their first loss on January 31, beat Georgia Tech at home four days later, and then trounced Notre Dame by 30 on Saturday.
This week: at Florida State (Monday), at Syracuse (Saturday). Previous: 5
2. Virginia (21–1): The Cavaliers rebounded from the Duke loss with impressive wins over North Carolina and Louisville. Although second leading-scorer Justin Anderson is out for a month, they don’t have another contest against a top team until they visit Louisville on March 7.
This week: at NC State (Wednesday), at Wake Forest (Saturday). Previous: 2
1. Kentucky (23–0): Although the Wildcats have played to the level of their opponents in the competition-challenged Southeastern Conference, they’ve maintained a perfect record. Their defense is still leading the way, allowing just 51.5 points per game and blocking seven shots per contest—both second-best in the country.
This week: at LSU (Tuesday), versus South Carolina (Saturday). Previous: 1