Teams such as the New York Kings and the Denver Nuggets started out on top of their leagues, but it didn’t take long for those teams to fall hard. The San Francisco Warriors will be looking for redemption after a tough loss in Week 2.
The “ncaa basketball rankings top-50 2021” is a list of the top 50 teams in the NCAA men’s basketball division. The list is updated weekly, and it includes all teams that are currently in Division I.
ACC teams not named Duke or Virginia Tech are suffering in general; the bottom of the SEC seems to be quite weak; the Big Ten has suffered a slew of rated losses this week; and the Pac-12 continues to do Pac-12 things. The Big 12 hasn’t been put to the test yet.
Then there’s the Big East Conference. Given the Big Ten’s success in the Gavitt Games and many teams entering the weekend with a chance to win prominent MTEs, I was all ready to write a gushing intro about this conference. Then there was Sunday. Villanova fell to Purdue in the Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic final game after blowing another lead. At the Charleston Classic, Marquette was thrashed by St. Bonaventure. At the Paradise Jam, Creighton fell to Colorado State.
So there could be a little less adoration — but it’s evident that the league as a whole, particularly the clubs in the middle, will be better than we anticipated. Villanova is still the favorite, but Seton Hall and Xavier both beat Michigan and Ohio State and seem to be real top-25 contenders. UConn is no exception. Both Providence and Creighton defeated Big Ten opponents on the road; Marquette defeated Illinois, Ole Miss, and West Virginia in a five-day stretch; while St. John’s pushed Indiana to the brink in Bloomington. DePaul — DePaul! — is 4-0 as well.
There weren’t anticipated to be many Big East clubs in this season’s Rankings of Influence. Villanova seemed to be the overwhelming favorite, but the conference lacked another clear-cut top-25 contender. We’re a lot closer to four Big East teams in the top 20 than we are to just one after two weeks.
Purdue solidified its early-season national title ambitions over the weekend, putting itself in the top tier of the standings with Gonzaga, UCLA, and Kansas. On Monday, the Boilermakers defeated Horizon League championship candidate Wright State by 44 points, before traveling to Connecticut and defeating North Carolina and Villanova on consecutive afternoons.
From a personnel sense, only a few teams in the nation can compete with Purdue. In 7-foot-4 Zach Edey and preseason All-American candidate Trevion Williams, the Boilermakers boast the most formidable post combo in the country (more on them later). In sophomore guard Jaden Ivey, who was everyone’s breakthrough player choice at the outset of the season, they have a real lottery pick. Then they have a swarm of shooters to surround the three stars, who have hit double-digit 3-pointers in four of their five games this season, including 10-for-23 performances in both games at Mohegan Sun.
Purdue’s evolution into a true playmaker capable of routinely finding teammates was critical throughout the weekend. In two games, he had 13 assists while only turning the ball over twice.
On Saturday, North Carolina coach Hubert Davis stated, “He was more remarkable in person.” “Everyone describes him as a first-round, lottery-pick sort of player. That is who he is.”
Few players will be able to replicate Justin Bean’s performance this week for the rest of the season. He began with a 50-minute performance in a double-overtime victory over Penn, ending with 33 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, and four steals. He subsequently went on to score 17 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in a loss against New Mexico State. But he reserved his greatest effort on Sunday, when he upset Oklahoma and won the Myrtle Beach Invitational with 24 points, 19 rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
To conclude, Bean averaged 24.7 points, 14.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.0 steals in three games, while also guiding Utah State to three victories in four days and the MTE title. Bean has always been a force on defense and on the boards, but his offensive contributions have often been overshadowed by the likes of Sam Merrill and Neemias Queta. Bean is now the Aggies’ go-to player as a senior, and he’s already proven his value.
Colorado State’s David Roddy is also deserving of a particular mention. In the first round of the Paradise Jam, he scored 30 points and nine rebounds against Bradley, and then 36 against Creighton on Sunday.
This week’s triumphs were many and outstanding. Purdue wins the Mohegan Sun, Marquette defeats Illinois, and BYU thrashes Oregon in Portland. When in doubt, go for a real road victory — one that will almost certainly last the whole season. In 2021-22, Seton Hall was a bit of a mystery squad. After losing co-Big East Player of the Year Sandro Mamukelashvili, the Pirates were coming off their worst season since 2015. Kevin Willard, on the other hand, was aiming for a rebound season with a combination of seasoned returnees and new transfers. Those aspirations should be realized, based on last Tuesday’s outcomes.
Seton Hall traveled into Ann Arbor and came back from an 11-point hole in the second half to upset then-No. 4 Michigan by two points. Even more impressive, the victory came despite Syracuse transfer Kadary Richmond, who had been generating a lot of preseason NBA draft talk, going scoreless in his first 20 minutes on the court. With 16 points, Jared Rhoden led the way, but Bryce Aiken, who hasn’t played a complete season since 2016-17 due to knee and ankle problems, was the hero down the stretch. Seton Hall’s last seven points were scored by the former Harvard transfer, including the game-winning free throws.
Mark Pope of the BYU Cougars is this week’s Coach of the Week.
It’s a no-brainer to select Mark Pope if I can stretch this award to approximately a week and a half of play. It all began on the first day of the early signing period, when the Cougars signed top-30 talent Collin Chandler, their highest-ranked recruit in almost a decade. (The fact that they beat out in-state rival Utah for Chandler’s signature doesn’t hurt, either.) They followed it up two Fridays ago with a victory against San Diego State. But it was the 32-point triumph against Oregon in Portland that sparked the most enthusiasm in Provo.
Oregon struggled offensively in the first few minutes, but a 14-2 surge halfway through the half transformed an eight-point BYU lead into a 20-point advantage that was never challenged. In the second half, the Ducks cut the deficit to 17 points, but BYU outscored them 25-10 the rest of the way.
Pope has done an incredible job since taking over the Cougars in 2019. BYU had their finest squad since the Jimmer Fredette era in his debut season. The Cougars returned to the NCAA tournament as a 6-seed last season. The Cougars now seem to be a real danger in the West once again. It’s not difficult to argue that Gonzaga and UCLA are the West Coast’s top two teams this season, followed by BYU. And Pope deserves credit for that.
Three groups were given questions.
North Carolina Tar Heels: This team’s defense has a lot of problems. North Carolina has surrendered an average of 88.0 points and more than nine 3-pointers per game during its last four games. Purdue and Tennessee combined to shoot 55 percent from the floor and 44.2 percent from 3-point range, and three of the Tar Heels’ last four opponents have scored at least 1.20 points per possession.
Giving up 100 points, Syracuse Orange? Are you at home? To Colgate University? Matt Langel is a rising coach who has done an excellent job at Colgate, but the Raiders were 0-2 versus Division I opposition entering the weekend and had previously fallen by a score of 10 to Cornell. Syracuse had looked good on both sides of the floor in its first two games, and although this might simply be an exception, losing to Colgate for the first time since 1962 must be addressed.
Oregon State Beavers: It feels like a long time ago since Oregon State’s Cinderella journey to the Elite Eight last season. With home defeats to Samford and Princeton this week, the Beavers are currently 1-4 to open 2021-22. Although both games were decided by one point, Oregon State trailed for the majority of the opening 37 minutes against Samford and by as many as 11 points in the second half against Princeton. Last Monday, it also lost in Tulsa to start the week.
Gonzaga Bulldogs, No. 1 (4-0) 1st place previously This week’s games are against Central Michigan (Monday), UCLA (Tuesday), and Duke (Wednesday) (Friday)
There aren’t many weeks in college basketball this season that will be more demanding than Gonzaga’s next five days. The Zags face UCLA and Duke in a 72-hour stretch after a warm-up game against Central Michigan on Monday. Gonzaga isn’t as good on paper as it was last season, considering how great and fluid their offense appeared from the start of the 2020-21 season. However, if Mark Few’s current squad survives this week, they should be back in the discussion.
Aside from the well-known goods, Julian Strawther has a busy week ahead of him. He’s come a long way this season, scoring at least 17 points three times, but he’ll be up against Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Wendell Moore Jr., and Trevor Keels this week.
Kansas Jayhawks, No. 2 (3-0) Previous position: 2 This week’s event is the ESPN Events Invitational (Thursday-Sunday)
Ochai Agbaji’s first week of the season was clearly not a fluke. Against Stony Brook, the senior winger added another 25 points and four 3-pointers to his scorching start. He’s currently averaging 26.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 57.7% from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. Bill Self seems to have discovered his go-to person.
The Jayhawks’ next move will be to reintegrate Jalen Wilson into the fold. Wilson was banned for the first three games of the regular season after a DUI offense, but he is allowed to play in Thursday’s ESPN Events Invitational. Kansas faces North Texas in the opener, but if both teams advance, they might meet in the championship game. Is Wilson expected to return to the starting lineup right away? That’s the question, particularly since Dajuan Harris has 16 assists and just four turnovers in his absence.
UCLA Bruins, No. 3 (4-0)
3rd place previously. This week: Bellarmine (Monday), Gonzaga (Tuesday), and UNLV (Wednesday) (Saturday)
Jules Bernard’s start to the season has been downplayed, with Juzang and Jaquez receiving the most of the spotlight so far this season, and Tyger Campbell succeeding in his head-to-head clash against Villanova’s Collin Gillespie. However, the senior winger has developed into a valuable asset for UCLA, giving the Bruins another another scoring option with size. He’s averaging 18.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in four games, while hitting 50 percent of his 3-point tries.
Last season, Bernard showed glimpses of his scoring and shooting abilities, finishing ninth in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage, but he has since become more aggressive and outspoken. So far, opponents have found him a challenging matchup due to his length and relatively unconventional attacking approach.
Purdue Boilermakers (#4) (5-0) Previous position: 4 This week’s matchup is against Omaha (Friday)
It’s still early in the season, but Matt Painter’s ability to make the Zach Edey-Trevion Williams combo to work successfully — to dominate, to be more accurate — has been one of the season’s major themes. The Boilermakers’ two recent games against high-level competition at Mohegan Sun gave the ideal example: Edey looked well early against North Carolina but struggled after that, and both players had foul problems. Williams then showed his control late in the game, assisting the Boilermakers in pulling away.
It was Edey’s chance to dominate against Villanova. His 7-foot-4 stature was just too much for the Wildcats to handle. Edey scored 30 points in 38 minutes in those games, while Williams scored 29 points in 33 minutes. There isn’t a college basketball team in the country that can match that kind of post output.
Duke Blue Devils (#5) (5-0) Previous position: 6 This week’s games are against The Citadel (Monday) and Gonzaga (Wednesday) (Friday)
It was encouraging to see Mark Williams break out of his early-season rut. Williams, a talented 7-footer who started his freshman season with considerable anticipation and went on to show glimpses, particularly down the stretch, was expected to have a breakthrough season before 2021-22. After that, he only had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks in three games. For one game, it’s impressive, but for three, it’s not so great. Last week, he broke out of it, averaging 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 5.0 blocks against Gardner Webb and Lafayette. When the Blue Devils play Gonzaga in Las Vegas this week, he’ll be put to the ultimate test. On one end of the floor, Williams will have to deal with Drew Timme’s variety of post moves on the inside, and on the other, he’ll have to cope with Chet Holmgren’s shot-blocking.
Tigers of Memphis, No. 6 (4-0) Previous position: 7 against. Virginia Tech (Wednesday), vs. Iowa State/Xavier (Friday) (Friday)
Memphis’ schedule picks up this week as the Tigers travel to Brooklyn for the Upsie NIT Season Tip-Off, where they will play Virginia Tech and maybe Xavier in the final game. However, the early results for Penny Hardaway’s club have been spectacular, particularly Jalen Duren’s inside domination. Duren has two double-doubles and is averaging 15.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 4.8 blocks in four games. He’s been very effective around the basket, missing just seven shots in four games and shooting at one of the top percentages in the nation at the free throw line. Wednesday night’s matchup against All-ACC big man Keve Aluma will be a great early test for the youngster. Because Memphis’ defensive rebounding has been lacking so far, keeping Aluma off the boards will be crucial.
Baylor Bears, No. 7 (4-0) Previous position: 9 This week’s battle is Atlantis vs. Atlantis (Wednesday-Friday)
Despite the return of Matthew Mayer and Adam Flagler, as well as the acquisitions of James Akinjo and Kendall Brown, LJ Cryer was one player that kept coming up in preseason discussions about Scott Drew’s club. Cryer appeared in 20 games last season, but only played nine minutes in the last 11 games. In Waco, it was merely a congested perimeter group.
Cryer has stepped up now that he has more minutes and output, despite coming off the bench in three of the four games. In three of his four games, the 6-1 Texas native has scored at least 20 points, shooting an incredible 53.8 percent from 3-point range and handing out 12 assists. He came into college with a reputation as an undersized scoring combo guard, and after four games this season, he has lived up to that reputation.
Villanova Wildcats, No. 8 (3-2)
Previous position: 5 This week, I’ll be visiting La Salle (Sunday)
A 3-2 team being rated in the top 10 may seem strange, but the Wildcats’ defeats came against UCLA on the road and Purdue on a neutral site — two of the country’s top four teams. However, there were several alarming signals in both games, the most concerning of which was the fact that Villanova led by double digits late in both games and still lost. And, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Villanova has only lost double-digit second-half leads in two games over the previous two seasons combined.
It’s a fascinating development for a squad with a wealth of experience and one of the greatest point guards in the nation in Gillespie. Even though its late-game execution is a work in progress, I still believe Villanova is one of the legitimate national title favorites this season.
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Texas Longhorns, No. 9 (3-1) Previous position: 10 This week’s game is against Cal Baptist (Wednesday)
Two more games, two more opportunities to see what Chris Beard has planned for his rotation. Tre Mitchell’s promotion to the starting lineup and Christian Bishop’s demotion to the bench was one of the most notable adjustments from the first week. Both players’ scoring and rebounding stats improved as a result of the move (although not playing Gonzaga might have something to do with that). Mitchell has great size and ability, but he’ll have to regularly put it all together against elite competition. Last week’s performance of 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds could assist. Meanwhile, Marcus Carr, who was one of the best scorers in high-major basketball last season at Minnesota, only attempted 11 shots in two games and averaged 4.5 points. Dylan Disu, a Vanderbilt transfer, should be back in the lineup soon.
Arkansas Razorbacks, No. 10 (3-0) Previous position: 13 This week’s games are against Kansas State (Monday), Cincinnati/Illinois (Tuesday), and Penn (Wednesday) (Sunday)
This season, I believe Jaylin Williams will decide Arkansas’ ceiling. For someone his stature, the 6-10 sophomore big man is one of the greatest passers in the nation. Last season, it was the Razorbacks’ passing skill that helped them knock Texas Tech out of the NCAA playoffs. Williams’ ability to find teammates for easy baskets has continued to be a benefit through three games this season. In the first two games, he had five assists against Mercer and Gardner-Webb, and then he had seven assists against Northern Iowa. He also scored 11 points against the Panthers, just the second time in his collegiate career that he has scored in double figures. Eric Musselman has a plethora of perimeter players, and JD Notae, Chris Lykes, or Davonte Davis will most likely lead the team in scoring on most nights — but Williams adds a dimension that most opponents aren’t used to seeing.
Kentucky Wildcats, No. 11 (3-1) 14th place before. This week’s games are against Albany (Monday) and North Florida (Wednesday) (Friday)
TyTy Washington Jr., a five-star freshman guard, has progressively improved with each game after some initial overreactions to his sluggish start against Duke. He only scored nine points on 14 attempts against the Blue Devils, but John Calipari remarked afterward that he encouraged him to play through his difficulties because he would be better off going forward if he did. Since then, Washington has averaged 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in three games. His outside shooting and ball-handling skills are still improving, but he’s gaining confidence with each game, as seen by his 20-point, 11-rebound, five-assist effort against Ohio on Friday. With Davidson transfer Kellan Grady still adjusting to life in the SEC, Washington’s scoring and shot-creating talents are in high need.
12. Crimson Tide of Alabama (4-0) 15th place before. This week’s event is the ESPN Events Invitational (Thursday-Sunday)
It was unknown going into the season how much to expect from rookie 7-footer Charles Bediako straight away. Many freshmen big men struggle at first, and it takes time for them to adjust to the increased pace and aggressiveness on both ends of the court. In terms of his attacking skill set, Bediako was also seen to be a little raw. However, he has quietly had an early impact for Nate Oats, starting all four games at center and serving as the Crimson Tide’s primary source of size on the defensive end. Although his averages of 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds aren’t very impressive, he is blocking more than two shots per game and shooting over 67 percent from the field. Bediako is doing his job as long as he can anchor Alabama’s defense and give some balance for the perimeter three of Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackelford, and Keen Ellis.
Houston Cougars (#13) (3-0) Previous position: 16 This week’s tournament is the Maui Invitational (Monday-Wednesday)
Houston’s overtime victory against Hofstra on opening night might serve as a wake-up call. The Cougars had a dismal defensive performance that night, surrendering more than 1.05 points per possession for the fourth time this season. It wasn’t typical of a Kelvin Sampson-coached squad. He certainly got his message through to his teammates, as shown by the following outcomes from the two games since then: In a 33-point victory for Houston, Rice scored 46 points on 65 possessions, while Virginia scored 47 points on 59 possessions in a 20-point win for the Cougars. Houston hasn’t finished outside the top 25 in adjusted defensive efficiency at KenPom.com since 2017, and a team with six juniors or seniors among its top eight players shouldn’t be able to break that trend now. On the offensive end, Marcus Sasser and Kyler Edwards will continue to score, the Cougars will continue to dominate the offensive boards, and the defense will take care of the rest.
Cougars of BYU (4-0) Unranked in the previous ranking This week: at Utah (Wednesday), vs. Texas Southern (Wednesday) (Saturday)
We mentioned BYU’s week before, but the Cougars’ 32-point victory against Oregon in Portland is likely to be one of the season’s most eye-opening outcomes. In a home victory against San Diego State, the Ducks had just thrashed an SMU team that was anticipated to challenge for an NCAA tournament berth, while BYU struggled offensively. Then BYU flipped the script and drove Oregon out of its own state. Alex Barcello, too, put everybody on notice once again. In that victory, he scored 25 points and four 3-pointers, and despite taking 13 3-pointers and 27 shots overall, he has only missed seven shots all season. He’s averaging 20.5 points and 3.0 assists per game, and he’s shooting over 70% from the field and 60% from 3-point range. Perhaps there isn’t a better shot in the nation.
Arizona Wildcats, No. 15 (5-0) Unranked in the previous ranking This week’s game is against Sacramento State (Saturday)
Tommy Lloyd’s first season in Tucson began with NCAA tournament aspirations, but after the last week, those expectations may have to be boosted. Arizona won the Roman Main Event in Las Vegas, defeating Wichita State and destroying Michigan in the process. Versus the Shockers, the Wildcats blew a 16-point lead before prevailing in OT, but there was no fretting down the line against Michigan. Against the Wolverines, Arizona was outstanding. Bennedict Mathurin made baskets from the perimeter and midrange, while Dalen Terry was aggressive at the rim. Christian Koloko and Azuolas Tubelis were a force in the paint, while Bennedict Mathurin hit jumpers from the perimeter and midrange. Kerr Kriisa dished out seven assists while committing zero turnovers. Arizona’s defense, on the other hand, may have been the most remarkable component. The Wildcats swarmed in the post, aiming to jump passes, hound guys on the catch, and double-team Hunter Dickinson.
Seton Hall Pirates (#16) (3-0) Unranked in the previous ranking This week’s games are against Ohio State (Monday), California/Florida (Wednesday), and Bethune-Cookman (Friday) (Sunday)
I questioned coaches in each of the major conferences about possible surprise teams this season back in September. In this aspect, the Big East was practically unified in its support for Seton Hall. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kevin Willard’s Pirates seem to be on the verge of returning to the NCAA tournament following a disappointing season in 2020-21. The Pirates have an intriguing mix of experience (eight of the nine players who faced Michigan were juniors or seniors), defense (the Pirates rank first in KenPom’s effective field goal percentage defense), and room to improve (Kadary Richmond hasn’t hit his stride, Bryce Aiken needs to stay healthy, etc.). We’ll learn more about Seton Hall over the following three weeks when the Pirates play Ohio State and maybe Florida before hosting Texas in early December.
Michigan Wolverines (No. 8), Oregon Ducks (No. 11), and Illinois Fighting Illini all dropped out (No. 12)
Waiting in the lobby
St. Bonaventure Bonnies: It might take a few games for an experienced team with lots of experience, such as the Bonnies, to get rolling. Mark Schmidt’s team needed a late 17-1 surge to win Canisius on Sunday. One week later, the Bonnies were up 27 points on their way to a demolition of Marquette and the Charleston Classic championship.
Florida Gators: We’ve already discussed the Gators’ defense this season, but they added another notch to their belt on Thursday, when they held stud Milwaukee freshman Patrick Baldwin Jr. to 13 points and three rebounds on 6-for-15 shooting after he averaged 20.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in his first two games.
Tennessee Volunteers: The Volunteers had a mixed week, with a defeat to Villanova and a comeback victory against North Carolina, but they still have reason to be optimistic. Freshman Zakai Zeigler, whom the Vols signed late in the summer, might be a significant player for Rick Barnes. In the previous three games, he only played 30 minutes overall, but against the Tar Heels, he recorded 18 points and five assists in 28 minutes.
The “NCAA basketball rankings 2022” is a list of the top teams in college basketball. The list includes all the teams that have been ranked in the previous week. Reference: ncaa basketball rankings 2022.
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- ncaa basketball rankings 2021-22
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