With the NFL season set to conclude in less than a week, fans will start shifting their attention more toward college basketball. This makes it the perfect time to debut my inaugural college basketball power rankings. For those looking to catch up on the college hoops landscape, this list will serve as a good representation of the true contenders. For those that have followed college basketball closely all season, this list will highlight a few potential teams that could provide value from a futures perspective come March. I will update the list on a weekly basis through the start of the tourney. Because I’m doing this from a betting perspective, you should expect to see drastic differences from the garden variety polls out there. You can interpret my rankings as the order of teams I would have favored on a neutral court. For example, I would have Villanova listed as a favorite over every other team in the country as of today. Let’s dive in.
1. Villanova (20-1)
This week: vs. Creighton, vs. Seton Hall
Besides the Butler loss, Nova hasn’t trailed in the second half of a Big East game this year. I still think they have some issues in rim protection, and depth is certainly a concern with Phil Booth’s injury. However, when the Cats are clicking, they have the best offense in the country.
2. Virginia (20-1)
This week: vs. Louisville, @ Syracuse
It’s hard to win at Duke and not have a serious claim for the top spot, but some concerns about the offense linger. Having potentially the best defense in the history of college basketball certainly makes up for some of those shortcomings. Isaiah Wilkins is the best individual frontcourt defender in the country, but the addition of freshman De’Andre Hunter has sent the UVA pack line into hyper drive. When Virginia head coach Tony Bennett has those two on the floor together, they hold opposing offenses to an absurd .73 points per possession, per Hooplens.com. Hunter was huge against Duke with Wilkins limited by foul trouble and a tight back.