College Basketball Betting Power Ratings Update: Duke, Campbell & More Big Movers as We Approach March
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Hurt
It’s once again time to take a look at the biggest risers and fallers in my college basketball power ratings over the past week.
There’s more status quo at the top of the class — I didn’t make any changes to Gonzaga, Baylor or Michigan. I do have the Zags slightly ahead of the Bears, but not by much. Next are the Wolverines, who have a comfortable margin over the fourth-best team, but are still approximately five points worse than the top two on a neutral court. I couldn’t penalize Baylor much at all for barely escaping Iowa State in its first game back after a long layoff with limited practices. Now, that could change if the impact from that break lingers.
You can argue all you want about the specific positions of No. 3 (Ohio State) through No. 10 (Alabama) for fun, just know there’s barely any difference between those two.
Overall, it was a very quiet week in regards to movement in my top 25 with the biggest change being Texas Tech dropping eight spots from 15 to 23 after suffering its third-straight loss on Monday in Stillwater.
I can’t say the same for other teams outside of the top 25 as there was quite a bit of movement for various reasons. I’ll highlight the nine teams that moved at least 30 spots in my power ratings over the past seven days after we run through the update, then touch on a few key roster notes from the past week.
College Basketball Power Ratings
Elon (+58): The Phoenix missed almost the entire month of January due to a COVID-19 break. When they returned to action, nothing was working over a five-loss streak, so I dropped them fairly significantly after catching some of their action. But then something clicked and they recently won three straight — all by double-digits — including two on the road against Charleston and William & Mary.
Head coach Mike Schrage runs a very complex offense that requires timing and rhythm, so I was very comfortable moving Elon up aggressively after watching the offense last week.
Eastern Illinois (+54): Results do help, and EIU certainly had those over the past week with two road wins over Murray State (as a 15-point underdog) and Austin Peay (as a 7-point underdog). But more importantly, this team full of seniors is finally healthy after having their season railroaded by injuries.
After getting a few of their most critical pieces back over the past two weeks, this is now the team I expected coming into the year.
Detroit (+40): The Titans won eight of nine to close the year and are a legitimate threat to win the Horizon conference tournament. Antione Davis is a human bucket who can score 30 with ease, and the offense has also been on fire since freshman center Noah Waterman was inserted into the lineup after missing the first six games.
Head coach Mike Davis has an explosive offense and one of the most experienced backcourts in the country.
Duke (+33): I don’t think there’s much argument now that Duke is better off without talented freshman Jalen Johnson, who opted out of the rest of the season. He just never seemed to find a role and there were whispers of chemistry issues in the locker room. Plus, by some metrics, Johnson was the least efficient player on the court for Duke this season.
The Blue Devils, who seem to have found an identity on both ends, have flown up my power ratings from outside the top 60 to inside the top 30 after three blowout ACC wins and a big home win over Virginia. Coach K might end up dancing after all.
Campbell (+32): The competition hasn’t been elite by any stretch, but the Camels have won seven straight overall. More importantly, they just got back the services of big man Jesus Carralero, who missed nine games due to injury. When healthy, so much of the offense runs through the Spaniard.
Little Rock (-64): The Trojans are in absolute free-fall mode having lost all six games in February, including a sweep at the hands of Louisiana Monroe over the weekend. The primary culprit has been a completely decimated backcourt, primarily as a result of First-Team All Sun Belt point guard Markquis Nowell deciding to opt out of the rest of the season mid-way through the month.
Little Rock still has an abundance of size, but basically no guards to run the show.
FIU (-42): I’ve officially given up on the Golden Panthers after a severely disappointing season.
They finally got fully healthy last weekend when Radshad Davis returned to the lineup, but that still resulted in their 12th straight conference loss after they got ran out of their gym in the second half by lowly Southern Miss. And now we have just learned that Antonio Daye, who leads the team in points and steals, has decided to enter the transfer portal. What a mess in Miami.
NJIT (-40): The drop was drastic for the Highlanders after they got swept at home by Binghamton with both losses coming by double digits. The luster from earlier home wins against UMBC and Vermont has completely worn off. They’re also dealing with roster issues.
Sacramento State (-39): The Hornets got absolutely manhandled two times last weekend against Southern Utah.
This is just a team I had severely over-rated and needed to adjust after digging further into their underlying metrics once I had a decent sample size. They’ve also had a few fortunate wins that came against opponents who have also been dropping in my power ratings. Their only Division I wins have come against Idaho (twice), Idaho State, Montana (in double OT) and Sacramento State (by one after a late comeback). They can shoot and handle the ball, but struggle almost everywhere else.
Key Roster Notes
- Bradley: Elijah Childs, Danya Kingsby and Terry Nolan Jr. have missed the past three games and remain suspended. Childs and Nolan are the team’s two leading scorers.
- Drake: After recently losing leading scorer Shanquan Hemphill to a season-ending injury, Drake has now also lost starting point guard Roman Penn. Those are two huge blows to the Bulldogs leading into March, although Joseph Yesufu has scored 68 points over the past two games as he tries to fill the void left by Penn
- Louisiana: Starting point guard Brayan Au will underdog season-ending knee surgery.
- South Dakota State: Second-leading scorer and potential First-Team All Summit guard Noah Freidel has opted out of the remainder of the season due to personal reasons.
- Saint Joseph’s: Last weekend, the Hawks finally saw the return of Ryan Daly for the first time since Dec. 21 — all he did was score 30 points in a victory over La Salle.