College Basketball Betting Power Ratings Update: Gonzaga, Baylor Still Holding Top Spots in March
William Mancebo/Getty Images. Pictured: Gonzaga star Corey Kispert, center, drives to the basket.
For the fifth consecutive week, my top three teams haven’t changed with Gonzaga holding down the top spot, followed by Baylor and Michigan.
However, that does not mean we didn’t see change at the top. Gonzaga held steady, but Baylor dropped down a few ticks after coming back from a long COVID-19 pause in which a number of players came down with the virus.
That seemed to have an impact on the Bears, who barely beat Iowa State, then lost to Kansas before rallying to beat West Virginia in overtime on Tuesday. The defense just isn’t at the same level it was prior to the hiatus. That doesn’t mean Baylor can’t get back there, but its recent performances warranted a downgrade in my opinion.
For almost the entirety of the season, I had Gonzaga and Baylor both more than five points better than the third-best team. Now, I have Gonzaga about 2.5 points better than Baylor on a neutral court and both Michigan and Illinois within 2.5 points of Baylor.
Illinois had a tremendous week, picking up back-to-back road wins at Wisconsin and at Michigan (in style) without star guard Ayo Dosunmu. The Illini are now right on the heels of Michigan. So, while the move from No. 5 to No. 4 doesn’t seem like much, it moved quite a bit from a raw numbers perspective.
Elsewhere in the top 25, Arkansas made the biggest leap, skyrocketing up 12 spots from No. 26 to No. 14 following up an easy win over Alabama with victories against LSU and South Carolina. Winners of 10 in a row in league play, the Razorbacks are peaking at the right time. They are user-dangerous with a now-healthy Justin Smith.
See below for my updated power ratings. I’ll also highlight the seven teams that moved at least 30 spots since the last iteration and conclude with some key recent roster news for five clubs.
College Basketball Power Ratings
Biggest Weekly Movers
Here are the seven teams that moved at least 30 spots over the past seven days, along with some brief commentary:
Bradley (-56): The Braves picked up a huge upset win over Drake this past weekend, but this adjustment primarily captures personnel losses, which I had been manually adjusting for in the past. Their two leading scorers — Elijah Childs and Terry Nolan Jr. — will not return from suspension, The same goes for role player Danya Kingsby. And just this past weekend, third-leading scorer and rebounder Ja’Shon Henry suffered to what looked like a serious foot injury.
UT Rio Grande Valley (-39): After an extended COVID-19 break, the Vacqueros lost three in a row (and failed to cover in all three) on the west coast. In more impactful news, leading scorer Sean Rhea (15.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg) announced he would enter the transfer portal. It’s been an unfortunate season for UTRGV, which also tragically saw head coach Lew Hill pass away last month.
Saint Joseph’s (+38): All the Hawks did over the past week was beat Dayton at home, then follow that up with a victory at Richmond. After starting out 0-9 in conference, St. Joseph’s has won three consecutive league games. It’s no coincidence that its best player Ryan Daly returned from injury three games ago. This is a different team with Daly in the lineup.
Umass Lowell (+35): The River Hawks picked up two America East conference tournament wins away from home over the weekend. More importantly, they got leading scorer Obadiah Noel (20.5 ppg) back from injury for the first time since January.
South Florida (-33): Three consecutive blowout losses by a combined 85 points won’t help the power rating. The Bulls are also dealing with injuries to two key players in Alexis Yetna and Michael Durr.
Charlotte (-33): The free fall continues for the 49ers, who got swept in blowout fashion in El Paso against UTEP to drop their fifth and sixth contests in a row. I can’t adjust this team down fast enough.
Key Roster Notes
Pittsburgh: Starting point guard Xavier Johnson (14.2 points and 5.7 assists per game) entered the transfer portal. Starting forward Au’Diese Toney (14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists) followed suit by doing the same the very next day. Pitt is now down two of its top three scorers.
South Dakota: Super sophomore AJ Plitzuweit, who’s averaging 19.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, went down with a serious leg injury last weekend. He was on crutches for the second game of the back-to-back set with North Dakota State.
Thank you to everyone that has reached out with their love and prayers! I will be okay and I promise I will do whatever it takes to get back on that court with my guys 🙏🏽 it’s going to be a journey but I can’t wait to wear the red and white again in front of Coyote Nation 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/qErHU7ZR8d
— AJ Plitzuweit (@ajplitz_21) February 28, 2021
Boston College: After recently losing second-leading scorer Wynston Tabbs for the season due to violation of COVID-19 protocols, Boston College also lost third-leading scorer Rich Kelly to a foot injury. Kelly has stated he will transfer.
Louisville: Senior big man Malik Williams will miss the remainder of the season with another foot injury. This is a devastating blow to the Cardinals.
Nebraska: Leading scorer Teddy Allen has left the program. In his last four games as a Husker, he scored 6, 5, 41 and 0 points.