Stuckey’s College Basketball Betting Power Ratings: Early February’s Biggest Risers and Fallers
Photo credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: The Duke mascot.
Since the start of February, my top three held steady, with Gonzaga and Baylor essentially remaining neck-and-neck at more than five points better than the rest of the field.
Despite a current program pause, Michigan still holds the third spot, but Illinois continues to creep closer. It remains to be seen how the COVID-19 break will impact Michigan, especially once it returns to action.
Elsewhere in the top 25, Iowa has dropped from third earlier in the season down to 13th after losing four of its last five. The offense is tremendous, but the defense is a sieve. The Hawkeyes are just so soft as well.
The biggest riser in the top 25 is Rutgers. Since getting healthier, the Scarlet Knights have righted the ship after a five-game losing streak in January.
Speaking of COVID-19 impact, it’s one of the biggest drivers of the movement for teams this season, as I try to gauge where teams stand after going through their own breaks.
Here are notes on 10 of the biggest movers since the beginning of February:
- Arkansas State (+28) — The Red Wolves won 3-of-4 at home against Louisiana and UT-Arlington with the one loss coming by one point. The defense is still very suspect, but the offense has looked great.
- Youngstown State (+21) — The Penguins got fortunate in two overtime wins over Robert Morris but saw the return of guard Darius Quisenberry for the first time since Jan. 2. That’s big for their offense.
- South Alabama (+17) — I’ve been really impressed with the Jaguars in February. After sweeping Coastal Carolina at home to start the month, they followed that up with an upset win at Georgia State.
- UMBC (+16) — Could we see the Retrievers back in the NCAA Tournament? They are certainly trending in the right direction on the backs of their defense. UMBC doesn’t have a ton of depth but does boast plenty of experience. It currently sits in first place in the America East with a home series remaining to determine the regular-season champion.
- Iowa State (+15) — The Cyclones still haven’t won a conference game, but they are now finally fully healthy after dealing with COVID issues and were very competitive in three-straight losses to West Virginia, Oklahoma and TCU.
- Kent State (-16) — The Golden Flashes did pull out a win against free-falling Bowling Green, but they clearly miss senior guard Michael Nuga, who was lost for the year at the end of January.
- Duke (-16) — Three straight losses to start February — all as favorites, two of which came at home. The defense seems to be regressing.
- Elon (-19) — The Phoenix are still a mess after coming back from a long extended COvID break.
- Western Carolina (-22) — I actually thought the Catamounts could surprise this season, but going 4-0 in overtime in the non-conference schedule should’ve raised red flags sooner for me. They’re 1-9 in league play with the lone win coming by one point at home against The Citadel in a game they should’ve lost.
- New Mexico (-26) — With rumors of the Lobos potentially ending their season, I’m not sure where they stand mentally. I really want no part of backing them.
Click the DELTA RANK column to sort by the biggest risers and fallers over the last week.