The rankings are a snapshot in a week of college basketball while the selections and brackets are a reflection of the body of work. So don’t confuse the two. Here is our Power 36 — the snapshot look at the most formidable 36 teams in the past week in college basketball.
Onto the debate:
1. Baylor (1): Bears keep rolling with 18 in a row.
2. Gonzaga (2): No Tillie again, means no problem.
3. San Diego State (3): The Aztecs beat New Mexico and Utah State for two of the toughest MWC games.
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4. Kansas (4): The Jayhawks are keeping in step with Baylor, waiting for their next chance.
5. Louisville (7): The Cardinals are back rolling.
6. Dayton (8): The Flyers have handled every challenge in the A-10.
7. LSU (10): The Tigers remain unblemished in the SEC.
8. Duke (12): The Blue Devils answered the challenge by winning at Syracuse.
9. Maryland (18): The Terps are looking the part of being in the chase for the Big Ten title.
10. Auburn (19): The Tigers are something special at home.
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11. Florida State (5): The Seminoles lost at Virginia, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but the Cavs have been struggling.
12. Kentucky (11): No shame in losing at Auburn.
13. Michigan State (13): The Spartans lost by one at Wisconsin. But they are still the team to beat in the Big Ten.
14. Iowa (17): The Hawkeyes knocked off Illinois at home and may have the national player of the year in Luka Garza.
15. Illinois (9): The Illini win streak came to an end in Iowa City to a team that has been an extremely tough out at home.
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16. Seton Hall (6): The Pirates had an inexplicable no-show at the beginning of the Xavier game at home. That can’t happen if the Pirates want to win the Big East.
17. Oregon (14): The Ducks got the Bay Area split and still the team to beat in the Pac-12.
18. Arizona (23): The Wildcats swept the Washington schools and are in the chase for a Pac-12 title.
19. West Virginia (16): The Mountaineers lost to Texas Tech, but aren’t going anywhere in the Big 12 race.
20. Penn State (25): The Nittany Lions have won four in a row and are soaring in the Big Ten.
21. Creighton (30): The Bluejays got a win at Villanova and are a threat to challenge for the Big East title.
22. Villanova (15): The Wildcats were stunned by Creighton in advance of this weekend’s showdown with Seton Hall.
23. Tulsa (27): The Golden Hurricane are atop the American Athletic Conference with the latest win — over Wichita State at the buzzer.
24. Rhode Island (29): The Rams are surging in the A-10 and Fatts Russell is having an all-A-10 season.
25. Colorado (22): The Buffs got the Los Angeles split to stay in the Pac-12 chase.
26. Michigan (NR): The Wolverines aren’t healthy yet, but Zavier Simpson is back. Brandon Johns is making big-time shots and the Wolverines beat Rutgers.
27. Rutgers (20): The Scarlet Knights still need to get a quality win away from the RAC.
28. Wisconsin (NR): The Badgers lost two guards — one when Kobe King left the team and another Brad Davison when he was suspended for a game — yet still beat Michigan State.
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29. Butler (24):The Bulldogs were stunned by Providence at home, but are still a player in the Big East.
30. Marquette (36): The Golden Eagles have Markus Howard and no one else does.
31. BYU (NR): The Cougars got a much-needed home win over Saint Mary’s on a TJ Haws last-possession 3-pointer.
32.Cincinnati (NR): John Brennan’s crew is quietly moving up in the AAC and owns the only win against Tulsa.
33. Mississippi State (NR): Reggie Perry has been on a mission to get the Bulldogs back in NCAA tournament contention.
34. Texas Tech (28): The Red Raiders got the split of West Virginia and at Kansas.
35. Wichita State (31): The Shockers were within a whisker of a road win at Tulsa, before Elijah Joiner buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
36. Saint Mary’s (35): The Gaels had BYU beat before TJ Haws’ 3-pointer in Provo.
Team of the week
Creighton: The Bluejays stunned Villanova 76-61 for their fourth-straight win. Xavier’s upset win at Seton Hall means the Bluejays are alone in third place, two games behind the Pirates and a game behind Nova. Creighton still has two games left with Seton Hall and split the season series with Villanova. The Bluejays played a strong non-conference schedule, losing at Michigan and to San Diego State on a neutral floor but also knocked off possible NCAA tournament teams Texas Tech (Las Vegas) and Oklahoma.
Player of the week
Filip Petrusev, 6-11, So., F, Gonzaga: Petrusev has been one of the most consistent big men in the country on one of the top two teams. Petrusev scored 31 points and grabbed nine boards in a road win at Santa Clara, a game in which Killian Tillie went down with an ankle sprain. Then, without Tillie, Petrusev scored 23 points and grabbed 11 boards in a gritty four-point win at San Francisco. Petrusev was 22-32 from the field in the two games. The Zags are 23-1 overall, 9-0 in the WCC.