These are my Power 36 college basketball rankings for Jan. 11, 2021. These are my picks for the top 36 men's college basketball teams in the country, which for now is still the official number of at-large berths into the NCAA tournament.
Expect spots 11 through 36 to remain fluid for the rest of the regular season. This edition marks the return of a few bluebloods, who look like they are here to stay.
Here's the Power 36 (last week's rankings in parentheses):
1. Gonzaga (1): Dominating offensively like no team since UNLV in the early ‘90s.
2. Baylor (2): The Bears are building up for the big challenges in the Big 12.
3. Villanova (3): On pause but not going anywhere.
4. Texas (4): Andrew Jones, the best story of 2021 so far.
5. Wisconsin (5): The Badgers needed OT to beat Indiana but proved they’ve got the experience to never be rattled.
6. Michigan (7): Undefeated and atop the Big Ten.
7. Iowa (8): Luka Garza continues an onslaught on Big Ten defenses.
8. Kansas (9): The Jayhawks held off a stingy Oklahoma team to keep in the chase.
9. Houston (11): The Tulsa loss may end up being an outlier in the AAC.
10. Creighton (12): The Bluejays keep finding a way to win games and do it an efficient offensive manner.
11. Illinois (6): The Maryland loss was a stunner at home, but too much good has happened to dump on the Illini.
12. Alabama (24): The Tide are atop the SEC, undefeated and looking solid.
13. Tennessee (10): The Vols lost at home to Alabama. That may be the only defeat in Knoxville this season.
14. Ohio State (17): The Buckeyes lost at Minnesota, but bounced back with a solid win over Rutgers to prove they are worthy of the top 15.
15. UCLA (18): The Bruins stand alone in the Pac-12 after sweeping the Arizona schools.
16. Boise State (22): The best team in the Mountain West continues to shine.
17. Clemson (21): The Tigers have one blemish in the ACC. They’re on pause now and should roar upon return.
18. UConn (30): The Huskies beat Butler without James Bouknight. That’s saying something.
19. USC (NR): The Trojans lived up to their potential in the sweep of the Arizona schools. The LA games should be well worth watching.
20. Stanford (NR): Oscar da Silva is turning into a Pac-12 Player of the Year favorite.
21. Colorado (NR): The Buffs beat back Oregon at home and proved they are in hunt to finish high in the Pac-12.
22. Oregon (13): The Ducks can’t beat Colorado in Boulder. But that’s the only blemish so far in the league.
23. Louisville (NR): The Cardinals had one awful outing — at Wisconsin. That’s it. One.
24. Texas Tech (NR): The Red Raiders need to knock off one of the top three teams in the league. They get a shot against Texas this week.
25. West Virginia (31): The comeback win over Oklahoma State, sans Oscar Tshiebwe (off to Kentucky) was a season-changing narrative victory.
26. Minnesota (14): The Gophers need to figure out how to win on the road — soon.
27. Virginia Tech (19): The Hokies beat Notre Dame on Sunday night and have quietly put together an NCAA tournament bound season so far.
28. Virginia (26): The defense is still stingy. Consistency in the offense is coming. Virginia will climb.
29. Kentucky (NR): The Wildcats have won three in a row and dominated Florida in Gainesville. Dare we say they are back?
30. Drake (35): The Bulldogs are on pause. But they’re 13-0.
31. Seton Hall (29): The Pirates continue to show tremendous fight. This squad will be in the mix.
32. Xavier (NR): The Musketeers beat Providence at the buzzer Sunday. Xavier’s resiliency is proving to be an identity.
33. Duke (NR): The Blue Devils are back in the Power 36 after the close win over Boston College and (rather handily) one over Wake Forest. They are getting better and will likely continue to climb.
34. Saint Louis (33): The Billikens are on pause. So hard to judge them this week.
35. Tulsa (35): The Golden Hurricane have won six in a row and are the top challenger to Houston in the AAC.
36. LSU (NR): The name to remember is Cameron Thomas. He’s been a special talent so far.
Dropped out: No. 15 Rutgers, No. 16 Missouri, No. 20 NC State, No. 23 BYU, No 25 Oklahoma, No. 27 Florida, No. 28 Northwestern, No. 32 Arizona, No. 34 Oklahoma State