April 14, 2024
Houston and Texas surge in the Power 36 college basketball rankings

Saint Mary’s is no longer a metric marvel.

The Gaels have been a top 10 team in most of the metrics without having that signature win this season.

Well, Saint Mary’s can silence the critics. The 78-70 overtime win against Gonzaga on Saturday night in Moraga pushed the Gaels to 10-0 in the WCC, 21-4 overall. Saint Mary’s took care of San Francisco earlier in the week. The Gaels, which were supposed to be in a bit of a reload mode this season, are now in the pole position to win the WCC outright with a two-game lead on Gonzaga with only one matchup left against the Zags in Spokane on Feb. 25.

The win over Gonzaga was a clincher for Saint Mary’s to earn our March Madness National Team of the Week. The win will also help justify a high seed for the Gaels come Selection Sunday.

The race for a first-team all-American spot is heating up and Azuolas Tubelis is making a strong case to be included in the first five. Tubelis, our March Madness National Player of the Week, torched the Oregon schools last week. He scored 40 points and grabbed nine boards in a 91-76 win over Oregon and had 19 and 8 in an 84-52 win over Oregon State. Tubelis is averaging 20.8 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 57.3 percent for the Wildcats.

1. Purdue (1): The Boilermakers stay No. 1 for me after losing at Indiana in the final few possessions. Sure, they trailed by double digits, but this was one of the hardest games to win this season. And the teams below all lost, as well.

2. Houston (9): The Cougars have won four in a row since losing to Temple at home, including road wins at UCF and this week at Wichita State and at Temple. Houston still has to play Memphis twice and Tulane once in what should be its three toughest remaining games.

3. Tennessee (2): The Vols did lose to Florida, but the win over Auburn should show this team isn’t fading in any way.

4. Alabama (3): The Tide absolutely rolled Vanderbilt. This team knows how to respond quickly.

5. Texas (12): The Longhorns beat Kansas State and are leading the Big 12 by one game. Rodney Terry is making a strong case to be the permanent coach.

6. Iowa State (7): The Cyclones are in second place in the Big 12 after beating Kansas handily. T.J. Otzelberger’s crew continues to impress.

7. Arizona (10): I’m back on the Wildcats after an impressive home sweep of the Oregon schools.

8. Indiana (8): The Hoosiers had quite a week, losing at Maryland and beating No. 1 Purdue. Trayce Jackson-Davis is a lock for first-team all-American.

9. UCLA (11): The Bruins had an impressive sweep of the Washington schools and have righted themselves quickly.

10. Baylor (6): The Bears lost to Texas but then beat Texas Tech and are poised to be in the thick of the race for a top-four finish.

11. Saint Mary’s (19): The Gaels are 10-0 in the WCC with a two-game lead on Gonzaga after beating the Zags in overtime in Moraga.

12. Maryland (30): Time to take the Terps seriously. Maryland beat Indiana and then did what they were supposed to by beating Minnesota on the road for their fourth win in a row.

13. Marquette (16): The Golden Eagles have won five in a row and are tied with Xavier for the Big East lead.

14. Iowa (27): The Hawkeyes beat rival Illinois, have won three in a row and are tied with four others at 7-5 in the Big Ten.

15. Xavier (17): The Musketeers have left the DePaul loss behind them and won two in a row to stay tied with Marquette atop the Big East.

16. Rutgers (28): The Scarlet Knights are now alone in second in the Big Ten at 8-4 after the win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden.

17. Kansas (5): The Jayhawks continue their wild swings within the Big 12. But I would still put them as a favorite to win the Big 12 tournament.

18. Kansas State (4): The Wildcats have lost two in a row but still have the goods for a high Big 12 finish.

19. Creighton (20): Here come the Bluejays. They’ve won six in a row. The preseason Big East favorites are getting healthy at the right time.

20. Kentucky (29): The Wildcats have figured out how to win late games now and are suddenly 7-3 in the SEC, a game out of second.

21. Pitt (NR): The Panthers got a sweep of North Carolina and are back in the ACC title chase a game behind Clemson.

22. Virginia (14): The Cavaliers lost at Virginia Tech to end a seven-game win streak.

23. USC (24): The Trojans have won four in a row and are playing their best basketball of the season.

24. Illinois (21): The Illini lost a rivalry game late to Iowa, but are still overall playing their best since early December.

25. NC State (NR): The Wolfpack have won four in a row and are poised to be an NCAA tournament team under Kevin Keatts.

26. Duke (33): The Blue Devils beat North Carolina for their third win in a row. They still aren’t healthy but are finding ways to win.

27. Providence (22): No shame in losing at Xavier. The Friars are NCAA bound.

28. Gonzaga (15): The Zags lost in overtime at Saint Mary’s. They’re two games back of the Gaels. They cannot afford to lose one more if they are going to have a chance at the WCC title.

29. TCU (13): The Horned Frogs have lost two of three with a big game coming up at Kansas State.

30. Miami (NR): The Canes are back in the poll after winning at Clemson.

31. Oklahoma State (NR): The Cowboys have won five of six and are right back in the bubble picture.

32. Nevada (NR): Steve Alford’s crew has won three of four, including beating San Diego State and New Mexico.

33. San Diego State (31): The Aztecs still hold a slim lead in the Mountain West by one.

34. Texas A&M (34): The Aggies are maintaining their position, after winning three of four and in a two-way tie for second in the SEC.

35. VCU (NR): Huge week for the Rams, sweeping a road swing to Davidson and Saint Louis to take back the top spot in the A-10 by a game over SLU.

36. Akron (NR): Time to give the Zips some love. Akron, which pushed UCLA last season in the NCAA tournament, has won eight in a row and beat Kent State by 12 to take a one-game lead in the MAC. Xavier Castaneda had a great week, scoring 32 at Buffalo and 24 against Kent State.

Dropped out: North Carolina (18), Michigan State (23), Clemson (25), Northwestern (26), Temple (32), Missouri (35), Florida Atlantic (36).