College Basketball Power Rankings 2017: Week 9 Rankings

As college basketball smoothly transitions from 2017 to 2018, ambitious and competitive programs will already have their sights set on the opening day of the NCAA Tournament. While there is still plenty of conference basketball to be played until then, these forthcoming contests will be crucial in deciding coveted seeding spots and which bubble teams will inevitably be worthy of competing with the big boys of college basketball. When you also consider that both college and pro football are coming close to their highly anticipated crescendoes, college basketball will emphatically take over the spotlight throughout each week until March Madness tips off in just a couple of months.

1. Michigan State Spartans

While the top-ranked Spartans have not played a power five opponent in some time, they have dominated their inferior opponents with ease. With Big 10 play starting for the Spartans this week, this program will get a chance to emphatically prove their number one ranking is well deserved.

2. Duke Blue Devils

If the Blue Devils want to remain elite and respected in the ACC, they have to improve on defense (73.9 PAPG). When you consider how potent this program is in every other facet of the game of basketball, having even an average defense would be more than enough to allow the Blue Devils to reign supreme as a national powerhouse program.

3. Xavier Musketeers

Although the Musketeers have been living dangerously recently, they have still somehow managed to dig deep and win games that appear to be out of reach down the stretch. It may not be ideal, but the Musketeers have a cerebral offense that is extremely difficult to contain when they are able to divvy out opportunities to all of their shooters (17.9 APG).

4. West Virginia Mountaineers

Like with most college basketball programs, there are times when not everything is in sync. Despite relinquishing 79 points to Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers were able to lean on their confident shooters to win their most recent game (scored 85 points). If the Mountaineers can put it all together against Oklahoma this week, they may quickly become the team to beat in the Big 12.

5. Wichita State Shockers

Aside from an inconsistent defense (70.2 PAPG), the Shockers have been one of the most well-balanced teams in college basketball and have performed admirably even in their losses. They may not always win pretty, but their disciplined nature combined with their reliable playmakers will allow them to persevere more often than not.

6. Villanova Wildcats

To be fair, the Wildcats most recent loss was due to the Butler Bulldogs shooting at an unprecedented level (Bulter shot 68.2% three-point range) rather than Villanova being incompetent. With that being said, the Wildcats need to establish a stronger rebounding presence (35.6 RPG) if they hope to reap the awards of an offense that can do it all (88.1 PPG).

7. Arizona State Sun Devils

Although the Sun Devils would have been ecstatic to have won on the road against Arizona, this is still a program that has the elite talent and coaching to be competitively ruthless in the Pac-12. If the Sun Devils can improve slightly on defense (72.6 PAPG), this team could easily win the conference outright by the end of the season.

8. Virginia Cavaliers

After a close defensive win over Boston College, the Cavaliers have to be feeling mixed emotions despite their winning ways. Although their top-ranked defense has been effective more often than not, it has proven to be susceptible to opponents that are proficient at shooting the basketball. Ultimately, the Cavaliers will have to overcome the likes of Duke and North Carolina to prove that their physical yet predictable style of basketball is enough to take down the elite opposition.

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Despite their disturbing defensive inefficiencies (79.9 PAPG), the Sooners have been able to overcome this weakness with the most prolific offense in the country (94.7 PPG). Although the Sooner’s one-dimensional nature may come back to haunt them at some point this season, it appears that as of now that the Sooners are more than capable of outscoring any opponent they go up against.

10. Kansas Jayhawks

While the Jayhawks were able to pump the breaks and avoid disaster after losing back-to-back games to Washington and Arizona State earlier in the season, this is still a program that looks wildly inconsistent on both offense and defense. Even with an elite head coach like Bill Self at the helm, the Jayhawks cannot simply wing it in the Big 12 if they hope to win consistently.

11. North Carolina Tar Heels

Although the Tar Heels would like to win games more handily than they have recently, you have to admire the perseverance and established camaraderie that has allowed this program to win in crunch time. From a talent perspective, the Tar Heels have the versatile personnel that can compete consistently on both offense and defense, an advantage that will serve them well throughout ACC play.

12. Miami Hurricanes

Since losing to New Mexico State, the relatively inconsistent Hurricanes have managed to win back-to-back games, one of which was against an ACC opponent in Pittsburgh. While Miami’s defense is and has been elite this season, their wavering offense needs to be a bit more precise and aggressive if they hope to keep up with the likes of Duke and North Carolina (74.8 PPG).

13. Arizona Wildcats

Although the Wildcats recent resurgence on offense has been impressive (scored 80 points or more in four out of their last five games), it has actually been their solid defense that has allowed them to win handily in their last four victories.

14. Kentucky Wildcats

For a freshmen-laden team that has had issues defensively, the athletically apt Wildcats have won far more games than they have lost. Most notably, the Wildcats looked superb in every way that mattered against their arch-rival Louisville in a blowout win. Clearly, the Wildcats have an incredibly high ceiling in terms of success, but it remains to be seen if this program can live up to their lofty expectations on a regular basis.

15. Purdue Boilermakers

While it may be too soon to suggest that the intriguing Boilermakers are an elite program, they clearly have an oppressive defense (have not allowed an opponent to score 70 points in their last six games) and a developing offense that is potent enough to topple the elite teams in college basketball. If the Boilermakers can maintain this type of unwavering consistency, they could not only dethrone Michigan State as the best team in the Big 10 but could also claim a spot in the AP Poll as a top-five program down the line.

16. TCU Horned Frogs

Despite losing a thriller to Oklahoma on Saturday, the Horned Frogs emphatically proved that their offense is for real and can keep up with the most prolific shooting teams in college basketball. However, the glaring weakness for the Horned Frogs is their porous defense (have relinquished 80 points or more in three of their last four games), a deficiency that needs to be improved if TCU hopes to stay at or near the top of the highly competitive Big 12.

17. Texas A&M Aggies

While having immense size can help a program win its fair share of physical contests, it is not enough to win consistently by itself. Turning the ball over 14 times per game while shooting just 34.5% from three-point range, the static Aggies once intimidating gusto is no longer enough to strike fear in the hearts of their respective opponents.

18. Cincinnati Bearcats

During their impressive five-game winning streak, the versatile Bearcats have progressively improved on both offense and defense (scored just 65 points at the start of the win streak, scored 82 points against Memphis in their most recent win). Although the American Conference as a whole is not particularly daunting from a competitive standpoint, there are certainly enough teams with decent rosters to continually test a Bearcats program that is on the rise.

19. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Defeating all three of the ranked opponents they have faced this year (Northwestern, Nevada, Baylor), the scrappy Red Raiders have continuously proved that their elite defense and capable offense are the real deal. Although three of their next four games will be against the best programs in the Big 12 (Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia), the Red Raiders should be able to hold their own if not outright win at least a couple of those affairs.

20. Seton Hall Pirates

Despite looking shaky defensively, the mentally tough Pirates have been explosive enough on offense to hold off their last four opponents. Although Seton Hall will inevitably have their ups and downs in terms of remaining competitive this year, they have the talent (four of their five starters are currently averaging double-digit points per game) to stay relevant in what looks to be a well-balanced and competitive Big East conference.

21. Clemson Tigers

With their lone loss coming against Temple earlier in the season, the defensively sound Tigers have gone on to stifle one opportunistic offense after another (have allowed just one opponent to score more than 70 points during their current eight-game winning streak). If the Tigers can continue to be this efficient defensively, their place at the top of the ACC standings may become a reality and not just a brief moment in the limelight.

22. Gonzaga Bulldogs

With the Bulldogs officially starting conference play, this highly talented yet underachieving program will most likely go unnoticed until March. While the Bulldogs played a strong non-conference schedule, losses to notable powerhouses such as Florida and Villanova severely diminished their chances of garnering a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

23. Arkansas Razorbacks

Quitely, the red-hot Razorbacks have dispatched two ranked opponents (Minnesota, Tennessee) during their six-game winning streak. Although the defense of the Razorbacks is not perfect (74.6 PAPG), their prolific offense has been relentless recently (90.4 PPG) and will be this programs catalyst for consistent success in the SEC.

24. Baylor Bears

When their offense is not clicking, the inconsistent Bears have succumbed to the more reputable teams in college basketball (all three losses have come against ranked opponents). Although the Bears have the size and athleticism to hold their own in the Big 12, they need to establish some continuity as a scoring unit if they hope to redeem themselves as the season progresses.

25. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Although it seems like a lifetime ago since Notre Dame was trouncing the likes of LSU and Wichita State on the basketball court, the Fighting Irish are slowly but surely finding their defensive rhythm again. With their most recent win over Georgia Tech, The Fighting Irish displayed their underrated ability to rebound the ball tenaciously (45 rebounds in win over Georgia Tech).

NHL Winter Classic 2018 Live Stream: How To Watch Online Free
NHL Winter Classic 2018 Live Stream: How To Watch Online Free
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