Siler’s Selections – Week 13

For the week of 2/8 – 2/15

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Matthew Siler, Reporter

In a crazy season like this, no team is safe. Anyone can lose on any day; that’s the beauty of college basketball. For the hours upon hours of pouring through the different statistics that are available I still had a hard time figuring out where to put teams this week. I’ll be honest, it’s a little crazier this week than usual but what’s better than that? Makes for great television. Here are my top 25 teams for week 13 of the college basketball season:


Statistics Glossary

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (20-0)

THIS WEEK: Win @ BYU 82-71; Win @ San Francisco 100-61


This Gonzaga team is something else. They’ve had FIVE straight away games and won all of them by double digits. Usually teams would slip up or would have an “off night” and while Gonzaga did have an “off night” it didn’t affect their winning streak and it didn’t affect their ability to come back the next game even hotter than before. The win at BYU is much more impressive than it looks. BYU is top-50 in almost every metric there is, and Gonzaga made them look like a sub-100 team. There’s really not much else to say other than there’s only a few more weeks to go before March.


Up next for Gonzaga: vs. Saint Mary’s (CA) 2/18

2. Baylor Bears (17-0)

THIS WEEK: No games 🙁


No games this week for Baylor. They’re currently on a pause because of positive tests within the program. There’s a chance they only play one game before their conference tournament.


Up next for Baylor: vs. Oklahoma State 2/20

3. Michigan Wolverines (14-1)

THIS WEEK: Win @ #21 Wisconsin 67-59


Michigan really showed everyone who was boss this week. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that Wisconsin is still ranked after alternating wins and losses for the past six games. Michigan on the other hand came back from a three week pause and played like they never missed a beat. The first half was a little questionable but that’s to be expected from a team coming off of a long pause like they were. I’m excited to see how the rest of the season pans out for them.


Up next for Michigan: vs. Rutgers 2/18

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (17-4)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Maryland 73-65; Win vs. Indiana 78-59


As a Notre Dame fan, our loss to Ohio State pains me more and more every week. To think that we were leading by 12 against a team as powerful as they are now is just ridiculous. Ohio State is on fire, averaging almost 80 points per game in their last six games. Now, I know that simply going by points per game isn’t the best way of explaining offensive efficiency (points per possession is much more effective) but for now it will do because that stat is just as impressive. They have one of the toughest schedules remaining so their fate is in their hands.


Up next for Ohio State: @ Penn State 2/18

5. Virginia Cavaliers (15-3)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Georgia Tech 57-49; Win vs. North Carolina 60-48


As I’m writing this, Virginia is currently losing their game against Florida State. However, I will not use that game in my rankings this week because it is technically occurring in next week’s schedule. I digress, Virginia’s defense will carry them far for the rest of the season and into the postseason. Their offense may not look like it’s getting much done, but considering the fact that they play at the slowest tempo in the nation, it’s very efficient and gets the job done.


Up next for Virginia: @ Duke 2/20

6. Houston Cougars (17-2)

THIS WEEK: Win @ South Florida 82-65


Well, Houston did it again. They won. There’s not much of a takeaway from this game because it was against such a low-ranked team that whatever the score was, those who like Houston will say that it’s a rebound win while those who dislike Houston will say that their Strength of Schedule isn’t strong enough to keep up with the big fellas. Personally, it doesn’t really make a difference to me. Yeah it wasn’t the best of wins but it was a pretty large point differential so that’s nice. I’m keeping them where they are until they play some of the tougher teams in the American.


Up next for Houston: @ Wichita State 2/18

7. Illinois Fighting Illini (14-5)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Nebraska 77-72 (OT)


While the win over Nebraska isn’t exactly what I’d call “program-defining” it definitely shows that Illinois can win even when they don’t play their best. It felt like an preview of a March Madness game because of the way Nebraska came out of nowhere to shut down Illinois’ biggest threats. However, without Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois likely loses that game. It’s a little dangerous to rely so heavily on a single player but you got to do what you got to do. A win is a win. Illinois showed their fight even on a bad day.


Up next for Illinois: vs. Northwestern 2/16

8. Oklahoma Sooners (13-5)

THIS WEEK: Win @ #13 West Virginia 91-90 (2OT)


Oklahoma is a very good team. Their offense has truly been one of the best basketball teams to watch, although their defense needs a little help. There really isn’t much else to say about this team. I watched the entirety of their game against West Virginia and I was thoroughly impressed. The only name that stuck out to me was Reaves and that’s only because the announcers couldn’t stop saying it. Oklahoma is a team. There are no superstars. And that’s just how I like it.


Up next for Oklahoma: vs. #12 Texas 2/16

9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-6)

THIS WEEK: Loss vs. #13 West Virginia 71-82


I’m not sure what it is, but West Virginia is Texas Tech’s kryptonite. I truly believe that Texas Tech is the better team, but there’s something that West Virginia is doing that puts them ahead every time. I’m not sure many people expected a sweep from them this season but here we are. Now, I’m sure Texas Tech will rebound and have a much better game and perform above their expectations for the rest of the season. I have no worries. All of my qualms about this team have been satisfied for the most part, and now that they have some quality wins under their belt, a few of these losses won’t hurt them too much.


Up next for Texas Tech: vs. TCU 2/16

10. Texas Longhorns (13-5)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Kansas State 80-77; Win vs. TCU 70-55


Texas has some major ground to make up. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt because a lot of their problems came from their extended pause, but that game against Kansas State was plain scary. They made Kansas State, a team who lost to DIVISION TWO Fort Hays State by 12, look like a decent program. Granted, it was at Kansas State, but for what it’s worth I don’t think it should have mattered. If Texas still wants to be taken seriously they have to win out — and win out big.


Up next for Texas: @ #9 Oklahoma 2/16

11. West Virginia Mountaineers (14-6)

THIS WEEK: Win @ #15 Texas Tech 82-71; Loss vs. #9 Oklahoma 90-91 (2OT)


West Virginia is in a pretty good spot right now even though they lost a close one to Oklahoma. Their offensive rebounding and their offense in general has really improved since the last time I watched one of their games. I really hope their games against Baylor get rescheduled because they’re the only team who hasn’t played them yet (although West Virginia is the reason the game wasn’t earlier). I’m excited for what the rest of the season will bring for the Mountaineers.


Up next for West Virginia: @ #12 Texas 2/20

12. Creighton Bluejays (16-5)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Georgetown 63-48; Win vs. #10 Villanova 86-70


Creighton is such a weird team. Four of their five losses have come to the four worst teams in the Big East, but they have also beat the other top four teams in the Big East so it’s confusing me just how good they are. In the game against Villanova they had their highest Points Per Possession this season. If Creighton can play like this come March, a final four may be in their future.


Up next for Creighton: vs. DePaul 2/24

13. Villanova Wildcats (13-3)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Marquette 96-64; Loss @ #14 Creighton 70-86


This might be a little low for Villanova, but in my opinion they deserve it. Ever since their long pause, they haven’t looked the same. They struggled against Providence and they just got blown out by Creighton. Sure you can say that there was nothing Villanova could have done to stop Creighton, that they were just having a really good day shooting but that’s a copout in my opinion. Villanova didn’t defend well and didn’t turn the ball over enough. Simple as that.


Up next for Villanova: vs. UConn 2/20

14. Iowa Hawkeyes (15-6)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Rutgers 79-56; Win @ Michigan State 88-58


Well Iowa certainly has stepped up their defense: they kept both of their opponents under 60 points which is actually really good considering how high-tempo Iowa is. What’s even wilder is the fact that they scored 88 points and only 8 of them came from Luka Garza. If Iowa can play like this, they’ll win the tournament. However, like I’ve said before, the Big 10 thrives off of their best teams, so when someone like Iowa plays a fringe-bubble team like Rutgers and a falling-off-a-cliff Michigan State team, their metrics will skyrocket. It’s like how the SEC is treated in college football: every win is quality and every loss is quality. No in between.


Up next for Iowa: @ #21 Wisconsin 2/18

15.USC Trojans (17-3)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Washington 69-54; Win @ Washington State 76-65


Like I’ve said in previous weeks, these PAC-12 games are just too late. Both of those games I listed started at 10PM EST, which is really hard to watch because I can’t stay up that late. I do watch some highlights and can say with certainty that USC is a good team. They move the ball well and can shoot the ball even better. I’m excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for them.


Up next for USC: vs. Arizona State 2/17

16. Florida State Seminoles (11-3)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Wake Forest 92-85 (OT)


Just looking at the score and seeing that Wake Forest of all teams took Florida State to overtime would raise some flags, and for good reason. However, let it be known that a player who averages 3 points per game was 7-8 FROM THREE for the game as a whole. When someone is that hot, it’s hard to beat them. It’s no question that Florida State’s depth is the reason they can win the overtime game. If Wake had just played a little bit of defense in the end of the game, I’m sure Florida State would have lost. Oh yeah, Florida State was also coming off of a pause so that affected their game too.


Up next for Florida State: vs. #18 Virginia Tech 2/20

17. Alabama Crimson Tide (17-5)

THIS WEEK: Win @ South Carolina 81-78; Win vs. Georgia 115-82


Don’t let these final scores fool you: Alabama has a great defense, especially against the three. However, I’m putting them this low because I don’t think it’s sustainable. Come March, this defense won’t matter if they can’t score (and I understand their score against Georgia is insane) consistently. I’m expecting great things from Alabama but I’m not sure they can pull through.


Up next for Alabama: @ Texas A&M 2/17

18. Missouri Tigers (13-5)

THIS WEEK: Loss @ Ole Miss 59-80; Loss vs. Arkansas 81-86


Missouri is probably the most beatable team at the moment. None of their wins have been by more than double digits and this season is really starting to fall apart. Now I definitely believe they can get their act together by their next game but it’s going to be rough. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near their practices for this week, I’m sure there is going to be a lot of, well, “emotion” to say the least. This is the first time all season that Missouri has dropped consecutive games, but I don’t think it will happen again.


Up next for Missouri: @ Georgia 2/16

19. Virginia Tech Hokies (14-4)

THIS WEEK: No Games 🙁


Not much to say about a team who didn’t play. I really hope that next year I won’t have to put “No Games” ever again. This really stinks that teams go entire weeks without playing a game.


Up next for Virginia Tech: @ #16 Florida State 2/20

20. Tennessee Volunteers (14-5)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Georgia 89-81; Loss @ LSU 65-78


I’m still not sure what to make of this Tennessee team. Just like Missouri, they are very beatable at the moment, and their loss at LSU shows it. The past three games have not been very good to the “Tennessee has a good defense” movement, as there have been more points scored per game in those three games than at any other time in the season. If Tennessee wants to be taken seriously, they should get their act together on offense.


Up next for Tennessee: vs. South Carolina 2/16

21. San Diego State Aztecs (15-4)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. San Jose State 85-54; Win vs. San Jose State 77-55


I’ll talk a little more about the back-to-back games later, but for now I think it’s time to stare in awe at how good San Diego State’s defense is. From the beginning of the season, the Aztecs knew what their identity was and what they were going to do throughout the season. It’s the mark of a good team, and I’ll say that they are definitely a good team.


Up next for San Diego State: @ Fresno State 2/18

22. Arkansas Razorbacks (16-5)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Kentucky 81-80; Win @ #20 Missouri 86-81


Now we’re entering the part of the rankings where teams who have had questionable seasons are making their appearances. Arkansas, for example, has a very good record. However, they have played absolutely nobody of quality outside of their conference. They were ranked for a little bit earlier in the season, but dropped out after a quick loss. They’ve definitely bounced back since then, but many of their losses are to the top half of the SEC, which does not help their case for being a quality team. It does not matter now though because they are ranked and they have a good record.


Up next for Arkansas: vs. Florida 2/16

23. Louisville Cardinals (11-4)

THIS WEEK: No Games 🙁


Again, I really wish there weren’t any of these but it happens I guess.


Up next for Louisville: vs. Syracuse 2/17

24. Colorado Buffaloe (16-6)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Stanford 69-51; Loss @ California 62-71


I’m giving Tennessee a break for their loss to Ole Miss, so I think I should give Colorado a break for their loss to California. Their Stanford win is very good, and especially because it was at Stanford. These really long streaks of playing away games is very tough. It’s the reason Gonzaga is so good. Many of the teams Colorado is playing are on the same level as the teams other mid-majors and power conference teams are playing. It’s just that the PAC-12 doesn’t get the same amount of love as the other conferences.


Up next for Colorado: @ Oregon 2/18

25. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (18-4)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Drake 81-54; Loss @ Drake 50-51 (OT)


This week was the perfect example for why back-to-back games should be considered differently than games played in a normal schedule. Loyola just crushed Drake and then lost to them the very next day. What does this mean for Loyola? Well it means they stayed ranked because it was very clear that Drake had to scratch and claw to win their second game. It also shows that college basketball is an amazing sport that everyone should watch because games like these are to die for.


Up next for Loyola-Chicago: vs. Valparaiso 2/17