College Basketball Power Rankings: Here comes Kentucky (and Auburn)
Every Monday throughout the college basketball season, I will be giving out my Top 25 teams in the country. These rankings will be based on not only wins and your team's current resume but also, how much trust and belief I have in them going forward, coaching, depth and more!
1. Baylor (13-0)
The defending national champion Bears were able to pick up their second true road victory of the season, after they went into Hilton Coliseum and defeated No. 8 Iowa State on Saturday. One thing that popped off the TV was Baylor’s size in the frontcourt. Being an elite defensive team was one of the many characteristics that took last year's squad all the way to a National Championship and this version of Baylor’s defense is bigger and longer. Having guys over 6’8 like Kendall Brown, Jeremy Sochan and Matthew Mayer all on the wing provides length that is just hard to shoot over. Baylor never trailed in the matchup, despite 19 turnovers and foul trouble. Baylor has now won 19 games in a row and are one of the three remaining undefeated teams in college basketball. Scott Drew’s team will go into the new year with all of the momentum and looking like the best team in college basketball despite losing four key pieces from last year's National Championship squad.
2. Duke (11-1)
The Blue Devils were able to pick up a victory in their ACC conference opener over Virginia Tech, which was also the last game they played on December 22nd - but have been on Covid pause since, with two games cancelled last week. Going into 2022, the ACC does not appear to have too many teams that seem like a threat to challenge the Blue Devils in this version of the conference, but things can change. Having two weeks off should only help five-star freshman AJ Griffin continue to get fully healthy after suffering a knee injury in October. Griffin was excellent against Virginia Tech with 13 points in 24 minutes of action. Mike Krzyzewski, was able to show the different lineup options he has with this group by playing a smaller lineup with Paolo Banchero as a face up five and AJ Griffin as a four. Having an option like that, if your top big man Mark Williams ever gets into foul trouble can be very helpful and something not every top team has the option of doing. Considering there isn’t one ACC team not named Duke ranked in this Top 25, it will be fascinating to see how many challenges or battles this group will face in Coach K’s last hoorah.
3. Gonzaga (11-2)
There hasn’t been a conference in the country that has been more affected by COVID-19 than the WCC as all seven of the conference games that were scheduled for this past weekend were postponed due to COVID-19 issues. Gonzaga is currently on a COVID pause as their scheduled game for Saturday against Loyola Marymount was already their 3rd game this season not to occur due to COVID. Aside from Gonzaga, the WCC has three other teams - BYU, Saint Mary's and San Francisco - who should be competing for an at large bid throughout league play. Once the league does return back to the floor, Gonzaga should be ready to face more challenges than usual during league play which should be great for their long-term tournament aspirations. Prior to the current shutdown, Gonzaga was able to get in a game on Tuesday as they picked up a 93-63 victory over North Alabama. It is going to be very exciting to see the Bulldogs once they return to the floor and face off against a West Coast Conference that is the best it’s been in a long time.
4. Purdue (12-1)
Matt Painter’s squad was able to earn a victory over Nicholls State in their only action of the week, scoring a season-high 104 points in the process. Zach Edey put up his most points in a game since November 21st against Villanova with 21. Having two bigs that Matt Painter can use based on matchup with Williams and Edey is a weapon that no other coach in the country has. Guard Jaden Ivey was also able to show why he is likely going to be a top 10 NBA draft pick this summer, as he had 19 points in the victory. Purdue has already learned just how difficult road games could be during a Big Ten conference schedule, especially when you are labeled as the team to beat in the league which has going into the conference slate. A trip to Madison, Wisconsin will be in store for the Boilers on Monday in what will be their first Big Ten road game since the Boilers first and only loss of the season against Rutgers. Purdue’s defense wasn’t great against Nicholls as they allowed 90 points on 48% from the field. That will have to improve starting Monday.
5. Kansas (11-1)
After having three games postponed in the last two weeks, it was great to see the Jayhawks back on the floor this week with victories over Nevada and George Mason. Now they head into Big 12 play. The combination of Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun, is looking like the best wing combination in college basketball as the two of them are averaging a combined 37.6 points per game. Another positive for Kansas this past week was the play of point guard Remy Martin. As one of the top transfers on the market this past offseason the focus was on Martin as he was coming from a situation in Arizona State where he was responsible for a lot of the shot creation on offense. With Martin going to Lawrence, many wondered if he would be able to adjust his game playing with more guys who can create shots. Even though he missed the game against George Mason, Bill Self did mention “I thought Remy’s energy defensively in the first six minutes was the biggest reason why we got off to a good start.” This was following Martin’s 9 point and 4 assist game against Nevada. When your coach is going out of his way to compliment you that is a great sign.
6. Auburn (12-1)
With a lot of the college basketball spotlight on the SEC and their opening slate of conference games this week, the country was able to see this Auburn team and just how good they really are. Despite LSU entering their game against Auburn as one of the last four undefeated teams remaining in college basketball, Auburn was able to come away with the win. Bruce Pearl had his team ready to play as usual, as Auburn started the game leading 18-1 and never looked back, even as LSU cut into that lead multiple times. North Carolina transfer Walker Kessler had a significant impact as he finished with 16 points and 11 blocks. Kessler’s impact on the defensive end was the difference for Auburn as he frustrated any LSU player that would step inside the paint. Combine that with Jabari Smith looking like he’s worth every bit of the hype that he has been getting as a possible top three NBA Draft pick and this Auburn team is dangerous. Ultimately it is going to depend on just how good Auburn’s guards can be, but Auburn’s backcourt has gotten better. Having Allen Flannigan back running the offense after undergoing Achilles surgery should help and having Wendell Green’s offensive firepower off the bench is a difference maker.
7. Arizona (11-1)
Unfortunately, both of Arizona’s games this week were postponed due to COVID-19 issues and these were not just any random games that were supposed to start off Pac-12 conference play. Arizona was scheduled to go on the road to UCLA and USC and these games not taking place is a big deal for obvious reasons. The two Southern California teams are scheduled to visit Tucson in early February, but the hope is that those two postponed games will be made up at some point. The last time we saw Arizona on the floor was during their first and only loss of the season up to this point when they fell to Tennessee. It would have been great to see how Arizona would have responded to their first loss while facing quality opponents, but it will just have to wait. First year head coach Tommy Lloyd has done a phenomenal job with this group and his Wildcats will be back on the floor Monday night against Washington.
8. Kentucky (11-2)
John Calipari’s team has flipped a switch since their loss to Notre Dame on December 11th. Many were panicking following this loss, combined with the disaster 2020 season in Lexington, and against Notre Dame, Kentucky looked like a team that just wasn’t used to playing big time competition. This makes sense, due to the fact that Kentucky had played six consecutive games against mid-major opponents following their opening night loss to Duke. Yet since that Notre Dame loss, Kentucky has won four in a row and their smallest margin of victory has been 29 points. The Wildcats’ surge was on full display during their 83-56 victory over Missouri to open up SEC play. Kentucky has looked like the team that many people were so high on going into the season, thanks to their transfers. Oscar Tshiebwe is averaging a staggering 15.2 rebounds per game and there are very few transfers that have made more of an impact on their new team than Sahvir Wheeler, thanks to his toughness. The scary thing is, five-star freshman Tyty Washington has shown some flashes but has yet to put it all together. Once he does that is when this Wildcat team can take a whole other step forward. John Calipari always seems to be at his best when his back is against the wall and following his team's somewhat frustrating part this year is no different.
9. UCLA (8-1)
UCLA is another team that has not played in a long time due to COVID-19 issues within the program. The harsh reality is, when your team doesn’t see the floor for a long period of time, no matter what the circumstances are, there are going to be many people that just forget about you. Considering, we have still yet to see the Bruins play in a big game without big man Cody Riley, UCLA can still be an elite basketball team with realistic aspirations to return to the Final 4. However, we just haven’t seen them in so long that they can just be a different team when the Bruins do eventually return to the floor. What is frustrating, is that the last time UCLA played they completed what was their best effort of the season in a dominating road win against Marquette. The good news is, UCLA returns to the floor Wednesday against Arizona State, but it's disappointing that in their pause, the Bruins had marquee games against North Carolina and Arizona called off.
10. Providence (13-1)
Ed Cooley might just find his way into the National Coach of the Year picture if this season continues to go the way it has started for his Frairs. Providence was able to pick up two more Big East Conference victories this week over Seton Hall and DePaul to improve to 3-0 to start conference play. Although it is only January, there are some vibes of a possible dream season in play for the Friars. Ed Cooley has never had a problem getting his team to the NCAA Tournament on a consistent basis but unlike his teams of the past, this team seems like it’s good enough to have a chance to win some games once they get there. With Nate Watson inside, guys like Al Durham and AJ Reeves able to make shots from the outside and the improvements of guys like Noah Horchler and Ed Croswell on the frontline this Friars team is not only dangerous but right now they are the best team in a loaded Big East Conference. It is very hard to win conference games on the road, no matter who you are playing, and Providence not only beat an improved DePaul in Chicago, but they were up 42-17 after one half of play and never looked back. That should be considered a message to the rest of the Big East that Providence is here as a team that can win the Big East.
11. LSU (12-1)
Unfortunately, Will Wade's squad took their first loss of the season on Tuesday night as they fell to Auburn 70-55. LSU played pretty well from about the midway point in the first half to the end of the game. The problem was, to start, Auburn scored 18 of the game's first 19 points and never looked back from there. The poor start wasn't exactly surprising due to the fact that this was LSU’s first true road game of the season and Auburn is not only one of the best teams in college basketball, but Auburn Arena has turned into an insane home court advantage. Although LSU did start the season 12-0 their non-conference schedule doesn’t even come close to matching the difficulty of the gauntlet they are facing to open up SEC play. Following the loss to Auburn, LSU will host Kentucky and Tennessee, head to Florida, host Arkansas and head to Alabama and Tennessee. There will not be a team in college basketball that will have a group of games anywhere close to as difficult as that stretch unless it’s another SEC team. That is how deep this league is. LSU should be fine considering the drastic improvement on the defensive side of the floor, but it will not be easy.
12. Ohio State (9-2)
In their first game since December 11th, the Buckeyes were able to go to Lincoln, Nebraska and leave with their second Big Ten conference win of the season on Sunday. However, it was not that simple as the Buckeyes edged out the Cornhuskers by a final score of 87-79 in overtime. Ohio State found themselves down two points with about 22 seconds to go and Nebraska shooting three throws. However, after Nebraska missed two free throws and their opportunity to seal the game the Buckeyes took advantage. EJ Liddell made two free throws at the end of regulation which ultimately sent the game to overtime. Ohio State outscored Nebraska 15-7 in the overtime period to earn the victory. Even though Nebraska is one of the worst teams in the Big Ten the Buckeyes deserve credit for being able to fight back and win while facing tough circumstances. Freshman Malaki Branham had a career high 35 points, while Penn State transfer Jamari Wheeler shot four of five from three and Eugene Brown saved the game with a late block in overtime. When all of your role players are able to step up like this when your stars like EJ Liddell and Zed Key had bad games that is a sign of a good team. Chris Holtman has his Buckeyes overachieving relative to their talent on a yearly basis and has been a home run hire 5 years into his tenure for Ohio State.
13. Seton Hall (9-3)
It was a difficult week for the Pirates, as they lost two heartbreakers to open up their Big East Conference slate. Luckily for Kevin Willard’s team both losses came against ranked teams in Providence and Villanova and Seton Hall did fight their tail off in both games and did it without the services of Ike Obiagu and Tyrese Samuel. The absence of Obiagu, has a lot to do with why the Pirates aren’t being severely penalized in these rankings, as the 7'2 senior is one of the best rim protectors in college basketball, averaging 2.7 blocks per game in just 23 minutes per game. With Ike in the game, teams will not even try to score at the ball close to the rim and the Pirates two opponents did combine for 56 points in the point in both losses. Others were able to step up with the absence of Obiagu including Bryce Aiken. The Harvard transfer had 22 points against Villanova and looks the healthiest he has been since he got to South Orange. The depth of this Pirates team still makes them a threat to win the Big East and one of the better teams in College Basketball.
14. Alabama (10-3)
Nate Oats' squad was able to get back in the win column to open up SEC play as they defeated Tennessee in a barn burner on Wednesday Night. Even though Tennessee was shorthanded without the likes of Kennedy Chandler and John Fulkerson, Alabama did trail for a majority of the game but were able to step up when they needed it most and leave with a victory. Furman transfer Noah Gurley had his best game of the season, providing 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench on 8/10 shooting from the field. This offensive firepower was desperately needed for the Tide, due to the fact that Alabama’s guards, which are usually the team's strength, did not play their best games of the season. Jaden Shackleford, Jahvon Quinerly and Keon Ellis combined for 17 points on 5/23 from downtown. Despite the poor shooting nights Ellis and Shackelford were able to deliver down the stretch by hitting tough clutch threes to keep the Tide in the ballgame. Alabama deserves credit for still being able to find a way to leave with a victory over a ranked opponent in conference play with their stars playing that poorly even with Tennessee being a little shorthanded. The reality is, Alabama is a very similar team to last year and the argument can be made that they even have better guard play. However, the question will always be, when they aren’t making threes will they be able to find another way to win? Especially against the elites of the SEC.
15. Colorado State
Niko Medved's team is one of the last three remaining undefeated teams in all of college basketball but also has not played in a game since their victory over Mississippi State on December 11th. Thankfully, the Rams are scheduled to return to action on Tuesday, against Air Force at Moby Arena, which looks like one of the best home court advantages in all of college basketball. Although Colorado State is clearly the team to beat in the Mountain West entering conference play, the conference as a whole has been better than most expected. Colorado State along with San Diego State, Boise State, Utah State and Fresno State are all ranked inside the Top 70 of KenPom, which could put them in a good position to ultimately land an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. In a similar way to Gonzaga, the Rams should be challenged throughout conference play and even with a few losses, Colorado State’s non-conference resume will really help them out. Remember, this is a team that beat Mississippi State, Creighton and Saint Mary's in the non-conference, and the reward for scheduling - and winning those games is that it helps your metrics and numbers despite a brutally long COVID pause. Unless something goes terribly wrong for the Rams in Mountain West play this should be an at large caliber team with an at large caliber resume.
16. USC (12-0)
The Trojans have been one of the more difficult teams to appropriately rank due to the fact that not only are they one of the last three remaining undefeated teams in all of college basketball, but they also have not played since December 18th and their best win is over San Diego State. There is no doubt that Andy Enfield has done a phenomenal job with this program as only one year after going to the Elite Eight and losing a top five NBA Draft pick in Evan Mobley, USC will enter 2022 undefeated. Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis has been one of the more impactful transfers in the country and with returners Isaiah Mobley, Drew Peterson, Chavez Goodwin, Max Agbonkpolo and Ethan Anderson make up a really good nucleus of experience for USC. However, USC won’t be dramatically elevated in these rankings until a little more is shown. It is sad, because USC was scheduled for a handful of marquee games, but had matchups against Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Arizona all postponed due to COVID-19 related issues. That is the impact COVID is going to have on the season, as many teams have lost opportunities to improve their resume. USC is currently scheduled to head to the Bay Area this weekend to take on Cal and Stanford, so hopefully we will see them back out on the basketball floor as a soon as possible.
17. Illinois (9-3)
There have been a handful of players in college basketball and even in the Big Ten that have gotten off to a phenomenal start to the College Basketball season. One guy that gets no hype despite consistent production is Kofi Cokcburn who is currently averaging 21.8 which is second in the Big Ten and 12.1 rebounds per game which leads the Big Ten. Kofi has done nothing but produce from the start of his college years to now and it feels like we’ve just gotten used to it. The reason why this team can be special is the shooting around Kofi is as good as it’s ever been. Brad Underwood wants the ball in guys like Trent Frazier and Alfonso Plummer’s hands because they flat out make things happen and can shoot the ball. Unfortunately, Illinois has not seen the court since their 88-63 Bragging Rights game victory over Missouri on December 22nd. Luckily, they only had one game postponed against Florida A & M and the Illini are scheduled to take on Minnesota on Tuesday night. In addition, Illinois started off Big Ten conference play with a pair of conference wins over Rutgers and at Iowa Iowa. There haven’t been many updates on the status of Preseason All-Big Ten player Andre Curbelo who suffered a neck injury early in the season and hasn’t returned since. However, this new run and gun offense that the Illini have run is working, led by Frazier, Plummer and Cockburn. Not many teams in college basketball have a better or more balanced top 3 than Illinois.
18. Villanova (9-4)
Things were not looking great for Jay Wright and his Wildcats following their blowout loss to Creighton on December 17th to open up Big East play. At the time Villanova was looking at four losses before Christmas, which is something that no one that follows college basketball on a regular basis is used to seeing. With that being said, there is a reason why Jay Wright has an argument for the best coach in the game right now as Villanova has responded by picking up back-to-back Big East conference wins over Xavier and at Seton Hall. Against Xavier, Villanova went into that game knowing it was going to be a must win but didn’t play Villanova basketball in the first half and couldn’t make a shot from deep. In the second half of that game, a flip switched and Villanova outscored Xavier 41-20 which ended in a 13-point victory. The momentum continued on Saturday against Seton Hall as Villanova was able to find a way to go on the road without Caleb Daniels and beat Seton Hall. Collin Gillispie, Brandon Slater, Justin Moore, and Jermaine Samuels all scored in double digits in a balanced scoring effort to secure the victory. It's worth noting that Villanova did have UCLA and Purdue on the ropes at one point earlier in the season but couldn't find a way to close out those games. The last two games have been a great sign for Villanova and their toughness as they really showed they can still compete for a Big East Title despite losing four games before 2022.
19. Michigan State (11-2)
Tom Izzo’s Spartans were able to earn a pair of victories over High Point and Northwestern this past week. Michigan State is one of the few teams in college basketball to not have a single game on their schedule canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 or anything else so let's hope the good luck continues on that end. Although Michigan State was a tad underwhelming in their win over High Point, the Spartans deserve credit for going on the road and winning a tough game against a Northwestern team that is better than most people realize. Gabe Brown is looking like he can handle being the go-to guy on the offensive end as he is currently averaging a team high 14.2 points per game. As a guy who has been around Tom Izzo now for four years, the improvement of Brown is not surprising at all. The same goes with Marcus Bingham who is looking like the early favorite to win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 3.1 blocks per game. Improvement is what Tom Izzo coached teams and players do on a consistent basis over the course of a full regular season. Sparty’s resume is looking pretty clean at the moment as they are 3-0 in Big Ten Conference play and picked up wins over UConn, Loyola Chicago and Louisville in the out of conference. When the matchups against the Big Ten’s heavyweights like Purdue, Ohio State and Illinois come we will see exactly just how good these Spartans can really be.
20. Xavier (11-2)
The Big East remains one of the deepest leagues in college basketball as there will be no shortage of league representatives in these rankings. Xavier has not played since their loss on December 21st to Villanova, but currently sit at 1-1 in conference play after their home
victory over Marquette to open up Big East play. Xavier was able to show some flashes of just how good they could be in the first half of the Villanova game but were not able to replicate in the second half and it ultimately led to a loss. Travis Steele has been a little underwhelming since he took over for Chris Mack, but this version of Xavier has the talent and the depth to be just as good as one of Chris Mack’s No. 1 Seed or Big East Champion teams in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Both of Xavier’s scheduled games against UConn and Georgetown this past week were postponed due to COVID-19 issues, but the hope is for Xavier to return to the floor on Friday January 7th against Butler. Not many teams in the sport have a better point guard duo than Colby Jones and Dwon Odom plus with so many other threats like Paul Scruggs, Nate Johnson and Jack Nunge to score the ball there is no reason for this Musketeer team not to be really good.
21. Tennessee (9-3)
Although the Vols lost a heartbreaking game to open up SEC play on Tuesday night against Alabama considering circumstances it was a really good effort. Approximately an hour prior to the scheduled tip, it was announced that Kennedy Chandler and John Fulkerson would not be playing in the game due to COVID-19. Even without those guys Tennessee showed some flashes of why many people expected them to compete for an SEC title. Santiago Vescvoi had 13 points, Olivier Nkamhoua stormed onto the scene and Zakai Ziegler wasn't phased at all by a hostile SEC environment even as a freshman. Despite leading for a majority of the game Tennessee was not able to close out Alabama and missed a number of key opportunities to end the game. SEC basketball fans that watched Justin Powell at Auburn know just how good of a player he can be and there was a reason why he was one of the most coveted players on the market this past offseason. It has been a disappointing start to the season for Powell, as he is only averaging 7.3 points per game in 17 minutes of action. In order for Tennessee to hit their peak, Powell will have to play and compete well enough to get Rick Barnes to give him a consistent role like he has with Zekai Zeigler. The worry for this Tennessee team is that at times it seems like they have too many good players and it doesn’t seem like anyone can establish a consistent role. Hopefully as the season goes on following the Vols marquee win against Arizona and good effort against Alabama the chemistry of this ultra-talented Vols will improve.
22. UConn (10-3)
The Huskies are another team that COVID-19 has really affected going into the new year. UConn has had games against Xavier and Butler postponed and are currently on pause. They are not scheduled to take the floor until Saturday January 8th when they hopefully travel to Newark and take on Seton Hall. Having a little bit of a break, may not be the worst thing in the world for Huskies, due to the fact that is a team that is trying to get healthy as they just got key contributors Tyrese Martin and Adama Sonogo back from injury and those guys will need some time to get back to 100 percent. Thankfully UConn was able to put together a handful of quality non-conference wins to start off the season including over Auburn and St Bonaventure, and also beat Marquette on the road early in conference play. When healthy the depth of UConn will give the Huskies Final 4 potential, but Dan Hurley is going to need Martin and Sanogo back and ready to go. Thankfully, veterans like RJ Cole and Tyler Polley were really able to step up in the absence of those guys and proved UConn has a handful of guys to game plan for and contribute on a consistent basis. While playing in a league as tough and deep as the Big East depth is going to be necessary and thankfully that is a strength for the Huskies. When 100 percent healthy UConn can compete for a Big East title and be a top-notch team in the sport but it won’t be easy.
23. Iowa State (12-1)
The Cyclones dropped their first game of the season on Saturday, as they fell at home 77-72 to Baylor. Iowa State did not disappoint, even in a loss, as they were able to compete with Baylor throughout the game but came up just short in the end. The job that TJ Otzelberger has done with this group after last year's 2-22 campaign is one of the more impressive coaching jobs college basketball has seen lately to start off a season. Iowa State seems to find themselves in a group with the likes of Texas, Texas Tech and possibly West Virginia and Oklahoma as teams that are good and capable of making the NCAA Tournament but may not be as good as the conferences elite’s like Baylor and Kansas. Iowa State deserves to be at the top of that group though, after adding a heavy amount of talent from the transfer portal. In today’s era of college basketball, while it is always going to be difficult to turn around the culture and energy of a losing program, taking advantage of the transfer portal can speed up the process immensely. TJ Otzelberger has been able to identify talent that he thought would fit his team best and his additions have fit together like a puzzle. Between Izaiah Brockington, Gabe Kaleshur, Tristan Enruna, Caleb Grill and Jaz Kunc every time the Cyclones play in a big game it seems like one of those guys will step up. Whether Iowa State will continue to overachieve while playing in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball is a legitimate question, but they continue to surprise everyone every time they take the floor.
24. Houston (12-2)
No team in college basketball has lost more production to the injury bug than the Houston Cougars. Just days after they lost potential breakout candidate Tramon Mark for the season with a shoulder injury, the Cougars lost leading scorer Marcus Sasser for the season with a foot injury. Unlike last year's Final Four team, Sasser had established himself as the clear go to guy for the Cougars and was looking like an NBA player. It is heartbreaking to lose a player that is good for the rest of the season. However, in their first game without Mark, Sasser and Texas Tech transfer Kyler Edwards out of the lineup with an ankle injury, Houston was able to open up American Athletic Conference play with a 66-61 road victory over Temple. Sophomore guard Jamal Shead is starting to emerge for the Cougars as he had 14 points in the victory. Kelvin Sampson’s teams have always made a name for themselves based on their toughness and offensive rebounding ability and none of that will change without Sasser and Mark. Fabian White was able to collect 14 rebounds and added 15 points while helping Houston rebound Temple 35-25. Kevin Sampson will always find a way to win games especially in the conference that his Cougars have really dominated over the past 3 seasons. With Kyler Edwards hopefully back in the lineup soon Houston should be back in the NCAA Tournament based on the culture built by Sampson.
25. Texas (11-2)
Saturday, just days after rumors swirled all over social media that highly coveted Minnesota transfer Marcus Carr would be leaving the program, Carr put in his best performance of the season and Texas earned their best victory of the season in blowout fashion over West Virginia. The start of Carr’s time in Austin has been pretty disappointing relative to expectations as he is averaging 9.2 points and 3.2 assists per game. However, we saw just how good these Longhorns can look when their guards play well for the first time all season on Saturday as Carr, Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones all scored in double-figures and shot the ball well from beyond the arc. Earlier in the season against Gonzaga and Seton Hall, Texas’ offense was quite frankly hard to watch at times. Their offense was revolving around guys like Timmy Allen and Tre Mitchell who are fine players, but we saw on Saturday that Texas is going to be at its best when Carr, Ramey and Jones are firing from all cylinders. It was going to take some time for Chris Beard in his first year in Austin and even though Texas was not able to necessarily earn a marquee resume win during the non-conference portion of their schedule they were able to gain some confidence and experience playing together just in time for Big 12 play. It is not like Texas is going to have a shortage of opportunities for marquee wins while playing in a league as good and as deep as the Big 12. With Vanderbilt transfer Dylan Disu continuing to get healthier as he makes his way back into the lineup, there is no shortage of talent for Chirs Beard’s squad. Texas got a favorable draw to open up Big 12 play as they will not play Kansas, Baylor, or Texas Tech until February 1st. The next two games on the road against Kansas State and Oklahoma State are games that Texas should win and will determine if the momentum gained against West Virginia in what was their best performance of the year will continue.
Make sure to follow Zac Krull on Twitter - @ZKrull3