Abbie Parr/Getty Images

College Basketball Power Rankings: Michigan up to No. 6 with Big Ten tourney title


The biggest riser in this week’s Power Rankings is Michigan, who vaulted up and over Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan State — two of whom they beat — and all the way up to No. 6 in this week’s rankings.

This might be an overreaction; I’ve been known to be prone to doing that.

But the truth of it all is that this Michigan team is different than any other Michigan team that we’ve seen under head coach John Beilein. They are elite defensively. As of today, they are sixth-nationally in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which slots them above the likes of Texas, Michigan State and Clemson, all of whom have been considered to be among college basketball’s best all season long.

And in addition to being able to lock up in a way that we’ve never seen from Beilein’s Wolverines, this group is starting to click on the other end of the floor. Mo Wagner is always going to be a matchup nightmare, but with the way that Zavier Simpson is handling those lead guard duties and the simple fact that we are in tournament season and Michigan has arguably the best tournament coach in college hoops, here we are.

The ranking here that is going to get everyone fired up is Duke back in the No. 1 spot after they lost to Virginia Tech on Monday night. Before you two, let me make two points:

1. Virginia Tech is in my top 25, and I would not be surprised if they ended up being ranked when the polls are released. They are an NCAA tournament team that landed a come-from-behind on their home court by a single point. They are a good team that has also beaten North Carolina and won at Virginia, the only team to do that this season. That loss is very different than, say, the loss to Boston College earlier this year.

2. With the way that Duke is defending, I just cannot envision a scenario where they aren’t the favorite to win the national title when the bracket is released. As of today, Duke is the only team in the country to rank in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency on KenPom, and that is despite the fact that, just three weeks ago, they were in the 70s defensively. Since the switch to zone, they are one of college basketball’s very best defensive teams.

That’s enough for me to slot them in as the best team in the country.

Anyway, here are the rest of the rankings:

1. Duke, 25-6 (Last Week: No. 1)
2. Virginia, 28-2 (2)
3. Villanova, 27-4 (4)
4. Xavier, 27-4 (5)
5. Cincinnati, 27-4 (9)
6. Michigan, 28-7 (21)
7. Michigan State, 29-4 (3)
8. Kansas, 24-7 (7)
9. Texas Tech, 23-8 (8)
10. Purdue, 28-6 (6)
11. Gonzaga, 28-4 (10)
12. North Carolina, 22-9 (11)
13. Wichita State, 24-6 (12)
14. Ohio State, 24-8 (13)
15. West Virginia, 22-9 (15)
16. Auburn, 25-6 (16)
17. Tennessee, 23-7 (19)
18. Florida, 20-11 (NR)
19. Kentucky, 21-10 (14)
20. Houston, 24-6 (25)
21. Miami, 22-8 (NR)
22. Virginia Tech, 21-10 (NR)
23. Nevada, 26-6 (20)
24. Saint Mary’s, 28-4 (23)
25. Arizona, 24-7 (NR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 17 Rhode Island, No. 18 Clemson, No. 22 Butler, No. 24 TCU

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 18 Florida, No. 21 Miami, No. 22 Virginia Tech, No. 25 Arizona

Police: Thief steals electronics from UNC basketball program

Al Bello/Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Police say someone stole thousands of dollars in electronics from the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team locker room and office while they were away for the ACC tournament.

UNC-Chapel Hill campus police said on Twitter that the break-in happened at the Dean Smith Center on March 9, and they released images of a man they believe may have been involved.

A police report says the thief managed to get into the team locker room and basketball office without forced entry, according to The Herald-Sun.

The report says the thief stole a PlayStation 4, Xbox One and clothing worth $2,900 that belonged to the athletic department. Police say the thief also stole a laptop worth $1,200 and a financial document worth about $3,000 belonging to one of the players.

No upsets over here: No. 1 seed UConn women set scoring records in first round game

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The No. 1 overall seed on the men’s side of the NCAA tournament made history on Friday night.

They because the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the tournament, as Virginia lost to UMBC, if you were still unaware.

Over on the women’s side, the bracket is nowhere near as broken, because UConn’s women made history, too. They set NCAA tournament records for … well, almost everything it seems like.

The Huskies were up 55-19 at the end of the first quarter of their first round game against St. Francis (PA). Those 55 points are an NCAA tournament record. They held a 94-31 lead at the half, another NCAA tournament record, and held on to win 140-52.

The 140 points that Geno Auriemma’s team scored was an NCAA tournament record. The 88 points that they won by was one point short of an NCAA tournament record 89 points that was set by Baylor in a win over Texas Southern last season.

Oh, and the Huskies set the record for more assists in an NCAA tournament game — 38 — for good measure.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the fans in Storrs had a better weekend than the fans in Charlottesville. Hopefully, that will allow them to forget the fact that the men’s basketball program has become a laughing stock.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Maryland Governor calls UMBC upset, so does NBC Sports’ writer son

Chris Coduto/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Never before in the history of the NCAA tournament as a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed.

That was until Friday night, when UMBC sent the No. 1 overall seed Virginia packing.

And if you thought no one had picked that upset, you were wrong.

Let’s start with the Maryland Governor, who was clearly a homer in picking UMBC to not only beat Virginia, but to win a national title:

Never say never, but … that’s never going to happen bud.

But how about this: My son, who is two years old and based his picks on his hard and fast rule of “all the doggies”, called this upset!

He also called Penn over Kansas, Fullerton over Purdue and Butler winning a national title, but whatever.

That bracket is actually pretty good!

VIDEO: Virginia’s Ty Jerome does not appreciate dumb question after UMBC loss

Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images
Leave a comment

You have to give Virginia some credit.

After losing to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the players on that roster faced the music. They went up to the dais and answered question from reporters on national television.

There is no way they enjoyed that.

And you can tell because Ty Jerome had absolutely no interest in answering dumb questions from reporters:

He was not amused.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Saturday’s betting lines, point spreads, over-unders

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Here is the full TV schedule, with spreads, over-unders and betting lines, for every game for the first four days of the NCAA tournament.

(Lines are updated for Saturday morning.)

Pittsburgh: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson

  • 12:10 p.m.: No. 1 Villanova (-11.5) vs. No. 9 Alabama, CBS (149.5)
  • 2:40 p.m.: No. 2 Duke (-9.5) vs. No. 7 Rhode Island, CBS (149)

Boise: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Lisa Byington

  • 5:15 p.m.: No. 5 Kentucky (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Buffalo, CBS (155)
  • 7:45 p.m.: No. 4 Gonzaga (-4) vs. No. 5 Ohio State, CBS (141.5)

Dallas: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore and Ros Gold-Onwude

  • 6:10 p.m.: No. 3 Tennessee (-5) vs. No. 11 Loyola (Chicago), TNT (131.5)
  • 8:40: No. 3 Texas Tech (-1.5) vs. No. 6 Florida, TNT (133.5)

Wichita: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin and Evan Washburn

  • 7:10 p.m.: No. 1 Kansas (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Seton Hall, TBS (154.5)
  • 9:40 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan (-3) vs. No. 6 Houston, TBS (135)