1. Kansas (27-4, LW: No. 1): Kansas has locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They probably did that weeks ago. They’ve also likely locked up the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. The have nine RPI top 25 wins, which is two more than Virginia, who is the only other team in the country with at least seven top 25 wins. They have 14 top 50 wins, which four more than Oregon, who is the only other team in the country with double figures in top 50 wins. They will also have a chance to add two more top 50 wins to that profile during the Big 12 tournament.
2. Michigan State (26-5, LW: No. 2): Over the course of the last decade, this Michigan State team shot threes better than any major conference team during league play, hitting better than 46 percent of their triples. They’re shooting better than 50 percent from beyond the arc since Denzel Valentine returned. We should be concerned about what happens to the Spartans on an off-night just like we’re concerned about what happens to Oklahoma on an off-night, but there is one notable difference: Sparty can beat you in other ways and they’re far less reliant on the three-ball. Oklahoma takes nearly 40 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, which is top ten nationally. Michigan State is right around 35 percent, which is more or less the national average.
3. Virginia (24-6, LW: No. 3): Virginia currently sits at No. 1 overall in KenPom. They’ve a top ten defense. They’re a top ten offense. Malcolm Brogdon is one of the nation’s four best players. Is this the year the ‘Hoos make a run in the dance?
4. Villanova (27-4, LW: No. 4): The same can be asked of Villanova, who is getting some sensational play out of Kris Jenkins of late. We know the story with this group. Can they change the narrative?
5. Xavier (26-4, LW: No. 5): As good as this Xavier team looks at times, their point guard play is such a concern. They nearly blew a double-digit lead in the final minutes against Creighton because of their inability to handle a press. They better hope West Virginia winds up on a different side of the bracket.
6. Oklahoma (24-6, LW: No. 6): See Michigan State.
7. West Virginia (24-7, LW: No. 7): The Mountaineers deserved to be ranked in the top ten, but seeing what they can accomplish in the tournament will be fascinating. I just have a hard time trusting teams that rely this much on forcing opponents into mistakes.
8. Oregon (25-6, LW: No. 8): Does Oregon need more love as a potential No. 1 seed? They have ten top 50 wins, including a sweep of Utah, a non-conference strength of schedule that ranks tenth and 10 top 50 wins, the second most nationally.
9. Utah (24-7, LW: No. 9): The Ute season can be summed up in their game against Colorado. They looked horrid for the first 30 minutes, digging themselves a 14-point hole, then came storming back to win. Good team. Dangerous team. Their guard play makes them hard to trust.
10. Kentucky (23-8, LW: No. 11): Skal Labissiere! He finally arrived! The former top two recruit had 18 points, nine boards, six blocks and two assists in a win over LSU just five days after going for 11 points and eight boards in 15 minutes against Florida. When he’s playing like this, and doing it alongside a back court as talented as Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis, look out.
11. Indiana (25-6, LW: No. 18)
12. North Carolina (25-6, LW: No. 14)
13. Miami (24-6, LW: No. 10)
14. Duke (22-9, LW: No. 13)
15. Louisville (23-8, LW: No. 12)
16. Cal (22-9, LW: No. 15)
17. Purdue (24-7, LW: No. 17)
18. Texas (20-11, LW: No. 16)
19. Iowa (21-9, LW: No. 19)
20. Wisconsin (20-11, LW: No. 20)
21. Arizona (24-7, LW: No. 22)
22. Maryland (24-6, LW: No. 21)
23. Iowa State (21-10, LW: No. 23)
24. Texas A&M (24-7, LW: UR)
25. Baylor (21-10, LW: No. 24)
DROPPED OUT: No. 25 Notre Dame
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 24 Texas A&M