Player of the Year Power Rankings: A new Duke player tops the list, while three preseason all-americans fall out

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The latest edition of the only Player of the Year Power Rankings that you need to be paying attention to.

The player that was No. 1 in last week’s rankings is no longer in our top ten.

That’s what happens when you shoot 26 percent from three over a five-game stretch and struggle as another player on your team goes absolutely bonkers in the most riveting week of regular season college basketball in years.

What may be crazier is that players No. 4 and 5 from last week’s rankings are no longer on this list, either.

Allonzo Trier and Arizona fell off a cliff in the Bahamas, while Miles Bridges has been dealing with an ankle injury that has kept him from making much of an impact.

The result is that a freshman has climbed to the top while being chased down by four upperclassmen and a freshman having a season that we have literally never seen before.

1. MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: For the second straight week, we have a Duke player atop our Player of the Year rankings.

Only …

This week’s Duke player is different than last week’s Duke player, and that’s because Marvin Bagley III took over for the Blue Devils twice in the span of three days to lead them to wins against Texas and No. 6 Florida.

On the season, Bagley is now averaging 22.3 points and 11.3 boards through eight games despite the fact that, in one of those games, he was pulled midway through the first half with an eye injury. He has six double-doubles on the season, four 20-and-10 games and two 30-and-15 performances. He went for 34 points and 15 boards to lead Duke back from down 16 in the second half to beat Texas in overtime and, two nights later, had 30 points and 15 boards as he helped Duke erase a 17 point deficit in the final 10 minutes against Florida.

Through the first two-and-a-half weeks of the season, Bagley has proven to be the most dominant big man in college basketball and the best player on the best team in the country. That is a good combination of things to be.

2. JORDAN MURPHY, Minnesota: Minnesota has played seven games this season. Murphy has a double-double in all seven of them. He’s gone for 20-and-10 in four of those games, and if it wasn’t for Saturday’s matchup with No. 25 Alabama going utterly and completely off the rails, then Murphy would have probably ended up getting there again; he had 19 points and 12 boards in the first half, the biggest reason that the Golden Gophers were up by 17 points and cruising when things got weird.

There’s nothing pretty about Murphy’s game. He’s the best junkyard dog in the country. He attacks the glass, he finishes everything around the rim, he’ll out-tough anyone. This is who he’s been forever, but he finally found the motor to back his talent up. The results speak for themselves.

3. BONZIE COLSON, Notre Dame: Colson has continued to quietly go about his business, anchoring an offense that has vaulted the Irish into the top five of the AP Poll. After finishing last season as a second-team all-american, Colson is now averaging up over 20 points. He is the piece that Notre Dame’s offense orbits around. His ability to score one-on-one combined with the fact that the Irish have about 400 players around him that can shoot threes makes them so hard-to-guard. Ask Wichita State. Colson had 25 points and 11 boards as Notre Dame erased a 14-point halftime deficit in the Maui Invitational title game.

4. JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: We entered the season expecting Brunson to separate himself as the best point guard in college basketball, and he has done just that. He’s leading the Wildcats in scoring while shooting nearly 48 percent from three as a junior. The one problem with placing Brunson this high at this point in the season is that we don’t really know how good Villanova is just yet. They won the Battle 4 Atlantis, but thanks to the dumpster fire that was Arizona, the best team they beat in the event was Tennessee. We may not get a real sense of just how good the Wildcats are until they square off with Gonzaga in the Jimmy V Classic.

Chris Chiozza (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

5. CHRIS CHIOZZA, Florida: Florida is this year’s UCLA. They had moderate preseason expectations, and after putting up massive numbers against poor competition early, they proved themselves to be as dangerous and entertaining as anyone in the country when they started to play real teams. Chiozza is Lonzo Ball in this narrative, the engine that makes the Florida offense run.

But like UCLA, I’m not quite ready to fully jump on the bandwagon just yet. We need to see whether or not defense is going to be an issue for a team that doesn’t really have all that much size, and we need to see what happens to them when those threes stop falling at the rate they’re falling. But that’s neither here nor there when it comes to Chiozza, who has gone from an underlooked piece on last year’s to one of the best at his position in the country.

6. TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: I’m still not quite sure just how good Oklahoma is going to end up being this season, but I am sure that Young is going to end up being the most productive point guard in college basketball. Through five games, Young is averaging 28.2 points, 8.6 assists, 4.2 boards and 2.2 steals. He’s even blocked three shots. He’s using 36 percent of Oklahoma’s offensive possessions while posting an offensive rating of 127.5, which is an insane level of efficiency on that kind of usage. Here is how Young’s start compares to other players that have had similarly insane statistical seasons:

Since 2004, there has not been a single player with a usage rate of 36.0 and an offensive rating anywhere near the 127.5 that Young is putting up. If he keeps this pace up – he probably won’t, mind you – he’ll be the first player since 1992 to average 28 points and eight assists.

While his raw numbers are not as impressive – Sexton is averaging 25.2 points and 4.4 assists after going for 40 against Minnesota – but his advance statistics are just as insane as Young’s are.

 

7. TRA HOLDER, Arizona State: Arizona State has quite a bit in common with Florida in the sense that their current lofty record and media bandwagon is a direct result of having a roster loaded with talented, thrilling guards and a run of lights-out shooting. Holder personifies that. He’s currently averaging 23.3 points, 6.0 boards and 5.5 assists while shooting 50 percent from three on nearly seven attempts per game. He’s coming off of a 40-point outburst in a blowout win over No. 15 Xavier, and he’s one of two Sun Devils averaging better than 19.5 points and five assists. We’ll see how long it lasts, but for now, Holder deserves all the attention he’s getting.

8. TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier: Bluiett and Xavier had a dud last weekend, getting smoked by an Arizona State team that couldn’t miss. Bluiett did not play great in that game, but he is still having a fantastic start to the season, averaging 21.3 points and 3.3 assists while still shooting better than 50 percent from three.

9. MANU LECOMTE, Baylor: Lecomte was a decoy in Baylor’s win over Creighton in the title game of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City. But he’s still be the best player for a Baylor team that looks like they will once again be a top 20 program.

10. COLLIN SEXTON, Alabama: See above.

No. 9 Kansas blows lead, then holds off No. 5 Texas, 88-80

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Dajuan Harris Jr. was willing to acknowledge that Kansas was facing something rare when fifth-ranked and Big 12-leading Texas arrived at Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night: a must-win game.

The defending national champs played like it.

Gradey Dick scored 21 points, Harris had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, and the ninth-ranked Jayhawks held on after blowing a 14-point first-half lead to beat the Longhorns 88-80 and tighten the league race.

Kevin McCullar Jr. added 16 points, Joseph Yesufu scored 14 off the bench and KJ Adams finished with 10, helping the Jayhawks (19-5, 7-4) overcome an off night from Jalen Wilson. The league’s leading scorer at 21.5 points per game battled foul trouble and was held to just two, ending his streak of 25 straight double-figure games.

“We knew we had to come in here and get a win,” said Dick, who had the Jayhawks’ only two 3-pointers. “The big thing, just in preparation for the week, was coming out with energy. When we do that, we’re a scary team.”

The Jayhawks needed everyone’s help holding off the Longhorns’ Marcus Carr.

The Minnesota transfer, who had a game-high 29 points, kept answering Kansas baskets down the stretch. His 3-pointer got the Longhorns within 77-68 with 2:25 left, three free throws made it 78-71 with 1:31 to go, and his three-point play got the Longhorns (19-5, 8-3) within 86-80 with 23.5 seconds remaining.

Texas quickly fouled Dick at the other end, and his free throw with 18 seconds left helped to put the game away.

“It was as close to a must-win as you could have this early in the season to win the league,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “You go down three games with seven left, you’d have to win out and get a lot of help from others. Now, we still have as hard a schedule as everybody, but we can kind of control our own destiny where if we play well, we have a shot.”

Timmy Allen finished with 18 points for the Longhorns. Sir’Jabari Rice had 12 before fouling out.

“It was their night tonight in terms of what they got done,” Texas interim coach Rodney Terry said.

The Longhorns have made a habit of overcoming double-digit deficits: 18 down to beat TCU, 12 down to beat Texas Tech and 14 down to beat No. 12 Kansas State last Saturday in a game played just down the road.

So it wasn’t that surprising when Texas dug another 14-point hole Monday night.

Just like the Longhorns did in Manhattan, though, they began to rally. Texas shook off 10 first-half turnovers to get within 42-35 by the break, then kept coming in the second half. Hunter hit a 3-pointer, Carr added a couple of buckets and it was 43-all when Self called a timeout to slow Texas’ momentum.

Unlike the Horned Frogs, Red Raiders and Wildcats, the Jayhawks rose to the challenge.

McCullar’s three-point play while they were clinging to a 49-48 lead gave them a boost, and Dick added a couple of free throws. But it was back-to-back buckets by Harris, who is known more as a distributor than as a scorer, that pushed the lead to 58-50 with about 12 minutes to go.

Texas closed within 66-60 but, after the Jayhawks pulled down two offensive boards, Dick hit another 3-pointer. And when Yesufu bookended a couple of free throws by Harris, the lead had stretched to 75-62 with 3 minutes to go.

The Jayhawks were able to fend off Carr and the Longhorns from there.

“Give those guys credit. They came in and played at a very high level,” Terry said, “and we knew that would be the case.”

BANGED-UP BIRDS

The Jayhawks were missing several backups. Zack Clemence has a hurt knee, Bobby Pettiford Jr. is dealing with a hamstring injury and Zuby Ejiofor a foot injury. Kyle Cuffe Jr. (knee) and Cam Martin (shoulder) also were out.

“I thought the bench was great. As good as they’ve been all year,” Self said. “We had nine guys we could put in the game.”

BIG PICTURE

Texas has struggled to get off to good starts this season, and it seemed the energy the Longhorns expended climbing back into Monday night’s game was missing by the end. Carr tried to carry them but he needed more help.

Kansas got the production it needed from the bench. Yesufu provided the scoring pop but big man Ernest Udeh Jr. and guard MJ Rice, both seldom-used freshmen, also provided important minutes for the Jayhawks.

UP NEXT

Texas heads home after its Sunflower State swing to play West Virginia on Saturday.

Kansas has a two-game trip next with Oklahoma on Saturday and Oklahoma State on Tuesday.

No. 19 Miami rolls past Duke 81-59, moves to 13-0 at home

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami guard Isaiah Wong pointed to the crowd, waving his arms, asking for noise, asking for the celebration to start.

The lead, at that point, was 3-0.

Didn’t matter. From start to finish, the Hurricanes were in total control — and got a rare rout over Duke.

Norchad Omier had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Jordan Miller added 16 points and No. 19 Miami never trailed on the way to a 81-59 win over Duke on Monday night.

Wooga Poplar scored 14 and Wong scored 11 for Miami (19-5, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Hurricanes led by as many as 26 and improved to 13-0 at home.

“That was a great performance, from start to finish,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “There was a lot of energy. And all I can tell you is, everybody who came tonight’s game is invited back – because that’s the kind of environment that we’d love to have every night.”

Ryan Young and Dereck Lively II each scored 11 points for Duke (17-7, 8-5), which saw its three-game winning streak snapped. Jeremy Roach added 10 points for the Blue Devils, who were outrebounded 38-31 and committed 21 turnovers.

It was the second game this season where Duke never led, and the 22-point loss was its second-worst this season. The Blue Devils lost to N.C. State by 24 on Jan. 4.

“Congratulations to Miami. There’s a reason they haven’t lost here at home,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “They’re really good. They obviously had it clicking on all cylinders right away.”

It was the second-biggest Miami victory margin in the series between the schools, topped only by the Hurricanes’ 90-63 win over then-No. 1 Duke on Jan. 23, 2013. Miami also enjoyed huge edges in points off turnovers (23-9), second-chance points (24-9) and fast-break points (17-7).

And Miami got payback for a 68-66 loss at Duke earlier this season.

“We had something to prove,” Miller said. “They beat us last time. We were revved up for this game and we got it done.”

Duke fans started leaving with 4:24 left and Miami up by 26, the Hurricanes’ student section serenading them as they departed.

Miami ran out to a 13-1 lead and stretched it to 34-17 later in the first half, putting Duke in unfamiliar territory quickly. The Blue Devils had trailed by more than 15 in just two other games – by 29 to N.C. State, and by 19 to Purdue.

“When you have 21 turnovers, you can’t expect yourself to have a good game,” Lively said.

It was 40-26 at the half. When Miami opened the second half on a 9-0 run to build a 23-point lead, the outcome quickly became academic.

“The crowd fueled us to keep it going,” Larranaga said.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: Maybe it’s too difficult to quickly reset after a rivalry game. This is the third consecutive year the Blue Devils have lost the game immediately following their first matchup of the season with North Carolina. “It’s tough. It’s not easy. But it’s what you have to do. … It’s part of playing in the ACC,” Scheyer said.

Miami: The Hurricanes remained one of six teams from major conferences to be unbeaten at home – the others being Alabama, UCLA, Providence, Iowa State and Duke. Across Division I, 20 teams entered Monday with perfect home marks.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Miami has been in the poll for nine straight weeks, the program’s longest such run since being ranked in each of the first 11 polls of the 2017-18 season – and figures to stay there if it tops Louisville on Saturday. Duke has been out of the AP Top 25 for the last four weeks; the Blue Devils were two slots away in the poll released Monday, behind only Florida Atlantic on the “also receiving votes” list.

BARRY HONORED

Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, Miami’s all-time leading scorer, was presented with a customized basketball during a first-half stoppage of play.

UP NEXT

Duke: Visits No. 8 Virginia on Saturday.

Miami: Hosts Louisville on Saturday.

Minnesota-Illinois postponed for COVID-19 in Gophers program

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MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s game at Illinois that was scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols within the Gophers’ program.

The announcement was made Monday by Minnesota, which didn’t specify how many players would have been unable to play.

The Gophers (7-15, 1-11) had only eight available scholarship players for their last game, an 81-46 loss to Maryland on Saturday. Dawson Garcia (ankle) has missed the last four games, and Braeden Carrington (leg) has missed the last six. Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen will not play this season while recovering from knee injuries.

The game will be rescheduled by the Big Ten, with input from both schools.

Minnesota is next scheduled to host Iowa on Sunday. Illinois (16-7, 7-5) will host No. 24 Rutgers on Saturday.

Purdue stays No. 1 in AP Top 25; NC State in at No. 22

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Purdue’s unquestioned grip on No. 1 in The Associated Press poll is gone after a weekend loss. That didn’t stop the Boilermakers from remaining at the top anyway.

The Boilermakers earned 38 of 62 first-place votes in the poll to remain at No. 1 for a third straight week and seventh time this season. Purdue was the unanimous choice last week, the first for any team this season, before falling at Indiana over the weekend for only its second loss.

The Boilermakers (22-2, 11-2) have a leading candidate for national player of the year in Zach Edey and KenPom’s No. 1-ranked offense (121.1 points scored per 100 possessions) to go with a top-25 defense. But they got down big, committed 16 turnovers and allowed the Hoosiers — up to No. 18 this week — to shoot nearly 53% in a 79-74 loss Saturday.

“When we go to Zach and we make some perimeter shots, the defense gets better sometimes when the offense flows,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said at his postgame news conference. “And you can’t do that. You can always rebound, you can always take care of the ball, you can always make your free throws, those things there.”

The loss meant Houston collected 22 first-place votes as it rose one spot to No. 2, followed by No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Arizona in each claiming one.

THE TOP TIER

Texas jumped five spots to No. 5, shooting past Tennessee, which fell four spots to No. 6 after losing last week at Florida.

UCLA, Virginia, Kansas and Marquette rounded out the top 10, with Shaka Smart’s Golden Eagles cracking the top 10 for the first time since 2019.

RISING

The Longhorns’ jump marked the biggest of the week, followed by Marquette and Miami each rising four spots. No. 13 Xavier, No. 15 Saint Mary’s and No. 21 UConn joined Indiana in each moving up three positions.

In all, 12 teams rose from last week’s rankings.

SLIDING

Kansas State took the week’s biggest tumble, falling five spots to No. 12 after losing at Kansas and at home to Texas last week. No. 16 Gonzaga joined Tennessee in falling four spots after its overtime loss at Saint Mary’s.

In all, nine teams fell from last week’s rankings.

STATUS QUO

Purdue was the only team to remain in the same position this week.

WELCOME

North Carolina State earned its first AP Top 25 ranking in four years, checking in at No. 22.

The Wolfpack (19-5, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) spent six weeks in the poll during the 2018-19 season. N.C. State already has surpassed the win total for each of the last two seasons and is in contention for the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2018.

Creighton and Rutgers joined N.C. State as this week’s new additions to the poll, though both were ranked earlier this season. The Bluejays were No. 9 in the preseason poll and peaked at No. 7 before falling out by mid-December, while the Scarlet Knights spent a week at No. 23 in mid-January.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW)

Florida Atlantic (No. 19), Clemson (No. 20) and Auburn (No. 25) fell out of this week’s poll.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big 12 leads all leagues with six ranked teams, including No. 11 Iowa State, No. 14 Baylor and No. 17 TCU. The Big East is next with five ranked teams, followed by the Big Ten and ACC with three each.

The Pac-12, Southeastern and West Coast conferences each have two ranked teams, while the American Athletic and Mountain West each have one.

Indiana reaches No. 2 in women’s AP Top 25; South Carolina still No. 1

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South Carolina beat a top opponent to remain No. 1 in the women’s poll and now has a showdown with another one looming this weekend.

The Gamecocks (23-0) topped then- No. 5 UConn 81-77 to remain unbeaten and stay the unanimous choice atop the poll from the 28-member national media panel. After facing Auburn, South Carolina will play No. 3 LSU in a matchup of the last two unbeatens in Division I women’s college basketball.

Dawn Staley’s team has won 29 consecutive games and has been No. 1 in the poll for 33 consecutive weeks. That’s one week short of tying the Huskies for the third-longest streak atop the poll. Only UConn (51 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer runs at No. 1.

While South Carolina has had a stranglehold on No. 1 for more than a year, Indiana is making its first appearance ever at No. 2 after Stanford lost to Washington.

“I’m going to relish this for a minute, knowing where the program was to where it is,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “We’ve made a lot of history since we’ve been here in our nine seasons and it’s one of the more historical things we’ve been able to accomplish. Give our players credit, I don’t want to discount what a big achievement this is. We’re more than humbled to be No. 2.”

Indiana has won 10 straight since suffering its lone loss of the season to Michigan State. The Hoosiers have a tough stretch coming up, starting with a home game against No. 5 Iowa. Indiana, which hadn’t been ranked higher than fourth, then plays No. 13 Ohio State and 12th-ranked Michigan.

“That’s why we take it one game at a time, but you understand the magnitude of what’s ahead of us. I tell the kids all the time we’re in control of our own destiny,” Moren said.

LSU remained at No. 3 after close wins over Tennessee, Georgia and Texas A&M. The Tigers have a week to prepare for the Gamecocks.

UConn moved up one spot to fourth after its close loss to the Gamecocks and Iowa was fifth.

The Cardinal fell to sixth with Utah, Maryland, Duke and Notre Dame rounding out the top 10. The Blue Devils beat the Irish to take over sole possession of first in the ACC and vault up six spots in the poll. It’s Duke’s best ranking since the team finished the 2017 season ranked ninth.

FALLING CYCLONES

It was a rough week for Iowa State, which lost to Kansas by one point and Baylor by six. The Cyclones fell nine spots in the poll from 12th to 21st.

RE-ENTRY

Colorado came back into the poll at No. 25 after beating Oregon and Oregon State over the weekend. The Buffaloes were ranked for four weeks before falling out last week. Middle Tennessee dropped out of the poll after losing both its games last week.