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2024 College basketball rankings: Arizona jumps to No. 3; South Carolina in top 10

2024-college-basketball-rankings:-arizona-jumps-to-no.-3;-south-carolina-in-top-10
2024 College basketball rankings: Arizona jumps to No. 3; South Carolina in top 10

As Super Bowl Sunday arrives, it’s also a reminder on the calendar that college basketball’s got next

Yes, Selection Sunday is just five weeks away, and the sport is chock-full of storylines between two dominant teams in No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Purdue at the top, and no shortage of parity after that pair. 

The Huskies ran their winning streak to 12 with an 89-64 win over Georgetown on Saturday. Connecticut has outscored its Big East opponents by an average of 12.1 points per game, and with a 12-1 record in league play, Dan Hurley’s team appears to be coasting to a conference regular-season crown. In all likelihood, UConn will take a 13-game winning streak – after playing at DePaul on Wednesday – into a top-10 showdown with red-hot Marquette on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.

Meanwhile, Purdue completed a revenge sweep over rival Indiana with a 79-59 win on Saturday night at Mackey Arena. The 22–2 Boilermakers have won eight straight games, and notched a pair of 20-plus point wins over the Hoosiers in the same season for the first time since 1933-34. Zach Edey posted his 13th game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season, while the Boilers’ improved supporting cast was as advertised, putting together a stretch of making 7-of-12 from 3-point land. I wrote about Purdue’s dominant win over the Hoosiers and why Matt Painter’s program should be appreciated: 

Here are five other takeaways from the weekend: 

1. When Arizona is on, the Wildcats hit a gear that very few teams can match. 

Just 48 hours removed from a dramatic and emotional triple-overtime win at Utah, the Wildcats entered Boulder against a Colorado team that was firmly on the bubble and in need of a résumé-boosting win. The Cats had not won a road game over the Buffaloes since 2015, as Colorado is paired with Utah in as tough of a road weekend as there is in the Pac-12.

On Saturday night, Arizona showed all of us why it can win a national championship if everything is clicking. The Wildcats picked apart the Buffaloes, whose defense was nonexistent in a 99-79 rout. When Tommy Lloyd’s group is clicking, it’s really fun basketball to watch and their offense is as good as anybody’s in the country. North Carolina transfer Caleb Love led five in double-figures with 19 points, while senior Pelle Larsson stayed hot with 18 points on 7-of-11 from the floor, and Oumar Ballo dominated the paint with 16-and-13. It was just a demolition in Boulder, not to mention, Arizona forced 16 turnovers and displayed its quick hands defensively while turning them into fast break points. A hat tip to the Cats, who swept the road weekend and bolstered their Quadrant 1 record to 7-3. That’s good for the second-most Q1 wins in America. 

2. Tyler Kolek is making an All-American and Big East Player of the Year push as Marquette has won seven in a row.

Look out, America. Here come the Golden Eagles. Shaka Smart’s group overcame a 47-38 halftime deficit on Saturday to beat St. John’s, 86-75. How did they do it? Behind a point guard who talks and actually backs it up. Reigning Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek put up 27 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds in the victory, making some history in the process. According to college basketball reference, Kolek is the first high-major player since 2010 to post a stat line of 27-7-13. 

During the seven-game winning streak, Kolek is averaging 20 points and 10 assists per game. David Joplin has also scored in double-figures in seven straight contests, making strides in filling that role as a stretch-forward that Olivier-Maxence Prosper occupied last year. 

The Golden Eagles are reminding us why they are a Final Four contender. 

Tyler Kolek drills a 3-point dagger to seal No. 7 Marquette’s 86-75 victory over St. John’s

3. Lamont Paris would be my national coach of the year today as South Carolina is 21-3.

The Gamecocks were picked dead last in the stacked Southeastern Conference. They didn’t have a star-studded recruiting class, and after an 11-21 first year for head coach Lamont Paris and a failed season with headliner freshman GG Jackson, it called for recalibration. And boy, have the Gamecocks evolved, posting the nation’s best turnaround and biggest surprise story. 

The revelation as of late has been 6-foot-7 freshman Collin Murray-Boyles, a recruit ranked outside the top 100 in the composite rankings who has broken out for a combined 63 points in the last three games – wins over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Georgia. He went off for 31 in the 75-60 victory over Vandy on Saturday.  

With fifth-year transfers B.J. Mack and Ta’lon Cooper, along with another backcourt veteran in Meechie Johnson, South Carolina’s experience and DNA of guys playing with a chip on their shoulder and trying to prove themselves at the power-conference level has shown. 

The metrics might not love this team, as they currently sit at No. 45 in KenPom, but a 21-3 team out of the SEC is getting ranked in the top 10 by me. 

4. Michigan State broke through on Saturday with a top-10 win over Illinois

The Spartans might not be ranked, but in a game they really, really needed on Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Tom Izzo’s team sent a reminder that dealing with them this time of year is typically problematic for opponents. 

Michigan State showed the type of performance we thought we’d see more of this season, and it comes at the perfect time for a potential March push after an 88-80 win over Illinois on Saturday. 

It was only fitting that veteran guard AJ Hoggard, who has exemplified the ups and downs of the Spartans’ season, put up his finest act of the campaign, leading four in double-figures with 23 points, five assists and no turnovers. Meanwhile, fellow senior Malik Hall was two off his season high with 22 points. 

When the Spartans aren’t over-reliant on Tyson Walker and get some balance offensively, they’re as good as anyone in the Big Ten not named Purdue. Why was Saturday’s win so big? Michigan State entered the contest with a 2-7 record against Quadrant 1 teams. They got a third Q1 victory and have zero bad losses. I’d say they’re back in the 8-9 discussion in the NCAA Tournament picture. Now, can they string together a run and prove themselves on the road? Road games at Penn State and Michigan (Saturday, FOX Primetime Hoops) are very manageable opportunities. 

5. Mark Few might have saved his Gonzaga NCAA Tournament streak on Saturday.

The Zags entered Lexington on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament, sitting in Mike Decourcy’s “Next Four Out.” They can’t be anything worse than the “First Four Out” after taking down Kentucky, 89-85, at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats suffered their third straight defeat at Rupp, marking the first time that’s ever occurred. 

But on the flip side, the Bulldogs saved a season that was on life support. Few has taken Gonzaga to the NCAA Tournament every year since he took over in 1999, but a 2-5 Quad 1 record is why there’s doubt, along with the lack of résumé opportunities in the WCC.

Graham Ike was as good as he’s been all year with 23 points to lead all scorers in the win over Kentucky, while Anton Watson and Nolan Hickman each scored 17. Ryan Nembhard shot 1-for-9 from the floor, but he steered the offense with nine of the team’s 15 assists. This Zags team, much like the Michigan State group that we talked about above, has dealt with being too predictable on offense this season and far from good enough on the perimeter. They only shot 4-for-18 from deep on Saturday but scored 89 points. That’s also an indictment on Kentucky’s defense, which will hold the Wildcats back from reaching their potential in March Madness and is a major issue. 

But at least for Saturday, Few and the Zags were able to grind out a win that we’ve come to expect over the years, but haven’t seen enough of this season.

Complete rankings:

1. UConn (22-2) 
2. Purdue (22-2)
3. Arizona (19-5)
4. Marquette (18-5)
5. Kansas (19-5)
6. Houston (21-3)
7. North Carolina (19-5)
8. South Carolina (21-3) 
9. Tennessee (17-6)
10. Duke (18-5)
11. Baylor (17-6) 
12. Iowa State (18-5)
13. Illinois (17-6)
14. Auburn (19-5)
15. Alabama (17-7)
16. Creighton (17-7)
17. Saint Mary’s (20-6)
18. Oklahoma (18-6)
19. Utah State (20-4)
20. Colorado State (19-5)
21. Dayton (19-4) 
22. Virginia (19-5)
23. Indiana State (22-3)
24. BYU (17-6)
25. Washington State (18-6)

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on X at @John_Fanta.


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