Purdue tops men’s college basketball Power 36 after Feast Week heroics

NCAA Basketball

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College basketball’s famous Feast Week has come and gone, inflicting its usual chaos upon the sport’s elite and crowning a new king — Purdue beat Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette en route to victory over a historic Maui Invitational field.

NCAA.com’s Andy Katz delivers his latest Power 36 rankings, as well as his player of the week, team of the week and the top-10 games to watch for the upcoming week:

  1. Purdue (3): Boilers won the loaded Maui Invitational field and are No. 1 for the third straight season. 
  2. Arizona (2): The Wildcats had another impressive non-conference W by beating Michigan State in Palm Desert. 
  3. Marquette (6): The Golden Eagles proved in Honolulu they are a Final Four contender, losing in a late-possession game to Purdue.
  4. UConn (5): The Huskies have looked the part, thus far, as a repeat title team. 
  5. Kansas (4): The Jayhawks had an impressive bounce-back win over Tennessee after a late-night loss to Marquette, to leave Honolulu 2-1.
  6. Miami (8): The ‘Canes just keep on winning and might be the team to beat in the ACC. 
  7. Baylor (9): The Bears won the Preseason NIT in New York and are poised to challenge for a Big 12 title. 
  8. Houston (11): The Cougars are once again one of the toughest teams to beat. 
  9. Tennessee (1): The Vols left Honolulu 1-2, but the losses were to eventual champ Purdue and previous No. 1 Kansas. They will be just fine. 
  10. Duke (10): The Blue Devils will get quite a road test at Arkansas this week to show they deserve to be in the top 10. 
  11. Villanova (NR): What a swing for the Wildcats from losing to Penn to outlasting North Carolina and crushing Memphis to win the Battle 4 Atlantis. 
  12. Florida Atlantic (NR): Welcome back to the top dozen Owls. FAU, like Nova, had a complete reversal during Feast Week. FAU won the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando by beating Texas A&M and Virginia Tech after the stunning home loss to Bryant. 
  13. Texas A&M (12): The Aggies lost to FAU but had an impressive bounce-back win over Iowa State Sunday to show they are a resilient crew. 
  14. Clemson (14): What will it take for Clemson to be treated with the respect it has earned so far this season? The Tigers are a sleeper in the ACC. 
  15. North Carolina (19): The Tar Heels showed well in Atlantis and nearly had Nova beat. The win over Arkansas was one of the more impressive Ws this season. 
  16. Kentucky (16): The Wildcats are holding steady, but face a major test this week against Miami. 
  17. James Madison (17): The Dukes are still undefeated heading into the week at 6-0. 
  18. Colorado State (NR): The Rams beat Creighton handily, but more impressive was holding the high-scoring Bluejays to just 48 points to win the Hall of Fame tournament in Kansas City. 
  19. Memphis (21): The Tigers got blitzed by Villanova in the final, but they showed well in the wins over Michigan and Arkansas in Atlantis.
  20. Texas (20): The Longhorns snapped back after the loss to UConn to handle Wyoming at home. 
  21. Mississippi State (22): The Bulldogs remain undefeated and a contender in the SEC. 
  22. Ohio State (NR): The Buckeyes had a resume-building win over Alabama and one over Santa Clara that will have some legs come March. 
  23. BYU (28): The Cougars are off to a 6-0 start under Mark Pope after wins over Arizona State and NC State in Las Vegas to give plenty of hope for a smoother Big 12 transition. 
  24. Oklahoma (NR): The Sooners are unbeaten after winning an event in San Diego by taking down Iowa and USC. 
  25. Auburn (25): The Tigers are scoring at a higher clip than a season ago and will be a top-five contender in the SEC.
  26. San Diego State (29): The Aztecs are back to looking like a team that can make a deep run in March again. 
  27. Alabama (13): The Tide picked up a win over Oregon after the loss to Ohio State and will get another test this week with Clemson in Tuscaloosa. 
  28. Creighton (7): The Colorado State offensive output is the Bluejays mulligan. The Rams are much better than expected and Creighton should be climbing back up soon. 
  29. Gonzaga (15): The Bulldogs came out of Honolulu with a 2-1 mark behind Anton Watson’s 32 points. They are a work in progress and are grittier but the guard play has to improve. 
  30. TCU (30): The Horned Frogs are holding firm but still haven’t played a higher competition. 
  31. Illinois (27): The Illini will get another chance to show they are a top-four team in the Big Ten with a road game at Rutgers this week. 
  32. Wisconsin (NR): The Badgers won the Fort Myers event by beating Virginia and SMU and finally look like an NCAA team after a few disappointing showings. 
  33. Nebraska (35): The Huskers are my sleeper team in the Big Ten. They are undefeated and not even completely healthy yet. Watch out for Fred Hoiberg’s crew. 
  34. Florida (NR): The Gators have two losses (Virginia by three and Baylor by four) but are vastly improved and had solid wins over Florida State and Pitt. 
  35. Nevada (36): The Wolf Pack have a real shot to be in consecutive NCAA tournaments under Steve Alford. 
  36. Bradley (NR): Brian Wardle has the Braves undefeated with the latest wins over Tulane, UTEP and Vermont. 

 

Dropping out: UCLA (18), Oregon (23), Virginia (26), Michigan State (24), Pitt (31) Arkansas (32), Colorado (33), USC (34). 

Under consideration: Providence, Florida State, Princeton, Cincinnati, Hawai’i, SMU, GW, Virginia Tech, Iowa State, Rutgers, Northwestern, UC Irvine, Liberty, Evansville, New Mexico, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Santa Clara. 

Top 10 games of the week 

  1. UConn at Kansas, Friday: The Huskies have looked like a title team, thus far, but the competition hasn’t been elite yet. That changes with this game in Lawrence. Hunter Dickinson and Donovan Clingan will be a marquee matchup but don’t sleep on the Dajuan Harris-Tristen Newton affair. This will be must-see TV. 
  2. Tennessee at North Carolina, Wednesday (ACC/SEC Challenge): The Vols left Maui 1-2, but were within a few possessions of flipping that record. This squad is one of the favorites for the SEC title. The Tar Heels got beat by Nova in the Atlantis semifinals but then bounced back to beat Arkansas by 15 in the third-place game. 
  3. Marquette at Wisconsin, Saturday: The rivalry game is coming at the right time for the Badgers this week after beating SMU to win the Fort Myers event last week. The Badgers needed something positive before facing a Golden Eagles team that is riding high after a 2-1 Maui finish. 
  4. Miami at Kentucky, Tuesday (ACC/SEC Challenge): The ‘Canes and ‘Cats are both contenders for their respective conferences. Miami has restocked around a core from last season’s Final Four run. Kentucky is looking for that first marquee win a month into the season. 
  5. Duke at Arkansas, Wednesday (ACC/SEC Challenge): This would have been in the top three had the Hogs played well in Atlantis. But they slipped in the final two days. Still, this is Duke at Bud Walton and it will be rocking for one of the best environments of the season. 
  6. Clemson at Alabama, Tuesday (ACC/SEC Challenge): The Tigers are playing like a top 25/NCAA-bound team and a win in Tuscaloosa would do wonders for the non-conference resume. The Tide is trying to bounce back after the Ohio State loss. 
  7. USC vs. Gonzaga, Saturday (Las Vegas): This game matches two of the top five teams in the West. The Trojans have the better backcourt but the Zags should have the edge up front with Anton Watson and Graham Ike. 
  8. Purdue at Northwestern, Friday: The Boilermakers are back to being No. 1 Monday and they are returning to Northwestern where they lost as the top team a year ago. But this team is better and the pressure to beat them isn’t as great on the Wildcats as it was last winter. Still, Welsh-Ryan should be lit for this Big Ten opener. 
  9. Houston at Xavier, Friday: The Cougars and Musketeers will end up playing a physical, defensive game that will once again show the toughness of these two programs. 
  10. Colorado at Colorado State, Wednesday: The annual rivalry game pits two teams that are NCAA-worthy. The Rams crushed Creighton in Kansas City while the Buffaloes haven’t proven themselves yet.   

Keep an eye on: Creighton at Nebraska, Sunday; Illinois at Rutgers, Saturday; Michigan at Oregon, Saturday; Hawai’i at Utah, Thursday; Dayton at SMU, Wednesday; New Mexico State at New Mexico, Saturday; Rhode Island at Providence, Saturday; Charleston at Florida Atlantic, Saturday; Clemson at Pitt, Sunday.

March Madness Team of the Week 

Purdue: The Boilermakers won the best-ever Maui Invitational, relocated to Honolulu. Purdue was in Final Four/No. 1 seed form with wins over Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette. And that puts Purdue as the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 for the third season in a row. 

Other candidates: Villanova (won Atlantis); Florida Atlantic (won ESPN Events Invitational). 

March Madness Player of the Week 

Eric Dixon, Villanova: Dixon led the Wildcats to the Battle 4 Atlantis title with 19 in a win over Texas Tech, 34 in a win over North Carolina and 11 in the blowout win over Memphis. He made 21 field goals, of which five were 3s in the three games and grabbed a total of 24 boards and had four steals and one block. 

Other candidates: Zach Edey, Purdue; Tyler Thomas, Hofstra. 

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