1 .#12 Oklahoma 15-5 (5-3 Big 12)
Trae Young. That’s all you need to know when it comes to the #12 ranked Sooners. The freshman PG is dominating the entire NCAA and is considered the top PG going into this year’s NBA Draft. Before Young arrived on campus, OU finished the season 2nd to last in the Big 12 at 11-20 and 5-13 in conference play. OU has lost 3 of their last 4 but haven’t lost their grip on the conference just yet. Lon Kruger has done a fantastic job of recruiting and letting Young play to his potential despite his young age. Young leads the nation in scoring and is averaging 30.3 ppg and 9.6 assist per game, and is able to create shots and great assists. The Sooners have the ability to win big games on the road and at home, with big dubs against #3 Wichita State and #10 TCU. At home they have built their resume greatly with wins against #8 Texas Tech, #16 TCU, and #5 Kansas.
2. #19 Auburn 18-2 (6-1 SEC)
You gotta give the credit to Bruce Pearl. He has put a lot of stock in his skills to develop good players and transform the culture of the program to what it is now. After a 18-14 (7-11 SEC) finish, including a first round conference tournament loss to Missouri, there was a lot of doubt to where Pearl could put something together. However after picking up some good recruits and transfers, Auburn is looking on the up and up. The Tigers are atop the SEC standings and were on a 14-game win streak before they lost their 2nd game of the year at Alabama. They will definitely be looking for an at-large bid to the Big Dance.
3. #13 Ohio State 18-5 (9-1 B1G)
After a less than mediocre finish to last season at 17-15 (7-11 B1G), including the departures of the whole 2015 recruiting class, the Buckeyes decided to move in a different direction in coaching. After the mutual part in ways with legendary OSU coach Thad Matta, the school hired 3rd year Butler coach Chris Holtmann. Ever since then, Buckeye basketball never looked back. Holtmann has led the program to a 18-5 overall record, including a 9-1 conference record. Big wins over Michigan, Michigan State, at Northwestern and Nebraska have earned Ohio State a #13 AP Top 25 placement.
4. #14 Texas Tech 17-4 (5-3 Big 12)
Tech had some fair success last year with a winning season but it pales in comparison to what they’ve been able to achieve this season. Chris Beard and the Red Raiders have been able to construct a winning program behind the likes of Keenan Evans and Jarrett Culver, who are . Last year Texas Tech had a mediocre season at 18-14 (6-12 Big 12), but have nearly tied last year’s win total. They are averaging more points per game at 76.9 ppg this year, but will need to pick it up in order to truly compete for a regular season championship from the hands of Kansas. Tech has picked up some key wins for their NCAA tournament resume against #18 Baylor, #10 Kansas on the road, and #2 West Virginia in Lubbock.
5. #18 Clemson 16-4 (5-3 ACC)
The Tigers are trying to translate their success on the football field to the basketball court. Clemson summed up last season at 17-16 (6-12 ACC), and a first round loss in the NIT to Oakland. Only a win away from tying last years win total, Clemson has been very consistent at home. The last time they lost at home was early in the season against Temple, back in November. Since then it’s been flawless on their home court, but will have to pick it up on the road. The only meaningful win was against Ohio State back when they were unranked. They are 0-3 in the ACC on the road, and have only won 1 game against a ranked opponent. After the departure of Jaron Blossomgame and a few other key players, several vets have picked up the slack and overachieved. They will need more big wins both at home and on the road if they want a good at-large bid to the tourney.
Photo from : @OU_MBBall