Power Rankings: Villanova stays No. 1, Louisville surges, Indiana tumbles
- The Cardinals are up to No. 6 while the Hoosiers fall to No. 14 this week, which is the last of the non-conference season and a good time to take stock of how teams are performing relative to preseason expectations.
Part of the winning formula in college basketball is developing upside—as in, having players make breakthroughs that are beyond what their career stats, projected development curves and recruiting evaluations would suggest. The final, full week of non-conference play seems like the right time to take stock of how the Power Ranked 16 stand vis-à-vis SI's preseason projections, and answer the same question for each team: In what way are they most outperforming our analytic forecasts?
Senior wing Josh Hart was No. 2 in our preseason Player of the Year forecast based not on an expectation of extreme, offensive excellence but rather all-around value—scoring, rebounding and defense. Hart has since moved up to No. 1 in every pundit's assessment of the Wooden/Naismith race by playing out of his mind offensively. He's the nation's most efficient player (with a 137.8 offensive rating on kenpom.com) that uses at least 25% of his team's possessions, and he's averaging nearly as many assists (3.7) as point guard Jalen Brunson (3.8).
(Overall, though, 'Nova is right in line with its projections, which were to be the No. 3 team in offensive efficiency and No. 13 in D. The Wildcats are currently No. 1 and No. 16.)
Next up: 12/28 vs. DePaul, 12/31 at Creighton
The Zags are pretty much who we thought they'd be. I'm amazed at how close the actual stats of their top seven guys are to their projections:
The lone Gonzaga player who's truly expanded his repertoire this season is senior center Przemek Karnowski, who can now post up, throw crafty, lefty passes to cutters and play Santa Shem during timeouts of game telecasts:
Santa Shem left the North Pole(and) to visit Gonzaga's telecast last night and it will put you in the spirit pic.twitter.com/fPfZHVXGy9— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) December 22, 2016
The Next 16
20. Notre Dame
22. Florida State
24. St. Mary's
27. Virginia Tech
28. Seton Hall
31. UT Arlington