Welcome to the second edition of theScore’s NCAA player power rankings, where we take another look at the top talent so far this season.
With some fresh faces making an appearance in our rankings, which players have maintained their spot and which have failed to keep stride?
Last month: N/R
Brown is the point guard and leader of a once-overlooked Wildcats squad. His team has won four of their last five games, including home victories over Oklahoma and TCU. After his 34-point performance against Baylor on Monday, the junior is averaging 22.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.5 steals in conference play while shooting 52 percent from the field. Brown is on fire and leading Kansas State into the NCAA Tournament conversation.
Last month: N/R
Despite the Pirates dropping three of their last four games, the emergence of Delgado’s inside presence and strong play against conference opponents cannot be overlooked. The senior big man is averaging 13.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks over seven games of Big East play, including a monster 28-15-6 line in a win at Butler and 18-14-5 in a victory over Creighton. Consistency has been the key for the 6-foot-10 Dominican as his 14 double-doubles over 20 games this season have him tied for third in the country.
Last month: 3
After a torrid start and a top-five ranking in our previous list, Holder and the Sun Devils have cooled off. Poor January performances against Oregon State (four points) and Stanford (nine points) resulted in a steep drop for the senior, but strong conference performances (including a 31-point game against rival Arizona) and early-season success keep him on our updated rankings. Holder is still averaging a respectable 15 points and four rebounds in seven Pac-12 games.
Last month: 18
Bridges continues to be the top option for a Spartans team that has remained inside the top 10 through 12 weeks of play. With 20.2 points, eight rebounds, and 3.6 assists over his last 10 games, the sophomore seems to be taking the appropriate steps in improving his team's Big Ten title odds. Despite losing to in-state rival Michigan, Bridges scored 19 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists, and two steals. He responded to the loss with 22 and 31 points, respectively, in consecutive wins against conference opponents Indiana and Illinois.
Last month: N/R
Winners of their first six conference games and 15 straight overall, the Boilermakers are the hottest team in the nation thanks, in large part, to their sophomore guard. Fresh off a Big Ten Player of the Week award, Edwards is averaging 19 points and five assists while shooting 50 percent and is turning the ball over just once per game over his last four contests. He is draining 48 percent of his 3-pointers in conference play and his 17.2 points per game currently rank fifth in the Big Ten.
Last month: N/R
Beware of Bamba. After a slow start to his college career, the five-star recruit is beginning to hit his stride. In eight Big 12 tilts thus far, the towering forward is averaging 14.5 points and 12 rebounds. Bamba is special because of the nightmares he gives to opposing offenses. He leads the country with 82 blocks and ranks first in his conference with 139 defensive rebounds. The freshman’s defensive rating, plus/minus, and win shares all currently rank inside the top five for power conference players.
Last month: 14
When the Musketeers need buckets, Bluiett has been there to deliver, and this model of consistency has kept him in our top 15. The 6-foot-6 senior has been instrumental in leading Xavier to a 7-2 conference record, averaging 17.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in Big East play. Some of his finest nights include a line of 23-6-8 with five 3-pointers in a win at Marquette, 21 points and seven rebounds in a win against Butler, and 24 points to go with five rebounds on 56 percent shooting in a win against Creighton.
Last month: N/R
One of the most well-rounded players in college basketball, Clark’s impressive play has helped the Bearcats increase their ranking over five consecutive weeks. Though his 13.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game don’t jump off the page, he also owns the best defensive rating in the country for a team that holds opponents to just 57.4 points a night. Five double-doubles over seven conference games, including a monster 17 points and 15 rebounds at UCF, has propelled the Bearcats to a 7-0 AAC record and the ninth spot in the AP poll.
Last month: 12
While not spectacular, Maye is still one of the tops forwards in college basketball. Outside of a poor outing in Virginia (who actually fairs well against the Cavaliers?), the junior has schooled his fellow ACC clubs. Maye is averaging 20.2 points and 10.6 rebounds over his last five outings while shooting just over 59 percent from the field. The 6-foot-8 forward operates as a stretch-four or five and does most of the Tar Heels’ work on the defensive glass, leading the conference in defensive rebounds.
Last month: 17
Can anyone stop Jock? We’re not so sure. Over his last seven games, Landale is averaging 25 points and 11.4 rebounds while shooting an incredible 68 percent. This includes a dominant 26 points and 12 rebounds against Gonzaga in Spokane. The junior center leads the nation in win shares and field goals while shooting a robust 65.7 percent. He’s also one of the country’s top rebounders despite his athletic deficiencies. The towering Aussie plays slow, but there may not be a more efficient player in college basketball.
Last month: N/R
For the record, Vincent and Carsen Edwards are not related, but one could be fooled by their on-court chemistry. Vincent has been the glue for a third-ranked Purdue team that hasn’t lost a game since mid-November. The Ohio native has averaged 17.5 points with an absurd effective field goal percentage of 68, along with 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in conference play, leading the Boilermakers to a perfect 8-0 Big Ten record. Edwards is also ranked 20th in the country in defensive win shares, proving his value at both ends of the floor.
Last month: 5
One of college basketball’s biggest stars continues to bring leadership and consistency to the country’s top-ranked team. Even in the Wildcats' only loss of the season at Butler, Bridges was excellent, scoring 21 points on 60 percent shooting. In Big East play, the junior is averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 50 percent shooting, while taking on opponent’s top scorers and providing outstanding defense. Bridges ranks seventh in the country in box plus-minus and continues to be a leading force for the 19-1 Wildcats.
Last month: 9
We’re not sure anyone can get in the way of the Shockers sophomore guard, as his efficiency continues from all areas on the floor. He is just one of two guards averaging over 50 percent from both two- and 3-point range and has the seventh-best offensive rating in the country. With two Conference Player of the Week awards already under his belt this season, Shamet’s incredible play has kept Wichita State within the top 20 in the AP rankings all season long.
Last month: N/R
The dominant 6-foot-7 forward’s play has become much more than just a subplot within the college basketball landscape. His 20.7 points at 50 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks against Big Ten competition has propelled this Buckeyes team, which was written off in the fall, to a perfect 9-0 record and the top spot in the conference. KBD has all but taken over the Big Ten, ranking first in points, third in rebounds, and fifth in blocks per game while boasting the fourth-most win shares in the entire country.
Last month: 4
The Mountaineers may have lost three of their last four games after pulling off 15 straight victories, but Carter continues to assert himself as one of college basketball’s best. In Big 12 play, Carter has averaged 15 points, 6.6 assists, and four rebounds. An elite defender at the point guard position, the senior leads the nation with 68 steals and ranks 14th in defensive rating. The centerpiece of coach Bob Huggins’ press system, Carter has forced at least four turnovers nine times this season. There is nothing he can’t do.
Last month: 10
Filling Frank Mason’s shoes has not been an issue for Kansas’ point guard this season. Winners of five of their last six in college’s toughest conference, Graham has led the Jayhawks back to first place on the back of a number of great performances. These included a 28-point, 6-assist effort against TCU and a 23-point game against rival Kansas State in which he scored the game-winning points. The senior is one of the top overall players in the game: he can score, he can pass (ranking 7th in assists per game), and is an elite defender.
Last month: 7
Arizona has finally found their game and unfortunately for the opposition, so has the towering Bahamian center. After a rough start, Ayton and the Wildcats have been devastating, posting a 13-1 record since the beginning of December. In Pac-12 play, the freshman is averaging 20 points on 65% shooting, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks, including a monster 23-point, nine-rebound performance in a win over Arizona State and a 24-point, 14-rebound game in a win at Utah. He is currently ranked ninth in the country in total rebounds, fourth in two-point field goals, and sixth in player efficiency.
Last month: 2
Villanova continues to hold serve as the top team in the nation, and its point guard is the driving force. Brunson has not slowed down after a hot start, averaging 20 points and 5.4 assists in his last seven games while shooting 51 percent on 14.3 shots per game. Running his offense to perfection, the junior leads all power conference players in offensive rating and is the best shooter in the Big East. In his team’s only loss (at Butler), Brunson put up a season-high 31 points, consistently battling a Bulldogs team that was scoring at a historic pace.
Last month: 1
Bagley may have been bumped from the top spot on our list, but that is not to say he has been less dominant. It has actually been quite the opposite. The freshman is averaging 22.6 points and 12.4 rebounds on 59 percent shooting over his last seven contests. This includes 30-plus-point performances against North Carolina State, Florida State, and Wake Forest this month. Bagley is one of the top offensive rebounders in the game and is the centerpiece of the nation’s top offense. The future lottery pick has yet to endure a bad game.
Last month: 6
Young has been college basketball’s most entertaining, and ultimately most productive player this season. The Sooner has been named National Player of the Week three times since December and has been the driving force of the 15-4 team. The freshman leads the nation in scoring, assists, points produced, offensive box plus-minus, and usage, and is third in made 3-point field goals. His 32.4 points, 8.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.3 steals over eight Big 12 contests are almost impossible to fathom. Some of his biggest nights include 43 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists in a win against TCU, and 48 points, five rebounds, and eight assists in a tough loss at Oklahoma State.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images & USA Today)