1) Kansas Jayhawks (24-3) – The Jayhawks scored an enormous win over the weekend when they claimed a 64-61 decision over Big 12 conference rival Baylor. Despite the fact that both teams have identical 13-1 conference records and Baylor has one less loss on their overall record, the Jayhawks’ victory over the Bears will undoubtedly propel them to No. 1 in the nation status with only four games remaining on their regular-season slate. Much can happen between now and Selection Sunday when the tournament seeds are announced, with the looming conference tournaments chief among them. But right now, the team to beat is Kansas after this seismic victory and a dozen consecutive wins as the Jayhawks streak into postseason play.
2) Baylor Bears (24-2) – The Bears are reeling from their loss to Kansas but let’s face it, they have but two losses on their record and lost to arguably the best team in the nation, albeit on their home court. So now the season series is even with Kansas, but chances are very good these Big 12 foes will meet again in the conference tournament finals. If both teams continue to pile up victories then the potential Big 12 showdown between the teams will loom large as to which team gets the top spot in the nation and the coveted No. 1 seed in their respective regions. Regardless of which team comes out on top, the loser could also secure a No. 1 seed if the dominoes fall just right.
3) Dayton Flyers (25-2) – It was 2014 the last time the Flyers made any noise in the NCAA tournament, with an Elite Eight appearance, but one would have to go all the way back to 1967 to find their first and only championship finals matchup when they bowed, 79-64, to UCLA. However, this season the Atlantic 10 is being well represented by Dayton as they have now won 25 of their 27 games with their last loss dating back to December. Since then, the Fliers have walloped the competition by winning their last 15 games and covering the number in nine of those contests. Unfortunately for Dayton, and their fans, any miscue from now through Selection Sunday could see the Flyers tumble from a No. 1 seed to a No. 2…or worse depending on their final record. And that is primarily due to the level of their competition as they hail from the lightly regarded A-10 where they routinely beat up conference rivals U Mass, Fordham, and St. Joe’s to name but a few sub .500 clubs.
4) Gonzaga Bulldogs (27-2) – Had it not been for their 91-78 loss to No. 23 BYU over the weekend, we could very well see the Zags at the top of the heap. However, the Bulldogs did lose and will tumble slightly down the rankings but the good news is that they are still atop the West Coast Conference and boast a 27-2 record that is among the best in the nation. Gonzaga is averaging a sizzling 87.6 points per game which leads all D-1 teams in that category and has an imposing glass game that will give any defense fits. The Bulldogs have only two games remaining on their regular-season schedule and should they claim the conference tournament it will be a clear path to a top seed.
5) San Diego State (26-1) – The Aztecs did something over the weekend that they have not done all season long – lose. And it wasn’t as though they lost to a national powerhouse but, instead, were bounced by lightly regarded UNLV in their own house as 15-point favorites. It was a shocking loss and one that gives credence to those who claim schools from small conferences don’t deserve top seeds because of the caliber of their competition. However, San Diego State still owns the best record in college basketball and assuming they get back on track by winning their remaining games, as well as their conference tournament, the Aztecs could ascend to a No. 1 seed. But should they stumble again, then it is highly likely that a team like Duke will overtake them in the rankings and gain that coveted position.