University basketball broadcaster and reporter
This Monday, January 30, 2023, it’s time to make a proclamation: The Purdue Boilermakers give the Big Ten their strongest shot in some time to win the league’s first national championship since Michigan State in the year 2000
Why is this the case?
The Boilers have a generational big man in Zach Edey, the top favorite for national player of the year, a core of perimeter shooters that opens up a different dimension and a top-20 defense.
At 21-1 overall after Sunday’s 77-61 win over the Spartans, Purdue deserves the utmost respect for its record in a conference that could send nine teams to the NCAA Tournament and a sport that once again provided a absolute chaos this past weekend.
Seriously, I’m asking the question: who is really big in this sport this season?
I still believe in Alabama, but watching the Tide lose by 24 to Oklahoma on Saturday showed that parity rules nationally.
That’s why what Purdue has done is so incredibly impressive, and let’s be clear: we’re seeing history from Edey.
Zach Edey is a powerhouse
Purdue Zach Edey went into beast mode in leading a 75-70 win over Michigan last week.
The following information is courtesy of Purdue Athletics: Based on a 35-game season, Edey is on pace for 775 points, 453 rebounds and 77 blocked shots. The only player we can find in the Sports Reference database who has at least 750 points, 450 rebounds and 75 blocked shots in a season is Navy’s David Robinson in 1986 (796-455-207).
If you asked 10 different managers how to defend Edey, they would give 10 different answers. It’s pretty hysterical that the 7-foot-4 tower from Ontario was just a three-star recruit out of high school. Every time he’s in action, it’s a dating visit. It will be fascinating to see how far Edey can take the Boilers on the dance floor. If Fletcher Loyer, Braden Smith & Co. are drilling 3s, the Boilermakers could find themselves cutting down the nets in Houston.
With that, here is an updated top 15.
1. Purdue (21-1)
The Boilermakers completed a season sweep of Michigan State on Sunday with a commanding 16-point victory at Mackey Arena. Not only does Purdue have the best player in the sport, but the Boilers have held 23 consecutive opponents under 70 points. Purdue was 93rd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency a year ago. This year? The Boilers are ranked 17th.
2. Houston (20-2)
The Cougars responded to the loss to Temple with a 2-0 week behind Jarace Walker. The five-star freshman forward followed up a 17-point performance against UCF on Wednesday with a game-high 25 in Saturday’s win over Cincinnati. The Cougars are the only team in the country to rank in the top eight in offensive and defensive efficiency, and Walker opens up a whole different dimension that takes the pressure off Marcus Sasser to consistently lead.
3. virginia (16-3)
Amid the chaos across the country, the Cavaliers have lost just once in the last 40 days. Jayden Gardner and Armaan Franklin each had 18 points in Saturday’s 19-point win over Boston College.
4. Alabama (18-3)
I still love this Alabama team, and sometimes it’s just not your day. After winning nine straight, nothing went right for the Crimson Tide in Saturday’s 93-69 nightmare performance at Oklahoma. Credit to Porter Moser and the Sooners, who held Brandon Miller to just 4-of-14 from the floor. A general concern for Alabama is its over-reliance on tempo and 3-point shooting.
5. Arizona (19-3)
The Wildcats have righted the ship with four straight wins, two of which have come against UCLA, and a USC team that just beat the Bruins last week. Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo combined for 46 points and 22 rebounds in a 23-point rout of Washington on Saturday.
Azuolas Tubelis drops 25 points on Washington
Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis led the Wildcats to a commanding 95-72 victory over Washington on Saturday.
6. Tennessee (18-3)
Olivier Nkamhoua is one of the toughest players in the country and embodies what Tennessee basketball is all about. He had a career-high 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds and three assists as the Volunteers defeated Texas 82-71 on Saturday.
7. Kansas State (18-3)
Markquis Nowell is up there with the best guards in America. His line in Saturday’s 64-50 win against Florida: 13 points, nine rebounds, eight assists. The Wildcats’ rematch with Kansas comes Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
8. Texas (17-4)
There’s no shame in losing in Knoxville this season, although the Longhorns were exposed inside in the loss. I think they will bounce back on Monday night when they host Baylor. Marcus Carr and Tyrese Hunter can negate the Bears backcourt.
9. Marquette (17-5)
The Golden Eagles have the most efficient offense in college basketball and are 8-1 in their last nine games, with the only loss coming by just four points to Xavier. The reason for its success? It starts with an exceptional base game. Tyler Kolek is second in the nation with 175 assists and has only turned it over 52 times. Marquette can absolutely win the Big East regular season title.
Tyler Kolek dominates DePaul
Marquette’s Tyler Kolek scored 24 points in an easy win over DePaul.
10. UCLA (17-4)
The Bruins won 14 straight games before dropping back-to-back games. That pretty much sums up college hoops. The Bruins dropped a 77-64 decision to USC last Thursday. Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson are one of the best duos in the Pac-12 and played like that in the win, with Ellis going for 31 points and six assists, while Pederson had 16. It was a big win for the Trojans, that they are right. the bubble
11. Baylor (16-5)
The Bears have sorted things out, winning six straight. Keyonte George and LJ Cryer combined for 44 points in Saturday’s 67-64 win over Arkansas. A win over Kansas is what catapults the Bears into the top 10 right now.
12. Kansas (17-4)
The history remained intact for the Jayhawks, who have yet to lose four straight games under Bill Self after a 77-68 victory at Kentucky on Saturday night. Jalen Wilson led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds, while X-factor KJ Adams Jr. scored 17 points and Kevin McCullar had a double-double.
13. State of Iowa (15-5)
The flaws came out for the Cyclones on Saturday. TJ Otzelberger’s team was off its A-game, turning the ball over 19 times and going 3-for-8 from the free throw line in a 78-61 loss to Missouri. To beat an elite defense like Iowa State’s, you need perimeter shooting, and Dennis Gates’ Tigers shot 14-for-30 from downtown.
14. Xavier (17-5)
As much as Souley Boum was the Musketeers’ 21 points in the win at UConn on Wednesday, he was remarkably quiet in Saturday’s 84-67 loss to Creighton. Boum scored two points, going 1-for-5 from the floor. The Musketeers are still tied for first in the Big East at 9-2 and host Providence on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app).
Souley Boum shows his power against UConn
Xavier’s Souley Boum scored 21 points in a win over UConn last week.
15. Illinois (15-6)
This may surprise some people, but here’s why the Illini are back in my top 15 for the first time in several weeks: Illinois has won six of its last seven games, winning those six games by at least nine points each and suffering the defeat of a cons. an Indiana team that is on a five-game winning streak.
The Illini are one of six teams in the nation with multiple wins over KenPom’s top 10 teams, having beaten UCLA and Texas this season. Matthew Mayer went wild in the second half of Saturday’s 61-51 win at Wisconsin, scoring 18 of his career-best 26 points in the final frame.
John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers sports in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.
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