The Circuit’s 2021-22 College Basketball 3rd Quarter Polls
The calendar has turned to February, which means there’s about one month left until the madness truly begins! Now it’s time to take a look at the college basketball landscape and predict who will be dancing well into March. Getty Images/ Circuit Artwork The college basketball season is like a pressure-cooker. It’s essentially a three month sprint to March Madness, where it’s survival of the fittest. We’ve now approached the 3/4 point (roughly), so it’s time to check in and see who’s playing well and who isn’t. Top 25 Getty Images 1- Auburn Tigers 2- Gonzaga Bulldogs 3- Kentucky Wildcats 4- UCLA Bruins 5- Duke Blue Devils 6- Purdue Boilermakers 7- Baylor Bears 8- Wisconsin Badgers 9- Kansas Jayhawks 10- Houston Cougars 11- Arizona Wildcats 12- Michigan State Spartans 13- Villanova Wildcats 14- Providence Friars 15- USC Trojans 16- Ohio State Buckeyes 17- UCONN Huskies 18- Texas Tech Red Raiders 19- Illinois Fighting Illini 20- Texas Longhorns 21- LSU Tigers 22- Xavier Musketeers 23- Iowa State Cyclones 24- Loyola-Chicago Ramblers 25- Alabama Crimson Tide The Auburn Tigers seemingly get better with each passing game, and are looking like national championship favorites. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the SEC the Kentucky Wildcats are starting to surge as we near the end of the season. But while those teams are on the rise, the Baylor Bears are slipping down the rankings (and as of writing this they are getting WAXED by the Jayhawks in Kansas). National Player of the Year Race Getty Images 1- Jabari Smith (Auburn) 2- Johnny Davis (Wisconsin) 3- Drew Timme (Gonzaga) This race has quickly become Smith’s to lose. He’s the best player on the best team in the nation, and very well could be the top pick in the draft. National Freshman of the Year Race Getty Images 1- Jabari Smith (Auburn) 2- Paolo Banchero (Duke) 3- Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) Given Smith is the favorite for the Player of the Year award, it wouldn’t really make sense to favor anyone but him in the Freshman of the Year race, would it? National Coach of the Year Race Getty Images 1- Bruce Pearl (Auburn) 2- Scott Drew (Baylor) 3- Tommy Lloyd (Arizona) Lloyd has been a great story in Arizona, but Bruce Pearl is leading Auburn to a phenomenal season and deserves to be the coach of the year. 1st Team All-America Getty Images G- Johnny Davis (Wisconsin) G- Ochai Agbaji (Kansas) F- Jabari Smith (Auburn) F- Paolo Banchero (Duke) C- Drew Timme (Gonzaga) 2nd Team All-America Getty Images G- Collin Gillespie (Villanova) G- Max Abmas (Oral Roberts) F- Keegan Murray (Iowa) F- Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) C- Kofi Cocknurn (Illinois) 3rd Team All-America Getty Images G- Antoine Davis (Detroit) G- Buddy Boeheim (Syracuse) F- Trevion Williams (Purdue) F- EJ Liddell (Ohio State) C- Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky) Final Four Predictions Getty Images Gonzaga Bulldogs def Kansas Jayhawks Duke Blue Devils def Auburn Tigers One of my March Madness Rules is don’t trust Kansas; every year they make you think they can win the title, and then fall epically short. However, this could be the year the Jayhawks finally break through again. Auburn is a great story, but ultimately I have not wavered on my Gonzaga vs. Duke preseason prediction… National Championship Getty Images Gonzaga Bulldogs def Duke Blue Devils I think these are the two best teams, and I think it is destiny for Coach K to make it to the national championship in his final year. While I would be rooting for the Blue Devils, this Gonzaga team is loaded and should cut down the nets.