CBB Top 25: Houston Reclaims Top Spot

By Mark Fordham
 |  3 mins
8E3DFB6F-93D4-478C-99D9-112C2BB6C04E  Fact Checked by Sean O'Neill
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CBB Top 25: Houston Reclaims Top Spot

With a few weeks before March Madness begins, the top of the rankings look unsettled, to say the least. This week, there were minor changes across the AP Top 25; Houston Cougars returned to the top after slipping down to second last week, and two teams also entered the Top 25. 

Teams may also look to rest their best players, with all eyes on the near future – this is something to keep in mind if you want to be making college basketball picks on college basketball betting sites. Let’s now look at the risers and fallers in Week 16. 

Houston Cougars 

The Houston Cougars look set to finish the NCAA regular season as the top-ranked program. They’ve lost just two games all season and have a soft schedule to the end of the season. They’re currently on a seven-game winning streak, and it doesn’t look like that run will end before March Madness begins. 

In Marcus Sasser, they have a reliable performer. Sasser has averaged 16.7 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three. 

There are stars in the league with better stats – stars who can change the tide of a game on their own, but Houston has built a team that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It remains to be seen if this can help them go all the way, but it has worked so far. Whether the odds on Houston winning it all with US betting apps are too prohibitive are in the eye of the beholder. 

Purdue Boilermakers 

Purdue was the team to beat just a few weeks ago, but it has lost three of its last five matchups. The Boilermakers’ most recent loss was to the unranked Maryland, and this bad run of form couldn’t have come at a worse time. It’s hard to pinpoint what’s gone wrong for Purdue in recent weeks, but it seems like teams have figured them out. 

They have relied on Zach Edey to provide points and boards, and teams seem to have found a way to neutralize his impact. Edey remains the perfect college basketball player props pick despite the recent struggles of the team – he has averaged 22.1 points per game while shooting 61.9 percent from the field. He has also averaged 12.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. If Purdue wants to go all the way, Edey’s teammates must also make more significant contributions. As talented as Edey is, he can’t do it all on his own. 

Providence Friars

The Providence Friars were one of the big risers this week. The 94-86 win over Creighton helped them climb to 20th from 24th place in the rankings. Providence has lost seven games so far this season, which isn’t ideal for a team looking to go deep into March Madness, but some of those were tight losses against solid teams like Xavier and Marquette. 

They’ll face Xavier and UConn in the coming weeks, which should give everyone a good idea of their ceiling. It’s best to wait until those games are over if you want to place a wager on them on USA sports betting sites

Bryce Hopkins' two-way efforts have got them over the line in most games this season. He has averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 defensive rebounds this season. The Friars are a rigid unit, but they’re unlikely to cause a lot of trouble to the strongest teams in the league when March Madness beckons, even with Harper in college basketball lineups.

Northwestern Wildcats 

Northwestern was the only unranked side to break into the Top 25 this week. The Wildcats climbed five places to 21st after impressive wins against Purdue and Indiana. They’ve been a streaky team all season – when they’re good, they can beat anyone, but when they’re poor, you’re reminded of why they were unranked before this week. 

In Boo Buie, they’ve got someone capable of scoring and playmaking. Bule has averaged 17 points and 4.6 assists per game this season. There aren’t many players in the league who’ve combined both attributes as effectively as Buie. He’s tough to defend and just the sort of player that can go up a level in March Madness. Northwestern is certainly a team to watch out for on betting sites during March Madness. The likes of Purdue and Indiana confirmed this week that the Wildcats are not an easy team to play against when they’re running hot. 

The NCAA regular season has offered its fair share of excitement this season already. Teams at the top of the rankings never stay there for long – a humbling is always around the corner. It was Purdue a few weeks ago, Alabama this week and it could be Houston before March Madness is upon us. 

Mark spent over a decade as a sports reporter and editor with Goal.com and Bleacher Report. He is now a Content Editor at Bookmakers.com covering all manner of sports from the Premier League and cricket to the NBA and NFL.

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