The Kansas Jayhawks are going to be in the Final Four this March Madness – that’s almost a guarantee no matter which way basketball fans look at the charts.  They continue to hold onto the number-one spot in all NCAA Power Rankings polls and are ready for a deep run.  It’s too early to call them this year’s NCAAB champions, but they certainly have all the skills necessary.  The Baylor Bears and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are right up there at the top, as well, and are more than prepared to challenge Kansas as the action heats up.

NCAA Power Rankings Changes

One team that is beginning to show signs of fatigue, and a possible early exit from the tournament, is Duke.  The Blue Devils have dropped three of their last four, only winning a game that really didn’t matter (Virginia Tech isn’t exactly a contender).  Duke can’t be counted out just yet, but the team needs to figure out how to put the energy back into play if they expect to keep moving forward this season.

The Penn State Nittany Lions need to be watched closely.  They’re on track to make a decent run in March Madness, but have to overcome a couple of obstacles first.  A recent victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights was a nice addition to the record, but they still have to get passed the Michigan State Spartans and the Northwestern Wildcats.  They take on the Spartans today, followed by the Wildcats on Saturday, and their performance will dictate how well they do heading into the tournament.

The Oregon Ducks have proven to be anything but the ugly ducklings of the league this year.  They are now benefiting from some extra downtime, which is going to help as they face the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal this week.  Barely hanging on, the Ducks could see a deep run in March Madness if they can stay focused, starting with this week’s games.

The Maryland Terrapins are still in the running, despite having lost a couple of important games recently.  In light of the losses, the team has still managed to pull out some exciting wins, showing that it isn’t short on skill or desire.  Both are key ingredients to winning, and the Terps’ strong defense is going to continue to give the team an edge.  Time is running out, though, and the remaining two games, against Rutgers and the Michigan Wolverines, shouldn’t prove to be too difficult.

For several months, I have thought that the Florida State Seminoles were going to be a tough team in March Madness, and things are beginning to head in that direction.  Despite losing by one point to the Clemson Tigers this past weekend, the Seminoles have had an incredible run this season and have been consistent throughout their appearances.  The two teams standing between the Noles and March Madness – the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Boston College Eagles – won’t offer a lot of problems.

Wildcats Winning Streak Continues

Kentucky is a fairly standard fixture in March Madness, and this year won’t be any different.  The Wildcats are coming off an eight-game winning streak and has only lost two games since the start of the year.  They made it to the Elite Eight last year, losing to the Auburn Tigers, and are ready to try to make it further this year.  At the rate they’re going, they might just pull it off, too.

On the heels of Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga is a team that few expected, at the beginning of the season, to get this far.  The San Diego State Aztecs are 28-1 after completing their regular season, and are starting to garner a lot of attention.  With just under two weeks to go until the start of March Madness, the team is now able to rest, recharging its batteries in preparation of a showdown.