Status check for conference play

Mountain West

Head of the class: San Diego State didn't need its 83-point win over St. Katherine to validate its status as a front-runner. Its wins over Creighton and Marquette, and playing Arizona tough, were enough to solidify that the Aztecs are legit.
Honor roll potential: Boise State fell short of getting a signature win against Kentucky and Iowa State, but the Broncos are still formidable.
Headed for detention: New Mexico got bounced from the Top 25 polls early, although Kendall Williams, Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow could fulfill their potential at any time. UNLV may avoid detention having won six straight after a bumpy stretch that saw it lose four of six early -- and that doesn't include its exhibition loss to Dixie State.


Head of the class: Arizona has maintained its No. 1 ranking for four weeks and the Wildcats are really just scratching the surface of how good they can be. Houston transfer Joseph Young may be better than expected for Oregon, which remains undefeated.
Honor roll potential: Colorado's win over Kansas showed it will be especially tough in Boulder. UCLA has the talent and a high-powered offense, but does it have the toughness to stop teams defensively?
Headed for detention: California has lost both its road games by an average of 10.5 points.


Head of the class: Florida challenged itself during nonconference play and came out looking like a Final Four contender despite often not having its full roster. Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin helped the Gators pass Kentucky as the SEC favorite. The Wildcats finally beat a ranked team with their win over Louisville and showed they're more than just Julius Randle in the process.
Honor roll potential: Missouri was 4.6 seconds away from still being undefeated, but lost to Illinois by one on a pair of late free throws. Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson, who combine to average 38 points per game, are going to be a handful. Arkansas has quietly built its confidence and will know how good it is when Kentucky and Florida visit in consecutive games in two weeks.
Headed for detention: Tennessee's win over fellow underachiever Virginia was a good win heading into conference play, but a loss to UTEP and at home to NC State were big disappointments. Alabama may have scheduled too ambitiously and has lost four of its last five despite the standout play of Trevor Releford.

Best of the rest

Wichita State has already played three true road games and should dominate the Creighton-less Missouri Valley -- although remaining undefeated throughout seems unlikely. Toledo's undefeated streak came to a halt at Kansas, but the Rockets are poised to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1980 this season. Gonzaga, already 2-0 in West Coast Conference play, sprinkled in a date with Memphis in February to compensate for a league that has struggled as a whole. Both BYU, a loser in four of its last five, and St. Mary College, which lost three straight before winning its WCC opener at Pacific. What would a dean's list be without Harvard? The Crimson lost at Colorado, but look like they will be back in the NCAA tournament.

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