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Wiggins reclaims top spot after standout week
Even against the toughest schedule in the country, Kansas’ 9-4 start had to be troubling. The play of Kansas’ star-studded freshman class, in particular, was puzzling.
The schedule isn’t getting any easier midway through January, either. The Big 12 is tougher than most expected. Even the league’s two gimmes — TCU and Texas Tech — come with caveats. TCU defeated Kansas last season in Fort Worth, and Texas Tech just made easy work of Baylor on Wednesday night.
Kansas’ freshmen, though, are proving they’re up to the challenge. Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden all have had among their best performances of the season just in the last two weeks.
Wiggins takes over the No. 1 spot in our freshman power rankings for this week, but Embiid isn’t far behind. Syracuse's Tyler Ennis is also becoming a major factor thanks to his near-flawless play as the point guard of an undefeated team.
For now, though, we're where we startedt his season with Wiggins leading the way.
College Basketball Midseason Freshman Power Rankings
1. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
For those waiting for Wiggins to take off this season, now is the time to tune in. Wiggins had 17 points and 19 rebounds in front of frenzied crowd in Ames for 77-70 win over Iowa State. That performance came two days after 22 points in a win over Kansas State.
2. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
How big a role does Ennis play for Syracuse? Either by an assist or a field goal, Ennis is responsible for 36.9 percent of the Orange’s baskets this season.
Related: 10 Midseason Breakout Players
3. Joel Embiid, Kansas
Could the 7-footer from Cameroon take the No. 1 spot in the NBA Draft? Embiid is starting to take over with 16 points against Iowa State and 11 against Kansas State on a combined 12 of 15 shooting.
4. Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Opponents are averaging 87 points per 100 possessions against Arizona, the fifth best average in the country, thanks in part to Gordon’s defense.
Related: 10 Midseason Disappointments
5. Julius Randle, Kentucky
Randle’s brief slump ended with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the overtime loss to Arkansas. Credit his above-average free throw shooting (10 of 14 against the Razorbacks).
6. Jabari Parker, Duke
Parker’s scoring average has dropped from 21.4 points per game to 18.8 since ACC play began.
Related: Midseason All-America teams
7. Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Vonleh’s jumper capped a 12-0 run that gave Indiana the lead for good in the 75-72 win over Wisconsin on Wednesday.
8. Wayne Selden, Kansas
Selden’s hot streak came to a screeching halt against Iowa state in Monday, but he still had six assists.
Related: Midseason Coaches of the Year
9. James Young, Kentucky
If Young is going to continue to take 15.5 shots per game — as he has in the last four — his shot will need to be more consistent.
10. Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
Less has been more in recent games for Harrison, who is 9 of 17 from the field with 30 total points in road games against Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
11. Bobby Portis, Arkansas
The forward from Little Rock scored 11 points in a win over Kentucky and 16 in an overtime loss to Florida last week.
12. Marcus Foster, Kansas State
A 3-of-12 day from the field in a loss to Kansas put a damper on a surprising season, but Foster returned to score 18 in a win over a ranked Oklahoma team on Tuesday.
13. Zach LaVine, UCLA
After a lackluster performance against Arizona, LaVine returned to hit 8 of 12 shots for 19 points in a win over Arizona State on Sunday.
14. Josh Hart, Villanova
The under-appreciated guard has scored in double figures in seven consecutive games for the Big East leaders.
15. Jordan Mickey, LSU
Mickey had seven blocks against Ole Miss, but he was 1 of 5 from the field in what could be a disastrous loss.