College Basketball Power Rankings: A New #1

Duke lost to Boston College, while Arizona State went to Lawrence and knocked off Kansas. Neither neither take the top spot. Michigan State sits at 12-1 while Villanova remains undefeated. 1-2 is an entertaining debate.

1. Villanova 11-0

The Wildcats blew out Temple by 20 to remain undefeated, and vault to #1 thanks to Boston College’s huge win.

2. Arizona State 11-0

Entering the year, Arizona was #2 and their in-state rival was unranked. When the teams meet on December 30, Arizona State will be #2. It’ll be a matchup of ranked teams, and the atmosphere will be electric.

3. Duke 12-1

Losing to BC hurts, and seeing Duke at the bottom of the ACC standings is amusing. However, the Blue Devils will get back on track.

4. Michigan State 12-1 

The Spartans racked up four quick wins against weak opposition, and don’t rise in the rankings.

5. Miami 9-0

Miami played only one game the past two weeks, but the ‘Canes stayed undefeated against George Washington. Miami and Villanova are the only unbeatens to appear in every top 25.

6. Kentucky 9-1

Edit: This post was written Friday, and hasn’t accounted for Saturday’s results.

Finally the Wildcats played some quality teams, as Kentucky knocked off Monmouth and Virginia Tech. They won’t be challenged until a January 6 trip to Tennessee. (Update: UCLA disagrees)

7. Texas A&M 11-1

The SEC is shaping up to be incredible this year. The Aggies follow Kentucky as the second top-10 team, while #14 Tennessee is one of the most dangerous teams in the country. Texas A&M will face a brutal January, coming up against Tennessee, Kentucky, and Kansas. . . all on the road.

8. Xavier 11-1

J.P. Macura is outperforming Trevon Bluiett, but Xavier doesn’t mind. The flamethrowing duo is averaging a combined 31 points per game, and that number will rise when Big 12 play begins, and there’s little garbage time for the bench.

9. Wichita State 9-2

The Shockers were upset by Oklahoma, and fall a few spots. Trae Young outdueled Landry Shamet on both ends of the floor, but don’t expect that to happen to Shamet often. Markis McDuffie’s imminent return will add another explosive weapon for coach Gregg Marshall.

10. Kansas 10-2

The Jayhawks snapped out of a skid, destroying Stanford by 21. Someone circled January 6 on the calendar, as TCU comes to Lawrence in the day’s 2700th ranked matchup.

11. West Virginia 10-1

The Mountaineers haven’t lost since the season opener, but that might change when WVU faces Oklahoma on January 6, (when else?) Baylor on the 9th, and Kansas on the 15th. However, all of those games are at home.

12. North Carolina 10-2

UNC picked up a great win over a terrific Tennessee team by 5, and is in good shape heading into ACC play.

There’s just one little problem called Wofford.

13. TCU 11-0

The Horned Frogs haven’t lost since last March, and coach Jamie Dixon has TCU in the thick of Big 12 contention. The conference is incredible this year, and TCU looks to be headed for the NCAA Tournament.

14. Tennessee 8-2

While the AP Poll has the Vols #21, Tennessee has been impressive. They controlled the game against North Carolina for 35 minutes before falling short. The nation’s fifth-youngest team just needs experience finishing games, and is a genuine threat to win the SEC.

15. Purdue 12-2

The Boilermakers blew out Butler by 15 while becoming the second-highest Big 10 team in the rankings. Purdue will answer the question of Michigan State’s toughest challenger on January 13, a trip to Minnesota.

16. Cincinnati 10-2

The two-loss barrage continues with Cincinnati, the American Athletic’s second team in the rankings. The Bearcats recovered from a tough loss to Florida by knocking off formerly unbeaten Mississippi State. Then UCLA fell to the elite defense. Wichita State’s greatest challenger rises again.

17. Baylor 10-2

Sick of the Big 12 yet? Baylor hasn’t played anyone for half a month, and won’t until a stretch against Texas Tech and TCU. Oh wait, their next two games.

18. Oklahoma 9-1

Trae Young is now the frontrunner for Player of the Year after a dominating performance against Wichita State. Oklahoma shocked the Shockers, and Young followed it up with 29 points and  22 (twenty freaking two!) assists against Northwestern State. Trae Young immediately went off again for 31 points and 12 assists as Oklahoma ran Northwestern off the court.

19. Arkansas 9-2

The Razorbacks knocked off Minnesota while vaulting into the top 25. A blowout loss to Houston earlier in the year hurts, but Arkansas could start 4-1 in the SEC. However, a December 30th clash with Tennessee could see Arkansas blown out.

20. Virginia 10-1

The Cavaliers didn’t really do anything, cruising against Davidson and Savvanah State. Skip!

21. Arizona 10-3

The preseason #2 is back in the rankings with impressive victories over Alabama and Texas A&M. The nation must despise the sight of a healthy Rawle Alkins.

22. Clemson 10-1

The Tigers are quietly putting together a solid resumé, and knocking off formerly-ranked Florida eliminated any obstacle preventing Clemson from being ranked.

23. Creighton 10-2

The Bluejays pulled off a nine point win over a good Texas-Arlington team, and move up thanks to. . .

24. Seton Hall 10-2

Rutgers is 10-3! Rutgers beat Seton Hall! Will wonders never cease?

25. Minnesota 10-3

The Gophers hit their annual December rough spot, dropping games to Nebraska and Arkansas before squeaking by Drake. Minnesota will get back on track eventually, and the Big 10 should be afraid.

Rounding out the 32: Texas Tech 10-1, Florida State 11-1, Gonzaga 10-3, Notre Dame 8-3, Houston 10-2, Syracuse 10-1, Auburn 11-1.

 

 

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College Basketball Power Rankings: Arizona and Purdue Fall

Welcome to the conclusion of college basketball’s second week. Remain calm.

What just happened!?

Former #2 Arizona lost twice in a row to formerly unranked opposition. Former #21 Purdue is gone after losing to now-ranked Tennessee and unranked Western Kentucky. This same Tennessee team was leading Villanova at the half by twelve. . . and lost. Chaos.

1. Duke (5-0)

First half struggles against Portland State hurt the Blue Devils, but the lack of other #1 contenders keeps Duke in the top spot.

2. Kansas (4-0)

Don’t underrate the Jayhawks blowout of South Dakota State. Jackrabbits star Mike Daum was neutralized despite a “weak” frontcourt, and Devonte’ Graham went off. Kansas might not have the nation’s most difficult schedule, but the Jayhawks have picked up some quality wins.

3. Villanova (5-0)

Villanova took on their first test of the season and defeated a good Tennessee team. Tennessee was leading at the half, (46-34!) but Jalen Brunson went off for 25 points as the nation’s new #3 advanced to the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Excuse me, the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis. Companies these days.

4. Michigan State (3-1)

A blowout win over DePaul doesn’t imply anything about Michigan State, but the Spartans might coast until Big 10 play tips off.

5. Notre Dame (6-0)

The Irish won Mike Brey a preseason tournament. Blowouts of Chaminade and LSU led to a made-for-TV final against Wichita State, one Notre Dame led twice. . . 4-2 and 67-66. That’s it.

6. Miami (4-0)

Bruce Brown and JaQuan Newton have played well during Lonnie Walker’s slump, but La Salle and Florida A&M weren’t expected to challenge a top 10 team anyways.

7. USC (4-0) 

The Trojans needed overtime to defeat Vanderbilt 93-89, although the Commodores seem Tournament-caliber. USC’s frontcourt is going to be a problem for the rest of the Pac-12.

8. Minnesota (5-0)

The Golden Gophers won eight games two years ago. Now they’re ranked number eight. Richard Pitino has done wonders for this program, and recruiting has surged. Isaiah Washington has played a key role as the sixth man, leading Minnesota to blowout victory after blowout victory. They will be tested tomorrow against Alabama and against Miami on the 29th. Win those and Minnesota could catapult into the top five.

9. Wichita State (4-1)

A loss to Notre Dame hurts the Shockers, but dominating wins over California and Marquette indicate Wichita State’s solid grip on a top three seed. The Maui Invitational showed Notre Dame is much better than we thought. Stop with the “overrated” chants. Don’t forget top scorer Markis McDuffie is still out. Wichita State will be a force in March. . . and all it takes is one game for Landry Shamet to go off, and ruin the year for the rest of the American Athletic.

10. Kentucky (5-1)

The Wildcats have struggled against one of the easiest schedules in the nation, needing second half surges to beat ETSU and Troy. Preseason projections remain a force in these rankings, which is why Kentucky is in the top 20, let alone top ten. Jarred Vanderbilt can’t get healthy soon enough for the SEC frontrunner.

11. North Carolina (4-0)

Stanford put up 72 against UNC and 87 against Florida. . . and lost both games. Luke Maye has become a force in the paint, while Joel Berry’s accelerated recovery doesn’t hurt. In other news, I expect some Tar Heel fans to complain about #1 Duke, #5 Notre Dame, and #6 Miami. The ACC is stacked again.

12. Texas A&M (4-0)

Two weeks in, the Aggies boast a fantastic non-conference resume with wins over West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Penn State. Keep in mind the first two were without potential NBA lottery pick Robert Williams.

13. Arizona (3-2)

The Wildcats don’t like preseason projections. Not only did Arizona lose to NC State, but the Wildcats lost to SMU as well. Who would’ve thought the seventh place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis—excuse me, the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis for sponsorship reasons—would be Arizona vs. Purdue? This crazy sport.

14. Cincinnati (5-0)

The Bearcats fall three spots not because of losses, but because of scheduling. Wyoming is decent, but Richmond and Coppin State are not. Cincinnati will have a chance to shoot right back up the rankings December 2nd at Xavier.

15. Xavier (5-0)

Speaking of the Musketeers, Xavier dominated Wisconsin in the Gavitt Games, then blew out Hampton and George Washington. The winner of the Cincinnati-Xavier game could rise into the top 10.

16. Saint Mary’s (5-0)

An 18 point victory over Harvard vaults the Gaels up two spots

17. NC State (5-1)

#2 Arizona sauntered into Imperial Arena and lost to the upstart Wolfpack. Braxton Beverley lit up for 20 points in 27 minutes as NC State finds themselves ranked.

18. Florida (4-0)

The Gators can’t afford to give up 87 points to any team if they want to go far in March. Gonzaga is the next opponent for, in my opinion, the nation’s most overrated team.

19. Louisville (3-0)

Brian Bowen will officially not play for the Cardinals, amplifying Quin Snider’s turnover struggles. Louisville has played an easy schedule, and despite the undefeated record, doesn’t appear ready for ACC play.

20. Baylor (5-0)

The Bears enjoyed one of the better weeks of any team in the nation, knocking off Wisconsin and Creighton. Baylor appears the best-suited to challenge Kansas in the Big 12.

21. Seton Hall (4-1)

Losing to Rhode Island at the buzzer hurts, and knocks the Pirates down a few spots. Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington are producing, but Seton Hall needs Desi Rodriguez to be more consistent if the Pirates want to challenge Villanova.

22. Tennessee (3-1)

This Tennessee team is better than anyone expected. The Vols upset Purdue in the Battle 4 Atlantis—sorry, the B—ah, forget it. Then coach Rick Barnes led Tennessee into a massive game against Villanova. Predicted by most important people to lose by twenty, at the half the Vols were beating the #6 team in the country by twelve! Despite a massive Villanova rally to fuel a Wildcat victory, Tennessee has proved to the nation how good this Vols team can be.

23. Creighton (4-1)

Creighton crushed UCLA, pushed Baylor to the brink, and find themselves in this week’s power rankings. That win against the Bruins could prove crucial come March, because after UCLA gets their three freshmen back, the Bruins will win games. And Creighton? They get Gonzaga December 1st. Somebody scheduled well.

24. Alabama

Collin Sexton is playing and stuffing the box score. Alabama only played against UT-Arlington and Alabama A&M though, and will receive a sterner test against #8 Minnesota. Two years ago, even I would never believe those words, and I’m a Minnesota fan!

25. SMU

The first time a vaunted team loses, rank the team they lost to. The second time they lose, rank the upstarts #23 or below, as it indicates an uncharacteristic skid.

On a more important note, what the Mustangs did was amazing. Defeating the former #2 is nothing to scoff at. Point guard Shake Milton has been terrific for SMU, buoying them to success.

Next five (in order): West Virginia, Temple, Virginia, Gonzaga, Rhode Island

 

College Basketball Power Rankings: Duke claims the top spot

Photo source: Flickr

Disclaimer: This post was written Thursday afternoon, November 16th. Anything that happened afterwards will be reflected next week. 

Just to make sure nobody shouts at me if Miami loses to Florida A&M.

 

The first regular season edition of After the Whistle’s CBB Power Rankings is filled with chaos, rising, falling, and a new #1. In a week where many top 25 teams dominated, teams that produced lackluster performances (ahem, Northwestern) fell, making way for others. This will be interesting.

1. Duke

The Blue Devils delivered the week’s marquee win over former #1 Michigan State. Grayson Allen’s 37 points were the deciding factor in a terrific win for Duke.

2. Arizona

Dusan Ristic is off to a terrific start manning the paint, although Arizona’s dominant wins are over Northern Arizona and UMBC. I have no reason to drop the Wildcats, for now.

3. Kansas

The Jayhawks’ win in the Champions Classic buoys Kansas up four spots. As Kentucky will attest, Devonte’ Graham is going to be a problem for opposition all year long.

4. Wichita State

Rounding out today’s top seeds, the Shockers destroyed a very good College of Charleston and put up over 100 points on an average UMKC defense. Once Landry Shamet lights up, look out!

5. Michigan State

A loss to Duke in the Champions Classic hurts MSU, and sinks the Spartans to fifth, out of the #1 seed line. Miles Bridges and company will rise eventually.

6. Villanova

Struggling for a half against Columbia hurts the Wildcats, and Nicholls State isn’t a difficult opponent. Villanova won’t have the opportunity to pick up their first solid resume-boosting win until December, when Gonzaga visits.

7. Miami

Unlike Villanova, the Hurricanes do have a solid win. Navy is decent, and Miami beat them by 34. Bruce Brown is transforming into an NBA lottery prospect.

8. USC

The Trojans struggled against North Dakota State, and haven’t played anyone decent. That will change when USC visits Vanderbilt Sunday night.

9. Kentucky

The Wildcats have struggled against Utah Valley and a good Vermont team. Losing to Kansas doesn’t help Kentucky’s case, but preseason projections are playing a big part after only one week of basketball.

10. Minnesota

Preseason projections are the reason Minnesota isn’t in the top seven. That and I’m bending over backwards trying not to be too biased. Richard Pitino’s Golden Gophers ran away with what was projected to be a close game at Providence, and put up 59 points in one half against Niagara, the team coming off a win against Saint Bonaventure.

11. Cincinnati

Similar to many teams in this range, the Bearcats haven’t played any good teams. . . but Cincinnati is blowing out all comers. The American Athletic could easily have two top-10 teams entering March.

12. North Carolina

The Tar Heels drop one spot after struggles in an eight point win over Bucknell. A dominating performance against a Northern Iowa helps the nation’s greatest question mark.

13. Notre Dame

Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson have formed a dynamic point guard-to-center combo, beating two decent teams (DePaul and Mount St. Mary’s) along the way.

14. Texas A&M

Missing Robert Williams, a loss to former #16 West Virginia would have been excusable. Texas A&M decided to give me no headaches by destroying WVU 88-65. The Aggies are this week’s highest risers, vaulting up ten spots.

15. Seton Hall

The Pirates delivered solid wins against Monmouth and Indiana by double digits, and Desi Rodriguez continues to be a matchup nightmare. Khadeem Carrington is no slouch from behind the arc.

16. Xavier

There’s not much to see here. The Musketeers benefit from others struggling while Xavier blew out Morehead State and Rider.

17. Louisville

Mired in controversy, the Cardinals won their only game—a 72-61 win over George Mason. Brian Bowen may be ineligible, but Deng Adel is playing well.

18. Saint Mary’s

The Gaels are the higher of the two teams entering this week’s rankings. Jock Landale and Co. are off to an undefeated start, and will challenge Gonzaga for the West Coast crown.

19. Florida

The Gators stay out after playing one game, a 116-74 demolition of Gardner-Webb. There’s not much to be gleaned here.

20. Missouri 

Defeating Iowa State by 15 is impressive. Doing it without NBA lottery prospect Michael Porter Jr. sends a message to the rest of the SEC.

21. Purdue

It seems the nation has underestimated how good Isaac Haas is at basketball. Caleb Swanigan who?

22. UCLA

The Bruins would take a mulligan. Not only did UCLA need overtime to beat Georgia Tech, but three players were arrested for stealing sunglasses. LiAngelo Ball is back, but isn’t helping.

23. Alabama

Alabama boasts a dominant win over Memphis without their best player. Expecting the Tide to continue winning without Collin Sexton is an unfortunate view, but the five-star recruit could be eligible soon.

24. West Virginia 

Jevon Carter and Co. look back on track after destroying American University. The issue is getting blown out by a Robert Williams-less Texas A&M.

25. Baylor

Others have vaulted over the Bears and their weak schedule, even though Baylor is undefeated. Opportunities for marquee wins will present themselves when Big 12 play begins.

Next five in consideration: TCU, Gonzaga, Rhode Island, Virginia, Northwestern