Saturday was arguably the best day of college basketball so far this season, as a pair of Top Five sqauds squared off, the top-ranked team went down, and a buzzer-beater ended a lengthy home winning streak just to name a few of the notable happenings.
And as usual, that led to plenty of shakeups in this week’s Top 25.
College Basketball Power Rankings
1. Kentucky (19-1, Previous Ranking: 2)
The Wildcats picked up a pair of home wins last week, crushing Arkansas by 23 and beating Alabama by six. Anthony Davis was phenomenal against the Hogs with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and seven blocks, and he has already broken the UK single-season record for rejections.
Image source: Andy Lyons/Getty Images via B/R
Terrence Jones tallied 28 points, 15 boards, and seven blocks of his own in the two victories, which is a good sign for Kentucky fans. They shouldn’t be tested until a February 7th home date with Florida.
2. Ohio State (17-3, Previous Ranking: 4)
William Buford led the way with 15 points in the Buckeyes’ lone game of the week, a 34-point drubbing of Nebraska. Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas chipped in with 14 points each in OSU’s second road win in league play.
The Buckeyes play four of their next five games in Columbus, starting with this week’s matchups against Penn State and Michigan.
3. Missouri (18-1, Previous Ranking: 6)
After taking care of business at home against Texas A&M, the undersized Tigers picked up a huge road win at Baylor, outrebounding the much taller Bears in the process. Ricardo Ratliffe grabbed six of Mizzou’s 12 offensive boards and scored 27 points in the victory. Point guard Flip Pressey was fantastic with 18 points, seven assists, six steals, and five rebounds.
The Tigers have a pair of winnable games this week as they travel to Oklahoma State and host Texas Tech.
4. Syracuse (20-1, Previous Ranking: 1)
The Orange never led against Notre Dame and suffered their first loss of the year on Saturday night. They were playing without center Fab Melo, who is out with academic issues of some kind. Without him, the Irish dominated the glass and shot 50 percent from the field, while the Syracuse offense struggled throughout the game and shot just 34 percent.
The Orange beat Pitt by eight in their first game of the week, and this week brings a tough road test at Cincinnati on Monday followed by a home date with West Virginia.
5. Kansas (16-3, Previous Ranking: 9)
After outplaying Baylor and squeaking out a win at Texas, the Jayhawks have now won nine straight and 13 of their last 14 contests. Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson continue to lead the way for KU, with Taylor posting 78 points over the last three games and Robinson going for 44 points and 23 boards in two games this week.
Next up for the Jayhawks is a home game against reeling Texas A&M and a road trip to Ames to face an Iowa State team desparate for a signature win.
6. North Carolina (16-3, Previous Ranking: 8)
For about a half, the Heels didn’t appear to have responded well to getting drubbed by Florida State, but a 19-0 run during the second half propelled them to a 14-point win at Virginia Tech in their only game this week. Harrison Barnes scored 27 points and attempted a season-high 12 free throws, while John Henson and Tyler Zeller combined for 30 points and 27 rebounds.
UNC has four winnable games coming up before Duke comes to the Dean Dome in early February.
7. Baylor (17-2, Previous Ranking: 3)
The Bears lost their first two games of the season last week, losing by 18 at Kansas and by one at home to Missouri. In both games, Baylor was outrebounded and allowed far too many second chance points for a team with so much height.
In the end, questions about the team’s toughness and Scott Drew’s ability to make adjustments remain following their two losses. However, the Bears still have a number of quality wins, but they need to stop their skid with wins at Oklahoma and at home versus Texas this week.
8. Duke (16-3, Previous Ranking: 5)
A Michael Snaer buzzer-beater ended Duke’s 45-game home winning streak and gave the Devils their first conference loss. Freshman Austin Rivers led the team in scoring with 19 points after not starting the Wake Forest game, but Duke shot under 40 percent from the field in a losing effort.
The Devils head to Maryland on Wednesday before a non-conference matchup with St. John’s next weekend.
9. Michigan State (16-4, Previous Ranking: 7)
It was another strange week for the Spartans. Despite doubling up the Wolverines on the boards and shooting 46.7 percent from deep, they lost at Michigan before bouncing back to crush Purdue at home on Saturday. Big man Derrick Nix played well in both games, totaling 25 points in just 41 minutes of action.
MSU plays just once this week with Minnesota visiting East Lansing on Wednesday.
10. Georgetown (16-3, Previous Ranking: 10)
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Hoyas won both of their games this week against DePaul and Rutgers. Center Henry Sims posted a double-double against the Scarlet Knights and had 16 points and seven boards versus DePaul.
One potential concern is that Hollis Thompson has a pulled thigh muscle that limited him on Saturday, but the Hoyas don’t play again until next weekend when they visit Pittsburgh.
11. UNLV (18-3, Previous Ranking: 12)
The Rebels bounced back from a road loss to San Diego State to win a pair of home games this week versus TCU and New Mexico by a combined 40 points. Mike Moser tallied 30 points and 25 boards while posting two double-doubles, and UNLV now faces winnable road games this week against Boise State and Air Force.
12. Creighton (18-2, Previous Ranking: 12)
Despite getting “just” 27 points from star Doug McDermott in their two games last week, the Bluejays continue to pile up wins. First they avenged one of their two defeats by winning at Missouri State, and then they crushed Indiana State on Saturday.
Creighton takes an eight-game winning streak into games at Drake and home against Bradley this week.
13. San Diego State (17-2, Previous Ranking: 15)
The Aztecs followed up their big home win against UNLV by going into The Pit to beat New Mexico behind 22 points from Xavier Thames. Guard Jamaal Franklin had 14 points and 10 boards in Saturday’s game against Air Force, putting SDSU in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West.
Road games against Wyoming and Colorado State this week will be tougher than you might think.
14. Murray State (20-0, Previous Ranking: 20)
At some point you just have to give the Racers credit, because they just keep rolling along in a year when Top 25 losses are becoming the norm. They got a scare from Morehead State this week, but guards Isaiah Canaan and Donte Poole combined for 35 points to lead the comeback. Those same two players combined for 35 again on Saturday night to remain the lone unbeaten team in college hoops.
Murray State is idle until a Saturday home game against Eastern Illinois.
15. Michigan (15-5, Previous Ranking: 16)
The Wolverines continue to be inconsistent, and this week was no exception. They picked up a hard-fought one-point win over Michigan but fell behind by as many as 20 points against Arkansas in a non-conference road game on Saturday. A furious comeback came up just short, as a potential game-winning three-pointer by Trey Burke rimmed out at the buzzer. Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to struggle with just 28 points in his last three games on 8-of-30 shooting.
A tough week awaits with road games at Purdue and Ohio State.
16. Indiana (16-4, Previous Ranking: 13)
After blowing a double-digit lead on the road against Nebraska, the Hoosiers stopped the bleeding with a home victory over Penn State. Cody Zeller continued his strong play with 18 points in each game, but defense and turnovers continue to be a concern for Indiana.
This week they head to Madison to take on a resurgent Wisconsin squad before a home game with Iowa on Sunday.
17. Kansas State (14-4, Previous Ranking: 21)
Behind 33 points from Rodney McGruder, the Wildcats beat Texas at home early in the week. They followed that up with a road win against Oklahoma State to even their Big 12 record at 3-3.
K-State has a pair of winnable games this week when they travel to Texas Tech before returning to The Octagon for a game against Oklahoma.
18. Marquette (16-4, Previous Ranking: 22)
The Golden Eagles dug themselves a huge early hole but stormed back to beat Louisville on Monday, then picked up a road win at Providence on Saturday. Not surprisingly, they were led by seniors Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, who combined for 69 points in the two victories.
Marquette hosts South Florida on Tuesday before traveling to Villanova on Saturday.
19. Florida (15-4, Previous Ranking: 19)
I have a hard time moving the Gators up any further in the rankings until they actually beat someone. Five Florida players scored in double figures in a 12-point win over LSU this week, led by 15 from Erik Murphy.
On Thursday, they have a road date with Mississippi, and then turn around to host Mississippi State on Saturday. Those games should tell us a bit more about the Gators.
20. Florida State (13-6, Previous Ranking: N/A)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a hotter team than the Seminoles right now. In their last three games, they have blown out North Carolina, knocked off an improving Maryland squad, and pulled out a road win at Duke. In addition to hitting the game-winner, Michael Snaer has really stepped up offensively with 50 points in those three victories.
The Noles travel to Wake Forest for their only game this week.
21. Virginia (15-3, Previous Ranking: 14)
The Cavaliers destroyed Georgia Tech on Thursday but slipped up at home against rival Virginia Tech Sunday night. Against the Hokies, UVA hit just 1-of-14 from long range, and Mike Scott was held to just 10 points, which is not exactly a recipe for victory. At this point, they have a number of good – but not great – wins on their profile with a pair of losses to teams who wouldn’t make the tournament if it started today.
The Cavaliers face Boston College at home on Thursday before heading to Raleigh for a matchup with North Carolina State.
22. Mississippi State (16-4, Previous Ranking: 18)
The Bulldogs stumbled on the road against Ole Miss but hung on for an overtime win at Vanderbilt on Saturday night to salvage their week. Dee Bost and Arnett Moultrie combined for 45 points against the Commodores, while Jalen Steele drained five three-pointers.
LSU visits Starkville on Wednesday in a game MSU should win, but Saturday’s game at Florida will be a huge test.
23. Saint Mary’s (19-2, Previous Ranking: 24)
After beating Pepperdine and Santa Clara, the Gaels reached the halfway point of the WCC season with a perfect 8-0 record. Matthew Dellavedova had 39 points and 12 assists in the two victories, and Saint Mary’s has now won nine straight and 17 of their last 18.
Five of their final eight league games are on the road, starting this week with trips to Loyola Marymount and BYU.
24. West Virginia (15-5, Previous Ranking: N/A)
The Mountaineers picked up a couple solid wins last week over Marshall and Cincinnati, and forward Kevin Jones continued his campaign for Big East Player of the Year with 51 points and 20 rebounds in those contests. He now has at least 22 points in five straight games and 13 double-doubles for the season.
West Virginia hits the road this week for games against St. John’s and Syracuse.
25. Wisconsin (16-5, Previous Ranking: N/A)
A road win at Illinois extended Wisconsin’s winning streak to four games, and after a disastrous start to Big Ten play, they are now 5-3 in the league. Jordan Taylor is starting to heat up with 53 points, 18 rebounds, and 11 assists over the last three games.
The Badgers return to the Kohl Center to take on Indiana this Thursday in their lone game of the week.