By the time you read this, the Super Bowl will be over, and the sports world will finally be able to turn more of its attention to college hoops.
A terrific Kansas-Missouri game on Saturday night provided a springboard into “Rivalry Week,” which features a number of intriguing matchups.
Before that tips off though, here are this week’s power rankings.
College Basketball Power Rankings
1. Kentucky (23-1, Previous Ranking: 1)
Freshman sensation Anthony Davis had a phenomenal week with 40 points (on 15-of-17 shooting from the field), 16 rebounds, and 15 blocks in wins over Tennessee and South Carolina, as the Wildcats won by a combined 59 points.
Kentucky’s schedule finally starts to get challenging this week as they host Florida on Tuesday and head to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The Buckeyes got just seven points from players not named Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas, or William Buford against Wisconsin, but that trio combined for 51 points and led OSU to a terrific road win at the Kohl Center. Sullinger scored 24 points and grabbed 10 boards, including five on the offensive glass, to pace the Buckeyes, who are now alone in first place in the Big Ten.
They welcome Purdue and second-place Michigan State to Columbus this week.
3. Syracuse (23-1, Previous Ranking: 3)
So maybe Fab Melo was more important to this team than everyone realized. After a loss and two other close games, Melo returned from his academic issues to score 14 points in a 25-point route of St. John’s.
The Orange face Georgetown and UConn at home this week, and the matchup with the Hoyas will be their first game against a ranked team in over a month.
4. Missouri (21-2, Previous Ranking: 6)
With the Tigers down eight points with just over two minutes left against Kansas, senior guard Marcus Denmon put the team on his back. He scored nine of his 29 points during an 11-0 run to finish the game, which gave Mizzou the three-point victory. Earlier in the week, Michael Dixon hit the game-winner with 30 seconds left to win at Texas.
The Tigers are now in a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12, and Monday they head to Oklahoma before a home date with Baylor next Saturday.
5. North Carolina (20-3, Previous Ranking: 4)
The Heels picked up a pair of road wins this week, although they trailed for a while against Maryland. Tyler Zeller continued his solid play with 40 points and 25 rebounds in the two victories, while Kendall Marshall dished out 16 assists against the Terps.
UNC has a pair of huge home games this week with arch rival Duke visiting the Dean Dome on Wednesday and Virginia coming to town on Saturday.
6. Baylor (21-2, Previous Ranking: 7)
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Bears picked up road wins over Texas A&M and Oklahoma State by a total of just seven points. Perry Jones III had 31 points and 16 rebounds during the week, while Pierre Jackson tallied 30 points.
This week Baylor gets a chance to avenge both of their losses when they host Kansas on Wednesday before traveling to Missouri on Saturday.
7. Kansas (18-5, Previous Ranking: 5)
The Jayhawks were mere minutes away from picking up a huge road win against Missouri, and many will cite a pair of questionable charging calls down the stretch as one of the reasons their lead slipped away. Thomas Robinson was phenomenal in the second half and finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds against the Tigers after posting 20 points and 17 boards earlier in the week against Oklahoma.
Kansas heads to Baylor on Wednesday before a winnable home game against Oklahoma State next weekend.
8. Michigan State (18-5, Previous Ranking: 9)
Sparty lost an ugly game against Illinois early in the week, and they also feared they had lost Draymond Green who suffered a knee injury in the second half. Green returned Sunday against Michigan and posted 14 points, 16 boards, and four assists in a 10-point victory.
Michigan State is a game behind Ohio State in the Big Ten race, but they get their first shot at the Buckeyes in Columbus next weekend after they host Penn State on Wednesday.
9. Georgetown (18-4, Previous Ranking: 12)
The Hoyas won home games against Connecticut and South Florida by a combined 44 points to get back on track. Henry Sims scored 13 points in each game and had a strong all-around game against USF with nine rebounds and five assists.
Georgetown hits the road for three of their next four games, starting in Syracuse on Wednesday.
10. Florida (19-4, Previous Ranking: 17)
Saturday’s home win over Vanderbilt was Florida’s seventh straight victory, and the Gators are finally looking like the team many people ranked in the Top 10 before the season. Freshman Brad Beal continued his solid play with 33 points, 18 rebounds, and one massive dunk over the course of the week.
Tuesday’s road trip to Rupp Arena will be Florida’s biggest test of the season, while Saturday gives them a chance for revenge against Tennessee.
11. Duke (19-4, Previous Ranking: 8)
The Blue Devils won at Virginia Tech early in the week behind 18 points from Austin Rivers, but they were outplayed at home by Miami on Sunday when they lost in overtime after coming back from a large second half deficit.
Getting back on track won’t be easy with their next game coming on Wednesday at North Carolina. Duke follows up that rivalry game by hosting Maryland next weekend.
12. Murray State (23-0, Previous Ranking: 14)
Isaiah Canaan went off for six threes and 32 points in a comeback win over Southeast Missouri State, and the Racers followed that up with a seven-point victory against Tennessee-Martin.
Home games against Austin Peay and Tennessee State await this week, but the big one for Murray State comes on February 18th when Saint Mary’s comes to town as part of the BracketBusters.
13. Creighton (21-3, Previous Ranking: 11)
The Bluejays saw their 11-game win streak snapped when Northern Iowa’s Anthony James hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to win it for the Panthers. Earlier in the week, Creighton hung 102 points on Illinois State behind 25 from Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott.
They head to Evansville on Tuesday before hosting MVC co-leader Wichita State on Saturday, which should be an outstanding matchup.
14. San Diego State (20-3, Previous Ranking: 16)
Wins over Boise State and TCU have the Aztecs at 6-1 through the first half of the Mountain West season. Guard Jamaal Franklin led the way in both games with a total of 40 points and 19 rebounds during the week.
San Diego State’s only game this week comes Saturday at UNLV with first place in the MWC on the line.
15. UNLV (21-4, Previous Ranking: 10)
The Rebels made just 3-of-14 from beyond the arc in Saturday’s loss at Wyoming, but they blew out Colorado State by 19 points earlier in the week. Chace Stanback has been up and down of late, and that continued this week with 16 points against the Rams but just two versus the Cowboys.
Like SDSU, the Rebels have the week off before they welcome the Aztecs in a revenge game for first place in the league.
16. Florida State (16-6, Previous Ranking: 18)
Things keep on rolling for the Noles, who knocked off Georgia Tech and Virginia at home this week. They have now won seven straight games and are tied atop the ACC with North Carolina. Michael Snaer continued his strong play with five three-pointers and 21 points against the Jackets, while the team relied on a more balanced attack versus UVA.
This week, the Noles head to Boston College before hosting an improving Miami squad next weekend.
17. Michigan (17-7, Previous Ranking: 15)
The Wolverines have now alternated wins and losses over their last eight games after beating Indiana at home during the week before falling at Michigan State on Sunday. Tim Hardaway Jr. went just 5-of-25 during the week, while senior Zack Novak stepped up with 27 points and six threes.
Michigan heads to Nebraska this week before welcoming Illinois to Ann Arbor on Sunday.
18. Marquette (19-5, Previous Ranking: 13)
Marquette ran into a buzzsaw when they lost to Notre Dame on Saturday, which snapped their seven-game winning streak. It was an up and down week for Jae Crowder, who had 20 points and 12 boards against Seton Hall but managed just four against the Irish.
The Golden Eagles travel to DePaul on Monday for a winnable road game, and then Cincinnati comes to Milwaukee next weekend.
19. Wisconsin (18-6, Previous Ranking: 19)
After winning at Penn State and losing at home to Ohio State, there’s no change for the Badgers this week. Wisconsin’s struggles from long range crept up again versus OSU, as they hit just 5-of-27 from deep.
With their six-game win streak snapped, the Badgers hit the road for four of their next five games, starting with this week’s trip to Minnesota.
20. Saint Mary’s (22-2, Previous Ranking: 22)
The Gaels extended their winning streak to 12 games by beating San Diego, but their biggest headline came when they were announced as Murray State’s opponent in the BracketBusters. Rob Jones went off for 28 points against the Toreros, and Stephen Holt chipped in with 23 of his own.
Saint Mary’s has a challenging road date with Gonzaga on Thursday as part of Rivalry Week, which gives us yet another “mid-major” game to look forward to this week.
21. Mississippi State (18-5, Previous Ranking: 23)
In their only game of the week, the Bulldogs won by just three against Auburn. Forwards Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney led the way with a combined 38 points, while Dee Bost and Brian Bryant combined for 16 assists.
MSU needs to take care of business at home this week against Mississippi and Georgia before playing four of their final six games on the road.
22. Indiana (18-6, Previous Ranking: 20)
The Hoosiers dug themselves a 20-point hole early against Michigan as their road woes continued, but they bounced back to win by 17 points at Mackey Arena against arch rival Purdue. Victor Oladipo and Remy Abell keyed the victory against the Boilers thanks to their aggressiveness, and they will look to build on those performances against Illinois this week.
IU plays five of their final seven games at home to close out the regular season.
23. Virginia (18-4, Previous Ranking: 21)
A late rally against Florida State came up just short on Saturday, but Mike Scott had another fantastic week for the Cavaliers. He had a pair of double-doubles and finished with 39 points and 21 boards while hitting 14-of-19 from the field. Still, Virginia has just one Top 50 win and that came back in November.
After hosting Wake on Wednesday, the Cavs will get a chance to pick up another one when they travel to North Carolina next weekend.
24. Notre Dame (15-8, Previous Ranking: N/A)
I’m not sure if there is a hotter team in the country right how, as the Irish have ripped off four straight wins, three of which have come against ranked opponents and all of which have come against tournament teams.
Without Tim Abromaitis, the Irish have been getting contributions from a number of different players. Eric Atkins combined for 31 points in last week’s wins, while Pat Connaughton came through with 23 points and 11 boards versus Marquette on Sunday.
Notre Dame heads to West Virginia in search of their fourth Big East road win before hosting DePaul on Saturday.
25. Southern Mississippi (20-3, Previous Ranking: N/A)
The Golden Eagles are overrated as a Top 10 team in the RPI, but this is a solid basketball teamwithout a doubt. They beat Memphis at home this week to break a lengthy losing streak against the Tigers and take sole possession of first place in Conference USA. Kentucky transfer Darnell Dodson is playing really well right now, and Larry Eustachy has seven players averaging at least 7.0 points.
This week USM has a road trip to UAB followed by a home date against a solid Central Florida team.
Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops, and check out the latest edition of the Bottoms Line podcast.