It’s been two weeks since the last Power Rankings, and in that time, Kansas has reclaimed its spot on top of the throne.
And with the calendar turning to the New Year, the easy part of the schedule is over, and everybody is entering conference play.
Included in this week’s most exciting games are a pair of Wisconsin tilts, at Michigan State Wednesday, and Purdue at home Saturday. Also, look out for Duke-Georgia Tech, UConn-Georgetown and several other big games Saturday afternoon.
Let’s get to the Rankings!
1. Kansas (13-0, 0-0): Since the last edition of the Power Rankings where we labeled Kansas slightly overrated, they responded with convincing victories over Cal and Temple. This team is just starting to match its preseason expectations, which saw many experts rank them as the top team in college basketball.
2. Texas (13-0, 0-0): It’s never a good thing when your coach says you’ve, “taken a huge step backward,” but that’s exactly what Rick Barnes said after the Longhorns surprisingly tight victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday. But despite the poor performance, there’s still no need to stress if you’re a Texas fan. This is the deepest, and the most overall talented team in the game right now.
3. Kentucky (15-0, 0-0): Even though they got a win over Louisville Saturday, Kentucky’s sloppy performance left a lot to be desired. But with that being said, who thought Kentucky would be 15-0 at this point?
4. Purdue (13-0, 1-0): If you weren’t sure about Purdue, their dominating New Year’s Day performance against West Virginia should have told you everything you needed to know. This team truly is a National Championship contender.
5. Duke (12-1, 1-0): The Blue Devils just continue to roll, dominating Clemson in their ACC opener Saturday. Believe it or not, this may be Coach K’s most talented team since Duke went to the 2004 Final Four.
6. Villanova (12-1, 1-0): The Wildcats had been quiet for the last couple weeks, but nothing was quiet about their come from behind victory at Marquette Saturday. Yes this team has its flaws, but they still seem to be getting better each and every game.
7. West Virginia (11-1, 2-0): Bob Huggins’ boys couldn’t stay undefeated forever, and fell hard on New Year’s Day at Purdue. But with wins over Ole Miss, Seton Hall and Marquette the last two weeks, did anyone have a more impressive holiday season?
8. Syracuse (13-1, 1-1): Another team that fell from the undefeated ranks were the Orange, who lost on Saturday to Pittsburgh. They should rebound nicely however with three winnable games, before a big trip to West Virginia January 16.
9. Michigan State (11-3, 2-0): The Spartans have won a few games in a row now, but the problems continue to mount. The latest? How about the benching of last year’s Big 10 Player of the Year Kalin Lucas?
10. Kansas State (13-1, 0-0): What can we say about this team that hasn’t already been said? They are hands down the best team no one knows about in college basketball right now.
11. North Carolina (11-3, 0-0): Similar to Michigan State, the Tar Heels have won a few games in a row now, but will be unable to mask their deficiencies as time goes on. For North Carolina, their guards are still too turnover prone to do any damage once ACC play starts.
12. Georgetown (11-1, 2-0): After victories over St. John’s and DePaul, the easy part of the Big East schedule is already done for the Hoyas. Their next three games are at Marquette, with UConn and Seton Hall at home. Good luck!
13. UConn (10-3, 1-1): Speaking of UConn, the Huskies have split two Big East games, losing at Cincinnati, and beating Notre Dame at home. This team is athletic and talented, and will be one of college basketball’s scariest teams if they ever start making their foul shots.
14. New Mexico (12-1, 0-0): New Mexico has quietly put together an awesome start, beating Texas Tech and Dayton since the last Power Rankings. Add those wins to victories over Cal and Texas A&M earlier in the season, and you have college basketball’s scariest mid-major team.
15. Ole Miss (11-2, 0-0): Even with a loss at West Virginia on December 23, there’s still a lot to like with Andy Kennedy’s club. There will be a lot more to like if they can beat cross-state rival Mississippi State on Saturday.
16. Wisconsin (12-2, 2-0): The Badgers are 2-0 in conference play, with two convincing, double-digit wins. But, back-to-back games with Michigan State and Purdue this week will prove whether Wisconsin is a Big 10 contender or not.
17. Tennessee (10-2, 0-0): Unfortunately right now, the story surrounding the Vols is the suspension of four players on New Years Day, instead of the fact that they’re playing really good basketball. A trip to No. 1 ranked Kansas Saturday will do nothing to ease Bruce Pearl’s pain.
18. Baylor (11-1, 0-0): Is it too late for Baylor to join the SEC? After victories over Arkansas and South Carolina last week, the Bears are 3-0 vs. SEC teams this year.
19. Rhode Island (11-1, 0-0): Quick, who’s got the best record in the Atlantic 10? It’s not Dayton, Temple or Xavier, but Jim Baron’s crew, who beat Oklahoma State for their best win of the season on Saturday.
20. BYU (12-1, 0-0): Much like their conference counterparts, the Cougars have several nice early season wins. Included, is a sweep of Arizona and Arizona State.
New To The Power Rankings: Wisconsin, Tennessee, Baylor, Rhode Island, BYU
Dropping Out: Ohio State, Florida, UNLV, Washington, Butler