Conference play is under way, and college basketball is heating up.
And there’s a new No. 1 team in the Power Rankings, after four unbeaten teams last week were trimmed to just a remaining two today.
1. Texas (15-0, 1-0): Former high school All-American Avery Bradley showed what all the hype was about Saturday, scoring 29 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a win against Colorado. And that is the scariest part about our No. 1 ranked team: They’re deep, they’re talented, and they’re only getting better as the season goes on.
2. Kentucky (16-0, 1-0): Just like Kansas and Purdue, Kentucky very nearly suffered their first loss of the season Saturday, needing all 40 minutes to hold on against Georgia. Could these talented freshman be hitting a little bit of a wall (No pun intended. I swear)?
3. Villanova (14-1, 3-0): What a weird schedule quirk Villanova had the past 10 days, playing, and needing to hold for dear life, in two games against Marquette. After a visit to Louisville Monday, Villanova may be playing in the biggest game of this coming weekend, at home against Georgetown Sunday.
4. Kansas (14-1, 0-0): Is there really anything to take away from the Jayhawks first loss of the season Sunday afternoon? Probably not, Kansas simply caught an emotional Tennessee team on the wrong day. This group will be fine.
5. Purdue (14-1, 2-1): Take exactly what I just said about Kansas and apply it here to Purdue as well. Wisconsin is never an easy team to play at the Kohl Center, and the Boilermakers found that out the hard way on Saturday.
6. Syracuse (15-1, 2-1): My oh my, is anybody flying under the radar more than the Orange right now? While Wednesday’s game against Rutgers won’t tell us much, Saturday’s grudge match with a physical, defensive minded West Virginia team sure will.
7. Duke (13-2, 1-1): Even though Duke has its biggest frontline in years, they still need to make 3-pointers to beat good teams. They didn’t do that Saturday against Georgia Tech (6-28 as a team), and because of it, lost their second game of the season.
8. Michigan State (13-3, 3-0): In a week where Purdue lost to Wisconsin, the Spartans were able to beat the Badgers for maybe their most impressive win of the year. Three straight home games are to come, meaning the Spartans should continue to roll.
9. Tennessee (12-2, 0-0): So second leading scorer Tyler Smith got kicked off the team Friday, and Tennessee went on to shock No. 1 ranked Kansas on Sunday. Think coach Bruce Pearl might try kicking some more guys off before Saturday’s game at Ole Miss? Maybe?
10. Georgetown (12-2, 3-1): Austin Freeman had the performance of a lifetime Saturday, scoring 28 second half points as Georgetown overcame a 19 point deficit to defeat UConn at home. Unfortunately in the Big East there’s never any rest, as the Hoyas play Seton Hall and No. 3 Villanova this week.
11. West Virginia (12-2, 3-1): The Mountaineers have lost two of their last three games, with the sole win coming against hapless Rutgers. It’s not time for Bob Huggins to start worrying just yet, but in the rugged Big East, things can start to go downhill in a hurry.
12. Kansas State (13-2, 0-1): Even the up-tempo Wildcats can’t outscore everyone, as they learned Saturday in a loss at Missouri. Things don’t get any easier with Texas A&M on the schedule this week.
13. Wisconsin (13-3, 3-1): The Badgers beat another undefeated, top five opponent Saturday, dispatching of Big 10 favorite Purdue 73-66. This may be the under the radar team in the Big 10 that nobody wants to play.
14. North Carolina (12-4, 1-0): Could Will Graves be the answer to North Carolina’s perimeter woes? The senior hit three 3-pointers- two of them in a crucial second half run- as the Tar Heels dispatched of Virginia Tech in their Sunday night ACC opener.
15. UConn (11-4, 2-2): UConn eventually will put “it,” all together, and when they do, they’re going to be a team that nobody wants to play in March. Unfortunately right now, that’s more fantasy than reality, especially after seeing them blow a 19 point lead against Georgetown Saturday.
16. Pitt (13-2, 3-0): We’ve seen this happen before: Pitt losing a bunch of talented players to graduation, and everyone expecting them to fall off; only they never do. Jamie Dixon should be National Coach of the Year at this point.
17. BYU(16-1, 1-0): How ‘bout them Cougs? BYU’s wins over UNLV and UTEP last week might not have meant much to you, but I promise it will matter to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee come March.
18. Baylor (13-1, 1-0): Baylor snuck into last week’s Power Rankings at No. 18 and stay there this week after beating Oklahoma by 31 points (31!!!) to open conference play. For those of you not noticing the trend, be warned, there’s a lot of good basketball being played in the Big XII right now.
19. Georgia Tech (12-3, 1-1): We’ve said all year that Georgia Tech is one of college basketball’s most talented teams, but unfortunately also one of its most erratic. That was certainly the case last week, when the Yellow Jackets lost to woebegone cross-state rival Georgia, before trumping No. 7 Duke Saturday.
20. Temple (13-3, 2-0): Temple and Rhode Island are the two best teams in the Atlantic 10 right now. Chalk up Round 1 to the Owls, who beat URI in overtime Saturday. The two teams will meet again in at Rhodie in February.
New to the Power Rankings: Pitt, Georgia Tech and Temple
Dropping Out: New Mexico, Ole Miss and Rhode Island