The previous week in college hoops was a bit lacking in the marquee matchup department, but it still produced its fair share of important outcomes. The result is the most movement in and out of the power rankings that we’ve seen in the young season. Let’s dig in.
1. Duke (4-0) Last week: 1
Defeated Eastern Michigan, San Diego State
The Blue Devils kept rolling with easy wins over Eastern Michigan and San Diego State. Duke’s freshmen trio are a nightly showcase, and it’s hard for even the most ardent Duke hater to not enjoy the show. It will be interesting to see the response from Duke to the first true test of the season when they play No. 8 Auburn in Maui.
2. Kansas (3-0) Last week: 2
It was a light week for the Jayhawks, who have been superb at both ends of the floor. Perhaps the biggest development for Kansas was the breakout of Lagerald Vick. After scoring just two points in the season-opener against Michigan State, Vick exploded for 32 against Vermont and followed that up with 33 against Louisiana. The Jayhawks have an intriguing date with Marquette this week.
3. Gonzaga (4-0) Last week: 3
Defeated Texas A&M, Illinois
The ‘Zags survived a gutty comeback attempt from the Illini to advance to the semifinals of the Maui Invitational. Seven Bulldogs are averaging more than nine points per game for an offense that is putting up over 100 points per contest. If Gonzaga can get past Arizona in the semifinals, Duke or Auburn will be waiting in the final.
4. Virginia (3-0) Last week: 4
Defeated Coppin State
The defensive-minded Cavaliers dropped 97 points on Coppin State while shooting 60.3 percent from the floor and 60 percent from three. They assisted 24 of 35 made baskets and had just four turnovers. It’s fair to note that Coppin State is currently ranked as the second-worst team in all of college basketball by KenPom, but if Virginia can consistently play offense with that kind of efficiency it becomes a scary team.
5. Nevada (4-0) Last week: 5
Defeated Little Rock, Cal Baptist
Not the most impressive competition for the Wolf Pack, but they handled business winning the two games by a combined 63 points. And Nevada is far from the only team that took advantage of a week of cupcakes. The offense is humming, and opponents haven’t topped 70 on the Pack. Nevada remains right on schedule.
6. Tennessee (3-0) Last week: 6
Defeated Georgia Tech
The Vols’ earned their first top 100 KenPom win of the season. Grant Williams has been a beast, and he’s getting plenty of help from his teammates as well, but Tennessee’s top 10 defense might be the most impressive thing about the Volunteers so far this season.
7. Kentucky (3-1) Last week: 7
After getting trounced by Duke, the Wildcats survived close calls against Southern Illinois and VMI. The good news is they closed the deal in those games. Kentucky has gotten some nice production from a plethora of players, but consistency remains a concern.
8. North Carolina (5-0) Last week: 9
Defeated Tennessee Tech, St. Francis PA
It’s been smooth sailing for the undefeated Tar Heels, and they’ve looked impressive in the process. We’ll get a much clearer picture of UNC in the coming weeks, with games against Texas, Michigan, Gonzaga and Kentucky looming before Christmas.
9. Michigan (5-0) Last week: NR
Defeated No. 8 Villanova, George Washington, Providence
The Wolverines storm into the rankings on the strength of a busy and productive week. They trounced defending national champion Villanova before easily dismissing GW and continuing their terrorization of the Big East with an easy win over Providence. The Michigan defense is legit, and freshman Ignas Brazdeikis (14.8 points, 5.6 rebounds) has been a revelation.
10. Auburn (4-0) Last week: 10
Defeated Mississippi College, Xavier
The Tigers gutted out a nice overtime win over Xavier after beating up on Mississippi College. Bryce Brown was huge in the win over Xavier, while junior Jared Harper has been fantastic, averaging 15 points, 7.3 assists and four rebounds. As a reward for their win against the Musketeers Auburn gets a date with No. 1 Duke.
11. Kansas State (4-0) Last week: 11
Defeated Eastern Kentucky, Penn
K-State cruised to a pair of comfortable wins this week. Three-point and free-throw shooting are a concern, but the defense has been phenomenal. We’re still waiting for the Wildcats to get a true test, but there will be plenty of opportunities once conference play starts.
12. Virginia Tech (4-0) Last week: NR
Defeated Northeastern, No. 23 Purdue
The Hokies secured a very nice win over Purdue and make their debut in the rankings as a result. Nickeil Alexander-Walker deserves a shout-out as he is averaging 21.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals. Meanwhile, three other Hokies are averaging at least 14 points per game.
13. Michigan State (3-1) Last week: 15
Defeated Tennessee Tech
The Spartans continue to regroup after a season-opening loss to Kansas. This week they trounced Tennessee Tech by 68 points, tying the largest margin of victory in program history. The trio of Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford, and Nick Ward has been great for the Spartans.
14. Florida State (3-0) Last week: 14
The Seminoles easily dismissed Canisius in their first game in a week. They continue to look like nothing more than a decent team on paper but have risen to No. 8 in the KenPom rankings. The fact that they are winning games by an average of 21.3 points doesn’t hurt.
15. Oregon (3-1) Last week: 12
Lost to Iowa, defeated No. 15 Syracuse
The Ducks tumble a bit, but hang on to their spot in the rankings after bouncing back with a double-digit win over Syracuse after losing to a tough Iowa team. A friendly upcoming schedule should give Oregon the chance to get on a run.
Dropped from rankings: Villanova, Syracuse
Lurking: Mississippi State, UCLA, TCU, Clemson, LSU, West Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State
Josh Naso aka The Silver Fox has a love for all things sports that borders on disorder. Here, he aims to share his thoughts on and passion for those sports with you.
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