College Basketball Power Rankings – Week 3
Feast week was a sight to behold. An incredible week as usual, it helped many get away from their families over the holiday weekend. It also gave us a lot to talk about, as there is huge movement at the top of the power rankings this week. We didn’t get the Kansas – Alabama championship game that we all wanted, as both teams went down, but all in all there were a lot of great games this past week. On to the rankings, and as usual previous ranking is in parentheses.
- Duke (5) – 7-0
Duke came out and absolutely dominated what many perceived as the best team in the nation on Friday night. They carry that distinction now. It isn’t even the end of November yet, but this team feels like your title favorite now. Paolo Banchero needs to figure out the cramping issue, but Mark Williams looked like a stud against the best frontcourt Duke will face all year.
- Gonzaga (1) – 5-1
Their big men got in foul trouble early and had no answer for Paolo Bachero but it doesn’t seem like anyone will. This is still a potentially great team, with another opportunity against a ranked team this upcoming weekend in Alabama. Mark Few usually tests his teams early and often, it seems like this team is no different.
- Purdue (3) – 6-0
The Boilermakers have done enough to move up to #2 in the AP Poll and Matt Painter might have his best team since becoming the head coach in West Lafayette. This team has a real shot at getting to Purdue’s first Final Four since 1980. Jaden Ivey is a star and their frontcourt of Trevion Williams and Zach Edey are a force.
4. Baylor (6) – 7-0
Stop me if you have heard this before: Baylor has a very good backcourt. What really will set this team apart is if the Kendall Brown who showed up on Saturday is the player they get all year. He has the pedigree as top recruit and he played like it.
5. UCLA (2) – 5-1
They were simply outclassed against Gonzaga, which is what most teams the Zags play this year will be saying. What was concerning is now undisciplined a Mick Cronin coached team was on Tuesday night. They’ll need to tighten up the turnovers in order reach their potential, but they have plenty of time to figure that out.
- Villanova (8) – 4-2
They move up not by any of their own doing but because teams above them lost. The only game they had was a cupcake win over La Salle. The win did provide some time for a few of the guys on the end of the bench some extended run, which will be a plus at the end of the year.
- Kansas (3) – 5-1
What a game that was. Dayton closed Feast Week off with a bang with that buzzer beater. The Jayhawks looked out of sorts at times, so we will see how Coach Self coaches that out of this team. Remy Martin is the guy everyone pegged as preseason player of the year but the real story is Ochai Agbaji. He is playing like an absolute superstar.
- Texas (9) – 4-1
We will see what this team looks like when Dylan Disu comes back from injury. They are a good, albeit disjointed squad right now. It is going to be a good coaching job if Chris Beard can pull it off and if anyone can take a bunch of transfers and turn it into a cohesive team, it is him.
- Arkansas (10) – 6-0
All aboard the Muss Bus. He has this team rolling and the Razorbacks have some athletes. JD Notae is scoring at an absurd clip right now, but the bevy of transfers that were brought in are playing like a team that has played together for years.
- Kentucky (11) – 5-1
The Wildcats have not been tested since losing to Duke on opening night. That probably won’t change until they face Louisville in mid-December. Until then, Coach Cal will be tinkering with his lineup. The most notable emergence has been Daimion Collins. The string bean freshman stepped in the starting lineup with Keion Brooks hurt against North Florida and he played like the 5-star recruit he was coming out of high school.
11. Arizona (14) – 6-0
Arizona looks like UCLA’s biggest competition in the Pac 12. They have the talent, we just thought it was going to take a bit longer for Tommy Floyd to coax it out of them. That was apparently incorrect as they are playing like a team that has something to prove.
- BYU (16) – 6-0
The wins over San Diego State and Oregon aren’t as shiny as once thought, as both teams have struggled since. BYU can’t help that, can only play the teams in front of them. Mark Pope has this team bound for the tournament again, with Alex Barcello at the center of it. This guy is scoring at will against anyone and everyone. It’s tough to ever count this team out when he can get hot at any point in time.
- Florida (19) – 6-0
This potentially is the best team Mike White has ever had at Florida and this year he needed it. Collin Castleton is playing well, and the transfer from Milwaukee Phlandrous Fleming is a name to watch. He has stepped forward in a big way over the first two weeks of the season.
- Tennessee (17) – 4-1
Usually when someone says “SEC school that relies on freshmen” they are talking about Kentucky. Not this year, as Rick Barnes has a bevy of first year guys that are playing major roles for this program. Kennedy Chandler is doing well at the point guard spot, combining with Brandon Huntley-Hatsfield to form a formidable inside/outside duo. The SEC is loaded this year, but this team has the potential to win the league.
- Alabama (12) – 6-1
The Crimson Tide took a shocking loss to Iona however that shouldn’t be cause for concern for this team. Iona is an old team with a Hall of Fame coach that is most likely going to win their league. Just have to erase that game from your memory. With a huge game on Saturday against Gonzaga, they’ll have plenty to think about.
- Houston (13) – 6-1
This is a legitimately great defensive team that got a little bit lazy against Wisconsin in Maui. That can happen when you’re playing in Hawaii, with all of those distractions around. Kelvin Sampson is an excellent defensive coach so they will be back on track in no time, I have no doubt.
- Iowa State (NR) – 6-0
The Cyclones came out of nowhere and put a beatdown on Memphis. No one expected this hot start out of a team that went 2-22 last year and had its head coach relieved of his duties. T.J. Otzelberger is a name to watch, because if this team is for real then he is going to be fielding some phone calls this summer and his agent is going to be busy.
- Michigan State (NR) – 5-2
So much for a down year for Tom Izzo and the Spartans, huh? They took a loss to Baylor as they were overwhelmed by the speed and depth of the Bears. However, this team is a lot better than expected going into the season. Gabe Brown is a stud in the making and he showed it last week.
- UCONN (NR) – 6-1
That game against Auburn was a fun one but not even the most exciting game UCONN played last week, with a double overtime win over VCU as well. They took a loss to a improving Michigan State team, but Dan Hurley has a good squad up there. Look for this team to make some noise the rest of the year.
- Memphis (7) – 5-1
Penny Hardaway has his work cut out for him. Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren are talented, no doubt, but they are both 17 who should still be seniors in high school. Relying on guys that young to lead a team is always going to be a mixed bag. We’ll see if Penny can get them going back in the right direction, as this team is way too talented to be left out of the NCAA tournament again.
Teams that dropped out: Michigan (18), St. Bonaventure (20)
Three Games to Watch This Week:
(1) Duke @ Ohio State – Tuesday 11/30 @ 9:30 PM EST
It’s a quick turnaround for the Blue Devils after the win against Gonzaga. Hopefully Paolo Banchero has his cramps under control, and we can see him for a full game, but EJ Liddell is a tough test for any player especially a freshman. We’ll see if Banchero is up to the task but there isn’t any reason to doubt he will
(15) Alabama vs. (2) Gonzaga – Saturday 12/4 @ 8 PM EST
This is going to be a fun one. How often do you get a team as talented as Gonzaga is when they fell like they have something to prove? Ultimately that loss to Duke may be a blessing in disguise and I think Alabama is going to run into a buzzsaw. Nate Oats has 6 days to prepare for the Bulldogs, so maybe he can pull off the upset.
Florida State @ (3) Purdue – Tuesday @ 7:30 PM EST
The ACC B1G Challenge starts off with a bang on Tuesday night, as Purdue gets a tough test against Leonard Hamilton’s Seminole team. FSU is long and athletic, it will be interesting to see how Purdue’s big men handle that length. Either way, Purdue has a chance to really solidify themselves as a national title contender on Tuesday evening.