college hoops power rankings

There's more than one hot team in Miami; Hurricanes make huge jump in power rankings.

By Ken Davis

Fasten your seatbelts. We are experiencing quite a bit of turbulence in the power rankings. Indiana is back in the top spot, but the No. 1 ranking seems to make teams uncomfortable this season. Few have held on for more than one week. With Indiana hitting the road for games at Illinois and Ohio State, that trend may continue. The bumpy ride extends throughout the Top 25, however. Take a look.

1 Indiana Hoosiers 20-2 +3

The Hoosiers have won five straight since that Jan. 15 loss to Wisconsin and they move back to the No. 1 spot after taking it from Michigan at home in front of a national audience Saturday night. Coach Tom Crean has an outstanding starting lineup, in addition to a strong bench. The Hoosiers thrive on offensive efficiency.

2 Michigan Wolverines 21-2

Coming off Saturday’s loss at Indiana, the Wolverines faced a must-win situation at home against Ohio State on Tuesday night. Tim Hardaway Jr. (23 points) was sizzling hot from 3-point range and blocked Aaron Craft on the final play as Michigan won 76-74 in overtime. Michigan plays with great heart.

3 Miami Hurricanes 18-3 +11

The Hurricanes have won 10 straight and they’ve turned the ACC upside down. Miami already has defeated North Carolina, Duke and NC State in league play. Four ACC opponents have scored 50 or fewer. The Hurricanes get North Carolina at home on Saturday and the rematch at Duke comes March  2.

4 Gonzaga Bulldogs 21-2 +3

The Bulldogs are 12-1 since losing to Illinois on Dec. 8. That loss was the 64-63 setback at Butler, of course. Gonzaga showed toughness in a close win at San Diego. This is a quality team that could finish undefeated in the West Coast Conference. Kelly Olynyk keeps coming through in the clutch.

5 Florida Gators 18-3 -2

We had the Gators slotted for the No. 2 spot, thinking Florida would likely win at Arkansas by close to 25 points – the average margin of victory for Billy Donovan’s team in SEC play. Then it happened. Arkansas 80, Florida 69. It wasn’t that close. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

6 Kansas Jayhawks 19-2 -5

After Oklahoma State roughed up the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse, coach Bill Self called his team soft and observed that he didn’t have a point guard. The next day, KU had a three-hour team meeting. “He’s my guy,” Self said of point guard Elijah Johnson after the meeting. KU fans are wondering how that will work out.

7 Arizona Wildcats 19-2 +2

The Wildcats are back in the running for the Pac-12 regular season title after Oregon had a bad trip to the Bay Area schools last weekend. Next up, Stanford and Cal visit the McKale Center. Arizona must take care of business at home.

8 Duke Blue Devils 19-2 -2

The return of injured forward Ryan Kelly remains the focus of much debate. Some say Kelly is getting closer to return, then coach Mike Krzyzewski says he is hopeful that Kelly can return this season. The Devils miss Kelly’s big body and his defense.

9 Ohio State Buckeyes 17-5 +3

The Buckeyes lost at Michigan on Tuesday night, but the game was played at high level so they actually move up. Deshaun Thomas was solid and actually had some offensive support, led by LaQuinton Ross. And who plays better defense than Aaron Craft?

10 Louisville Cardinals 18-4

Rick Pitino broke out the all-white suit and the Cardinals responded with a big victory over Marquette. Guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva seemed back in form, and that’s good news for Louisville, still very much a national title contender.

11 Michigan State Spartans 18-4 +2

The Spartans have won seven of eight and are in the thick of the Big Ten race again. The only loss in that stretch was at Indiana, and Michigan State rebounded with an 80-75 victory over Illinois. Michigan State can avenge an earlier loss to Minnesota on Wednesday.

12 Syracuse Orange 19-3 -7

The Orange bounced back from road losses to Villanova and Pittsburgh by tearing up Notre Dame on Monday night in the Carrier Dome. Jim Boeheim called it “a big win.” Syracuse, playing with seven scholarship players, has a small margin for error with James Southerland (academics) and Dajuan Coleman (knee) out.C

13 Creighton Bluejays 20-3 +2

Doug McDermott scored 25 points as the Bluejays picked up their 20th win by beating Bradley 75-58. Next up is a tough Missouri Valley game as the Bluejays visit Indiana State. The Sycamores are third in the conference could move into the power rankings with an upset.

14 Butler Bulldogs 18-4 -3

There’s something worrisome about Butler’s past two outings. After a loss to Saint Louis, the Bulldogs got 23 from Rotnei Clarke and 18 from Roosevelt Jones but defeated Rhode Island by only seven. Clarke says he needs to play smarter.

15 New Mexico Lobos 19-3 +4

After that stunning 55-34 loss to San Diego State, the Lobos have taken care of business. The challenges keep coming in the Mountain West, however. Air Force, fresh off a 70-67 victory over SDSU, visits Albuquerque on Wednesday night.

16 Oklahoma State Cowboys 15-5

In the Big 12, any team that goes to Allen Fieldhouse and beats Kansas suddenly becomes a conference title contender. Markel Brown and Marcus Smart got everyone’s attention as the Cowboys knocked off the Jayhawks 85-80 on Saturday. Smart is one tough freshman.

17 Pittsburgh Panthers 19-5 (unranked last week)

Not sure how many times the word “upset” was used to describe Pitt’s victory over Syracuse but it was wrong every time. The Panthers have taken a while to come together, but they are talented. Orange coach Jim Boeheim called Pitt “the best team we’ve played, without any question.”

18 Kansas State Wildcats 18-4 +2

The Wildcats survived a scare Tuesday night at Texas Tech, holding on for a 68-59 win. Iowa State comes to Manhattan on Saturday before K-State travels to Kansas on Feb. 11. The Wildcats already have lost to both Big 12 teams.

19 Minnesota Golden Gophers 17-5 -1

The Gophers haven’t notched a road win since beating Illinois in Champaign back on Jan. 9. They get a chance to do some road damage at Michigan State on Wednesday, then return home to take on Illinois and Wisconsin. It’s never easy in the Big Ten.

20 Georgetown Hoyas 16-4 +5

People are sleeping on the Hoyas, but they are showing steady improvement. Since a Jan. 8 loss to Pitt, the Hoyas have gone 6-1, including victories over Notre Dame and Louisville. After a trip to Rutgers, Marquette visits Washington, D.C., for a huge Big East game.

21 Cincinnati Bearcats 18-4 (unranked last week)

There were red flags all over the place when the Bearcats lost back-to-back games against St. John’s and Notre Dame. Since then Cincinnati’s only loss was a 57-55 setback at Syracuse. Providence, Pitt and Villanova are coming up in the next seven days.

22 Oregon Ducks 18-4 -14

The Ducks had a lost weekend in the Bay Area, losing at Stanford and Cal. Oregon was playing without starting point guard Dominic Artis, and backup Johnathan Loyd was injured against Cal. The Ducks still have four road games remaining.

23 Virginia Commonwealth Rams 18-5 (unranked last week)

Something must be said for being in first place in the Atlantic 10, and that’s where the Rams are, just ahead of Butler, Charlotte and Saint Louis in this competitive conference. VCU beat Rhode Island and Fordham to snap a two-game losing streak.

24 North Carolina State Wolfpack 16-6

The Wolfpack aren’t the same without Lorenzo Brown, but every team battles injuries at some point. NC State was ready to celebrate a win over Miami until Reggie Johnson’s tip-in with 0.8 left saddled the Wolfpack with a second consecutive loss.

25 Marquette Golden Eagles 15-5 -2

The only good news at Louisville was an early 9-1 lead. Marquette ultimately shot 36 percent and was outrebounded 38-26. The Golden Eagles should regroup quickly from their 70-51 loss to the Cardinals with USF and DePaul next up.

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