NCAA basketball power rankings: Michigan makes a move
JAN 29, 2014 4:36p ET
Who is making noise in college basketball this week? How about Michigan? The Wolverines were a Final Four team last season, and they are 7-0 in the Big Ten heading into Thursday's game against Purdue. Then there is Duke, coming off an impressive victory at Pittsburgh and looking like a much more balanced team these days. Virginia is making noise in the Atlantic Coast Conference and arrives at No. 25. And Florida finds itself in the No. 3 spot, right behind Arizona and Syracuse.
Here are this week's rankings:
1 Arizona Wildcats 20-0
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, after losing to Arizona: "They grind on you and grind on you and eventually the defense gets tired of being on the field at the end of the game. There's a lot to be said for the way they play." That must be sweet music to Sean Miller's ears.
2 Syracuse Orange 19-0
Syracuse ran into a tough challenge on the road at Miami, but Jim Boeheim's team doesn't panic. The Orange hit free throws down the stretch to get the win and stay undefeated. Duke visits the Carrier Dome Saturday.
3 Florida Gators 17-2 +2
Billy Donovan has done it before and he's doing it again. The Gators have streaked to the top of the SEC standings with a 6-0 record. As long as Florida stays healthy, the Gators are a threat to win the national championship.
4 Kansas Jayhawks 15-4 +3
The way the Jayhawks are playing in the Big 12, they have positioned themselves for another No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Andrew Wiggins looked aggressive -- and comfortable -- scoring 27 points in a rout of TCU.
5 Wichita State Shockers 22-0 -1
Coach Gregg Marshall said his team committed âan endless string of gaffesâ in a 57-45 win over Loyola of Chicago. But Cleanthony Early and the Shockers did enough to remain undefeated. Can the Shockers run the table?
6 San Diego State Aztecs 18-1
Xavier Thames is a guy you want on your team when the game is on the line. Thames was unstoppable in overtime against Utah State and finished with 31 points as the Aztecs wrapped up their 17th straight victory.
7 Michigan Wolverines 15-4 +11
The Wolverines visited rival Michigan State at a time when the Spartans weren't at full strength because of injuries. Even so, Michigan deserves significant promotion in the rankings for three consecutive wins over ranked teams.
8 Michigan State Spartans 19-2 -5
The Spartans rank No. 1 in toughness. After the crushing loss at home to Michigan, Tom Izzo's squad bounced back with a clutch overtime win at Iowa. When Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson return, the Spartans will move up again.
9 Villanova Wildcats 18-2
Jay Wright's team has suffered through two crushing losses -- first to Syracuse and then Creighton. Both times the Wildcats bounced back with impressive road victories, most recently beating Marquette and Georgetown.
10 Louisville Cardinals 17-3 +1
The new American Athletic Conference has a marquee matchup lined up for Thursday night. Louisville is 6-1 in league play and welcomes 8-0 Cincinnati to the KFC Yum! Center. Expect things to get physical and emotional.
11 Duke Blue Devils 17-4 +6
The Blue Devils have turned things around and by that we mean they are playing better in all aspects of the game. The 80-65 win at Pittsburgh was a big statement. Next up is the heavily anticipated visit to Syracuse's Carrier Dome.
12 Cincinnati Bearcats 19-2
The Bearcats are concerned about the status of Justin Jackson, who played just six minutes against Temple after an injury. Sean Kilpatrick was magnificent with 29 points and eight rebounds as Cincinnati held on to beat Temple, 80-76
13 Iowa Hawkeyes 16-5 -5
The Hawkeyes drop a bit after losing two of the last three. The losses did come to Michigan and Michigan State, including an overtime setback to the Spartans. Iowa remains a very talented team.
14 Creighton Bluejays 18-3 +1
Doug McDermott might have wrapped up the national player of the year award with his season-high 39-point performance against St. John's Tuesday. The All-American scored in every way and from every place in a great individual performance.
15 Oklahoma State Cowboys 16-4 -5
There are some bad vibes coming from the Cowboys right now. They had to hold on for a win over West Virginia, and then Oklahoma rolled over the Cowboys. On top of that, star Marcus Smart hasn't been a real good teammate lately.
16 Wisconsin Badgers 17-3 -3
After a three-game losing streak, the Badgers vowed to get back to basics. They said they did that in a 72-58 victory over Purdue. Now Wisconsin needs to sustain that momentum.
17 Saint Louis Billikens 18-2 -1
The Billikens play great defense, and that is going to carry them a long way in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They also know how to share the ball, averaging almost 15 assists a game.
18 Oklahoma Sooners 17-4 +6
Ryan Spangler came to the Sooners from Blanchard, Okla., and the sophomore forward has become a fan favorite. He had 15 points and 17 rebounds against Oklahoma State, raising his averages to 11.3 points and 10.1 rebounds.
19 Iowa State Cyclones 15-3 +2
The upcoming stretch may define the season for coach Fred Hoiberg and the Cyclones. Iowa State is 3-3 in Big 12 play and now faces a three-game stretch at Kansas, home to Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State.
20 Memphis Tigers 15-4 +3
The Tigers have won three straight since losing to UConn at home. To stay in the race in the American Athletic Conference, Memphis could use a win at SMU on Saturday. First, the Tigers have to get past UCF on Wednesday night.
21 Kentucky Wildcats 15-5 -7
John Calipari's team seemed to be building momentum with victories at Rupp Arena over Tennessee, Texas A&M and Georgia. But the Wildcats still struggle on the road, falling 87-82 at LSU Tuesday. Next up: at Missouri.
22 Massachusetts Minutemen 17-2 -2
23 Texas Longhorns 16-4 (unranked last week)
Welcome to the seventh team from the Big 12 to be ranked this season. Rick Barnes is garnering support for coach of the year honors. The Longhorns have a chance to make big noise against Kansas Saturday in Austin.
24 Pittsburgh Panthers 18-3 -5
It's rare when Jamie Dixon's team gets handled easily at home, but the Panthers couldn't stop Jabari Parker, and Duke silenced Lamar Patterson. Duke walked away with an 80-65 victory. Pitt remains in the hunt in the ACC standings, however.
25 Virginia Cavaliers 16-5 (unranked last week)
The Cavaliers have moved into second place in the ACC behind Syracuse with a 7-1 record. Virginia has won four in a row, including Tuesday's 68-53 triumph at Notre Dame. That sets the stage for Sunday's big game at Pittsburgh.