NCAA basketball power rankings

By Ken Davis

It’s that time of year again. There’s turkey on the plate and lots of tournament basketball on the television. The menu for this week is pretty good, from New York, to the Bahamas, and all the way to Maui. In addition, we welcome some newcomers to the power rankings table – North Carolina, UMass, Iowa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

1 Michigan State Spartans 6-0

The Spartans haven’t been overly impressive since that big win over Kentucky. They fell behind Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, but pulled away at the end for another victory. The next big test comes Dec. 4 when North Carolina visits.

2 Kansas Jayhawks 4-0

Bill Self’s team really showed off its depth and athleticism in an 88-58 victory at home over Towson. The Jayhawks hope to celebrate Thanksgiving with a title from the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. KU doesn’t return to Allen Fieldhouse until Dec. 21 against Georgetown.

3 Arizona Wildcats 5-0 +1

The Wildcats have been very impressive winning their first five games. Arizona takes the national stage at the NIT in New York and could get a shot at Duke on Friday. Keep an eye on forward Aaron Gordon.

4 Oklahoma State Cowboys 5-0 +3

Marcus Smart is averaging 21.0 points, trying to make a statement that sophomores can play this game too. His perimeter mate, Markel Brown, is averaging 18.2 points in his senior season.

5 Kentucky Wildcats 5-1

Cleveland State gave the Wildcats a bit of a scare. The young Kentucky players woke up from their nap time and put together a solid final four or five minutes. That was enough for John Calipari’s team.

6 Ohio State Buckeyes 5-0

Senior guard Aaron Craft has been around long enough to realize when his shot isn’t falling, he must do other things to help his Buckeyes. Craft did that in a win over Wyoming Monday night to keep Ohio State undefeated.

7 Louisville Cardinals 5-1 -4

The Cardinals did not look like the defending national champions at Mohegan Sun over the week. After a sluggish game against Fairfield, Louisville couldn’t handle North Carolina in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

8 Duke Blue Devils 5-1

Coach Mike Krzyzewski called his team “awful” after a 91-90 victory over Vermont in Durham on Sunday. He also said the Blue Devils were “lucky to win.” It isn’t often you see an opponent shoot 64.8 percent at Duke.

9 Syracuse Orange 6-0 +1

Freshman guard Tyler Ennis put on quite a show, scoring 28 points and leading the Orange to a win over California in Maui. Jim Boeheim’s team goes for a third Maui Invitational title on Wednesday on the island.

10 Wisconsin Badgers 7-0 +1

The Badgers are scoring like crazy but not rebounding. That must have Bo Ryan scratching his head. Wisconsin remains undefeated, however.

11 Connecticut Huskies 7-0 +5

One day, Kevin Ollie will look back at UConn’s victory over Indiana in the 2K Classic and see it as a landmark in his career. DeAndre Daniels is starting to play well, and that’s a piece to the puzzle that had been missing for the Huskies.

12 Wichita State Shockers 7-0 +3

What does Wichita State need to do in order to gain some widespread national attention? The Shockers were in the Final Four last season. Now they are 7-0 after handling a good BYU team in the championship game of the CBE Classic. Gregg Marshall’s team is impressive.

13 Florida Gators 5-1 -1

The Gators have won four straight since their Nov. 12 loss to Wisconsin. Billy Donovan’s team plays Florida State, UConn, Kansas and Memphis between Nov. 29 and Dec. 10. That’s an early season stretch that will go a long way toward shaping Florida’s season.

14 Oregon Ducks 4-0

The Ducks are piling up the points, averaging 89.5 per game to rank 18th in the nation. Oregon also shoots 50.2 percent from the field. The schedule ahead isn’t too demanding for the Ducks.

15 North Carolina Tar Heels 4-1 (unranked last week)

Rather than packing up and quitting after that stunning loss to Belmont, the Tar Heels regrouped and beat Louisville for the Tip-Off Tournament title. Roy Williams playing a zone? Get used to it. The Heels have to adjust while waiting for NCAA verdicts on two key players.

16 Creighton Bluejays 4-0 +3

If you haven’t passed out from all the turkey and mashed potatoes, the Wooden Legacy will give us reason to be thankful late Thursday night when Creighton plays Arizona State. That should be a great test for both teams. Creighton’s Doug McDermott is averaging 27.5 points.

17 Iowa State Cyclones 5-0 +3

The Cyclones beat Michigan with some Hilton Magic. Then they traveled to BYU and held on for a 90-88 victory. Iowa State followed that up with a 110-51 thumping of UMKC. These guys can do it all.

18 UCLA Bruins 5-0 +4

The Bruins have been enjoying a lot of home cooking, but this week it is over the river and through the desert to play in the Las Vegas Invitational. Steve Alford’s team handled Chattanooga 106-55 last time on the court.

19 Baylor Bears 6-0 +4

The Bears rallied from 10 points down in the final seven minutes to defeat a talented Dayton team and avoid an upset in the Maui Invitational. The 67-66 victory keeps Baylor undefeated and sets up a showdown in the title game against Syracuse.

20 Massachusetts Minutemen 6-0 (unranked last week)

Welcome back to the rankings UMass. It’s been a while. Chaz Williams, Cady Lalanne and the rest of the Minutemen have been impressive while building a 6-0 record that includes victories over Boston College, LSU, New Mexico and Clemson.

21 Memphis Tigers 2-1 -4

For whatever reason, the Tigers have played only three games to this point. That will change quickly as Memphis opens the Old Spice Classic with a game against Siena on Thursday.

22 Iowa Hawkeyes 5-0 (unranked last week)

The Hawkeyes are headed to the Bahamas and will open play in the Battle 4 Atlantis against undefeated Xavier. It’s possible Iowa will meet Kansas before heading home. The Hawkeyes are fifth in the nation in rebounding and seventh in points per game.

23 Pittsburgh Panthers 6-0 (unranked last week)

The Panthers won the Progressive Legends Classic with an 88-67 rout of a Stanford team that lost only once previously. Pitt beat Texas Tech 75-53 to reach the championship game. The Panthers have won their six games by a 31.3 average margin of victory.

24 Arizona State
Sun Devils 6-0

(unranked last week)

The Sun Devils opened some eyes with a 79-77 victory over Marquette. Great win for ASU. Now they get a chance to make their point again with a game against Creighton in the Wooden Legacy. Guard Jahii Carson is averaging 23.0 points.

25 Indiana Hoosiers 6-1 -1

The Hoosiers ran into a buzzsaw named Shabazz (Napier) during the 2K Classic in New York. Indiana played UConn tight before losing, but that gave coach Tom Crean a lot to work on in practice. This is a talented team that will keep getting better.