NCAA power rankings: Arizona still No. 1, Colorado makes big jump
Ohio State lost its membership in the undefeated club Tuesday night with an overtime loss at Michigan State. There’s no disgrace in that. The Big Ten is going to feature incredibly difficult showdowns every night now that conference play has started. So, now there are five teams in college basketball without a loss — Arizona, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Wichita State and Iowa State. If anyone has a shot at running the table, it might be Wichita State. The Missouri Valley Conference doesn’t appear to be a threat to the Shockers. For everyone else, it’s just a matter of time. Here are the rankings for this week:
The Wildcats remain the leaders of the undefeated teams and this is the fifth week Arizona has held the No. 1 spot. Arizona opened the New Year by holding Washington State to 25 points in a 35-point win. The next challenge is a UCLA team that is on the cusp of the Top 25.
The Orange officially began play as a member of the ACC by defeating two other former Big East schools — Miami and Virginia Tech. But Tobacco Road will stretch to the Carrier Dome Saturday when North Carolina visits C.J. Fair and crew.
Tom Izzo had a pained expression on his face Tuesday night as the Spartans let a 17-point second-half lead evaporate into overtime. But in the end, he had the heroics of Adreian Payne and Keith Appling to put a smile on his face as Michigan State defeated Ohio State.
There’s been record-breaking cold temperatures from the Polar Vortex. And the Badgers are serving up records too. Wisconsin’s 15-0 start matches the best season-opening run in school history, tying the 1911-12 and 1913-14 teams.
Point guard DeAndre Kane had one of the most remarkable linescores of the season against Baylor. His season-high 30 points would have been enough but he also contributed nine assists, eight rebounds and five steals as the Cyclones won their 14th consecutive game.
The Buckeyes fall a bit after losing their first game of the season, but Ohio State still deserves respect for battling back and forcing overtime at Michigan State. Sam Thompson was clutch and Aaron Craft was — Aaron Craft, as always.
There’s no doubt this is a good team, maybe better than the one that advanced to the Final Four last season. But how can we truly evaluate the Shockers without a Top 25 test? The Missouri Valley Conference won’t provide that.
Jay Wright’s team has only one blemish, that 78-62 loss to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The Wildcats bounced back in impressive fashion, beating Butler on the road and routing Providence 91-61. JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell lead the way.
The Gators are riding a five-game winning streak heading into SEC regular-season play. Billy Donovan’s team has regrouped since that loss at Connecticut and appears to be the strong favorite in the SEC again.
There’s so much to like about Tad Boyle’s team and the Buffs made a strong statement with their 100-91 victory over Oregon. Colorado has been unbeatable at home. Now the conference road tests begin at Washington State and Washington.
Any team that has Marcus Smart and Markel Brown could be considered a conference favorite, but the Big 12 is proving to be more complicated than that. The Cowboys discovered that quickly, opening conference play with a 74-71 loss at Kansas State.
The Aztecs marched into Allen Fieldhouse and took it to the Kansas Jayhawks. Steve Fisher’s team ended KU’s 68-game non-conference winning streak in Lawrence. Xavier Thames and Skylar Spencer led the Aztecs to their 11th straight win.
The Ducks, who average 89.4 points, were beaten at their own game when they visited Colorado. After an overtime scare at Utah, Oregon lost 100-91 in Boulder. "We were so giddy about scoring baskets that we didn’t guard," coach Dana Altman said after the game.
The young Jayhawks have lost to Villanova, Colorado, Florida and San Diego State — all among the top 12 in our rankings. Kansas shot 29.8 percent and was outrebounded 51-39 in that home loss to San Diego State. Bill Self is still searching for a leader.
The Bears were outscored 47-26 in the paint in their loss at Iowa State. And they had no answer for Cyclones point guard DeAndre Kane, who had 30 points and nine assists. Baylor will try to regroup Saturday at home against TCU.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday, 10 days after their big win over Louisville. That has given coach John Calipari plenty of free time to take shots at the media and opposing fan bases. Those are sure signs of wintertime in Lexington.
Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia are all undefeated in ACC play. Duke is 1-1, with that 79-77 loss to Notre Dame. The Blue Devils are outside the Associated Press top 10 for the first time since 2007 at No. 16.
The Cardinals are off to a 2-0 start in the American Athletic Conference, even without Chane Behanan. The competition gets a bit tougher this week, with Memphis and SMU coming to the KFC Yum! Center Thursday and Sunday.
Chaz Williams and the Minutemen begin Atlantic 10 play Wednesday night at home against Saint Joseph’s. Williams is averaging 15.5 point and 7.7 assists. Coach Derek Kellogg is still looking for more energy from his team.
The Bearcats were very impressive in a 69-53 win at Memphis. Sean Kilpatrick continues to set the tone for Cincinnati and coach Mick Cronin wouldn’t have it any other way. The Bearcats will be a factor in the American.
The Illini followed up their big win over Missouri with a 2-0 start in the Big Ten. If hard-nosed defense makes your heart beat faster, tune in to watch Illinois at Wisconsin Wednesday night.
The Tigers can shoot the ball (48.8 field goal percentage) and rebound (39.7 per game) the ball. Jordan Clarkson (19.3 ppg) and Jabari Brown (18.4 ppg) lead Missouri into the heart of SEC play.
The Hawkeyes get penalized one spot for that close loss to Wisconsin. Coach Fran McCaffrey lost his cool and was suspended. It’s going to be a grind in the Big Ten, but Iowa will be in the mix.
The Tigers have lost to Oklahoma State, Florida and Cincinnati. Playing tough opponents will pay off for Memphis in the American regular season, and there’s a big challenge coming up Thursday night at Louisville.
It was easy to write off the Wildcats after a 2-3 start. But now K-State has won 10 straight, including that 74-71 upset of Oklahoma State. That sets up an interesting showdown Saturday at Lawrence with the rival Jayhawks of Kansas.