college hoops power rankings

By Ken Davis

Five teams in The Associated Press Top 25 played Tuesday night, and only Minnesota and Ohio State won. North Carolina State went on the road and lost again. Mississippi and Wichita State lost at home. While college basketball observers fight over who should be No. 1, it seems other teams simply can’t decide if they belong in the rankings. Here’s this week’s view of a batty season. (Yes, Marquette, we noticed you are tied for first in the Big East.)

1 Kansas Jayhawks 19-1

The Jayhawks cooled off a decent Oklahoma team in Allen Fieldhouse and then survived a sloppy performance on the road to beat West Virginia. Bill Self’s team keeps finding ways to win, but point guard play remains a concern.

2 Michigan Wolverines 19-1

It was a good week for the Wolverines and their fans as Michigan moved to No. 1 in The Associated Press poll for the first time since 1992-93. Now Michigan must resist overlooking Northwestern on Wednesday before that huge game at Indiana on Saturday.

3 Florida Gators 16-2 +1

The Gators average 73.7 points a game. That isn’t overwhelming, but Florida has held its past two opponents to 47 points each. Simple math tells you that is a good formula. South Carolina and Ole Miss visit Gainesville next.

4 Indiana Hoosiers 18-2 +2

The Victor Oladipo fan club just keeps growing. The guy fills up the stat sheet and plays terrific defense too. Oladipo brings tremendous energy to the Hoosiers, and they will need every bit when Michigan visits on Saturday night.

5 Syracuse Orange 18-2 -2

The loss at Villanova wasn’t good for the resume, and the Orange could have avoided it in so many ways. Jim Boeheim certainly wasn’t happy with the lack of poise. Tough road game at Pittsburgh is next.

6 Duke Blue Devils 17-2 -1

We still respect the Blue Devils’ body of work, and Duke did bounce back from that embarrassing loss to Miami with a 20-point win over Maryland. The Ryan Kelly factor is real. Duke is 2-2 without the injured senior.

7 Gonzaga Bulldogs 19-2 +3

While everybody else loses, the Zags keep inching toward the top. It must be nice to have a 7-footer who likes to pitch a perfect game (Kelly Olynyk was 9 for 9 on FGs and 8 for 8 on FTs in a win over BYU). Gonzaga will be tough in March.

8 Oregon Ducks 18-2 +6

The Ducks have taken control of the Pac-12 race as the only undefeated team in the conference. Oregon hasn’t lost since Dec. 19, when UTEP went three overtimes for a victory. Games at Stanford and Cal make this an interesting weekend.

9 Arizona Wildcats 17-2 -2

That performance against UCLA at home was disturbing, but the Wildcats bounced back with a 74-50 win over USC. No surprise that Sean Miller would turn up the defensive heat to get back on the right track. The Trojans shot 28 percent.

10 Louisville Cardinals 17-4 -1

Who could have imagined Marquette arriving at the KFC Yum! Center on Feb. 3 with a 1 1/2-game lead on Louisville in the Big East standings? Peyton Siva is struggling to score but has five consecutive games with double-figure assists.

11 Butler Bulldogs 17-3 -3

After that rather shocking loss to LaSalle, it must have been comforting to get Rotnei Clarke back on the floor for the Bulldogs. He returned from his neck injury to score 24 points and hand out a career-high nine assists in an 83-71 win over Temple. “I felt pretty normal,” Clarke said.

12 Ohio State Buckeyes 16-4 +4

Deshaun Thomas had one of those special games Tuesday, doing a bit of everything to help the Buckeyes to a huge win over Wisconsin. Thomas scored 25 points, sparked a big second-half run and kept working on defense as Ohio State held the Badgers to 49 points.

13 Michigan State Spartans 17-4 -2

Gary Harris got booed in Bloomington. That probably came as no surprise to last year’s Mr. Indiana. The Spartans lost to the Hoosiers, but the 21 points from Harris in that environment had to be encouraging to coach Tom Izzo.

14 Miami Hurricanes 15-3 +9

The Hurricanes are the hottest story in college hoops after routing Duke and Florida State to stay undefeated in the ACC. Reggie Johnson also bounced back from a broken thumb sooner than expected. Miami travels to NC State on Saturday for another test.

15 Creighton Bluejays 18-3 -2

It’s always nice to have Doug McDermott around, right Bluejays? McDermott had 21 points and 10 rebounds as Creighton snapped a two-game losing streak with an 81-51 win at Southern Illinois.

16 San Diego State Aztecs 16-4 (unranked last week)

Had to reward the Aztecs for holding New Mexico to 34 points on 11-for-44 shooting from the field. That’s an impressive effort. Steve Fisher’s team reacted well after some adversity.

17 Arizona State Sun Devils 16-4 (unranked last week)

Maybe the Sun Devils got UCLA at the right time, but Arizona State’s 78-60 win over the Bruins was impressive. That completed a two-game set that included an OT win over USC. Carrick Felix had two double-doubles for ASU.

18 Minnesota Golden Gophers 16-5 -6

The pollsters tried to knock the Gophers out of their Top 25 rankings, but we are a bit more forgiving. Sure, Minnesota lost four straight, but three of those were road games at Indiana, Northwestern and Wisconsin. The skid ended with an 84-65 win over Nebraska.

19 New Mexico Lobos 17-3 -1

The Lobos had that horrible outing against San Diego State. Steve Alford’s team has to put that in the past and move on. New Mexico hits the road to play Wyoming on Wednesday. “We weren’t who we were,” Alford said after the blowout defeat.

20 Kansas State Wildcats 15-4 -3

There was no Octagon of Doom in Manhattan when the Wildcats hosted Kansas last week. K-State lost at home and then went to Ames and fell to Iowa State 73-67. The Wildcats are asking a lot from senior Rodney McGruder.

21 Mississippi Rebels 17-3 -1

Kentucky got a big win Tuesday night on the road, and Ole Miss truly missed a big opportunity in losing to the Wildcats 87-74. The Rebels have to shake it off quickly. Saturday they travel to SEC leader Florida.

22 Wichita State Shockers 19-3 -3

Indiana State 68, Wichita State 55. At Wichita State. That ended a 19-game home winning streak for the Shockers. Shocking. Wichita State shot 27.1 percent. Of course, Indiana State does have wins over Miami and Ole Miss this season.

23 Marquette Golden Eagles 15-4 (unranked last week)

The Golden Eagles no longer have their secret weapon. The Bradley Center bat has been caught and released. But Marquette is 6-1 in the Big East, with the only loss coming in OT against Cincinnati. Enormous game coming up Sunday at Louisville.

24 North Carolina State Wolfpack 16-5 -3

Win over Duke. Loss at Maryland. Win over Clemson. Loss at Wake Forest. Win over North Carolina. Loss at Virginia. Can you say inconsistent? Miami (home) and Duke (away) are next for the Wolfpack. More of the same?

25 Georgetown Hoyas 14-4 (unranked last week)

The Hoyas were No. 26 in both polls this week, but we think they deserve better after victories over Notre Dame and Louisville. And the Hoyas are winning without their second-leading scorer, Greg Whittington, who is suspended for academic reasons.