’s college basketball power rankings

1. Michigan State  7-1  —

How can you tell that the Spartans have bought in to Tom Izzo’s

system? One stat tells the story. Michigan State leads the nation in

assists per game, with an average of 22.0. With all that sharing going

on, the Spartans should handle North Carolina Wednesday night at the

Breslin Center.

2. Arizona  8-0  +1

Arizona’s Nick Johnson was named tournament MVP of the NIT

Season Tip-Off, prompting him to tell everyone after the Wildcats

defeated Duke that “We’re a good team and we can play with anybody.”

Yes, they are and yes, they can. Coach Sean Miller has a national

contender on his hands.

3. Syracuse  8-0  +6

Jim Boeheim has always preferred snowy Syracuse to exotic

Hawaii, but the Syracuse coach had nothing to complain about as the

Orange crushed the competition in the Maui Invitational. Syracuse

returned to the Carrier Dome and simply dominated Indiana on Tuesday


4. Kentucky  7-1  +1

The Wildcats haven’t had a true test since losing to Michigan

State back on Nov. 12, but that’s about to change. Kentucky faces Baylor

Friday to begin a scheduling stretch that includes Boise State, North

Carolina, Belmont and Louisville before the end of December.

5. Kansas  6-1  -3

The Jayhawks traveled to the Bahamas, took a giant step

backward, and finished third in the Battle 4 Atlantis. “We are not as

good as we were 17, 18 days ago,” coach Bill Self said. “We played one

decent half and five crappy ones.” Give Villanova and UTEP credit for

attacking the Jayhawks and then holding on.

6. Louisville  7-1  +1

Not sure that we will learn anything new about Rick Pitino’s

Cardinals until Dec. 28. That’s when Louisville clashes with Kentucky

for bragging rights in the Bluegrass State.

7. Ohio State  7-1  -1

The Buckeyes get to play their Big Ten/ACC Challenge game at home

against Maryland in the Value City Arena. Ohio State’s top four scorers

each average 11.0 or 11.3 points per game.

8. Wisconsin  9-0  +2

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge will give us a barometer to measure the

Badgers – at long last. Wisconsin travels to John Paul Jones Arena in

Charlottesville to take on Virginia.

9. Oklahoma State  7-1  -5

Memphis got the best of Oklahoma State the second time around

and took the championship of the Old Spice Classic. Keep in mind Marcus

Smart had a virus and was held to 12 points but Smart gave the Tigers

credit for their scouting report. Second chances sometimes do pay off.

10. Connecticut  8-0  +1

Guard Shabazz Napier doesn’t wear a big “S” on his chest, but he

did want to be Superman when he was growing up and his game-winning shot

against Florida night kept the Huskies undefeated at 8-0. Kevin Ollie

says it’s all about heart.

11. Wichita State  8-0  +1

Pat Roberts, the senior U.S. senator from Kansas, called the

Shockers the “best basketball team in the state of Kansas” on Tuesday.

Of course, he said this a luncheon meeting of the Wichita Metro Chamber

of Commerce. We are assuming he would have made a different statement in

downtown Lawrence.

12. Duke  7-2  -4

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team returned to outstanding

defense Tuesday with a 79-69 win over Michigan at Cameron Indoor

Stadium. The Wolverines missed 17 of their first 21 shots and never


13. Oregon  7-0  +1

The Ducks are undefeated and average 88 points a game, but a

couple of big tests are ahead for Oregon – Ole Miss on Dec. 8 and

Illinois on Dec. 14. Ole Miss, undefeated champions of the Barclays

Center Classic, is getting stronger and more mature play from Marshall

Henderson and Jarvis Summers.

14. Iowa State  6-0  +3

The Cyclones are fourth in the nation in points per game and

recorded 90 or more points in four of their six victories. Iowa State’s

lowest point total came in a 77-70 victory over Michigan.

15. Villanova  8-0  —

Who knew Jay Wright would have the Wildcats playing this well so

early in the season? Villanova traveled to the Battle 4 Atlantis and

shook things up with victories over Kansas and Iowa. James Bell was

tournament MVP but Wright’s team has depth.

16. Memphis  5-1  +5

Strange twist in the schedule allowed theTigers to avenge their

only loss in quick fashion. Memphis and Oklahoma State are now 1-1

head-to-head after Josh Pastner’s team won 73-68 in Orlando.

17. UCLA  8-0  +1

Road trip coming up for the Bruins. UCLA heads to Columbia, Mo.,

to play Missouri on Saturday. Not sure if the school administration

will allow the Antlers in Mizzou Arena for this one — or just wait to

kick them out at halftime. But this will be the first road test for

Steve Alford’s team.

18. Massachusetts  7-0  +2

The Minutemen wrapped up the Charleston Classic championship with a

victory over Clemson. Cady Lalanne remains on fire, with 20 points and

12 rebounds against Clemson. BYU visits the MassMutual Center on


19. Baylor  7-1  —

The Bears took their best shot at Syracuse in the Maui

championship game but came up short. No reason to penalize Baylor for

that. Syracuse is playing so well right now.

20. Florida  6-2  -7

Coach Billy Donovan could use some good news from the trainer’s

room, but now senior guard Scottie Wilbekin is out indefinitely with a

high ankle sprain. The Gators may have to play Kansas without a true

point guard.

21. Iowa  8-1  +1

The Hawkeyes led by 15 in the first half of the Battle 4 Atlantis

championship game. But Villanova, coming off that monster win over

Kansas, rallied to beat Iowa in overtime. Now Iowa is 8-1 after bouncing

back with a 98-93 victory over Notre Dame.

22. Gonzaga  7-1  —

The Bulldogs fell to Dayton in the opener at the Maui

Invitational, but the Flyers have earned our Top 25 respect. Gonzaga

takes a three-game winning streak into Saturday’s home game against New

Mexico State.

23. Pittsburgh  8-0  —

The Panthers trailed Penn State 59-58 with 5:15 remaining Tuesday

night but walked away with a 78-69 victory in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Pitt’s schedule will be questioned until the ACC season begins, but

Jamie Dixon’s team has balance and depth.

24. San Diego State  5-1  —

The Aztecs break into the rankings for the first time this season

after defeating Creighton and Marquette in the Wooden Legacy. Junior JJ

O’Brien is averaging 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds.

25. Dayton   7-1  —

The temptation was there to move the Flyers into last week’s power

rankings, but we just couldn’t pull the trigger. After further review,

Dayton gets in with those wins over Gonzaga and California. This is a

team worth watching.