We didn’t have to go too deeply into 2016 to get a confrontation between No.’s 1 vs. 2.

With the Oklahoma Sooners remaining No. 1 in the Power 16 for the third week in a row and Kansas moving up to No. 2 following then-No. 2 Michigan State’s loss at Iowa last week, that confrontation will take play in Lawrence Monday night when Kansas plays host to the Sooners.

It will not have the impact on the overall look of the Power 16 next week but Kentucky’s Southeastern Conference game at LSU Tuesday night is also of interest to any and all of those who follow college hoops seriously.

That’s because John Calipari’s Wildcats will get to take their pop at slowing down not only the best freshman in the country but the best player – period – in LSU’s Ben Simmons. 

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Oklahoma (2)
One of the final two unbeatens and the one with the toughest road to still being so a week from now.
2. Kansas (3)
For the Sooners who have yet to step foot into Phog Allen – trust me, it will be quite loud in the place Monday night.
3. Michigan St. (1)
If you’re in to long-term planning of your TV viewing schedule, the Spartans play host to Maryland on Jan. 23.
4. North Carolina (4)
The Tar Heels aim for their first true “road” win in Tallahassee Monday night.
5. Maryland (5)
Diamond Stone showed the team’s first two Big Ten foes what a tough low-post force he’ll be in the conference.
6. Virginia (7)
The Cavs have a couple of ACC road encounters this week (at Virginia Tech, Monday; at Georgia Tech, Saturday).
7. Providence (9)
The Friars try to go 3-zip in the Big East when they play host to Marquette Tuesday night.
8. West Virginia (10)
A non-conference season with only a loss to Virginia is quite impressive, indeed.
9. Miami (11)
The Canes are off until playing host to Florida State Saturday.
10. Arizona (12)
The Wildcats play their first three Pac 12 games outside of Tucson. They got the first one Sunday (vs. ASU) and are in Los Angeles this week.
11. Iowa St. (6)
The Cyclones were oh-so-close to handing Oklahoma its first loss Saturday night in Norman.
12. Villanova (15)
The Wildcats had little difficulty in their first Big East weekend.
13. Xavier (8)
The Musketeers bounced back from being walloped by Villanova to rolling over Butler.
14.  SMU (16)
The undefeated Mustangs get Cincinnati in Dallas Thursday night.
15.  Kentucky (NR)
Sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis is looking a lot like the best player in the SEC who isn’t named Ben Simmons.
16.  Duke (NR)
The depth (at least up front) edges toward lean until Amile Jefferson returns from injury.

ON THE CUSP: Baylor 11-3, Butler 11-3, Cal 12-3, Cincinnati 11-4, Connecticut 10-3, Dayton 11-2, George Washington 12-2, Gonzaga 12-3, Iowa 11-3, Louisville 12-2, Purdue 13-2, South Carolina 13-0, St. Mary’s 13-1, Texas A&M 11-2 and Texas Tech 11-1.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (Dec. 28-Jan. 3)

*Jordan Mathews (Cal): The junior guard averaged 18.0 points while hitting eight of 16 from behind the arc to help the Golden Bears sweep Colorado and Utah during Pac 12-opening weekend in Berkeley.

*Ben Moore (SMU): The junior post averaged 11.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game as the Mustangs opened American Conference action with wins over Tulsa and South Florida to remain unbeaten.

*Wayne Selden (Kansas): The 6-5 junior went for 24 points with five rebounds and four assists during at Big 12-opening win over Baylor. Earlier in the week he had eight points, seven and five in a non-conference blowout over visiting UC Irvine.

*Ben Simmons (LSU): The most gifted player in college hoops went for 36 points (in 34 minutes) to go with 14 rebounds and four assists in his first SEC game Saturday – at win at Vanderbilt.

*Diamond Stone (Maryland): The freshman center scored 39 points (10 of 15 from the field and 19 of 25 from the free-throw line/with 12 rebounds and two blocked shots) and 10 points (4 of 4 from the field and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line/with three bounds and two blocked shots) as the Terps opened Big 10 play with wins over Penn State and Northwestern, respectively.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at www.burlisononbasketball.com. College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]


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