This weekend gave college hoops fans no shortage of games and key matchups to watch. UCLA vs. Kentucky was the gem of Saturday’s slate but it was only one of 5 games that featured two teams from last week’s Power 16 Rankings squaring off against one another.  The ACC should be flying high this week after taking down the Big 10 in their annual challenge for the first time in the last seven seasons and UCLA fans should be excited about how far their team can go after a convincing win in Lexington.

The schedule and matchups for most teams cool off a little bit in the coming weeks as teams gear up for conference play which begins for most teams later this month or in early January.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Villanova (3)
Despite grabbing the #1 spot on most national polls, Nova remains arguably the most under the radar "elite" team at this point in the year.  The defending National Champs have made everything look easy so far this season and blew out St. Joe’s at home on Saturday.  The small ball lineups from Jay Wright featuring Kris Jenkins at the five spot have been fun to watch.
2. UCLA (7)
The most impressive win, for any team, so far this season was the UCLA’s win at Kentucky on Saturday.  They were in control the entire second half and would have won the game going away if it weren’t for Malik Monk’s heroics to make it respectable at the end.  The Lonzo Ball/TJ Leaf freshman duo is the best in the country right now.
3. Duke (4)
Is it me or does Duke seem to beat Michigan State every single year?  Taking down Maine on Saturday wasn’t much of a storyline, but who did and didn’t play was.  Marques Bolden and Jayson Tatum both made their debuts on Saturday while Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson got much needed rests.  The healthier they get, the scarier they become.
4. Kentucky (1)
Saturday’s game against UCLA showed that Kentucky has a ways to go before they can be considered as a National Championship contender.  They can definitely get there, they just aren’t at the moment.  Outside of Malik Monk, no one shot the ball particularly well.  They were outrebounded and outplayed for 18 of the final 20 minutes.  Isiah Briscoe has got to play better for this team to take that next step.
5. Gonzaga (6)
Could this be one of Mark Few’s best Bulldog teams ever?  A road win against a tough, albeit short-handed Arizona team, should really cement this team as a team with Final Four aspirations.  Przemek Karnowski had one of his best scoring games of the season hitting 9 of 13 from the floor.  Games at home against Washington and at Tennessee would give this team two more P5 victories and give them an impressive non-conference resume.
6. North Carolina (2)
Roy Williams called out the UNC fans for their lack of energy during home games after their loss at Indiana and he should have been calling out his own team for their lack of energy.  They were outplayed and outcoached from the opening tip.  It is just one game and this team will be fine but games like that show how important Joel Berry is for this team and he had an off night.
7. Kansas (5)
The Jayhawks routed Long Beach State and won at home against Stanford and I drop them two spots.  That’s more because of what the teams behind them did (UCLA and Gonzaga) than anything.  Devonte Graham was lights out in the first half and kept Kansas in the game when they weren’t playing particularly well.  This team has to get more production up front.
8. Creighton  (8)
This team hasn’t played a true road game all season and home wins against Buffalo and Akron don’t do much to move the needle for me.  They get their first road game of the season this week as they head to Nebraska and while the Huskers aren’t a good team by any stretch, it will be nice to see how Doug McDermott’s squad handles a little adversity for a change.
9. Baylor (10)
I doubt any team in the country has put together a resume like the Bears have so far this season.  Wins against Oregon, Michigan State, VCU, Louisville and now Xavier all but mean this team could be in the field of 68 without winning another game.  But in all seriousness, Scott Drew has this team playing extremely well and they get a much needed scheduling break before opening up conference play at Oklahoma later this month.
10.  Butler (12)
I said last week that everyone would take notice if the Bulldogs won at Utah and they did just that.  This team doens’t have the type of talent that we saw on those back to back Final Four teams a few years ago but they could easily make some noise agains this season.  Keelan Martin continues to play well and if they could get more consistent play at point from Tyler Lewis then the sky is the limit.
11.Indiana (16)
The Hoosiers made easy work of a very good Tar Heel team last week but in doing so they lost one of their stars for a while.  OG Anunoby is out for the time being so this team will have to look elsewhere for his 13 points and 6 rebounds per game.  They play at Butler on Saturday for in-state bragging rights in what looks to be one of the better games of the weekend slate.
12. Louisville (13)
They bounced back nicely last week after that bad loss to Baylor after being up 20+ points.  I thought Purdue would manhandle them in the paint but they outrebounded the Boilermakers in a big win that helped the ACC win the Championship.  This team continues to play better than I ever thought they would heading into the season and are one of the more balanced teams I’ve seen so far this season.
13. Xavier (9)
It is hard to go on the road against a top 10 team and come out with a victory, even for a good team like Xavier.  The Musketeers couldn’t handle Baylor’s zone defense, most notably, JP Macura who was 2-16 from the floor and scored 7 points on Saturday after coming in averaging 17 per game.  They have a tough stretch over the next week with games at Colorado and home against Utah and Wake where we will learn a lot more about this team.
14. South Carolina (NR)
Sindarius Thornwell has been one of the best players in the SEC this season and looks to have finally taken that next step his his development.  The Gamecocks are one of the bigger surprises this season already with wins against Michigan and Syracuse under their belt.  Seton Hall, Clemson and Memphis are still on their schedule in the coming weeks as we see if this team is legit or if they will falter like they did last season.
15.  Virginia (11)
The Cavaliers had an impressive win against Ohio State when they shot the ball below 38% from the field but followed that up with a loss to West Virginia on Saturday.  London Perrantes is the engine that makes this team go and when he’s 2-10 from the field for six points, you can expect the Cavs to lose.  I believe this might be the first game of quite a few as we see this team slide out of the top 25 as we get into conference play.
16. Saint Mary’s (NR)
It is extremely hard for me to buy in to a team that’s best win to date is at Stanford and at Dayton.  But they did win those games and have played well in the rest of their games this season.  And as the old saying goes, you play/win the games that are on our schedule.  That’s all you can do and that’s all they’ve done this season.|

First Five Out

Purdue (6-2), Arizona (6-2), Iowa State (5-2), West Virginia (6-1) and Wisconsin (7-2)

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft


1 Comment

  1. So Clayton I suppose your

     So Clayton I suppose your recanting on your Louisville prediction?? this team is going to be tough all season definitely not an 8th place ACC team.  These guys will make a deep tourney run

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