Holiday Tournaments were a major theme during the Thanksgiving break. The Tar Heels went to Maui and brought home the title while Baylor came back from an early 20 point deficit to take down Louisville in the Battle for Atlantis. While we still don’t know what exactly to make of some teams through the season’s first few weeks, there are a few that are separating themselves from the pack.

With the ACC/Big 10 Challenge set to tip off this week, there is no shortage of marquee matchups to watch, starting with Florida State hosting unbeaten Minnesota to kick things off on Monday night on ESPNU.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Kentucky (NR)
The Wildcats are beating teams by an average of 28 points per game with their closest margin of victory coming in their 21 point drubbing of Michigan State in the Champion’s Classic.  They head to the Bahamas this week where Arizona State awaits before a prime time matchup with UCLA on Saturday.
2. North Carolina (NR)
For those that thought this team would drop off (raises hand), the Tar Heels have quickly made you eat your words with an impressive showing at the Maui Invitational.  This team is scary good offensively and will be tested in Bloomington on Wednesday.
3. Villanova (NR)
Josh Hart is on my short list for early season Player of the Year honors.  Hart, Brunson and Jenkins make for one of the better trios in the country.  It might sound crazy, but this team could end up being better than the National Championship team from a season ago.
4. Duke (NR)
Grayson Allen may have finally found his mojo against App State, which is good considering there’s still no word on when/if the injured freshman might finally suit up. On the other hand, the seemingly "forgotten" freshman in Frank Jackson has helped carry this team while Allen was struggling.
5. Kansas (NR)
I know, I know. They beat Duke. But they haven’t really been impressive in any of their wins and their loss against the Hoosiers looks worse now than it did on opening night.  The remaining OOC schedule is pretty light the rest of the way so this team should be riding high as they enter conference play.
6. Gonzaga (NR)
Neutral site wins against Florida and Iowa State along with a home win against a pesky San Diego State team vault them up in the rankings.  Year in and year out, Mark Few has this team in the mix.  Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss was a huge get for this team.
7. UCLA (NR)
The Bruins made easy work of Nebraska and Texas A&M in the Wooden Legacy tournament.  Lonzo Ball has been arguably the best freshman point guard in the country so far this season and that’s saying a lot considering who he’s being compared to.
8. Creighton  (NR)
The Blue Jays might be the most impressive team so far this season.  You hang 100+ in consecutive days on Washington State and NC State before taking down a decent Ole Miss team and that should turn some heads.  And all that after a statement win against Wisconsin.
9. Xavier (NR)
Don’t know that I’ve seen a team beat another team twice in consecutive games, but that’s what the Musketeers did as they got two W’s against Northern Iowa in the same week.  They get their biggest test of the season at Baylor on Saturday in what will be must see TV for any hoops fan.
10. Baylor (NR)
The Bears are only team with three Top 25 wins (Michigan State, Louisville, Oregon).  That comeback against Louisville was impressive after being down 20+ points in the first half.  A win against Xavier on Saturday and the Bears could be Top 5 next week.
11. Virginia (NR)
Tony Bennett’s squad has weathered the storm that was Austin Nichols and continues to prove night in and night out how great of a coach he is and how great of a program he has built.  I don’t expect this to continue, but he’s proven me wrong so far.
12. Butler (NR)
Taking down Arizona on Friday night was a bit time win for the Bulldogs.  Kelan Martin has been outstanding so far as has the rest of this team.  Take care of business on the road against Utah on Monday night and the rest of the country will take notice.
13. Louisville (NR)
Elite teams don’t blow 20+ point leads, they just don’t.  Louisville is one of the harder teams to figure out early on this season.  They host a really good Purdue team on Wednesday.  This team will live and die by how well they shoot the three ball as it is what jump starts everything for them.
14. Purdue (NR)
Lot of teams on this list playing each other this week.  Purdue’s lone loss was a very respectable one to Villanova.  They are big and tough to deal with in the frontcourt.  Leaning heavily on Swanigan and Haas against the Cardinals should be the gameplan on Wednesday.
15. Arizona (NR)
Even before the Butler loss, I didn’t believe the Wildcats were a Top 10 team.  Injuries have decimated Sean Miller’s squad and it could be a while before help gets here.  They have a get right game early in the week and then a matchup with Gonzaga that will be huge for this young Arizona team.
16. Indiana (NR)
Some gave Tom Crean credit for even playing in a quasi-road game against IPFW.  I won’t.  It was a nice story from a PR perspective, but games are won and lost on the floor, not in the news room. The Tar Heels come to town on Wednesday and I don’t think it will be close by halftime.

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