Aside from one or two marquee matchups on Saturday, it was a relatively quiet week for most of our Power 16 teams.  Kentucky took home the win in a wild one against UNC on Saturday thanks to a Herculean effort from Malik Monk and UCLA dominated Ohio State to once again prove just how legit they are.  Duke was the only team from last week’s rankings that didn’t suit up this week as they got some much needed rest after what was a pretty busy early season schedule.

For most teams, this upcoming week is a chance to get a few more "easy" ones to their names while they gear up for the start of conference play later this month (some teams will start earlier than others).  Our matchup to watch this week is a Wednesday night showdown at the KFC Yum! Center between Kentucky and Louisville.  I’ve been tough on the Cards all season and I’ll be paying close attention to how they handle the depth and athleticism of Kentucky’s front line.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Villanova (1)
Josh Hart was his usual self and Villanova had a big halftime lead and kept their foot on the gas the rest of the way on Saturday against a solid, albeit, inconsistent Temple team.  They’ve won 17 straight games dating back to last season and continue to get better.
2. UCLA (2)
Even on a night when Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf aren’t at their best, this team still takes down "Power 5" teams.  It was time for Aaron Holiday and Bryce Alford to shine against the Buckeyes.  As good as they’ve played of late, I still worry about their lack of depth as we get later in the season and as the minutes pile up.
3. Kentucky (4)
Malik Monk just gave us the performance of the year against the Tar Heels.  47 points on 18 of 28 from the field and Coach Cal still had things he needed to work on post game.  The combo of Monk/Fox delivered 71 points and 12 assists on the night.  As with most Calipari teams, this one is only going to get better as the season progresses.  Big game against their in-state rival on tap for this week.
4. Duke (3)
The Blue Devils got some much needed rest this week.  They get back to in on Monday night against an experienced and dangerous, mid-major in Tennessee State.
5. Gonzaga (5)
The ‘Zags continue to just roll through their schedule.  I said it last week and I’ll say it again, this team could be undefeated come NCAA Tournament time.  Nigel Williams-Goss continues to put up impressive numbers in his first season with this team.
6. Kansas (6)
I’m not sure you can ever say the Jayhawks are an "under the radar" team but that’s exactly how they feel to me at this point.  With UCLA, Kentucky and Villanova stealing most of the spotlight so far this season, Kansas has sort of taken a back seat.  But they’ve quietly gone out and handled their business and are one of the best teams in the country.
7. Creighton  (8)
The schedule starts to get a little tougher for McDermott’s squad this week as they head to Arizona State before beginning conference play next week.  They’ve been one of the more impressive offensive teams so far this season, their game against Oral Roberts notwithstanding.  They can’t have lapses like that often once they get into the Big East schedule.
8. Baylor (9)
Don’t get me wrong, I like Baylor.  Just not at much as most at the moment.  Call them the Louisville of the Big 12 for me.  Jonathan Motley is one of the better big men in the country and Baylor could ride him all the way to a Big 12 Championship, but I need to see more from guys like Ishmail Wainright before I can buy in completely.
9. Louisville (11)
If this team can keep things close with Kentucky then I’ll become a believer.  I’ve been tough on them since the preseason and a good showing against the Wildcats will finally get me to lay off.  I don’t think they can do it and I think Kentucky will expose them a little, but I’ve been wrong about them so far.
10. North Carolina (7)
Getting Joel Berry back was big for this team and you can see how much different (better) they look offensively with him in the lineup.  They just didn’t have anything or anyone that could stop Monk on Saturday even though they had one of their better offensive outbursts of the season.  This team has to get more from Nate Britt, plain and simple.  Especially on the defensive side of the ball.
11. Purdue (NR)
They have two losses, both to teams above them in these rankings (Villanova and Louisville) and they’ve got wins against Auburn, Arizona State and Notre Dame.  They’ve got a ways to go to become an "elite" team, but they have the horses up front to be in any game against any team.  Being able to control the pace of the game is huge for this team.
12. Wisconsin (13)
Much like Purdue, the Badgers have two losses to teams higher than them on this list (Creighton and North Carolina) and good wins against Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgetown, Syracuse and Marquette.  They don’t have the overall talent that they’ve had in recent years, but they can be just as dangerous when they are moving the ball offensively.
13. Florida St. (NR)
Dwayne Bacon has been stellar so far this season.  Double digit scoring in every single game so far while shooting career highs from the field, beyond the arc and from the free throw line.  Their win against the Gators last week vaulted them into the rankings for the first time this season.
14. West Virginia (9-1) (Previous #14)
14. West Virginia (14)
A 45 point win to get career win #800 had to feel good for Bob Huggins.
15.  Virginia (15)
The Cavaliers made short work of Robert Morris in their only game of the week.  This team has gotten by so far without Austin Nichols but the schedule hasn’t gotten tough yet.  Their next two games at Cal and at Louisville will either make or break this team as it pertains to how the rest of their season goes.
16. Butler (NR)
Take away that road loss against Indiana State and this Butler resume would rival almost anyone on this list.  Wins against Northwestern, at Vanderbilt, Arizona, at Utah, Cincinnati and Indiana will be enough come NCAA Tournament time no matter what they do in conference, but it makes you wonder what happened against the Sycamores.

First Five Out

Xavier (9-2), Oregon (10-2), Arizona (10-2), Indiana (8-2), South Carolina (9-1)

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft


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