College Football fans get their last hurrah tonight with Clemson and Alabama squaring off in Tampa. And on Tuesday morning, once analysts have dissected that game ad nauseam, it will be time for basketball to take over in college athletics. And there couldn’t be a better week of games to help set the tone for the rest of the way.

Florida State vs. Duke, Creighton vs. Butler, Xavier vs. Villanova, Baylor vs. West Virginia to name a few highlight a week in which basketball will take center stage again, at least in terms of college sports.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Kansas (2)
After a slow Big 12 opener against TCU, Josh Jackson is averaging roughly 20 and 10 in his last two against Kansas State and Texas Tech as the Jayhawks do what they’ve done the last decade plus by owning the conference. Meanwhile, Frank Mason III is averaging video game numbers from the floor.
2. UCLA (3)
The emotional loss on the road to Oregon clearly hasn’t phased this team.  Lonzo Ball was masterful at home against Stanford on Sunday night and Aaron Holiday has become one of the best 6th men in the country.
3. Gonzaga (4)
It might be time for the team to employ a "sick" person to be around Nigel Williams-Goss at all times.  He had the flu last week but still managed to put up 36 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists in a road win against San Francisco.  By far his best outing of the season.
4. Baylor (5)
As well as they’ve played so far this season I go back to that old saying, "To be the best, you have to beat the best." And they’ll remain behind the Jayhawks until they can show that they can do just that in their February 1st meeting at Kansas.
5. Villanova (1)
The Wildcats suffered their first loss dating back to the regular season of last year.  Butler is a very good team at home and will be a player in the Big East all season long. Josh Hart has dipped a little over the last few weeks but is still the front runner for POY awards.
6. Kentucky (7)
Hot take: This team will not lose a conference game at all this season.  They are just that much better than any other team in the SEC. Malik Monk has been nothing short of spectacular so far in SEC play but he continues to be streaky with his shot which will hinder his draft prospects a tad along with the fact that he’s a bit undersized for the two.
7. Florida St. (10)
I was high on FSU heading into the season but I wouldn’t have guessed they would be here at this point in the season. They have been dominant through three ACC contests and with a win at home against Duke on Tuesday, the ‘Noles would have to be given some serious attention nationally.
8. Duke (8)
Grayson Allen is back and so is Duke. But that could be short-lived if Amile Jefferson is seriously injured.  He went down in the first half against Boston College and didn’t return. Would be a killer for a team with serious National Title hopes.
9. Louisville (6)
One of the more frustrating teams this season.  They can look like world beaters against Kentucky but then drop a home game to Virginia, follow that up with a big road win at Indiana only to lose on the road to Notre Dame the next time out.
10. Creighton (9)
In what is going to become the norm the rest of the way in the Big East, Wednesday night’s matchup at home against Butler is going to be huge for the Bluejays as they start a tough stretch of conference games over the next few weeks.
11. Oregon (12)
Don’t really know what to think about the Dillon Brooks situation.  On one hand, Grayson Allen has gotten everyone uneasy about flailing legs in basketball now but on the other hand, I can see how this was an accident with the way body and legs were being bent back.  Either way, it isn’t a good look but this time it was handled properly.
12. North Carolina (14)
The Tar Heels exercised some serious demons against NC State on Sunday.  Do I think they are THAT good?  No. Do I think NC State is THAT bad?  No.  It was just one of those games.  The return of Theo Pinson will really help extend Roy Williams’ bench.
13. Xavier (16)
It will be must see TV on Tuesday night as the Musketeers head to Villanova for a prime time showdown. Guard play will be the most talked about story line coming in but the team that owns and controls the paint will come away with this one.
14. Butler (NR)
There are some big time matchups in the Big East this week.  ‘Nova and Xavier on Tuesday followed by Butler and Creighton on Wednesday. The Bulldogs SHOULD be undefeated right now.  No excuse for those two losses.
15. Virginia (13)
I’ve said all along that conference play would be this team’s downfall.  And if it weren’t for a big win on the road at Louisville this team would be starting at a 1-3 start before playing the likes of Duke and North Carolina. They just don’t have much depth.
16.  West Virginia (11)
Texas Tech gave teams somewhat of a blueprint on how to beat West Virginia.  Don’t turn the ball over and hit clutch shots.  Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Baylor will try to do just that on Tuesday night in what would be devastating for the loser since they’d then be chasing both the winner and Kansas for the Big 12 Title.

First Five Out

Arizona (15-2), St. Mary’s (14-1), Purdue (14-3), Wisconsin (13-3), Notre Dame (14-2)

Follow me on Twitter @CCroweNBADraft


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