This week saw 6 games where ranked opponents faced off against one another. Xavier was one of the big winners of the week winning games against Baylor and Cincinnati while Baylor was less fortunate dropping games to Xavier and Wichita State. USC and Louisville both lost games to unranked opponents lowering their spot in the rankings. Arizona State has begun to look impressive giving them a spot in the Top 20.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Duke (NR)
Despite starting off games slow, Duke has been able to rally late and win their first 10 games. Anchored by Marvin Bagley and Grayson Allen Duke has already given Michigan State and Florida their only losses on the year. Duke has a star-studded starting 5 that could possibly all get drafted in the first round of the upcoming draft.
2. Villanova (NR)
Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats haven’t really been tested yet this season but have looked strong in their performances thus far. Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson have been the leaders on this team with no glaring weaknesses. Villanova plays hard and smart, limiting mistakes on their end and forcing them on the other.
3.  Kansas (NR)
Kansas has been one of the most balanced teams in the NCAA this year. All of Bill Self’s starters are averaging double-digit scoring and they’ve been succeeding even without freshman Billy Preston. Devonte Graham exploded for back to back 35-point performances this week and seems to be starting to find his stride as his offense struggled early on. With a win over Kentucky this year, Kansas seems to be the powerhouse everyone expected yet again.
4. Michigan St. (NR)
Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson and the Michigan State Spartans have started the season 6-1 with quality wins over Notre Dame and UNC and their sole loss against Duke. Michigan State has shown they can play with anyone in the country and should be near the top of the rankings all season.
5. Florida (NR)
Florida is one of the elite three-point shooting teams in the nation. The Gators attempt 25.0 three-pointers a game and shoot them at a 46% clip. Florida has beaten Gonzaga this year and similarly to Michigan State, their only loss is against Duke. Scoring over 100 points in four out of six games, the Gators have shown they are an offensive powerhouse.
6. Wichita St. (NR)
Wichita State is always one of the tougher teams to judge. Their in conference games are weak which leaves limited quality opponents on their schedule. Regardless, the Shockers seem to be competitive with a win over Baylor and just a one-point loss to Notre Dame. Look for Wichita State to be their normal selves and play their best when it matters most.
7. Texas A&M (NR)
Texas A&M has been one of the more impressive teams in the NCAA. The Aggies have already posted a 23-point win over West Virginia and a 16-point win over USC this season. Texas A&M also has one of the most enticing prospects in the draft in Robert Williams, a projected lottery pick, who is an elite rebounder and rim protector. The Aggies are right up there with Kentucky and Florida as the best teams in the SEC.
8. MIami (NR)
Miami is one of the more intriguing teams this season. In a loaded ACC it can by easy to overlook a team like Miami but with a player like Bruce Brown, Miami shouldn’t be taken lightly. They took down previously undefeated Minnesota earlier this week and could easily run the table for their next 7 games leading up to their matchup with Duke.
9. Notre Dame (NR)
Led by senior Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame has looked solid this season. They have taken down Wichita State but dropped a game by 18 points to Michigan State. The ACC is always loaded and this year is no different. The Fighting Irish will have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves and get valuable experience leading up to March Madness.
10. Kentucky (NR)
John Calipari is probably disappointed with how the Kentucky season has gone so far. Dropping a game to Kansas and beating teams like Utah Valley, Vermont, Troy, and Harvard by 10 points or less isn’t how the Wildcats envisioned the season starting. Kentucky is even younger than they usually are. The Wildcats go 8 deep with 6 freshmen and 2 sophomores. Inexperience may lead to the downfall of Kentucky but if Kevin Knox can continue to play at a high level, they may make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament. 
11. North Carolina (NR)
Roy Williams probably feels incredibly disrespected this year. The defending champs started the season ranked #9, lower than they started last year. Luke Maye has been one of the more surprising players this year averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. UNC fell to Michigan State earlier this year while scoring a school-worst 45 points, that was most likely a fluke and UNC should stay competitive with the top teams in the nation as they look to defend their title.
12.  Gonzaga (NR)
Mark Few might have the most balanced team in the nation, 6 players are averaging over 10 points per game and another player averages 9.8. Similar to Wichita State, Gonzaga doesn’t face much competition in conference play however, Gonzaga did beat Creighton and take Florida to a double-OT, 111-105 loss. Gonzaga will be a top seed heading into the NCAA Tournament as always but will need to rely on depth to take down the other heavyweights.
13. Xavier (NR)
Trevon Blueitt and JP Macura are the senior leaders for Xavier and have been as advertised this season. Xavier took down two ranked opponents this week in Baylor and Cincinnati. Xavier’s lone blemish came to a hot Arizona State team who might be one of the more underrated teams in the nation. Xavier is legit and poses a real threat to Villanova in the Big East this year.
14. Minnesota (NR)
Minnesota is one the surprise teams in basketball this season. They were able to take down Alabama in what was one of the craziest games of the year. Despite playing 5-on-3 basketball and getting outscored down 2 men, they still pulled out a win. The Golden Gophers are led by Jordan Murphy, a 6’7” forward who averages 21.4 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Minnesota did fall to Miami this week but remains relevant in the national rankings.
15. Cincinnati (NR)
Cincinnati fell to Xavier this week for their first loss of the season which was also their first real test of the year. The Bearcats don’t have much star power but do have a deep bench. They go 10 deep which bodes well for them down the stretch to help keep players rested and as they can deal with foul trouble.
16. USC (NR)
USC started off the season strong with four straight wins but dropped both of their last two games to Texas A&M and SMU. Despite their recent struggles, USC is a very talented team with depth. Expect USC to bounce back from these losses and go on a run as non-conference play wraps up.

First Five Out

West Virginia, Virginia, Arizona State, Alabama, Arizona


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