Buckle up college basketball fans. While some of the early season tournaments kicked off in week two, a loaded slate is upon us for the holiday weekend. Four of the top-10 teams in the AP Poll will face off for the Maui Championship, including three of the top-four. If you want to get ahead on who the real contenders are for the NCAA Tournament, this will be an important week to pay attention.
Catch up on everything that’s gone on so far with our latest power rankings below!
1. Kansas (3-0)
It took a late comeback, but the top-ranked Jayhawks prevailed against a young Kentucky team thanks to a 20-20 performance from Hunter Dickinson against the undersized Wildcats. A big week is ahead in Maui where four of the top-10 teams in America will battle for a statement trophy early in the season.
2. Purdue (3-0)
A matchup between the Boilermakers and Jayhawks in the Maui Invitational Championship would be a dream for college basketball fans in week three of the season. It wouldn’t just be the top-two teams but also the top two centers in college basketball going toe-to-toe for a title.
3. Arizona (5-0)
Arizona built off their big win over Duke last week with a dominant 3-0 week at home. Led by a few new faces, the Wildcats are averaging nearly 100 points per game and have another big matchup coming up against No. 18 Michigan State in Palm Springs.
4. UConn (4-0)
With freshman phenom Stephon Castle set to miss a few weeks, UConn’s depth will be tested in a big way. A 20-point win over Indiana on Sunday is a great start, but the Empire Classic championship against No. 19 Texas and early December dates with No. 1 Kansas and No. 20 North Carolina are still ahead for the reigning champions.
5. Marquette (2-0)
The Golden Eagles are living up to their high preseason ranking so far in 2023. Even with a tough draw, Marquette could easily come home from Maui with a championship and wins over UCLA, Kansas and another ranked foe.
6. Houston (6-0)
There’s a lot to love about this year’s Houston team. The guards are as talented as ever with the type of experience that can take you places in March. Kelvin Sampson has five guys who would start in just about every backcourt in America, so even if foul trouble or injuries plague the Cougars, there will be someone ready to step up and lead a long overdue Houston redemption.
7. Kentucky (3-1)
The Wildcats jump in this week’s rankings after narrowly falling to the top-ranked team in the country without all three of their big men. This vintage John Calipari roster has talent that can measure up against anyone in America and could be the team that endears him back to a fanbase desperate to get back to the mountaintop.
8. Duke (3-1)
The Blue Devils bounced back this week with a Champions Classic win over Michigan State and a blowout win over Bucknell. If at least one freshman can step up per game, as Caleb Foster and Jared McCain did this week, Duke can beat anyone. They’ll have the chance to show it in two weeks when they travel to Bud Walton Arena to take on the Razorbacks.
9. Tennessee (3-0)
The Vols haven’t scored 80 points in their first three games since Bruce Pearl took them to the Elite Eight in 2009-10. The improved offense in Knoxville, headlined by Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht, gives Rick Barnes the chance to go farther than the school ever has: the Final Four. The journey continues in Maui this week.
10. Miami (5-0)
No Isaiah Wong, no problem for Miami. The ‘Canes are flying home with a Bahamas Championship after riding an unstoppable offense to a 91-83 win over Kansas State in the championship. Don’t be surprised if they make another run in March this season.
11. Creighton (4-0)
Don’t sleep on the Blue Jays. Trey Alexander’s return to Omaha this season looks to be a massive success for both player and team through four games. The junior guard is scoring and playmaking better than he ever has before, which should lead to a major boost in his rising draft stock.
12. Gonzaga (2-0)
The Zags look sharp so far this season, but we’ll learn a lot about them at the Maui Invitational this week. With No. 2 Purdue kicking off what could be a loaded schedule for the week, there’s no room for error from the opening tip if Mark Few wants to make it a successful trip to Hawaii with a new-look team.
13. Colorado (3-0)
Jump on the Colorado bandwagon now before it’s too late. Deion Sanders had campus buzzing for a few weeks, but the hype around the Buffaloes’ basketball team won’t fizzle out as spectacularly as the football team.
Cody Williams is the highly touted prospect, but he’s not alone in Boulder. A supremely talented starting five surrounds him as Tad Boyle looks to develop them into a true contender in a conference that is there for the taking outside of Arizona.
14. Baylor (4-0)
Never count out Scott Drew. He’s found a way to replace a trio of great guards once again with transfers and freshmen who are thriving in Waco. The most notable is Ja'Kobe Walter, but if you get a chance to watch the Bears play, you’ll notice quickly there’s plenty more to like with this group.
15. Alabama (2-0)
The Tide are rolling through four games in 2023 with 102 points per game and an average margin of victory of 35. The competition will pick up, but it’s a perfect start for Nate Oats as he tries to replace a team that earned the top overall seed last season.
16. Texas A&M (4-0)
Athleticism all over the floor makes scoring on the Aggies one of the most difficult things to do in the sport. Frustrating opponents will be the identity of this team, but don’t think Wade Taylor and Tyrece Radford aren’t capable of getting their own on the offensive end.
Next 5: Texas, James Madison, North Carolina, Mississippi State, BYU
Players of the Week:
Trey Alexander, No. 8 Creighton Blue Jays
We lauded Alexander as a projected first-round pick before the draft last season and his play this week has ascended him into the lottery for this summer. Alexander’s improved court vision and playmaking, coupled with his already advanced shot creation, could make him a highly coveted prospect for a team who is looking for immediate help in the backcourt.
Hunter Dickinson, No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks
If Kentucky had their big men available for the Champions Classic, maybe there’s a completely different story coming out of Chicago. But with his massive size advantage, Dickinson poured it on for the Jayhawks with 27 points and 21 rebounds. The Wildcats had no answer for an undisputed player of the week in college basketball.
These freshmen provided a spark off the bench for the Cats in Chicago and nearly pulled off the upset with their playmaking and scoring in the second unit. Sheppard followed up his breakout performance with an absurdly efficient 25 points and seven assists (9-10 FG, 7-8 3PT, 1 TO) on Friday night. Dillingham added 20 points and seven assists in the win over Stonehill College, also off the bench.
Tyler Kolek, No. 4 Marquette Golden Eagles
Kolek’s performance was impressive enough without considering he almost didn’t play with a nagging ankle injury. The All-American point guard dropped 24 points on the road against Illinois with six rebounds and four assists to lead the Golden Eagles to an impressive seven-point win over the Illini in a raucous arena.
Dug McDaniel, Michigan Wolverines
Rick Pitino was back in Madison Square Garden Monday night as the Red Storm welcomed the Wolverines for an outstanding non-conference clash. It ended up being the Dug McDaniel show as the dynamic sophomore guard broke out with a 26-point, seven-assist showing in the Garden.
Play of the Week:
Speaking of the Garden, Max Abmas introduced himself to one of the world’s most famous arenas with a game-winning shot that lifted No. 19 Texas past Louisville in the Empire Classic semifinal. Check it out here!