The first College Power 16 of the season has a decided Big Ten Conference flavor near the top.

The Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines are 1-2 and Ohio State No. 5.

It doesn’t end there.

Jetting to No. 12 is one of the surprise teams of the season so far, Illinois, which rolled the competition (USC, Chaminade and Butler) by an average margin of 23 points.

Interestingly enough, Coach John Groce’s club struggled when it returned home, finally eking out a 63-62 win over Gardner-Webb on Sunday.

This week’s ACC-Big Ten and Big East-SEC “challenge” games should definitely rattle the next version of the Top 25.

Among those are: (Tuesday) No. 20 North Carolina State at No. 2 Michigan; No. 23 North Carolina at No. 1 Indiana; (Wednesday) No. 5 Ohio State at No. 4 Duke; (Thursday) No. 8 Kentucky at unranked Notre Dame; Unranked Marquette at No. 9 Florida.

Rank (Last Week)
1. Indiana (NR)
Hoosiers held up well against a quality Georgetown club in Brooklyn.
2. Michigan (NR)
Comment: Glenn Robinson III is at least three times better than the average freshman.
3. Syracuse (NR)
This is Jim Boeheim’s deepest – and, possibly, best – club in a while.
4. Duke (NR)
If not near the standard of his “big” brother, senior season.
5. Ohio State (NR)
When all else fails, Aaron Craft can create a tremendous scoring opportunity all by himself.
6. Louisville (NR)
How will hold up with one of the best centers in the country sidelined for a while?
7. Creighton (NR)
Those who assumed team is “just McDermott” should have been enlightened with Las Vegas showing.
8. Kentucky (NR)
Latest crop of “1-and-dones” progressing nicely.
9. Florida (NR)
Marquette will prove toughest test of young (no pun intended) season.
10. Gonzaga (NR)
I’ll cling to belief that this could be best-ever Zags squad.
11. Arizona (NR)
Yet to be severely tested; does that change Saturday in Lubbock?
12. Illinois (NR)
Who could have guessed trip to Islands would prove quite so joyous?
13. Oklahoma State (NR)
And to think that some prep “gurus” look at Marcus Smart as a SF or SG. LOL.
14. Colorado (NR)
Transition to Pac 12 has been much smoother than most could have envisioned.
15. Georgetown (NR)

Otto Porter might be the best all-around player in college hoops.

16. Michigan State (NR)
Spartans are very good yet only fourth best in Big 10 right now.

On the cusp: Kansas 4-1; Connecticut 5-1; Cincinnati 6-0; North Carolina State 4-1; San Diego State 4-1; Pittsburgh 5-1; North Carolina 5-1; Oregon 5-1; California 6-0; UNLV 3-1; Marquette 4-1; Alabama 5-0; Missouri 5-1; Florida State 4-1; Butler 3-2; Minnesota 6-1.


TEAMS: Indiana (held off very good Georgetown team in Brooklyn); Colorado (back to back neutral floor wins over Baylor and Murray State); Illinois (blitzed Butler after the Bulldogs did the same to Tar Heels on Maui); Oklahoma State (Marcus Smart-led club trampled ACC’s projected best); Duke (back-to-back wins over high-quality VCU and Louisville clubs).

PLAYERS: Michael Carter Williams/Syracuse (no sophomore has played better so far); Jordan Hulls/Indiana (big-time clutch effort in Brooklyn); Doug McDermott/Creighton (will be in POY hunt all season); Marcus Smart/Oklahoma State (November Frosh of Season); Otto Porter/Georgetown (as good on defense as he is at other end of floor).

Frank Burlison has been covering hoops for 30+ years for a variety of publications.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]


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