This week’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge should do a lot to shake up the next Power 16 ratings.

Try these matchups on for size:

Tuesday: No. 10 Ohio State at No. 8 Louisville; Unbeaten (and “on the cusp”) Illinois at No. 12 Miami.

Wednesday: No. 6 Duke at No. 2 Wisconsin; and No. 7 Virginia at No. 14 Maryland.

Another couple of whoppers this week: No. 4 Texas at No. 1 Kentucky on Friday, and No. 5 Gonzaga at No 3 Arizona on Saturday.

Until March rolls around, we’re not going to get a week loaded with as many “must-watch” tilts as this one has.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Kentucky (1)
Wonderful stat – the Wildcats have allowed as many as 52 points just twice in seven games.
2. Wisconsin (3)
The Badgers probably need Frank Kaminsky to play better Wednesday night than he did in the Bahamas in order to knock off Duke.
3. Arizona (2)
Battle for Best in the West takes place Saturday in Tucson.
4. Duke (7)
Sure, there is a 10-point, neutral-court victory over Michigan State on the resume. But the chore facing the Blue Devils in Madison Wednesday is a lot more arduous than that was.
5. Gonzaga (4)
The Bulldogs will need to hold up better against the Arizona pressure Saturday than they did last March in order to have a solid opportunity to pull off the upset.
6. Texas (5)
The Longhorns pulled out an impressive win in a hostile environment Sunday. Things will be a lot more hostile Friday in Lexington though.
7. Virginia (8)
Maryland’s hot start makes the Wednesday night game in College Park make the “ACC Reunion/ACC-Big Ten Challenge” game one of the “don’t miss it” events of the week.
8. Louisville (10)
The visiting Buckeyes will prove to be far and away the toughest test yet for the Cardinals.
9. Wichita St. (11)
The Shockers will take one of the best half-court defenses in the country (allowing 55.3 ppg) to Salt Lake City Wednesday night.
10. Ohio State (12)
By late Tuesday night we’ll have a better idea if this ranking was too for the Buckeyes at this point in the season.
11. Villanova (13)
There are a couple of games vs. “Big 5” foes before what should be a tough Dec. 9 test against Illinois.
12. Miami (16)
I’ve got to pick at least one other Big 10 team for now although none of them (minus Michigan State’s game with Duke) has played a compelling scheduled as of yet.
13. West Virginia (NR)
The LSU frontcourt strength should a tougher test than did the game against Connecticut.
14. Maryland (NR)
The nine-point, neutral-floor victory over Iowa State as part of unbeaten start is enough to get the Terps into this group, at least for the time being.
15. Arkansas (NR)

For the time being, at least, the Hogs are looking like the only real significant SEC challenge for Kentucky.

16. San Diego St. (14)
Suddenly the game at Washington (6-0) on Sunday is looking a “big” showdown, to say the least.

ON THE CUSP: Butler 5-1, Creighton 6-1, Illinois 6-0, Iowa State 3-1, Kansas 5-1, Michigan 5-1, Michigan State 5-2, North Carolina 5-1, Northern Iowa 7-0, Notre Dame 6-1, Oklahoma 4-2, Oklahoma State 6-0, Providence 6-1, Utah 5-1, Washington 6-0 and Wyoming 6-0.


*Perry Ellis (Kansas): The junior post averaged 19.3 points and 9.0 rebounds as the Jayhawks picked up wins over Rhode Island, Tennessee and Michigan State to capture the Orlando Classic.

*Stanley Johnson (Arizona): The freshman forward hit just 11 of 30 shots from the field during the event but averaged but earned Maui Invitational MVP hardware following an 18-point, nine-rebound and three-steal effort in the finale against San Diego State.

*Melo Trimble (Maryland): The freshman guard averaged 21.3 points per game in wins over Arizona State, Iowa State, Monmouth and VMI.

*Fred VanVleet (Wichita State): It would be difficult for a point guard to turn in a better performance than VanVleet had in his team’s 20-point win over Tulsa. He went for 21 points with four rebounds, nine assists and zero turnovers.

*Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington): En route to earning Wooden Legacy MVP honors, the sophomore point guard averaged 16.7 points, 8.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game in victories over San Jose State, Long Beach State and then-unbeaten UTEP.

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 www.burlisononbasketball.com. College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]



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