College basketball power rankings: Baylor bumps Duke from top spot as chaos causes major shuffle
The Bears take over the No. 1 spot, while Florida State and Oregon jump up in wild week
When I assembled, I had a deep hunch that my order was destined to get blown to bits. There were too many top 25-type teams playing either good teams or road games in the ensuing week to not have chaos reign supreme.
And so it did. That was most evident on Wednesday night, when four teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 took loses. For the second straight night, a top-five team fell against an unranked opponent. So, a hat tip to ESPN for this stat: There have been 12 instances of top-five teams losing to unranked opponents in 2019-20.
Last season, there were six total times that happened.
We're likely to see the trend continue. Personally, I think it's making for an exciting season -- and I like getting this kind of upside-down environment every few years. Keeps us on our toes. But it also wreaks havoc on the power rankings. Let's see the damage done, and hey, we've got a new No. 1.
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 5 | The 14-1 Bears boost up to the top spot for the first time this season, thanks to two more wins the past week. Their 67-55 win at Kansas was convincing enough, but then on Wednesday night Baylor pulled away to win by 13 at home against Iowa State. In those two games, guard Jared Butler combined for 41 points, eight assists, four steals and made six 3-pointers. Butler is the lead item , as he has a great backstory about meeting Scott Drew long before Drew ever coached Butler at Baylor. |
|🔄 Previous: No. 2 | The 18-1 Zags now own the top scoring margin in college basketball, winning games by an average of 20.5 points. This is familiar territory for Mark Few's program. For most of the past eight seasons, Gonzaga has finished first, second or third in this category. A season ago it was No. 1 in scoring margin (22.8). Back in 2017-18, is was third (15.8). In 2016-17, first (21.1). In 2014-15, it was second (17.0) and in 2012-13 GU was No. 1 (17.2). Poor, poor WCC.|
|🔄 Previous: No. 3 | Our final flawless team, SDSU (18-0) is the first Mountain West club in league history (21 seasons) to be the last team without a loss in a season. This is not the best start in school history, though. The Aztecs, with Kawhi Leonard, were 20-0 in 2010-11. That team went on to earn a No. 2 seed and was 34-3 when it was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Kemba Walker and UConn. That team finished No. 8 at KenPom. SDSU right now sits a tad low in Pomeroy's (predictive-based) rankings at No. 13.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 8 | Here's where things get wonky. With so much noise in the past seven days, the power rankings were due for a messy new look. And the power rankings operate like a hot list, so if you take losses you are going to drop. I am not ranking based on entirety of resumé/organizing this like other rankings or Bracketology. The 14-3 Ducks have won eight of their past nine (the lone loss an acceptable one at Colorado) and are performing like a top-five team as of late. Payton Pritchard (19.2 ppg, 5.9 apg, 4.5 rpg) would easily be a First Team All-American if the season ended today. |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 10 | The Flyers are now the best assist team in the game, getting 19.2 on average, which has helped UD to a college basketball-best 52.3% on field-goal shooting. At 15-2, Dayton has proven itself to be a national title contender. It's No. 5 at KenPom, No. 2 (!) at Torvik, No. 4 in the NET and No. 5 here. Obi Toppin's been playing through ankle pain and has himself in the conversation for national player of the year. The Flyers have an interesting test Friday night at Saint Louis.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 12 | The Mountaineers are the beneficiaries of a lot of losing by other teams in the top 10 in recent days. Bob Huggins' 14-2 squad has won its last three games (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU) by an average of 19.3 points. Opponents are building formidable homes vs. WVU, tossing up bricks on the regular and making merely 35% of their attempts. It's undeniable at this point: this team's good enough to win the Big 12. |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 14 | Another big boost, as the Seminoles (15-2) make a sizable jump after winning at Wake Forest by double digits and then holding off Virginia at home on Wednesday night. FSU is undefeated at home this season, but what's more, check out this shocking statistic courtesy of ESPN researcher Bryan Ives: "Florida State is now 55-3 at home in the last 4 seasons. That is the second-best home record in the entire country in that span. Only Gonzaga (57-2) is better." Wow!|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 1 | A slip from first to eighth for the team that still ranks first, second or third in every mainstream predictive metric. But while losing on the road is understandable, Duke (15-2) did not look good doing it ... and Clemson is not an NCAA Tournament-level team. The Blue Devils have oddly taken both their losses to teams below the top 75 at KenPom. I'm not sure it would have made a difference, but will note Duke did not have Joey Baker and Wendell Moore Jr. for the Clemson L. Significant home game on Saturday against Louisville awaits.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 7 | I heard more feedback last week about having Kansas at No. 7 than at any other point this season with any other team. Then the Jayhawks go out and get manipulated by Baylor and take their third loss of the season. I have to nudge KU down even a little for losing by 12 at home. Kansas fans can comfort themselves with the fact that despite the team's three losses, the Jayhawks still rank No. 1 at KenPom and No. 2 in the NET. The losses are all good: Duke, Villanova at Baylor. The win at Oklahoma on Tuesday was a nice bounce-back. |
|⤵️ Previous: No. 4 | With about 13 minutes to go in the second half of Wednesday night's loss at Alabama, it was clear Auburn was not going to have enough to get the road win to stay unbeaten. It was 'Bama's first win over a top-four team since 2004. Now at 15-1, Auburn can perhaps play a little more loosely in trying to keep pace in the SEC. In fact, it's LSU (4-0) that now is atop the league standings, with one-loss Auburn, one-loss Kentucky, one-loss Arkansas and one-loss Florida all a step behind. |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 17 | The Hall (13-4) is on a seven-game winning streak and has kept all its opponents under 72 points during this run. It's a big swing from the start of the season, when the defense was a little looser. Wednesday night's come-from-behind 78-70 win at Butler was the third time in four years that Seton Hall's won at Butler after overcoming a second-half deficit. Myles Powell scoring 29 now has him at 23.6 points per game in Big East play, all the past five games since he returned from suffering a concussion. |
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 6 | Here's how surprising Butler's home defeat to Seton Hall was: the Pirates scored 78 points, which was not only the most Butler had given up this season, it was the most by an 11-point margin. In fact, only four previous foes had cracked 60 against Butler this season. So at 15-2, the Bulldogs obviously still rate as one the strongest teams in the sport. But I can't in good faith rank them ahead of Seton Hall after seeing things play out the way they did at Hinkle. Next up are roadies against DePaul and Villanova. BU could be top-seven again by next week or clinging to the bottom of the power rankings. |
|⤴️ Previous: No. 18 | Sign of encouragement for the Cardinals (14-3): the team is 3-0 on the road in ACC play; Louisville lost its last four league road games a season ago. It's also beating the teams it should in the ACC, riding a six-game winning streak against unranked ACC opponents dating back to last season. The Cards' win at Pitt on Tuesday night marked the 15th time in 16 games U of L beat the Panthers. If Chris Mack's team can win at Duke on Saturday, it will toss the ACC into a fun tizzy. |
|⤵️ Previous: No. 9 | The Shockers (15-2) had their nine-game winning streak broken by falling 65-53 at Temple on Wednesday night. This after scraping by in OT at UConn over the weekend. It goes to highlight how playing in the American Athletic Conference can be tough from a travel perspective. If you're Wichita State, you've got two moderately lengthy flights in four days' time, taking four plane rides to and from Connecticut and Pennsylvania. And next up is a home test against quality Houston, then another three-hour flight, this time to South Florida on Tuesday.|
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 19 | The Wildcats' 79-75 home OT win against DePaul this week extended VU's streak to 19 straight over DePaul, making it one of the longest lopsided series in college basketball. Villanova (13-3) has won nine of its past 10, the lone defeat at Marquette on Jan. 4 by 11 points. Nova's won 19 straight at home and gets its next two there as well: UConn comes in on Saturday, then a big one against Butler on Tuesday. |
| ⤴️ Previous: unranked | Who else but the 14-2 Hogs here? Eric Musselman's team beat Vanderbilt by 20 Wednesday night to give the Razorbacks their best 16-game start to a season since the 1990s. Yowza. Arkansas is one of just three teams allowing 4.0 made 3-pointers or fewer per game. The Hogs are at 4.0, while Northern Colorado's at 3.9 and Sacramento State is at 3.7. Arkansas has a huge opportunity to boost its national profile Saturday when Kentucky comes to town. |
|⤵️ Previous: No. 13 | Tigers had a 1-1 week with the loss at Wichita State followed by the win at South Florida. Memphis plays Thursday night at home against Cincinnati, which is significant to the top of the AAC standings. At 13-3, Memphis has been as good as could have possibly been expected without James Wiseman. But it feels like the difference between 13-4 and 14-3 is fairly large. Cincinnati has won six in a row against the Tigers. And Thursday's game pits the American's best offense (Memphis with 77.8 ppg) against the top defense (Cincy allowing 56.2 ppg in league play).|
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 15 | It would be easy to justify booting Sparty out of the rankings entirely for only scoring 42 -- and allowing 71 -- at Purdue on Sunday, but I can't and won't do that. MSU had won eight in a row prior to that and, at 5-1, is still atop the Big Ten standings. A home test vs. Wisconsin on Friday is next. MSU is No. 6 at KenPom, No. 9 at Torvik and No. 10 in the NET. |
|⤴️ Previous: unranked | Hello, Cardinal! Stanford's 15-2 in wake of its 74-59 win at UCLA on Wednesday. Jerod Haase's team has lost only to Butler and Kansas. It sits alone in first place, without a loss, atop the Pac-12. Defensively, this is the No. 11 points-allowed-per-possession team in the country. I debated five teams for this final spot, but settled on Stanford. If it's going to remain here, it will earn it because the next two games are on the road against USC and Cal.|
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