College Basketball Power Rankings: Duke takes back No. 1 spot; Nevada jumps into the top five

The previous seven days brought a lot of losing to highly regarded teams in college basketball. That's always going to provide a fun challenge for assembling a ranking. Ten of the teams ranked last week/this week took at least one loss in its most recent two games. 

That's conference play for you. This week's Hey Nineteen has some fluidity to it because of that, and as a result, we no longer have a deep top tier like what was figured even three weeks ago. Both big Michigan schools are moving targets. Kansas is out of the picture altogether right now. 

Here's the latest snapshot of the most impressive teams in college basketball. 

 ⤴️ means a team is higher than where it stood last week, ⤵️ indicates a drop and 🔄 means no change from last Thursday. 

Hey Nineteen: Norlander's College Hoops Power Rankings
⤴️  Last week: No. 2
If indeed there are alternate universes and different versions of you, and me, and Louisville, and Duke, then the Blue Devils (22-2) are probably third or fourth in those power rankings. But what just happened last week: Duke had its best game of the season in winning at Virginia, then pulled off the biggest comeback win ever under Mike Krzyzewski. That's either telling us that Duke is capable of the incredible almost whenever it wants -- or it's never going to better than what we just saw.
⤴️  Last week: No. 3
Vols fans are loving their team being No. 1 in the polls yet again, holding off Duke after its conquest of Gonzaga. Weirdly, UT (23-1) has not won against a ranked team since the Gonzaga defeat more than two months ago. Finally, Saturday, a chance for another huge win. Tennessee at Kentucky. I'll be there for the best game this weekend.                          
⤵️  Last week: No. 1  
The Cavs (21-2) don't slip far, not after winning Monday night in the Dean Smith Center. I'm fortunate enough to say that, by the end of Saturday night, I'll have watched five of the top eight teams in these Power Rankings.  Here's my column from Chapel Hill on how Virginia took the Duke loss and turned into a North Carolina win.                      
🔄  Last week: No. 4       
The question with the Bulldogs (23-2) isn't when they're going to lose, but what their closest win is going to be. Gonzaga is beating league opponents by an absolutely absurd average margin of 31.1 points. projects the season finale at Saint Mary's to be a nine-point spread.    
⤴️  Last week: No. 6
The Wolf Pack (23-1) will continue to get respect and be highly rated in the Power Rankings, which is small consolation for what  I addressed in this week's Court Report. The reality is, even if Nevada Gonzagas its opponents and wins by an average of 30 points, lack of key nonconference wins will keep this team from getting a No. 1 seed. If a second loss comes, I kind of think a 3 is the ceiling.                       
⤵️  Last week: No. 5  
No need to ding the Wildcats (20-4) after a competitive and controversial loss at home to LSU. Let's talk real quick on that ending. In speaking with a few officiating folks, it seems likely that, in May, the rules committee will address monitor reviews for goaltending. There are unintended consequences that come with this, though, like goaltending calls that aren't, or the fear that officials will just never call goaltending as they know they can rely on the monitor. This was discussed two years ago and didn't change.
🔄  Last week: No. 7               
The Cougars (23-1) got a tight game on Sunday at home against a Cincinnati team that for sure would have popped into the Power Rankings with a win. Houston's only loss this season was by four points at Temple on an iffy charge call. But something tells me the Coogs' game at UConn on Thursday night is going to be close with a minute to go.
⤴️  Last week: No. 12
Perhaps the three-game losing streak was a bumpy blip for the Spartans (20-5). Michigan State should be 22-5 by the time next week's rankings update: the next two games come at home against Ohio State and Rutgers
⤴️  Last week: No. 17
The Tigers (20-4) might seem like a surprise team in the top 10 now, but back in the preseason this was the group who was considered to be the most practical sleeper Final Four team. LSU has multiple former five-stars on the roster, a tremendous point guard in Tremont Waters and a legit frontcourt. It's all coming together for Will Wade's players. The Tigers are projected to finish 15-3 in the SEC.                                                     
🔄  Last week: No. 10      
In this moment, I absolutely believe UNC (19-5) to be one of the 10 best teams in college basketball. Completely trustworthy? No. Completely healthy? Also no. I'd have UNC ranked No. 8 with a clearer picture on the team's health. It could have won vs. Virginia but slipped and couldn't contain Ty Jerome, De'Andre Hunter and Kyle Guy. Coby White's success may dictate the Heels' March fate.
⤵️  Last week: No. 8  
Falling to Penn State puts the Wolverines (22-3) outside the top 10 of the Power Rankings for the first time this season. The game will be remembered for its historic moment: John Beilein was ejected, marking the first time in his career as a head coach at the college level he was tossed from a game. The bigger issue is Michigan's offense, which now ranks 34th in adjusted efficiency.
⤴️  Last week: No. 15
Still trailing Villanova by a game in the Big East, but it's only fair to give Marquette (21-4) a slight edge in the Power Rankings over their intra-league foes. Markus Howard is the reason. He's becoming college basketball's version of James Harden; Howard's had 30-plus points in four of his last five games and is fourth in scoring nationally (25.6). 
⤵️  Last week: No. 10          
The Wildcats (20-5) bounced back from that close loss to Marquette over the weekend by handling Providence on Wednesday night and effectively ending the Friars' at-large hopes. Nova's under-the-radar stud has been Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, who is now No. 3 in the country in offensive rebound percentage (16.6). Phil Booth is the MVP and Eric Paschall is the matchup puzzle, but Cosby-Roundtree will not be stopped under and around the rim.                           
🔄  Last week: No. 14
Bulls star C.J. Massinburg has a season-long offensive rating of 135.0. That's top-five in America. The 21-3 Bulls won by six Tuesday at Akron and now have another tricky test on the road Friday: at Toledo. That's a game that almost half the teams in these rankings would lose, so if UB gets clipped, I'm still not going to be ready to drop it entirely out of the Nineteen. 
⤴️  Last week: unranked
 The Wildcats (19-5) make their Power Rankings debut, perhaps even a week overdue. Bruce Weber's team is now two games up on the competition in the Big 12 and have these three upcoming: home vs. Iowa State, at West Virginia, home vs. Oklahoma State. Pick the order you'd like, but going 2-1 in that stretch would keep K-State comfortably atop the standings before the final two weeks offer bigger challenges.
⤵️  Last week: No. 11         
If you missed it over the weekend, the Cyclones (18-6) took a weird home loss, 92-83, to shorthanded TCU. That game could wind up being what prevents ISU from winning the Big 12 regular season title. This is still inarguably the most talented team in the conference, but it's sort of UNC-lite in how it seems to give away a game here or there that it shouldn't. 
⤴️  Last week: No. 18.
What a beatdown provided by the 20-5 Red Raiders at Oklahoma State on Wednesday night. Chris Beard's team, on the road, won 78-50 -- and if TTU didn't want OSU to crack 40, it probably wouldn't have. Next three come at home for this team: Baylor on Saturday, then a week off before hosting Kansas, then Oklahoma State has to endure that again.
⤴️  Last week: unranked  
The 19-5 Seminoles sneak back in -- and deservedly so. They've won six straight and are 7-4 in the ACC. A big reason for that is how well FSU has defended 2-point field goals in the league: 44.7 percent 2-point defense is second-best in the ACC. The emergence of sophomore center Mfiondu Kabengele has been huge. He could now be the Noles' most valuable asset.
⤴️  Last week: unranked.
Only Kansas State matches Virginia Tech (19-5) with most road losses (four) among teams in these here rankings. I gotta say, this was the biggest toss-up for No. 19 I've had all season. Had Lipscomb defeated Liberty on Wednesday night, I was ready to give the Bisons this spot. Instead, Va. Tech wins out over Maryland, Washington, Iowa and Cincinnati.                        

Dropped out: Louisville, Wisconsin, Purdue

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his ninth season reporting on college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics... Full Bio

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