College Basketball Power Rankings: Ohio State right behind No. 1 Louisville after its big win at UNC
The debut version of the 2019-20 college hoops power rankings also features DePaul in the top 10!
It's great to pull the power rankings out of the cupboard and have 'em up for display again for the remainder of the regular season.
But before we get to rankin', a reminder: my every-Thursday offering is not compiled nor should be used as a comparison to theassorted by the estimable Gary Parrish. His methods are not my methods, my methods are not his methods. I am assembling teams on a trend line, ranking them in terms of recent play and how impressive (or not) they were in their most recent four, five, six games. I am not evaluating teams' overall resume in the way one would for Bracketology, either.
In simple terms: I'm trying to give you 19 teams each Thursday that have been relevant and winning more often than not in the prior few weeks. How teams fare in multiple metrics is also baked in when necessary. You know, the usual power rankings stuff. And within this, hopefully I can help you learn more interesting material about the teams you're already watching as the season grows up.
Courteous feedback is always encouraged: tweet me at @MattNorlander.
This is my Hey Nineteen in honor of the great Steely Dan.
|It can be nobody but Louisville in the spot. The 8-0 Cardinals are No. 1 atop not just both the major polls, but almost every predictive metric as well. They're holding on to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in six seasons. They're the only team at KenPom ranking in the top-10 in offensive and defensive efficiency. With the 58-43 smothering of a Michigan team Tuesday night that came in averaging 80-plus, Louisville became the second team ever in a top-five matchup to hold the other top-five team under 45 points. Chris Mack, you're the front-runner for now for national coach of the year.|
|Well, well. The Buckeyes are the best team in college basketball according to Bart Torvik's rankings (which are like a cousin to KenPom). An easy call in light of Ohio State logging its second 25-point victory over a team ranked in the top 10. In November, Chris Holtmann's crew wiped up Villanova by 25, then made an even more impressive statement but sprinting away from a shorthanded North Carolina team in Chapel Hill. According to ESPN's stats and information department, only three times before has a team knocked of two top-10-level squads by at least 25 points in the same season. All those teams went on to claim the national championship.|
|At 9-0, Maryland is off to its best start since 1998-99. The Terps flung Notre Dame around and won by 21 on Wednesday, cementing their status in the top three of the debut of this year's power rankings. Mark Turgeon's got a strong core four: Anthony Cowan, Jalen Smith, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala. I even like what Darryl Morsell can do as a glue-guy type. While college hoops has had a lot of noise near the top of the polls through the first five weeks, Maryland's one of just a few teams projected top 15 in the preseason to take care of its business each game so far.|
|The Jayhawks' only loss came by two points in the season opener on a neutral court against Duke. And that game featured the freaky: 28 Kansas turnovers, the most ever for a Bill Self-coached Jayhawks squad. Since then, KU's found its stride, highlighted by a hard-fought Maui Invitational championship with a 90-84 title-game win over a Dayton team that was under strong consideration to crack these power rankings. Intriguing game awaits Saturday: Kansas will host undefeated Colorado, which could have its best team in 20-plus years.|
|Hey! Don't be shocked. Butler is 8-0 and has four wins over top-75 KenPom teams, which is more than almost anyone else on this list. Here's an encouraging sign for BU fans: the past two times Butler started a season 8-0, Chris Hotlmann coached the team to the Sweet 16 in 2016-17, and Brad Stevens coached the Bulldogs to a title-game loss against Duke in 2009-10. Florida comes to town Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Nice game, that.|
|It's tough to slot Duke. The Blue Devils are 8-1, but that one loss is the worst home loss in program history. Blue Devils' three best wins are against Kansas, Georgetown and Michigan State. The style in which Duke won its road game against MSU Tuesday is why Duke is pushed so high. Vernon Carey Jr. has been a revelation, and there's potential for Carey and Tre Jones to become a top-three inside-out duo in college hoops. However, keep an eye on Friday, as Duke plays at Virginia Tech in ACC play. It's a weird time for the game, but that's what happens when you go to 20 conference tilts. You can't fit them all in after the start of the New Year.|
|The Tigers made the Final Four last season, lost in unusual and heartbreaking fashion to Virginia ... and yet have been totally under the radar despite starting 7-0. Consider this: Bruce Pearl's record the past three seasons in nonconference play: 40-5. And Auburn hasn't scheduled three baking sheets of cupcakes. The Tigers host Furman Thursday night and are highly probable to be a staple in the AP Top 25 for at least the next three weeks.|
|Had Michigan won at Louisville, I'd have put the Wolverines at No. 1 in the debut of these here rankings. So I won't ding 'em too hard for the loss. Juwan Howard's team is 7-1 with the most impressive three-game win streak to date in the sport: wins against Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Has also defeated Creighton (6-2) and still rates No. 1 in Massey.|
|HOW ABOUT DEPAUL! The Blue Demons can boast four wins vs. teams from power conferences, which is tops in the sport. Wednesday's night's OT victory against Texas Tech launched Dave Leitao's team into the power rankings -- and into the top 10. It's weird and I love it. DePaul, which last made the NCAA Tournament in 2004 (under Leitao in his first stint as the coach of the Blue Demons!) is 9-0 and riding its longest win streak since 1993-94. The last time DePaul started 9-0 was the mid-1980s. This is one of the sweetest stories through the first month of the season.|
|The Wildcats have yet to play a road game (that comes Saturday against 6-1 Baylor), but I've seen Arizona four times and it's going to be a good team that gets a good seed for the NCAA Tournament. Nico Mannion meeting, if not exceeding, expectation has led to Zeke Nnaji not receiving as much attention and credit as he's deserved -- except here at CBS. Arizona is only getting the ball stolen from its offense 4.1% of the time, which is the lowest rate in college basketball.|
|The Miller brothers have their teams back-to-back in this debut edition. After Arizona and Indiana (8-0) both had letdown seasons in 2018-19, both the Wildcats and Hoosiers are tracking toward getting back to the Big Dance. Indiana is also yet to play a road game -- or even a neutral-site game -- but that will change with the test against middling Wisconsin on Saturday. The Hoosiers have a strong standing here not just because they rolled No. 17 Florida State by 16 on Tuesday, but because their average margin of victory this season is 22.0.|
|I'm the jinx. Naturally, after Purdue. But this is still a 7-1 team allowing opponents only 43.9 points per game, including a sport's-best 34.2% 2-point field goal percentage defense. The offense is YIKES, and next comes a home game against UNC.thoroughly laid out the case for Virginia's to-that-point historic defense, the Cavaliers go on to lose by 29 points and give up by far their most of the season in a 69-40 smackdown at|
|I see you, Aztecs. With a 22-point win Wednesday night at Colorado State, SDSU is 9-0 for only the second time in program history. The wins have been impressive: BYU, Creighton, Iowa. Three road victories already, more than any other team in the power rankings. Really good defense has returned to San Diego. The unranked Aztecs are building a convincing case as the best team in the Mountain West -- over Utah State, which is No. 25 in the AP Top 25.|
|The only team in the power rankings to have played 10 games through the first 31 days of the season. Gonzaga sits at 9-1, its lone loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game against Michigan. It has a road win against rebuilding Texas A&M and an overtime victory on a neutral against Oregon. Mark Few's had a top-35 offense the past eight seasons and will clear that bar easily again in 2019-20, as the Bulldogs currently rank fourth in offensive efficiency at KenPom.|
|There are 16 undefeated teams still standing. It feels like the two quietest from power conferences are SMU (which was under consideration but did not make the power rankings) and West Virginia. Bob Huggins has a top-20 freshman in Oscar Tshiebwe. The Mountaineers have three combined road and neutral victories, five of their seven wins coming against top-100 KenPom teams. Next up is at St. John's Saturday.|
|Another undefeated team, sitting at 7-0 with its best wins over Arizona State and Clemson. CU hasn't been 7-0 since 1982-83, and this team's better than it's currently receiving credit for. Will probably be the case until at least mid-January, but so long as it continues to win, it will receive love here. There is a problem though: Colorado has to play at Kansas on Saturday. Tall task. A win there and I'd probably have to put the Buffs in the top 10 next week.|
|Obi Toppin has given us the cockiest highlight of the season so far. Dayton is 6-1, checking in at No. 19 in the AP Top 25, looks like the best team in an improved Atlantic 10. Toppin has inarguably been a top-10 player of value and statistical impact through the first month of the season. The Flyers' only loss came in overtime of the Maui Invitational title game against Kansas. This is the No. 1 2-point offense in hoops (67.4%, which is outstanding). Stick around, Dayton. We like seeing ya here.|
|The final two spots here were tough calls. Oregon, Kentucky, Xavier, Arkansas and Purdue were all heavily considered. I'm putting Baylor at 18 because the Bears have a solid win over Villanova, rank the best across the board in the metrics vs. those other teams, with the exception of Purdue, which I can't include due to three losses at this stage. Know this: the Bears are going to earn their keep. They host undefeated Arizona Saturday (free admission because of Baylor's Big 12 title game happening simultaneously; how cool is that), then host undefeated Butler on Tuesday. Two wins there would virtually guarantee Scott Drew's team is top 10 in these rankings next Thursday.|
|Volunteer fans, this will probably bring you joy: I actually had Kentucky in this spot until the final few minutes before sending my file in. I can't have UK above UT right now. The Vols have a better record (7-1 vs. 6-1) and have the better loss. Tennessee fell by three points on a neutral floor to 7-2 Florida State. Kentucky lost at home to Evansville, which is now 6-3 and still doesn't crack the top 150 of any predictive metric. Congrats to Rick Barnes on keeping this program on the steady after losing critical pieces Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield. The team is off for finals and won't play against until vs. Memphis on Dec. 14.|
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