College basketball power rankings: Unbeatens Auburn, San Diego State jump into top five, behind Gonzaga, Duke
Butler, Baylor, Memphis also surprisingly holding firm easily within our top 10
The turning of the calendar brings a new energy, excitement, optimism and prism on the season ahead.
After a holiday week away, the Hey Nineteen power rankings return with some overhaul, as you might expect. While No. 1 stays the same, no other spot held static the past two weeks. There are more West Coast Conference team than Pac-12 teams. The American Athletic Conference has as many team as the SEC.
And after the seventh team, things get tough to sort out. League play is underway and we've got a beefy weekend slate to help us get even a little clearer of an idea of which teams should be sorted where. As always, a reminder that these power rankings are a reflection of recent performance and dominance -- or lack thereof. I do not take into account an entire team's schedule. I'm grading on a curve of the past six, seven, eight games.
That said, let's look at the first assortment for 2020. Happy New Year. What will the next week -- let alone three months -- bring?
|🔄 Previous: No. 1 | The Zags (14-1) hold firm as the best team in college basketball as we slide into 2020. The WCC schedule gets going on Thursday night with a road game against Portland. The Pilots have played Gonzaga far more than any other opponent (140 times), but Portland has only one win (in 2014) vs. Gonzaga dating back to 2003. Yeah. Wow.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 3 | The Blue Devils (12-1) are living nicely again thanks to the return of Tre Jones, who missed two games due to injury. Fair to say that at this point, even with the home loss to Stephen F. Austin, things have gone overall as well as Duke could have expected given the influx of freshmen. Duke looks as stable, or more so, than any team in the ACC with league play underway.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 4 | So we've officially hit 2020 and the Tigers (12-0) are receiving as little amount of pub and recognition for an undefeated team in a power conference that I can ever remember. And this team made last season's Final Four! The problem in part is Auburn has yet to play a game vs. a ranked team. It's nonconference strength of schedule per the NET: 25th. Good! Per KenPom: 136. That's ... a gap. Hmm.|
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 9 | The two unbeaten teams still standing make the top four. The Aztecs sit at 14-0 with a humongous road game against Utah State on Saturday. The Aggies played Wednesday night ... and lost by 17 at UNLV. So what we have in the Mountain West, for the second straight season, is an overwhelming preseason favorite -- a team thought to be preseason top-20 quality -- hitting the stumbles. Nevada last season, Utah State now. SDSU can be king of the hill with a road win this weekend.|
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 6 | The Bulldogs (13-1) are holding foes to 53.9 points per game, best of any team in the Power Rankings. They'd clearly be a No. 1 seed if the NCAA Tournament started today. Butler holds to a top-five ranking here despite blowing a 23-point lead at St. John's on Tuesday (and ultimately winning by a bucket). It gets the New Year's Eve exemption. |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 12 | The Bears (10-1) sit higher in the current coaches poll -- No. 4 -- than any other metric. Baylor's lone loss is by three in Alaska to Washington. Scott Drew is on the short list at this point for national coach of the year. |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 13 | The Tigers (12-1) getting this high without James Wiseman is a true stunner. Penny Hardaway and his staff have done an excellent job. Memphis is still the favorite in the AAC, but oddly, still just 29th at KenPom.|
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 15 | This is about where things get harder to sort out the squads. Oregon (11-2) is going to take the No. 8 spot thanks to a five-game winning streak that includes that OT win at Michigan three weeks back. By the by, senior PG Payton Pritchard is the only player in the sport averaging at least 19 points, six assists and four rebounds. . |
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 2 | The Jayhawks (10-2) are the No. 1-rated team in the Massey Composite, which takes into account ratings systems big and small, strong and wacky, and I have to say I'm a bit surprised by that. KU is just 1-2 vs. the three best teams it's played: Duke, Dayton and Villanova. None of those games came at home. The next one does, and it's a good one: West Virginia on Saturday.|
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 16 | The Shockers are an ideal example of how these power rankings work. You won't find Wichita State in the top 10 of any metric or poll, but in the past month they've played dominantly, displaying themselves as a top-10 team in that span while going 6-0 on the way to a 12-1 mark, including wins over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and VCU. Last noncon game of the season is Saturday at home vs. Ole Miss. |
| ⤴️ Previous: unranked | Let's gooooo, Mountaineers! Bounceback season for Bob Huggins' team was confirmed with last weekend's 67-59 win over Ohio State in Cleveland. WVU is 11-1, has a top-15 freshman in big Oscar Tshiebwe and one of the best players in the Big 12, Derek Culver. Huggins will be taking this team to the NCAA Tournament. |
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 5 | The Buckeyes (11-2) are slipping in the Hey Nineteen Power Rankings. Two losses in their last four games (Minnesota, WVU) will do that to you. Still think this can be the best team in the Big Ten. In the latest NET update, Ohio State holds at No. 3 -- behind San Diego State and Kansas.|
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 11 | For much of the season, the Flyers (11-2) have gotten by thanks to being the best 2-point-shooting team in America. At 63.1% from inside the arc, that remains true. Atlantic 10 play begins Thursday with a test on the road against La Salle. If Dayton is to be No. 3, 4 or 5-seed material come March, it wins such a game without too much congestion. |
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 7 | First off, Kentucky fans, I know what you're going to think before you think it. Louisville (11-2) loses at Kentucky and yet the Cards are still ranked higher. You want to know why. You want to be annoyed. But Kentucky had the game on its home floor -- and the Wildcats still have lost two of their past three. Your recent history will be used against you. Louisville drops seven spots. Kentucky is fighting to get into the rankings.|
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 8 | Losers of two of their past three. A team nobody truly knows how good or not it is. At 11-2, Terps fans must be satisfied with that record. Preseason top 10 team and you win 11 of the 13 before January. Have to take that. Now Anthony Cowan has to take the next step and hope Jalen Smith, Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins and Darryl Morsell know just how to move with him. I still believe in Maryland.|
| ⤴️ Previous: unranked | Nine of the Hogs' 11 wins have come vs. Quad 3 or 4 competition, but no matter: 11-1 is a much better record than anyone outside of Fayetteville was anticipating in Eric Musselman's first season. The 71-64 road victory against Indiana on Sunday cemented Arkansas' jump into the Hey Nineteen this week. A win vs. Texas A&M this weekend would give the Hogs their best start since 2008-09.|
|⤴️ Previous: unranked | The Gaels have the No. 5-rated offense, per KenPom. If that surprises you, it really shouldn't. SMC has had a top-25 offense in college hoops every season save two since 2009-10. The jump this season in because of 3-point shooting: Saint Mary's 42.7% clip is No. 1 in D-I heading into Thursday night. Gaels are 13-2 and face an intriguing road test against 11-4 San Francisco.|
| ⤴️ Previous: unranked | The Wildcats have not lost since Nov. 24 -- that was against Baylor -- and in their past two games have taken victories vs. Kansas and Xavier. At 10-2, things are starting to look stable for one of the powers of the East Coast. Jay Wright's team seems to be finding itself with each game, in terms of who fits into which roles. |
|⤴️ Previous: unranked | Every one-loss team except for Liberty is in the power rankings. Florida State will take the 19th spot over the Flames thanks to a five-game winning streak and a defense that's underrated at the moment but probably won't be by the end of January. The 12-2 Seminoles have a tough task to stick around, though. They play at Louisville on Saturday and then will have a game at Wake Forest next Wednesday, followed by Virginia at home.|
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