- Michigan was the star of the last week in college hoops, but the Wolverines weren't the only team to make a statement.
College basketball got an early taste of chaos this past week, and that's before a Thanksgiving week slate that feels bound to go off the rails. The defending champs lost twice—at home; Iowa, not Syracuse or Oregon, won the 2K Classic and Virginia Tech and Purdue played a Sunday night tilt in Charleston that felt like it could've taken place in March. While most of the top 10 took care of business, the back half of the rankings experienced a significant shuffle, and five teams dropped out entirely.
Our Week 2 power rankings are below, but first, some notable performances—for better or for worse—from last week's top 25...
The five most impressive team performances of the last week:
Michigan: Last year's runner-up got a chance at revenge at Villanova last week and made the most of it, clinically destroying the new-look defending champs and showing that the elite defense that propelled the Wolverines last March hasn't gone anywhere. And while 'Nova's subsequent loss to Furman may take a little shine off Michigan's achievement, the Wolverines showed no hangover effects in taking care of George Washington and Providence over the weekend to easily win the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. Senior Charles Matthews, freshman Ignas Brazdeikis and 7'1" junior Jon Teske all had memorable performances.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes surprised by winning the 2K Classic, first knocking off a ranked Oregon squad and then downing Connecticut in the final. Tyler Cook was his usual dominant self in the latter, and Connor McCaffery (yes, the son of head coach Fran) was an x-factor, scoring 19 against the Huskies. But the most encouraging sign for Iowa has to be holding both opponents under 1.0 points per possession, considering just how much an awful defense held this team back last season.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies have shaken off the indefinite suspension of Chris Clarke and the bizarre ACT score eligibility case surrounding freshman Landers Nolley to start 4–0, including an impressive comeback win over Purdue to capture the Charleston Classic crown on Sunday night. Nickeil Alexander-Walker has looked every bit of a budding breakout star so far, averaging 20.7 points through four games and dropping 25 on the Boilermakers.
Furman: While the majority of the country's sports fans were honed in on college football Saturday night, the Paladins were pulling off one of the most unlikely results of the young season in knocking off Villanova at Finneran Pavilion. The Wildcats clearly have several things to figure out right now, but Furman also already beat Loyola-Chicago on the road on a buzzer-beating dunk. That kind of early-season résumé gets you into our top 25.
Wisconsin: The Badgers looked great in a road win over Xavier, including a dynamite 30-point effort from senior big man Ethan Happ. But don't overlook the contributions of guard D'Mitrik Trice, who missed the majority of last season due to injury and has made a seamless return so far.
Not Their Best Work
Three teams from last week's top 25 that had a bad or middling week:
Villanova: The offseason attrition sustained by the reigning champs was felt this week as the Wildcats dropped back-to-back games for the first time since 2012–13. Both were bad in their own way: a non-competitive, 27-point home loss to Michigan that saw 'Nova score only 46 points and an overtime home loss to Furman that it entered as a 16-point favorite. It was enough to drop Villanova all the way out of our top 25 after checking in at eighth last week.
Syracuse: The Orange were thought by many to be the favorite heading into last week's 2K Classic in New York, but instead they left the event winless after losing to both UConn and Oregon. Syracuse is notably without point guard Frank Howard right now, but that's not a large enough factor to excuse the two-day showing nor a dreadful 11-for-50 team shooting effort from three.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles were our No. 25 team last week, but they looked overwhelmed in a 23-point road loss to Indiana and needed a big second-half to pull away from lowly Presbyterian. The defensive issues that have hindered Marquette in recent years were on display again in Bloomington.
Mid-Major Thumbs Up
(Mid-major team outside the top 25 that nonetheless deserves praise for its week)
Saint Louis: The Billikens moved to 4–0 on the season by edging Seton Hall on the road, 66–64, on Saturday, with Maryland transfer Dion Wiley scoring a game-high 17. The Pirates are in a bit of a transition year after graduating a stellar senior class, but they hadn't lost a non-conference home game since 2013. Saint Louis showed why it's considered by many to be the favorite in the Atlantic-10.
Top 25 Power Rankings
1. Duke (3–0)
Last Week (1): beat Eastern Michigan
Up Next: Maui Invitational
2. Kansas (3–0)
Last Week (2): beat Vermont, beat Louisiana
Up Next: vs. Marquette*, vs. Tennessee/Louisville*
3. Gonzaga (3–0)
Last Week (3): beat Texas A&M
Up Next: Maui Invitational
4. Tennessee (3–0)
Last Week (4): beat Georgia Tech
Up Next: vs. Louisville*, vs. Kansas/Marquette*
5. Virginia (3–0)
Last Week (5): beat Coppin State
Up Next: Battle 4 Atlantis
6. Nevada (3–0)
Last Week (6): beat Little Rock
Up Next: vs. Cal Baptist, Las Vegas Holiday Invitational
7. Auburn (2–0)
Last Week (7): beat Mississippi College (D-II)
Up Next: Maui Invitational
8. North Carolina (4–0)
Last Week (8): beat Stanford, beat Tennessee Tech
Up Next: vs. St. Francis (PA), vs. Texas*, vs. Michigan State/UCLA*
9. Michigan (5–0)
Last Week (15): beat Villanova, beat George Washington, beat Providence
Up Next: vs. Chattanooga
10. Kentucky (3–1)
Last Week (10): beat North Dakota, beat VMI
Up Next: vs. Winthrop, vs. Tennessee State
11. Florida State (2–0)
Last Week (11): OFF
Up Next: vs. Canisius, AdvoCare Invitational
12. Kansas State (4–0)
Last Week (12): beat Denver, beat Eastern Kentucky, beat Penn
Up Next: vs. Missouri*, vs. Lehigh
13. Michigan State (3–1)
Last Week (13): beat Louisiana Monroe, beat Tennessee Tech
Up Next: vs. UCLA*, vs. UNC/Texas*
14. Mississippi State (3–0)
Last Week (16): beat Long Beach State
Up Next: vs. Arizona State*, vs. Utah State/Saint Mary's*
15. Clemson (3–0)
Last Week (17): beat Sam Houston State
Up Next: Cayman Islands Classic
16. Virginia Tech (4–0)
Last Week (NR): beat Ball State, beat Northeastern, beat Purdue
Up Next: vs. St. Francis (PA)
17. UCLA (3–0)
Last Week (18): beat St. Francis (PA)
Up Next: vs. Presbyterian, vs. Michigan State*, vs. UNC/Texas*
18. LSU (4–0)
Last Week (20): beat Memphis, beat Louisiana Tech
Up Next: AdvoCare Invitational
19. Buffalo (3–0)
Last Week (22): beat Southern Illinois
Up Next: vs. Dartmouth, vs. Marist
20. Iowa (4–0)
Last Week (NR): beat Oregon, beat UConn
Up Next: vs. Alabama State
21. Nebraska (3–0)
Last Week (24): beat Seton Hall
Up Next: Hall of Fame Classic, vs. Western Illinois
22. Wisconsin (3–0)
Last Week (NR): beat Xavier
Up Next: Battle 4 Atlantis
23. Purdue (4–1)
Last Week (21): beat Appalachian State, beat Davidson, lost to Virginia Tech
Up Next: vs. Robert Morris
24. Furman (5–0)
Last Week (NR): beat D-II North Georgia, beat Villanova
Up Next: vs. D-II Southern Wesleyan, at UNC Asheville
25. Indiana (3–1)
Last Week (NR): beat Marquette, lost to Arkansas
Up Next: vs. UT Arlington, vs. UC Davis
Dropped Out: Villanova, Oregon, Syracuse, West Virginia, Marquette
Next Man Up
Three teams on the top-25 fringe:
Oregon: The Ducks were barely edged out above after falling to Iowa in New York, but they still salvaged their trip across the country by comfortably beating a Syracuse team that unexpectedly looks a bit lost right now.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes already have road wins over both Cincinnati and Creighton and have yet to allow more than 61 points through four games. They're knocking on the door here.
Iowa State: A trip to Maui that starts Monday night is a big opportunity for the Cyclones to show they're a lot different than last season's 13-win squad.