- With Thanksgiving week tournaments over, the college basketball landscape looks plenty different than it did just a week ago.
Thanksgiving week has come and gone, and it brought a lot of changes to the college basketball landscape. No. 1 Duke fell to Gonzaga on the island of Maui, but the Bulldogs aren't the only ones who can make a claim to the top spot. Meanwhile, upsets in plenty of other tournaments created a lot of movement in our top 25, including the return of Villanova.
Our Week 3 Power Rankings are below, but first, some notable performances—for better or for worse—from last week's top 25...
Five on the Rise
The five most impressive team performances of the last week:
Kansas: The Jayhawks captured the NIT Tip-Off title by showing off their depth to outlast a talented Tennessee team in overtime, two nights after holding off Marquette. They now have two top-10 wins on their résumé, both on a neutral court. It was a very tough call between Kansas and Gonzaga for the below No. 1 spot, but KU’s overall body of work gives it the edge—for now.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs made waves by taking the Maui Invitational crown, and their big win over No. 1 Duke obscured the fact that they were a few bounces away from losing to Illinois two nights earlier in the quarterfinals. The most impressive aspect of the Zags’ week, however, was that they did it without Killian Tillie, their leading returning scorer who was their most efficient and best shooter last season. Tillie remains out while recovering from a stress fracture in his ankle.
Michigan State: The Spartans looked the part in their first test since a Champions Classic loss to Kansas, beating UCLA by 20 and then coming back from a huge early hole to defeat Texas for the Las Vegas Invitational crown. This was a nice response by a veteran team and a strong two-day performance by Joshua Langford, who scored 29 against the Longhorns and made 5 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Virginia: Unlike last year, the Battle 4 Atlantis stuck to the script this time. After a too-close-for-comfort semifinal win over Dayton, the Cavaliers put the clamps on Wisconsin’s offense in the final and rode De'Andre Hunter’s 20 points and nine rebounds. Tony Bennett's Pack-Line Defense once again looks like one of college basketball's very best.
Villanova: The Wildcats followed up their no good, very bad week with a strong showing to win the AdvoCare Invitational. After easily taking care of Canisius and Oklahoma State, they defeated Florida State in the final in a hard-fought, physical battle. And notably, Villanova hit just three three-pointers against the Seminoles, instead finding another way to win by attacking FSU off the dribble.
Not Their Best Work
Three teams from last week's top 25 that had a bad or middling week:
North Carolina: The Tar Heels were the perceived, if narrow, favorite to win the Las Vegas Invitational, but they didn't even make it to the championship game after falling to Texas on Thanksgiving. The offense looks strong and freshman Coby White is a budding star, but the defensive concerns can't be ignored right now.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers looked like a shell of the team most expected in an 18-point loss to Texas Tech. The offense went missing, scoring just 52 points and 0.79 per possession, and its three-point shooting woes persist after a 5-for-23 effort from the perimeter.
UCLA: The Bruins tumbled out of our top 25 after an 0–2 showing in Las Vegas. Losses to Michigan State and North Carolina are nothing to suggest it's time to hit the panic button, but UCLA had a dismal half against both that can't have had it feeling too good on the way back to Westwood.
Mid-Major Thumbs Up
(Mid-major team outside the top 25 that nonetheless deserves praise for its week)
Lipscomb: The Bisons already have three true road wins this season, and last Tuesday, they got their first-ever victory over a top-25 team by knocking off No. 18 TCU by nine points. Lipscomb brought back the eighth-highest percentage of minutes continuity in the country, per kenpom.com, and is taking advantage early on.
Top 25 Power Rankings
1. Kansas (5–0)
Last Week (2): beat Marquette, beat Tennessee
Up Next: vs. Stanford
2. Gonzaga (6–0)
Last Week (3): beat Illinois, beat Arizona, beat Duke
Up Next: vs. North Dakota State, at Creighton
3. Duke (5–1)
Last Week (1): beat San Diego State, beat Auburn, lost to Gonzaga
Up Next: vs. Indiana, vs. Stetson
4. Virginia (6–0)
Last Week (5): beat Middle Tennessee, beat Dayton, beat Wisconsin
Up Next: at Maryland
5. Nevada (6–0)
Last Week (6): beat Cal Baptist, beat Tulsa, beat UMass
Up Next: at Loyola-Chicago, at USC
6. Tennessee (4–1)
Last Week (4): beat Louisville, lost to Kansas
Up Next: vs. Eastern Kentucky, vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi
7. Auburn (5–1)
Last Week (7): beat Xavier, lost to Duke, beat Arizona
Up Next: vs. Saint Peter's
8. Michigan (6–0)
Last Week (9): beat Chattanooga
Up Next: vs. North Carolina, vs. Purdue
9. Michigan State (5–1)
Last Week (13): beat UCLA, beat Texas
Up Next: at Louisville, at Rutgers
10. Kentucky (5–1)
Last Week (10): beat Winthrop, beat Tennessee State
Up Next: vs. Monmouth, vs. UNC Greensboro
11. Kansas State (6–0)
Last Week (12): beat Missouri, beat Lehigh
Up Next: at Marquette
12. Virginia Tech (5–0)
Last Week (16): beat St. Francis (PA)
Up Next: at Penn State, vs. Central Connecticut
13. North Carolina (6–1)
Last Week (8): lost to Texas, beat UCLA
Up Next: at Michigan
14. Iowa (5–0)
Last Week (20): beat Alabama State
Up Next: vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Wisconsin
15. Buffalo (5–0)
Last Week (19): beat Dartmouth, beat Marist
Up Next: Belfast Classic in Ireland
16. Purdue (5–1)
Last Week (23): beat Robert Morris
Up Next: at Florida State, at Michigan
17. Florida State (5–1)
Last Week (11): beat Canisius, beat UAB, beat LSU, lost to Villanova
Up Next: vs. Purdue
18. Texas (5–1)
Last Week (NR): beat North Carolina, lost to Michigan State
Up Next: vs. Radford
19. Texas Tech (6–0)
Last Week (NR): beat USC, beat Nebraska, beat Northern Colorado
Up Next: vs. Dartmouth, vs. Marist
20. Ohio State (6–0)
Last Week (NR): beat Samford, beat Cleveland State
Up Next: vs. Syracuse, vs. Minnesota
21. Arizona State (5–0)
Last Week (NR): beat Mississippi State, beat Utah State
Up Next: vs. Nebraska Omaha, vs. Texas Southern
22. Furman (7–0)
Last Week (24): beat UNC Asheville
Up Next: vs. Western Carolina
23. Villanova (5–2)
Last Week (NR): beat Canisius, beat Oklahoma State, beat Florida State
Up Next: at La Salle
24. Indiana (5–1)
Last Week (25): beat UT Arlington, beat UC Davis
Up Next: at Duke, vs. Northwestern
25. Mississippi State (4–1)
Last Week (14): lost to Arizona State, beat Saint Mary's
Up Next: vs. Alcorn State, at Dayton
Dropped Out: Clemson, UCLA, LSU, Nebraska, Wisconsin
Next Man Up
Three teams on the top-25 fringe:
Wisconsin: While the Badgers brought back their entire core from last season, their Battle 4 Atlantis loss to Virginia was a reminder of where they can improve. Ethan Happ did his thing, but no one else was able to step up against a tough defense.
Maryland: The Terps beat a good Marshall team at its own game and hung 104 points in a 37-point rout, and now have a major challenge coming to town in the form of Virginia on Wednesday. (ACC throwback, anyone?)
Clemson: The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season in the Cayman Islands Classic final to Creighton. It's a game Clemson should've been favored in on paper, but Marcquise Reed couldn't get going from three despite a 27-point effort.