College Basketball Power Rankings: Duke Leads ACC-Heavy Contingent at the Top

A stunning Kentucky loss this week paved the way for the Blue Devils to top our first power rankings.
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We're a week and a half into the college basketball season, and we've already seen two AP No. 1 teams fall. Many teams are still awaiting their first test of the season, some of whom won't get it until Thanksgiving week tournaments. It can be tough to sort through and balance the narratives of résumé vs. expectations this early, so SI's power rankings start with a mix of preseason reputations and on-court results.

Top 25 Power Rankings

1. Duke (3-0)

The Blue Devils have cruised in the two games since their narrow opening win over Kansas. Duke's defense, which forced 28 turnovers against the Jayhawks, appears to be ahead of schedule despite several new pieces. The offense is hoping Tre Jones's outside shot (1 for 9 from three so far) comes around soon.

Up Next: vs. Georgia State, 2K Empire Classic

2. Louisville (3-0)

The Cardinals already have a road win over a power conference team (at Miami), which is more than most teams can say at this juncture. Darius Perry's 12-assist outing vs. Youngstown State was an encouraging sign that he could be the answer for this team at point guard.

Up Next: vs. North Carolina Central, vs. USC Upstate

3. Michigan State (2-1)

The Spartans got the marquee win we all expected—it just came a week late. After falling to Kentucky in the Champions Classic, the Spartans were on the winning end of a close one on Thursday night in New Jersey, overcoming Myles Powell's 37 points to win by three. Most encouraging for MSU might have been the play of Malik Hall, who was perfect from the field for 17 points off the bench.

Up Next: vs. Charleston Southern

4. North Carolina (2-0)

It's only been two games, but Cole Anthony looks like the real deal. The point guard struggled shooting against UNC Wilmington (7 for 24), but it seems clear this Tar Heels team will go as far as he can carry it.

Up Next: vs. Gardner Webb, vs. Elon

5. Kansas (1-1)

The Jayhawks' 28-turnover performance against Duke won't be forgotten anytime soon. Right now, the big question for Kansas is how Bill Self opts to deploy his lineup; he's been starting 7'0" Udoka Azubuike and 6'10" David McCormack, but this team might have a better shot at playing to its potential with four guards on the floor.

6. Maryland (2-0)

Through two games, the biggest takeaway about the Terps is their increased tempo. Their 76 shots against Holy Cross were their most in a regulation game under Mark Turgeon, and there's clearly been a concerted effort to run, with even big men looking to hit the outlet after a rebound. Now the question: will it last? 

Up Next: vs. Oakland, vs. Fairfield

7. Ohio State (3-0)

The Buckeyes blitzed Villanova at home in the Gavitt Games for an early statement win, holding the Wildcats to their lowest points per possession since a blowout loss to Michigan one year ago. Pair it with a home win over Cincinnati and that's a strong start to Ohio State's résumé.

Up Next: vs. Stetson

8. Oregon (3-0)

After a pair of impressive wins over Mountain West foes, the Ducks withstood multiple Memphis runs to win a top-20 battle by eight in Portland. Newcomer Anthony Mathis is on a tear from deep right now, going a combined 13 for 16 in his last two games.

Up Next: vs. UT Arlington

9. Gonzaga (3-0)

The Bulldogs have blown past three easy opponents, but get a potentially tricky Texas A&M team on the road on Friday night. Big man Filip Petrusev (19.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 66.7% shooting) has looked the part so far, but stiffer competition awaits.

Up Next: at Texas A&M, vs. UT Arlington

10. Virginia (2-0)

The Cavaliers' first two opponents (Syracuse and James Madison) have each scored just 34 points. It's masked some early offensive concerns (including a 16% mark from three), which were probably to be expected given all Virginia lost, but its famous defense doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

Up Next: vs. Columbia, vs. Vermont

11. Texas Tech (3-0)

The Red Raiders are another team that has yet to be even remotely tested, but they've looked good throughout three routs. Crucial newcomers freshman Jahmi'us Ramsey and transfer TJ Holyfield have impressed.

Up Next: vs. Tennessee State

12. Arizona (3-0)

The young Wildcats, who start three freshmen and two seniors, have already started to turn some heads. Nico Mannion and Arizona erupted in the second half against Illinois to win by 21, then dismantled a bad San Jose State team on Thursday night to win by 48. Center Zeke Nnaji was only the third-highest ranked Wildcat in the 2019 class, but he's been stellar so far, averaging 21.7 points on 81% shooting.

Up Next: vs. New Mexico State, vs. South Dakota State

13. Kentucky (2-1)

The Wildcats would've had the No. 1 spot in these rankings had they not gone and laid an egg at home against Evansville on Tuesday. This Purple Aces team is not the same one that won just 11 games last season, and Ashton Hagans was apparently playing hurt, but this is still an unacceptable loss for John Calipari's group. The way Evansville successfully attacked big man Nate Sestina will be noted by future Kentucky opponents.

Up Next: vs. Utah Valley

14. Seton Hall (2-1)

Myles Powell and the Pirates gave Michigan State everything they could handle on Thursday night, but came up just short in a three-point loss. Still, there's something to be said about going toe-to-toe with the Spartans, especially considering Powell was likely not at 100% despite scoring 37 points.

Up Next: at Saint Louis

15. Washington (2-0)

The new-look Huskies announced themselves with a comeback win over Baylor last week, and they have another early test against Tennessee this weekend. Junior Nahziah Carter looks like he may be ready to breakout this season.

Up Next: vs. Tennessee, vs. Maine

16. Memphis (2-1)

The spotlight has shone brightly on the Tigers in the last week amidst the James Wiseman saga, and after falling to Oregon in Portland, Memphis declared the forward ineligible on Thursday and will apply for reinstatement with the NCAA. Now it's a waiting game to see if he'll get to return this season. Without him, the team's ceiling is considerably lower but still holds a breadth of talent.

Up Next: vs. Alcorn State, vs. Little Rock

17. Utah State (3-0)

Sophomore Neemias Queta has yet to suit up for the Aggies as he rehabs a summer knee injury, and Utah State had some nervy moments in its opener without its budding star but has since righted the ship. The Aggies won't get tested until a Nov. 22 game with LSU.

Up Next: vs. North Carolina A&T, vs. UTSA

18. Xavier (3-0)

The Musketeers needed overtime to hold off Missouri at home in their first test, but their defense held the Tigers to just 0.72 points per possession and a 40% mark inside the arc. Xavier is shooting just 20.6% from the perimeter through three games.

Up Next: vs. Missouri State, Charleston Classic

19. Texas (3-0)

A road win over Purdue last weekend was a much-needed early résumé-booster in a pivotal year for the Longhorns and Shaka Smart. Sophomore big man Gerald Liddell is already showing breakout potential after a limited role as a freshman.

Up Next: vs. Prairie View A&M, 2K Empire Classic

20. Marquette (2-0)

The Golden Eagles showed a lot of mettle in coming back from 18 down to topple Purdue at home, and newcomer Koby McEwen's 23-point effort is exactly the kind of performance Marquette needs to complement and draw defensive attention away from Markus Howard. Now a road trip to in-state foe Wisconsin awaits.

Up Next: at Wisconsin

21. VCU (3-0)

Despite blowing a 15-point first-half lead, the Rams held on to defeat LSU for a crucial win not just for them, but also the A-10 as a whole. VCU forced a whopping 26 turnovers and had five double-digit scorers (led by Marcus Santos-Silva's 17) in the victory.

Up Next: vs. Jacksonville State

22. Villanova (1-1)

After a convincing blowout of Army, the Wildcats were brought back to earth in a 25-point road loss to Ohio State that they were out of from the jump. Villanova started two freshmen and a sophomore, and it's too early to sound the alarm here ('Nova is also yet to have five-star guard Bryan Antoine available), but the 'Cats were simply outclassed on both ends in this one and have plenty of work to do.

Up Next: vs. Ohio, Myrtle Beach Invitational

23. Oklahoma (3-0)

The Sooners have been one of the pleasant surprises of the first week-and-a-half, beating Minnesota on a neutral floor and Oregon State in Portland. Neither of those wins are earth shattering, but they're the kind that start building a résumé and will make a difference come March. Sharpshooting Wichita State transfer Austin Reaves is averaging 17 points despite shooting just 33% from three so far.

Up Next: vs. William & Mary, vs. UMES

24. Florida (2-1)

What's going on with the Gators? Their preseason top-10 buzz has been put on the shelf for now after scoring just 51 points in a double-digit loss to Florida State and being taken down to the wire by Towson. Florida's shooting is ice cold so far, sitting 310th from three at 23.7% and 243rd from two at 45.2%. It took point guard Andrew Nembhard nearly three full games to take his first free throws of the season, and guards Tre Mann and Noah Locke have a combined 16 total points in their last two games.

25. Colorado (1-0)

The Buffaloes' lone game so far was, interestingly enough, a non-conference matchup with fellow Pac-12 foe Arizona State. McKinley Wright IV led the way with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Tyler Bey posted a double double to help Colorado dominate on the boards, 48-to-36.

Up Next: vs. San Diego, vs. UC Irvine

FIVE MORE: Baylor, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Michigan