College Basketball Power Rankings: One Month in, Who's Impressing?

The Big Ten is crashing the top-five party in this week's power rankings, but it's an ACC school at No. 1.
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We're a month into the 2019-20 college basketball season, and already we've seen plenty of chaos. Three different AP No. 1 teams have lost (Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke—the latter two to unranked teams), while some unexpected teams have forced themselves onto the national radar through strong performances. Who got the nod in this week's Top 25 power rankings?

1. Louisville (8-0)

Jordan Nwora is playing like the National Player of the Year candidate that he is thus far for the Cardinals, who stifled Michigan at home on Tuesday for their first marquee win of the season. If Louisville can handle Pitt at home on Friday night, it'll be only the second AP No. 1 team this season (joining Duke) to get through a week unscathed.

2. Ohio State (8-0)

The Buckeyes already have a trio of KenPom top-50 wins, and two (over Villanova and at UNC) were 25-point blowouts. Ohio State, which kicks off Big Ten play at home against Penn State on Saturday, is looking like a true national contender.

3. Maryland (9-0)

The Terps have yet to face any truly elite teams this season, but they own five top-100 KenPom wins and are coming off back-to-back 21-point wins over Marquette and Notre Dame. A road game at 7–1 Penn State next week is sneaky tough.

4. Kansas (6-1)

The Jayhawks have had more than a week off since their Maui Invitational final win over Dayton. An important home game against Colorado awaits on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

5. Michigan (7-1)

We won't punish the Wolverines too much for losing on the road at No. 1. Their three-point shooting came back down to earth against a stingy Louisville defense, and if there's a key question about Michigan right now, it's whether it can find the offense to beat great teams on nights when its outside shot isn't falling.

6. Duke (8-1)

The Blue Devils have two of the best wins in the country so far—Kansas on a neutral court and Michigan State on the road—but also have that loss to sub-200 Stephen F. Austin. While this team will miss Cassius Stanley when he's sidelined, it could benefit in the long run if more consistent offensive options emerge outside Vernon Carey and Tre Jones.

7. Gonzaga (9-1)

The Bulldogs' Maui Invitational overtime win over Oregon is their only victory of note so far, but they've at least destroyed every team they should've. Things tighten up considerably now, with back-to-back road games at Washington and Arizona before a visit from UNC.

8. Kentucky (6-1)

Since losing to Evansville, the Wildcats have won four straight, but all were against middling competition. Maybe that's not a bad thing considering John Calipari's team has been banged up, including seeing Nate Sestina currently sidelined. The 'Cats need more out of EJ Montgomery, who is coming off an improved 16-point, eight-rebound showing against UAB.

9. Oregon (6–2)

The Ducks have played the toughest schedule so far of any power conference team, per KenPom, and their two losses (Gonzaga and UNC) came on back-to-back days by a combined five points. Anthony Mathis has cooled off from three of late, but is still hitting 48.8% on the season.

10. Baylor (6-1)

The Bears have been in a bit of a holding pattern since a Nov. 24 win over Villanova, but welcome Arizona to town this Saturday with a chance at a marquee win (assuming Nico Mannion and/or Josh Green play). Sophomore guard Jared Butler has been a revelation so far, making 52% of his 50 three-point attempts and leading the country in offensive rating among players used on at least 24% of possessions.

11. Auburn (8-0)

Despite not playing a top-50 opponent yet, the Tigers have faced a decent schedule, good for 93rd in the country. Auburn needed overtime to survive Furman on Thursday night, but the Paladins are no slouch. The lack of a true marquee opponent on its non-conference slate means there should be a degree of caution here for now, though.

12. Virginia (7-1)

The Cavaliers were brought back down to earth in a dismal offensive showing vs. Purdue, and there's reasons to be alarmed. UVA's still-No. 1 efficient defense had easily its worst outing of the season on Wednesday, but the Boilermakers deserve a lot of credit for the shots they hit.

13. Arizona (9-0)

The Wildcats are unbeaten but had a few closer-than-expected wins at the Wooden Legacy. Freshmen Zeke Nnaji, Nico Mannion and Josh Green are Arizona's three leading scorers, but the latter two are apparently questionable for Saturday's big showdown with Baylor in Waco.

14. Seton Hall (6-2)

Thanks to a scheduling quirk and a matchup that played out at the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Pirates are playing back-to-back games against Iowa State. They won the first in the Bahamas by eight, but now must go to Hilton Coliseum to try and pull off the double (the Cyclones, meanwhile, had a game against UMKC between the two).

15. Butler (8-0)

After losing six of seven to end last season, Butler has stormed out of the gate in 2019-20, starting 8-0 with wins over Minnesota, Missouri, Ole Miss and a surprisingly respectable Stanford team. A renewed commitment on defense has spearheaded the turnaround, though upcoming games with Florida and Baylor will put that improvement to the test.

16. Dayton (6-1)

The Flyers' profile rose considerably after reaching the Maui Invitational final, where they pushed Kansas into overtime. Dayton remains the top two-point shooting team in the country, sitting at 67.4%, and is first in effective field-goal percentage as well.

17. North Carolina (6-2)

The Tar Heels' offensive limitations around star Cole Anthony were exposed in a blowout loss to Ohio State. The Buckeyes focused on stopping Anthony and dared the other UNC players to beat them, which was a gamble they easily won. Armando Bacot's injury didn't help matters, but on the season, North Carolina is shooting just 30.3% from three and 44.8% from two.

18. San Diego State (9-0)

The Aztecs have been one of the biggest early risers of the season, reaching 9-0 with wins over BYU (away), Creighton (neutral) and Iowa (neutral). Former Washington State transfer Malachi Flynn has been impressively efficient while leading the offense.

19. Memphis (7-1)

So far, the Tigers are managing the absences of James Wiseman (eligibility suspension) and Lester Quinones (injury). Fellow freshman Boogie Ellis has been key; per Hoop Lens, Memphis's offense and defense have both been notably better when he's on the floor.

20. Michigan State (5-3)

Three losses in one month is not how the Spartans envisioned their season starting, but two were at least to top-10 teams. Michigan State badly needs another dependable shot-creating offensive option and—relatedly—more consistency out of sophomore wing Aaron Henry.  

21. Villanova (6-2)

The Wildcats were pushed by Penn before pulling away late, but their lone top-100 win to date remains Mississippi State. The offense has been stellar, ranking second in efficiency on KenPom, and Saddiq Bey is enjoying a breakout start to his sophomore season, but the young Wildcats must tighten up on D to take the next step.

22. West Virginia (7-0)

So far, so good for the Mountaineers' bounce-back campaign. Top-100 wins over Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Rhode Island in the last week and a half won't turn heads, but are important building blocks for a tournament résumé, though West Virginia is still not shooting the ball at a comfortable level.

23. Indiana (8-0)

The Hoosiers are 8-0 for the first time since 2012-13, but up until Tuesday they hadn't proven much. That changed with a 16-point home win over Florida State in which Indiana out-shot and out-rebounded the Seminoles. IU's shooting has been much improved through eight games so far, and freshman big Trayce Jackson-Davis is averaging a near-double double with 15.5 PPG and 9.4 RPG.

24. Florida State (7-2)

The Seminoles let their matchup with Indiana get away from them toward the end in Bloomington, but they had a successful showing at last weekend's Emerald Coast Classic, edging both Tennessee and Purdue in defensive battles. Until (and if) its offense comes around, FSU is going to have to grind out games—which it's plenty capable of doing.

25. DePaul (9-0)

Yes, you're reading this correctly—DePaul men's basketball is 9-0. The Blue Demons already have three Power 5 road wins (at Iowa, Boston College and Minnesota) and just beat Texas Tech in overtime this week. With four winnable games coming up, they could potentially enter Big East play—and a massive game with Seton Hall—at 13-0.

Maybe Next Week: Colorado, Purdue, Tennessee, Penn State, Xavier