College Basketball Power Rankings: Gonzaga Making the Most of Non-Conference Slate

Publish date:

The spinning carousel atop's power rankings continues this week, with yet another new No. 1 after Ohio State lost to Minnesota last weekend. Who made the cut for our latest Top 25?

1. Kansas (9-1)

The Jayhawks ascend to No. 1 after taking care of UMKC in the last week, and with a road trip to Villanova coming on Saturday, we'll see if they can avoid the same fate as so many previous No. 1s in this still-young season.

2. Gonzaga (12-1)

The gauntlet part of the Zags' non-conference schedule is over, with only one blemish: the Battle 4 Atlantis final loss to Michigan, which came less than 24 hours after Mark Few's team survived an overtime war with Oregon. In the last week, Gonzaga notched a road win over Arizona and a home win over Cole Anthony-less UNC, and now has four wins over Top-50 KenPom teams, only one of which was at home. Gonzaga's offense has kept humming despite its roster turnover, but questions on defense remain.

3. Duke (10-1)

The Blue Devils easily took care of a Wofford team that beat (also Cole Anthony-less) UNC, moving into the No. 1 spot on KenPom in the process. Joey Baker lit it up from the arc in the win, going 5 for 7 from three as part of 22 points.

4. Ohio State (10-1)

The Buckeyes hit their first speed bump of the season last Sunday, falling to Minnesota by 13 at The Barn with starter Duane Washington sidelined. There's been a lot of surprising results in the Big Ten so far, but that was one of the more surprising, as the Golden Gophers already have five losses and previously lacked a top-100 win. Still, Ohio State's built up plenty of goodwill already, and closes non-conference with tilts against Kentucky and West Virginia.

5. Louisville (11-1)

The Cardinals have already played their last pre-Christmas game, easily passing a couple of tune-ups ahead of the Dec. 28 showdown with rival Kentucky in Lexington. Louisville is one of the teams that seems to have adjusted well to the new three-point line; it's shooting threes at a lower rate from last season, but has upped its percentage from 34.2% to 37.6%. 

6. Oregon (9-2)

The Ducks picked up a very impressive overtime road win over Michigan last weekend in what was one of the best games of the season so far. Oregon did it without starter Shakur Juiston and before the arrival of five-star freshman big N'Faly Dante, who made his season debut this week against Montana, scoring 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting.

7. Baylor (9-1)

The Bears blew past Tennessee Martin, one of two final non-conference tune-ups ahead of Big 12 play. They'll close non-conference with three wins over Top-20 KenPom teams.

8. Auburn (10-0)

In their toughest test of the season to date, Samir Doughty shined and the Tigers survived a push by NC State in a six-point home win to stay unbeaten at 10-0. Auburn has an extremely high chance of entering 2020 (and SEC play) undefeated and is on an incredible run dating back to last season, having won 22 of its last 23 games (the lone loss coming to Virginia, by one, in the Final Four).

9. Michigan (8-3)

The Wolverines squandered the chance to pick up a marquee win on their home floor against Oregon last weekend in a one-point loss, but a bright spot was the play of freshman Franz Wagner. After missing the season's first four games, Wagner is starting to flash his potential, including scoring 21 and making four threes against the Ducks.

10. Virginia (9-1)

Another week, another dominant defensive performance by the Cavaliers. The latest victim: Stony Brook, which was held to 44 points (0.77 per possession) in a 12-point Hoos win. 

11. Dayton (9-1)

The Flyers' offense continues to cook, but they'll face their best defense since Kansas when they meet Colorado in Chicago this weekend. Expect a fascinating battle between Dayton star Obi Toppin and underrated Colorado forward Tyler Bey, who leads the nation in free throw rate and is seventh in fouls drawn per 40 minutes.

12. Butler (10-1)

There's not much to glean from the Bulldogs' 25-point win over Southern, one of the country's worst teams. A key matchup with Purdue at Saturday's Crossroads Classic awaits in what could be a rock fight between two strong defenses. 

13. Memphis (9-1)

After picking up a significant road win over in-state foe Tennessee last weekend, the Tigers got bad news this week: James Wiseman, the No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class, is leaving the program to prepare for the NBA draft. Memphis has been winning without Wiseman and will still get starter Lester Quinones back from a broken wrist, but this is undoubtedly a big blow for Penny Hardaway's team and its Final Four aspirations.

14. Maryland (10-2)

What's happened to the Terps' offense? Maryland had an abysmal showing against Seton Hall in Newark on Thursday, scoring just 48 points in a loss to a Pirates team that was missing top players Myles Powell and Sandro Mamukelashvili. The Terrapins' 0.72 points per possession were the program's lowest since January 2013. That's three sub-par efforts in a row for Maryland, which continues to get off to damaging slow starts.

15. Arizona (10-2)

Nico Mannion went just 3 for 20 from the floor in the Wildcats' home loss to Gonzaga, though the freshman point guard did have 10 assists and his team made a late push. A Saturday meeting with St. John's in San Francisco is Arizona's last non-conference game before Pac-12 play begins.

16. San Diego State (11-0)

The undefeated Aztecs picked up a win over D-II San Diego Christian in their lone matchup of the last week.

17. Michigan State (8-3)

In beating Northwestern in Evanston on Wednesday, the Spartans did what no other Big Ten team had been able to do so far this season: win a conference game on the road. They are now the lone Big Ten team to stand atop the conference at 2-0 after this early period of league play, but in less positive news, Aaron Henry's struggles continued in a 1-for-9 shooting effort against the Wildcats.

18. Villanova (8-2)

It still feels like it's hard to get a great read on how good this Villanova team really is, with a win over Mississippi State being its only top-100 KenPom win to date. A visit from No. 1 Kansas on Saturday—the Wildcats' final game before Big East play—serves as a great barometer.

19. Florida State (9-2)

The Seminoles always seem to have a deep, balanced roster, and that was on display this week against North Florida, when seven different FSU players scored between 11 and 15 points and the team combined to shoot 66% inside the arc.

20. Kentucky (8-2)

Here's the reality for the Wildcats after a 69-66 loss to Utah in Las Vegas on Wednesday night: their résumé is sorely lacking right now. The opening-night win over Michigan State is still Kentucky's only top-100 victory, and John Calipari's team now has losses to Evansville (No. 206 on KenPom) and the Utes (No. 100). The 'Cats are currently 74th in the NCAA NET rankings. However, two major opportunities are up next: Saturday vs. Ohio State in Vegas, and at home vs. Louisville three days after Christmas.

21. Iowa (8-3)

The Hawkeyes didn't play in the last week, but senior point guard Jordan Bohannon did make his decision: He's shutting it down (and will likely apply for a redshirt for 2019-20) and will undergo another surgery on his hip. The Hawkeyes are undoubtedly a better team when he's healthy, but other players, like freshman guard Joe Toussaint and sophomore Connor McCaffery, are capable of picking up the slack.

22. Texas Tech (7-3)

Junior guard Davide Moretti, who shot 45.9% from three last season, has been slumping from the outside of late, going 9 for his last 35 (25.7%). But he's still found ways to get on the scoresheet, combining for 35 points in the Red Raiders' last two games and going 14 for 14 from the free throw line.

23. Penn State (9-2)

The Nittany Lions avoided a letdown after their big win over Maryland by edging Alabama at home, 73-71, as Myreon Jones continued a breakout sophomore season. Penn State is now ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1996, a great step toward its ultimate goal of snapping an eight-season NCAA tournament drought.

24. Creighton (9-2)

The Bluejays beat Oklahoma by 10 despite shooting under their averages both inside and outside the arc, as Ty-Shon Alexander and Marcus Zegarowski combined for 39 points. Southeast Missouri State transfer Denzel Mahoney also scored 14 off the bench in his first game since becoming eligible. 

25. West Virginia (9-1)

The Mountaineers haven't been tested since their narrow road loss to St. John's, but they'll get their chance at their best win yet later this month when they meet Ohio State in Cleveland. Opponents are shooting just 24% from three against West Virginia, which ranks third nationally. 

Maybe Next Week: Marquette, Washington, Stanford, Indiana, Wichita State