College basketball power rankings: UConn, Arizona keep rolling – Trending News

College basketball power rankings: UConn, Arizona keep rolling

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While there wasn’t a ton of college basketball action this past week due to the holiday, the games we did see provided some rather surprising results. 

The biggest shocker? Eastern Illinois, a 31.5-point underdog, went into Carver Hawkeye Arena and took down Iowa, 92-83.

For context, there are 363 Division I programs. The Panthers are ranked No. 347 in KenPom even after taking down the Hawkeyes, who entered the game at 8-3 and in solid standing regarding their NCAA Tournament hopes. 

To see a Fran McCaffrey team lose a game like that was staggering. 

Arizona State showed that just when you think you start to figure out a team, on a given night, everything could change in this sport. Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils cracked the AP Top 25 Poll on Monday. Two nights later, Arizona State lost to San Francisco 97-60! How many times do you see a ranked team lose by close to 40 points to a mid-major program? What a wild score.

What should we make of this past week? Well, those teams that took the entire week off did it right. With all the random results, one Twitter follower had the perfect idea of how to track Christmas week oddities:

As for a team that has gained the most from the past week, it’s North Carolina. The Tar Heels have figured something out in the past week and change, following up a win over Ohio State at Madison Square Garden with an 80-76 triumph over Michigan in Charlotte on Wednesday night. What’s that something for UNC? It’s quite simple: They’re feeding Armando Bacot. The senior All-American put up 26 points on 11-for-15 shooting from the floor in the win over the Wolverines. RJ Davis made a key runner late in the game, and he combined with Caleb Love for 37 points. 

That duo has also looked more like themselves lately, and more than anything, Hubert Davis’ group is showing a willingness to defend. The reason why we criticized North Carolina so much early is because it wasn’t a question of talent as much as it was effort, which has kicked in behind the efforts of Bacot. 

In the ACC, which has seen Duke falling to Wake Forest, Virginia Tech getting picked off by Boston College and Virginia losing to Miami (Fla.) in the last week, there’s some openness to the race at the top and the Tar Heels appear to look more like themselves. 

With that, here’s a fresh top-15 poll:

1. UConn (13-0) 

The Huskies have matched 1985-86 Syracuse as the only Big East teams in conference history to win 13 games by double digits to start the season. After a slow start against Georgetown, Joey Calcaterra came up big off the bench with 14 points, while Tristen Newton put up 17 points and seven assists in an 84-73 win. Up next? Villanova pays a visit to the XL Center on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

2. Arizona (12-1) 

Tommy Lloyd is 45-5 as the head coach of the Wildcats, marking the second-best record for a coach through 50 games in Division I history. The Wildcats dominated Morgan State on Thursday, 93-68, behind Azuolas Tubelis’ 26 points. 

3. Purdue (12-0)

The Boilermakers are 12-0 for just the fourth time in program history and first since the 2008-09 season. Trey Kaufman-Renn scored a career-high 24 points, assisting in replacing Zach Edey in Purdue’s 74-53 win over New Orleans.

4. Houston (12-1)

Sophomore center Ja’Vier Francis put up a career-high 23 points to go with 13 rebounds as the Cougars routed McNeese State on Wednesday.

5. Kansas (11-1) 

Jalen Wilson powered Kansas past Harvard with 21 points Thursday night, closing out the Jayhawks’ fifth straight win.

6. Alabama (10-2)

Five scored in double figures for the Crimson Tide in Tuesday’s 20-point win over Jackson State. 

7. Tennessee (10-2)

The duo of Olivier Nkamhoua and Santiago Vescovi was special Wednesday night, combining for 38 points in a blowout win over Austin Peay. Vescovi shot 5-for-5 from 3-point land. When the Vols get perimeter shooting, they’re as dangerous as anyone.

8. Arkansas (11-1) 

The Razorbacks beat UNC Asheville 85-51 on Wednesday, showing their depth with Jalen Graham and Joseph Pinion combining for 26 points. The 11-1 start for the Hogs is the best since Eric Musselman’s first season in Fayetteville (2019-20).

9. Texas (10-1) 

Freshman guard Arterio Morris went off for a career-high 25 points,, while veterans Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr each put up 17 in the Longhorns’ 100-72 win over Louisiana on Wednesday. 

10. UCLA (11-2)

The Bruins have won eight straight games for the first time in six years after dominating UC Davis on Wednesday. Jaylen Clark continued his breakout campaign with 18 points in the win.

11. Baylor (9-2)

The Bears grinded out a win over Northwestern State on Tuesday, 58-48. Jalen Bridges came up with a pair of triples to put the win away, something that Scott Drew will be looking for more of from the West Virginia transfer in Big 12 play. 

12. Gonzaga (10-3)

The Zags won their 72nd straight home game — the longest home winning streak since the expansion of the NCAA Tournament in 1985 — over Montana on Tuesday, 85-75. Fittingly, All-American Drew Timme put up a season-high 32 points to go along with 11 rebounds. 

13. Miami (12-1) 

The Hurricanes hop into our top 15 for the first time this season after Isaiah Wong went off for 24 points to help lift Miami to a statement win over Virginia on Tuesday, 66-64. The Canes look dangerous once again with Wong and Nijel Pack to charge the backcourt for a top-15 KenPom offense. They are 12-1 for the first time in five years. 

14. Virginia (8-2)

The Cavaliers are stacked with experienced players and toughness, but the offense can go through droughts, and it showed when they fell behind early to Miami. While this team will move up in the rankings in the coming weeks in my opinion, I’m not as bullish on them as beforehand because they have some things to figure out. In the last two games against Houston and the Hurricanes, UVA has shot a combined 12-for-45 from beyond the arc.

15. Wisconsin (9-2)

The Badgers know who they are, and they use it to their advantage night in and night out. Winners of four straight, Greg Gard has reloaded with a top-20 defense, a matchup nightmare in Tyler Wahl, a lead guard in Chucky Hepburn and a surprise freshman, Connor Essegian. One scheduling oddity for the Badgers: their game against Grambling State on Friday was canceled due to weather. When they step on the floor on Dec. 30 to host Western Michigan, it will have been 15 days since their last game. That’s quite the layoff before conference play revs back up in January. 

Games to Watch This Week:

Wednesday:

  • 6:30 p.m. ET, FS1: Villanova at UConn
  • 7 p.m. ET: Kentucky at Missouri
  • 7 p.m. ET: Florida at Auburn
  • 9 p.m. ET: Alabama at Mississippi State
  • 9 p.m. ET: Arkansas at LSU

Thursday:

  • 6:30 p.m. ET, FS1: Providence at Butler
  • 7 p.m. ET: Iowa at Nebraska

Saturday:

  • 12 p.m. ET, FOX: UConn at Xavier
  • 12 p.m. ET: Texas Tech at TCU
  • 12 p.m. ET, FS1: St. John’s at Seton Hall
  • 2 p.m. ET, FOX: Arizona at Arizona State
  • 2 p.m. ET, FS1: Marquette at Villanova
  • 4 p.m. ET, FS1: New Mexico at Wyoming

Sunday: 

  • 4:30 p.m. ET, FS1: Maryland at Michigan
  • 5:30 p.m. ET: Iowa at Penn State
  • 7:30 p.m. ET: Ohio State at Northwestern

 

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.


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