RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 19)

Week 4

  1.  Villanova (11-0)

Last week’s ranking:  1  (-)

Villanova retains the top spot for the 3rd straight week after easily defeating their only opponent, Temple, this week. The Wildcats have one non-conference game remaining, hosting American on Wednesday. After American, Nova kicks off Big East play with a relatively easy home tie against Depaul. Josh Hart and the Wildcats will be expected to win their next two before a huge matchup in Omaha on New Year’s Eve where they will face arguably their biggest conference contender, Creighton.

2.  Baylor (11-0)

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

After a week off last week, the Bears had three games this week, easily disposing of lowly opponents including Southern, Jackson State, and a Non-Divison I side. Despite two weeks straight of virtually no real competition, Baylor remains #2 in our rankings. Wins over Louisville, Oregon, Xavier, Michigan State, and VCU highlight a dazzling resume. Next up for Baylor is Texas Southern, before they tip off Big 12 action with a tough road test at Oklahoma.

3.  UCLA (12-0)

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)

UCLA continues to rack up wins, up to 12-0 and likely 13-0 after their upcoming game against Western Michigan. Lonzo Ball has become one of the most elite players in the country and along with Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford, UCLA is set to contend for a championship. The Bruins defeated Ohio State to gain another quality win in the non-conference season this past week.

4.  Gonzaga (11-0)

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)

With their next six games being against relatively weak teams, Gonzaga may fall in our rankings a bit in the coming weeks. Despite this, the Bulldogs really have the makeup of a  top 5 team. Przemek Karnowski leads the way for the Zags who are 11-0 with wins over Florida, Iowa State, and Arizona. This past week, Gonzaga handled Tennessee for their 5th major conference win.

5.  Duke (10-1)

Last week’s ranking: 6 (UP 1)

Duke moves up in our power rankings this week despite not facing an opponent. This occurred for a few reasons. Despite Kansas knocking off Duke earlier this season, Kansas has looked rather unconvincing in their wins lately. Duke meanwhile has been playing its best basketball. The Blue Devils will continue to climb and are one the most talented teams in the country. With a core of Allen, Kennard, Tatum, Giles, and Jefferson, Duke will be the favorite in the ACC this season. The Blue Devils still have two remaining games before kicking off the ACC season with matchups against Tennessee State and Elon.

6.  Kansas (10-1)

Last week’s ranking: 5 (DOWN 1)

The score may have said 89-71, but Kansas-Davidson was a lot closer than it looked. In fact, Davidson led by a point at the half at Allen Fieldhouse. Many people are high on the Jayhawks, and this is not to say that they won’t contend in March, but we feel that the Jayhawks really are not all that. With an extremely soft non-conference schedule for a top-10 team thus far, Kansas does not have the resume or experiences thus far to match up (on paper at least) with a Villanova or a Baylor in terms of rankings.

7.  Kentucky (10-1)

Last week’s ranking: 9 (UP 2)

Malik Monk put up one of the most memorable, historic performances in Kentucky history on Saturday. The freshman poured in 47 against North Carolina in maybe the best game of the season thus far. A slip up at home against UCLA still is not acceptable per Kentucky standards, but the Bruins are on an elite level and have shown that the win in Lexington was not a fluke. With a road test at rival Louisville looming on Wednesday, the Wildcats have an opportunity to rack up a second top-tier win in as many tries.

8.  North Carolina (10-2)

Last week’s ranking:  8 (-)

The heartbreaker in Las Vegas really should help the Tar Heels in the long run. By losing 103-100 to Kentucky, it showed that North Carolina can not only keep up, but pour in points against top teams. It also opened eyes for Roy Williams’ side on the defensive end. It simply needs improvement. With two games remaining until their conference opener at Georgia Tech, UNC will look to fix the problems that occurred in Vegas and begin their conference season with momentum.

9.  Louisville (9-1)

Last week’s ranking:  11 (UP 2)

The Cardinals enter our top 10 for the first time this season with a 10-1 record and a date with Kentucky on Wednesday in Louisville. A win over UK would be enormous and would spring Louisville further up the ranks. Similar to Virginia, Louisville’s only problem is that they don’t have a superstar scorer or even a player they can absolutely go to for points. Donovan Mitchell leads the way with only 12 PPG, a small number for a top 10 squad’s leading scorer. Despite this, they have taken care of business and have been the closest team to knocking off Baylor.

10. Creighton (10-0)

Last week’s ranking:  10 (-)

Creighton remains undefeated after a scary 1 point victory at home over Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles gave the Jays all they could handle but ultimately came up short. A trip to Arizona State on Tuesday will be a tough but manageable task. After the Sun Devils, the Blue Jays will return back home to open up Big East play against Seton Hall and #1 Villanova.

11. West Virginia  (UP 1)

12. Wisconsin  (UP 1)

13. Butler  (UP 4)

14. Florida State  (UP 2)

15. USC  (UP 3)

16. Indiana  (DOWN 9)

17. Purdue  (UP 3)

18. Virginia  (UP 1)

19. Virginia Tech  (UP 4)

20. Xavier  (UP 1)

21. Maryland  (UP 3)

22. Arizona (-)

23. Notre Dame  (DOWN 9)

24. South Carolina  (DOWN 9)

25. Cincinnati  (NEW)

Dropped Out: Wichita State

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RSN Power Rankings (Dec. 19)

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