NCAAB Power Rankings: Feast Week provides tasty matchups

Jason Ence

November 26th, 2019

It’s Feast Week, and there are some terrific matchups in store for college basketball fans as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend.

We have already had one massive upset, as Michigan State went down to Virginia Tech last night, which knocked the Spartans out of the Maui Invitational winners’ bracket and out of our power rankings. We also have a fourth team in four weeks atop the power rankings, and while there are still question marks around a lot of teams, this week should provide us with quite a few answers. Let’s look at who has risen to the top of the college basketball ranks.

1. Duke (6-0)

The Blue Devils jump to the top spot this week, after they added a win over a tough Georgetown team to their résumé. Tre Jones has finally received some help from the heralded freshmen, as Cassius Stanley, Vernon Carey Jr., and Wendell Moore Jr. combined for 58 points and 24 rebounds in the win.
They will have a couple of cupcakes this week, before they face off against Michigan State next week.

This week: Stephen F. Austin, Winthrop

2. Louisville (6-0)

The Cardinals dropped from the top spot only because of how Duke looked last week, but they are still one of the top teams in the nation. They only got stronger this week. with the return of Malik Williams and David Johnson from injury.

We are still waiting to see them play someone with a pulse, but the easy early season schedule should allow them to define their rotation, now that they have all of their bodies available.

This week: Western Kentucky

3. Gonzaga (6-0)

The return of Killian Tillie to an already impressive team bumps Gonzaga up the list this week. He averaged 14 points and six rebounds in his first two games back, and his outside shooting opens the floor even more for the Bulldogs, who continue to steamroll their opponents.

They will face some better competition this week at the Battle 4 Atlantis, including a potential matchup with Oregon in the second round.

This week: Southern Miss (and more at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament)

4. Oregon (5-0)

The Ducks have been impressive in the early season and will likely get a chance to show those on the East Coast just what they have been up to. They came up with an impressive win over Houston on Saturday, a game that saw them lead by as much as 21 in the second half.

There may not be a better shooter in America right now than Anthony Mathis, who has now hit 20 of 31 attempts from three-point range. He and Payton Pritchard should open up some eyes in the Battle 4 Atlantis this week.

This week: Seton Hall (and more at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament)

5. North Carolina (4-0)

It’s going to be fun to see Cole Anthony take on some better competition, although he has been slumping just a bit over the past few games. He has 10 turnovers in his last three outings and is shooting just 7-of-22 from the floor since the Notre Dame game.

He nearly had a triple-double against Elon, however, so he is contributing in other ways and will need to do so against Michigan for the Tar Heels to advance.

This week: Michigan (and more at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament)

6. Ohio State (6-0)

The Buckeyes were in action Monday against Kent State, which rallied to tie the game at 48-48 midway through the second half, before Ohio State held the Golden Flashes to just four points in the final 10 minutes of the game. One of the most balanced teams in the nation, seven different players are averaging between six and 12 points per contest, but the Buckeyes may need someone to emerge as a star if they want to reach the next level.

This week: Morgan State

7. Virginia (6-0)

For the first time this season Virginia’s defense looked vulnerable, as Arizona State went on a 19-0 run that lasted eight minutes spanning both halves. The Sun Devils still lost, however, because Virginia’s defense held them to just 10 points the rest of the way. The Cavaliers overcame their long scoring drought to win 48-45, but their offense must find a way to score more if they want to continue to hang out in these rankings. They have topped 60 points just twice through six games, against James Madison and Vermont.

This week: Maine

8. Maryland (5-0)

Maryland has won every game this season by at least 18 points, but the Terrapins will face their first tough test this week against a Temple team ranked 86th in the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings. A likely matchup with Texas A&M looms in the Orlando Invitational, and possibly a shot at USC in the final, so we should know much more about the Terps come next week. Maryland will likely need to improve on its 28.7% shooting from three-point range to win the tournament.

This week: Temple (and more at the Orlando Invitational)

9. Kentucky (5-1)

After an embarrassing loss to Evansville and an unconvincing follow-up performance against Utah Valley, Kentucky has bounced back with two impressive wins that reminded everyone why the Wildcats were one of the top-ranked teams in the preseason.

Healthy for the first time since the win over Michigan State, EJ Montgomery returned and plugged a large hole in the frontcourt defense. Nick Richards has emerged as a legit threat inside on both ends of the floor and had seven blocked shots against Lamar on Sunday.

More importantly the Wildcats have finally found their outside shot. They went 16 of 37 from three-point range in their last two games, after 13-of-61 stretcg in their first four.

This week: UAB

10. Kansas (4-1)

The Jayhawks are back in the rankings with a string of impressive wins. They dominated Chaminade in the Maui Invitational opener Monday and will face off against BYU on Tuesday. A potential matchup with Michigan State in the final was derailed with the Spartans' loss last night, so the Jayhawks will now be the favorite to win the event. Given the improvement in form from Devon Dotson, that should not be a problem.