As conference play gets into full swing, the strength of the Power Five leagues will begin to impact the weekly power rankings. Gonzaga had a terrific non-conference slate, but as other teams begin to rack up quality wins, they will lack a chance to garner any of their own until tournament time. With that said, we have a new team atop our rankings, so let’s jump in.
1. Kansas (12-2)
With a tough win at home against a strong West Virginia team, followed by a dominant win on the road at Iowa State, the Jayhawks have claimed the top spot.
Udoka Azubuike led the way against the Mountaineers with a 17-point, seven-rebound performance, while Devon Dotson’s 20-point outing against the Cyclones saw him lead an offensive output with four Jayhawks in double figures—they shot better than 50% from both the floor and three-point range.
Devon Dotson vs Iowa State
20 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB, 3 STL
— We Good? (@Jifhawk) January 9, 2020
There’s no time for rest, however, as a key showdown with Baylor looms.
This week: Baylor
2. Gonzaga (16-1)
The Bulldogs won both of their games last week, but there are some concerning cracks that are beginning to show.
They trailed Portland at the half before a strong second half led to a 13-point win. They also had to hang on late against a Pepperdine team that has a losing record. The Zags shot a combined 30.2% from three-point range in the two games, and the 17 turnovers against Pepperdine are quite concerning.
The Bulldogs need to get back to winning big, or their slide down the rankings will continue next week.
This week: San Diego, Loyola Marymount
3. Baylor (12-1)
The Bears have a chance to get to the No. 1 spot if they take down Kansas. They were able to add another big win Tuesday night, when they outlasted Texas Tech in a game that featured only 39 points in the first half.
If Baylor wants to defeat Kansas, the Bears will have to perform much better on the offensive end. Davion Mitchell was the only player to reach double digits in scoring against Texas Tech.
This week: Kansas
4. Duke (14-1)
It’s getting tough to keep Blue Devils out of the top three, especially when they win consecutive ACC games by more than 30 points apiece. The problem for the Blue Devils is they have only faced three teams ranked in the top 50 in the Sagarin ratings, the same number as San Diego State.
Duke is on pace to face only one ranked team this month, a matchup next weekend against Louisville, so it should continue to win big and rack up some style points, especially with how Tre Jones and Vernon Carey Jr. are playing right now.
Tre Jones was really good vs. GT: 4 more steals (now up to 2.6 steals per 40 mins), 7 assists (3 lobs for Stanley dunks), 10 FTA (5.5 FTA per 40), 1 catch-and-shoot 3 (offensive rebound), 4-6 2PA — all unassisted, off dribble. Some nice pick-and-roll shot making. pic.twitter.com/VdbckzjVQu
— Brian Geisinger (@bgeis_bird) January 9, 2020
This week: Wake Forest
5. San Diego State (16-0)
Malachi Flynn was named to the midseason Wooden Award watch list, which was cut to 25 players, after a 22-point outing in a 77-68 win at Utah State over the weekend. Flynn has scored in double digits in all but one game this season and has scored at least 14 points in his last five contests.
Malachi Flynn doing All-American things. pic.twitter.com/9D8TKJiWxu
— Jon Schaeffer (@jonschaeffer) January 9, 2020
The Aztecs have the best shot, of the two remaining unbeaten teams in college basketball, to run the table and finish the regular season undefeated.
This week: Boise State
6. Butler (14-1)
Another week where three mid-major schools are in the top six, which shows how much parity there is this season. The Bulldogs have four quality wins, their only loss was a one-point defeat to Baylor in Waco, and they look to be the best team in a solid Big East.
They followed up a close win at St. John’s with a 14-point takedown of Creighton, and their game with Seton Hall next week will go a long way to determine who wins the conference.
This week: Providence
7. Auburn (14-0)
The Tigers struggled with Mississippi State at times and narrowly escaped with a win at home against Vanderbilt. Their 32.2% shooting from three-point range is going to catch up with the Tigers, who made just five of 20 attempts in the Vanderbilt win Wednesday night.
This week: Georgia
8. Michigan State (12-3)
Sparty is back, folks. The preseason No. 1 team lost on opening night to Kentucky, and later fell to Virginia Tech and Duke. Now the Spartans are riding a seven-game win streak, including a dominating, 87-69 victory over Michigan.
They look like a team that could make a deep run in the tournament. Cassius Winston looks dangerous again and has scored at least 21 points in each of his last four games, including 32 points and nine assists in the win over Michigan.
CASSIUS WINSTON WITH THE STEPBACK OF THE DECADE FIRE ME INTO THE SUN pic.twitter.com/yrESean7x8
— Nick (@NicolasHenkel) January 5, 2020
Xavier Tillman has stepped up to be the counterpart, and without another ranked opponent likely this month, expect the Spartans to stay in the power rankings.
This week: Minnesota, Purdue
9. Florida State (14-2)
The Seminoles are 4-1 against quality opponents, and their recent win over Louisville puts them in the rankings this week. Leonard Hamilton yet again has assembled a talented group of players in Tallahassee, and the 13-point win on the road at Louisville saw them dominate the Cardinals over the last 10 minutes of the game.
The Seminoles have won all four of their ACC games by 10 points or more, and they have an extremely deep roster, with eight different players averaging at least six points per game. A win over Virginia next week should move Florida State even higher in the rankings.
10. Dayton (13-2)
The Flyers’ overtime loss to Kansas looks better and better every week, and they have opened Atlantic 10 play with a pair of easy road wins.
Obi Toppin continues to be the star of the show, and found himself on the Wooden Award mid-season list, as well, following a three-game stretch where he scored 66 points. Foul trouble was an issue for him in a win at St Joseph’s, but that is a rare occurrence.