The first week of college hoops provided plenty of drama. Some blue bloods asserted themselves while others were left to answer questions. There were upsets, statements made, and plenty of players living up to the hype. Let’s see where we stand after a great start to the season.
1. Duke (2-0) Last week: 1
Defeated No. 2 Kentucky, Army
We’ll start by noting that we had Duke No. 1 before they trounced second-ranked Kentucky and jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in this week’s AP Poll. R.J Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish have arguably exceeded the hype they entered the season with, and the Blue Devils look scary.
2. Kansas (2-0) Last week: 2
Defeated No. 10 Michigan State, Vermont
The Jayhawks got an impressive win of their own, building a big lead over the Spartans before holding off a late push. Freshmen Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson were fantastic while Dedric Lawson and Udoka Azubuike had nice games as well. One potential area of concern to watch is the bench, who produced just 16 points.
3. Gonzaga (2-0) Last week: 3
Defeated Idaho State, Texas Southern
The Bulldogs are humming offensively, scoring 112 points per game through two contests and getting double-digit scoring from six players. Rui Hachimura is off to an All-American level start averaging 25 points and five rebounds. Gonzaga has also been a vacuum on the glass, averaging 47 rebounds per game and are moving the ball beautifully.
4. Virginia (2-0) Last week: 5
Defeated Towson, George Washington
Virginia is doing Virginia things, holding opponents to an average of 49.5 points per game. Ty Jerome is off to a fantastic start averaging 20 points , 5.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and three steals while shooting a ridiculous 71.4 percent from three. Scoring remains a concern, as the Cavaliers have gotten very little from anyone besides Jerome, Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter, and the rebounding has left something to be desired as well. But for now Virginia, and it’s defense, sits comfortably at No. 4.
5. Nevada (2-0) Last week: 7
Defeated BYU, Pacific
Nevada leapfrogs Tennessee on the strength of better wins. Caleb Martin has met expectations while Jordan Caroline is averaging a double-double with 20.5 points and 10 rebounds. The Wolf Pack continue to look threatening.
6. Tennessee (2-0) Last week: 6
Defeated Lenoir Rhyne, Louisiana
The Volunteers stay put at No. 6 after defeating someone called Lenoir Rhyne and Louisiana. Tennessee beat those teams the way you would expect them to, but it’s hard to bump them up on the strength of those wins. Don’t fret Vols fans, the team has plenty of upcoming opportunities to impress with dates with Louisville, Memphis, and Gonzaga looming. For now they’ve gotten contributions from up and down the lineup and are in line to have the successful season that’s been expected.
7. Kentucky (1-1) Last week: 3
Lost to No. 1 Kansas, defeated Southern Illinois
We’re not going to punish the Wildcats for the disappointing loss to Duke as much as the poll voters did, as Kentucky fell to No. 10 in the AP poll. A lot of teams are going to end up on the wrong side of blowouts against the Blue Devils this year, and the Wildcats rebounded with a double-digit win over SIU. That win wasn’t particularly pretty, but Kentucky started the season ranked highly for a reason and for now they stay in our top 10.
8. Villanova (2-0) Last week: 8
Defeated Morgan State, Quinnipiac
‘Nova handled business with two easy wins to start the season. Eric Paschall and Phil Booth have looked every bit the studs we thought they could be, the sophomore class has shown signs of development, and Saddiq Bey has been a pleasant surprise among the freshmen. The ‘Cats get their first real test Wednesday when they host Michigan in a rematch of last season’s title game.
9. North Carolina (3-0) Last week: 9
Defeated Wofford, Elon, Stanford
The Tar Heels avoided a second-straight upset at the hands of Wofford before crushing Elon by 49 points. Cameron Johnson has been stellar for the Heels, Luke Maye and Nassir Little have met expectations, and Coby White looks like he could be the answer at point guard. It’s been a great start for UNC in what is shaping up to be a fascinating race in the ACC.
10. Auburn (2-0) Last week: 12
Defeated South Alabama, No. 25 Washington
Auburn got one of the best wins of the first week with a resounding 22-point defeat of No. 25 Washington. Chuma Okeke has been a beast, posting 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, two steals and 2.5 blocks while knocking down 6-8 from three. Samir Doughty has emerged as a contributor as well, chipping in 16 points per game.
11. Kansas State (2-0) Last week: 11
Defeated Kennesaw State, Denver
The Wildcats’ big dogs, Barry Brown Jr. and Dean Wade, delivered in Kansas State’s long game of the week while Makol Mawien had a solid game as well. There are some concerns with depth and three-point shooting, but K-State remains among the elite for now.
12. Oregon (2-0) Last week: 15
Defeated Portland State and Eastern Washington
Bol Bol has been dominant averaging 17.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. Payton Pritchard adds 16 points and 5.5 assists. The Ducks have been impressive from three, knocking down 43.8 percent from deep. And Bol is so fun to watch.
13. Syracuse (2-0) Last week: 14
Defeated Eastern Washington, Morehead State
Oshae Brissett leads the way for the Orange with 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Syracuse is currently ranked 2nd in defensive efficiency by KenPom and have been dominant on the glass, averaging 52.5 per game. Three-point shooting has emerged as an early concern, but the Orange have to be pleased with the early returns.
14. Florida State (2-0) Last week: NR
Defeated Florida, Tulane
The traditional numbers for the Seminoles don’t paint the picture of an elite team as they rank outside the top 100 in points, points against, rebounds, and assists. They average just 12 assists and 15 turnovers. But they trounced Florida by 21-points and have hit 40.5 percent from beyond the arc. More importantly, the computers love the ‘Noles, as KenPom has them ranked 11th offensively and 17th defensively.
15. Michigan State (1-1) Last week: 10
Lost to No. 1 Kansas, defeated Florida Gulf Coast
The Spartans tumble after a loss to Kansas. Losing to the Jayhawks is nothing to be ashamed of, and Michigan State showed good fight to get back in the game after falling into a deep hole. Five players are averaging double-figures, the Spartans are moving the ball well, and are hitting 43.5 percent from deep. Expect them to climb their way back up the rankings.
Dropped from rankings: West Virginia
Lurking: West Virginia, Virginia Tech, TCU, UCLA, Mississippi State, Michigan, LSU, Clemson
Josh Naso aka The Silver Fox has a love for all things sports that borders on disorder. Here, he aims to share his thoughts on and passion for those sports with you.