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1. Kentucky (46)
The Wildcats continued to roll through significantly less talented teams last week, and that allowed them to step into the top spot after UNC lost. UK’s supremacy may not last long though – the two teams play on Saturday.
2. Ohio State (17)
The Buckeyes played North Florida, VMI and Valparaiso last week. It was nice of the athletic department to schedule a break for the team over Thanksgiving – the closest of these games was a 35-point win. That respite will not last though – they play No. 3 Duke tonight. This early season has given us a wealth of fantastic early season matchups.
3. Duke (2)
Duke beat Tennessee, No. 14 Michigan and No. 15 Kansas last week. The game against the Buckeyes tonight will make it three ranked teams in a row for them. Amazingly though, the only other ranked on their schedule the rest of the season is No. 5 UNC.
The Orange won the NIT Season Tip-Off this week, an achievement that allowed them to win a major tournament without leaving the state of New York, a true coup for them. I am more concerned with tonight’s game against Eastern Michigan University though.
EMU’s teams are the Eagles, but they really should be the Emus. Why choose a generic name when a unique name is served up on a platter like that? The Orange also play No. 10 Florida on Friday (at home), which means that the entire Top 5 faces significant tests this week.
5. North Carolina
The Tar Heels had the disappointing loss to No. 18 UNLV last week, but they can get right back on track with wins against No. 1 Kentucky and No. 9 Wisconsin this week. Conversely, losing those games could send them into a tailspin that could take weeks to recover from.
Remember last week when I said Connecticut had an incredibly soft schedule? It looks like I was wrong. UCF was apparently a worthy foe. I’m no longer looking past any of the Huskies’ opponents this season, and I’m especially worried about their game with Harvard. The Crimson are undefeated, beat Florida State last week, and received enough votes in both polls that they could easily be ranked next week.
Michigan was the busiest of this bunch, winning a game over No. 22 Memphis, losing to No. 3 Duke, and beating a terrible UCLA squad. No one did more last week to frame exactly how good they are.
UNLV didn’t just beat then-No. 1 UNC, they beat them soundly. The Running Rebels got some separation at the beginning of the second half and really never looked back. They’re more than a lucky upset though. This team is undefeated, and most of their wins have been blowouts. With tilts coming up against No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 24 California, they have a chance to make some real noise this season.
21. Mississippi State
23. Saint Louis
25. Texas A&M
How about those Billikens? They are undefeated and just won the 76 Classic. Moreover, they just won four consecutive games against schools from major conferences. Expect them to give Xavier a run this year in the Atlantic-10 (a conference with 14 members who has members as far from the Atlantic as St. Louis).