Power Rankings: Purdue and Zach Edey dominate, North Carolina drops
Rankings over the very first 2 months of a men’s college basketball season are ever-changing. They’re inherently based upon a small sample size, schedules are out of balance and one or two good weeks can entirely change the understanding of a group. As we get much deeper into the project, it’s much easier to point to a body of work and provide a clear description for one group over another. But for now, there’s a great deal of subjectivity.Which brings us to the
debate for No. 1 this week. We had actually currently moved Houston past North Carolina, so the Tar Heels’ losses at the Phil Knight Invitational weren’t much of a consider the discussion. But the incredibly outstanding play from the likes of Arizona, Purdue and UConn (and Virginia last week) implies they should have a spot in the conversation– in spite of being back-end top-25 teams, at best, going into the 2022-23 season.Houston’s best wins are over Oregon and Kent State, and the Cougars didn’t look impressive on Saturday versus the Golden Flashes. Texas had one of the best performances of the season against Gonzaga a number of weeks back– although the Zags suffered a blowout loss to Purdue this past week. Virginia has success over Baylor and Illinois from 2 weeks back. Arizona knocked off Cincinnati, San Diego State and Creighton en path to the Maui Invitational title.But when it pertains to a mix of eye test and headline wins, it’s really tough to leading Purdue right now. The Boilermakers blew out both Gonzaga and Duke, and they likewise have success over West Virginia and Marquette. You might state, “But that’s only one week!”Well, the season is just 3 weeks old. It suffices to convince me, for now.Onto this week’s awards and rankings. I can’t consider that entire spiel about making Purdue the No. 1 group in the country and then not provide the Boilermakers the Team of the Week award, begun. Matt Painter’s group was great out in Portland, Oregon, beating West Virginia by 12, Gonzaga by 18 and Duke by 19. The Boilermakers placed on an offending clinic, specifically in the wins over the Zags and Blue Devils. And it all revolves around Zach Edey, the most dominant presence in college basketball right now. The 7-foot-4 center averaged 22.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in the three games this previous week, going toe-to-toe with Drew Timme on Friday then fouling out Duke’s whole frontcourt on Sunday. And Painter has actually discovered the perfect mix of players to surround Edey with: four guys who can pass, make threes and offer him room to run. play 1:28 Oumar Ballo catapults Arizona to a win
Creighton with a dominant 30-point, 13-rebound performance. The development of Ballo, a 7-footer from Mali, is going to be among the best stories of 2022-23. He redshirted as a freshman at Gonzaga then played moderately the next season before going into the transfer website and following assistant coach Tommy Lloyd from Spokane, Washington, to Arizona. Last season, Ballo ended up being an essential bench player for the Wildcats– and he is now one of the best big males in the nation. Ballo had 21 points and 10 boards against Cincinnati and 12 and 9 against San Diego State prior to dominating versus Creighton with 30 and 13. In general, he averaged 21.0 points and 10.7 rebounds and shot 79.4% from the flooring for the week, with the latter two games coming versus last season’s Mountain West and Big East defensive players of the year. This win lost a few of its appeal when North Carolina likewise fell to Alabama, in quadruple overtime, later on in the week. However if you remove the No. 1 group in the nation, opportunities are you’re going to get a reference in this category. A second-half Tar Heels run against the Cyclones looked like it was going to put the game out of reach– but Iowa State went on a 17-3 run of its own and avoided UNC from making a shot from the field over the final 3:55, save for an unimportant Puff Johnson layup in the last seconds. This is likewise a chance to mention Caleb Grill, who just could not miss out on. The Iowa State guard completed with 31 points and seven 3-pointers. According to ESPN Stats & Details, it was the most points by any player in a win over a No. 1 group given that Syracuse’s Tyus Fight had 32 in a victory versus Duke in 2019. Coach of the Week:
Dan Hurley, UConn Huskies If not for Purdue’s run through
Portland, UConn likely would have earned Team of the Week honors. But we’ll offer Hurley approval for directing the Huskies through a significant week and a wildly remarkable start to the season. They won the Phil Knight Legacy with double-digit success over Oregon, Alabama and Iowa State, beating their opponents in a range of ways– and in methods different to past Hurley attire. Adama Sanogo is a dominant force down low, however Hurley struck the recruiting trail and transfer portal the previous couple of cycles and surrounded him with shooters. UConn is attempting and making a significantly greater number of 3s and sharing the ball much better than it has in past seasons under Hurley. The Huskies are a legitimate Big East title contender. And it’s worth noting that the previous two UConn teams to start this well went on to win the nationwide championship.Three teams with concerns
Villanova Wildcats: There are definitely excuses to be made: very first season post-Jay Wright, no Justin Moore, no Cameron Whitmore. However the Wildcats went 0-3 in Portland this previous week, and they are now simply 2-5 on the season. That represents the program’s worst start considering that 1991-92, throughout Rollie Massimino’s last year at the helm.
Wyoming Cowboys: After last season’s NCAA tournament appearance, there were high hopes for Jeff Linder’s team. The Cowboys have actually been without Graham Ike up until now this season, but a loss to Boston College (which had just lost to Maine and Tarleton) dropped them to 3-3. Another at-large bid appears some range away.
Dayton Flyers: The Flyers, who were in plenty of preseason top 25s, are now just 3-4 after 3 straight losses and an eighth-place finish at the Battle 4 Atlantis. None of the losses was especially bad on paper, but there’s now simply an extremely narrow path for Dayton to enter into the NCAA tournament hunt without an amazing turn-around in league play.Power Rankings play 0:23 Braden Smith’s no-look dime sets up
slam for Zach Edey 1. Purdue Boilermakers( 6-0)Previous ranking: Unranked Today: at Florida State(Wednesday),
vs. Minnesota( Sunday) The huge concern facing Purdue going into the season was point guard play. Jaden Ivey and Isaiah Thompson were both gone, and the only pure point player on the lineup was four-star hire Braden Smith. Could Matt Painter simply hand the secrets to Smith and let him run the show? Appears like it. Smith has actually begun all six games thus far and does a bit of everything: Twenty points versus Marquette; 14 against Gonzaga; seven takes against Milwaukee; shooting 44.4%from 3; 5 or more rebounds in each of his previous three games. Ethan Morton has actually distributed extremely well too, but Smith has been a big secret to Purdue’s hot start. 2. Houston Cougars(6-0)Previous ranking: 1 This week: vs. Norfolk State(Tuesday), vs. Saint Mary
Houston had its first real scare on Saturday versus Kent State, decreasing by 10 early and routing with under a minute left after a Malique Jacobs 3-pointer put the Golden Flashes up by a point. However the Cougars completed on a 6-0 go to stay unbeaten. Houston does not mind grind-it-out games, but this was a rough efficiency. The 49 points on 70 belongings was its worst offensive trip since Kelvin Sampson’s first season in 2014-15. The Cougars went 2-for-17 from 3. Luckily, the defense appeared and held Kent State star Sincere Carry to 2-for-22 shooting. 3. Arizona Wildcats(
6-0 )Previous ranking: 16 Today: at Utah( Thursday ),
vs. California (Sunday)Arizona’s offense last season was really elite, able to harm teams at all five spots, from the boundary or the paint, in the half-court or in shift. With three players leaving for the NBA last spring, it was hard to imagine the Wildcats duplicating that kind of efficiency this season. Yet, through six games, Tommy Lloyd’s team is very much already there. Oumar Ballo’s development has actually been eye-opening, Azuolas Tubelis appears like he’ll be in the Pac-12 player of the year conversation and Texas transfer Courtney Ramey has actually brought some durability and shot-making to the backcourt. That’s on top of Pelle Larsson taking an advance and Kerr Kriisa still running the program with the exact same swagger and shot-making from a season back. 4. Texas Longhorns(5-0)Previous ranking: 3 Today: vs. Creighton(
2 Related It’s good to see Dylan Disu gradually working his method back to being a consistent contributor for the Longhorns. Disu averaged 15.0 points and 9.2 rebounds at Vanderbilt two seasons ago, however he missed the very first month of last season due to a knee injury– then never actually got into a rhythm over the second half of the campaign. The 6-foot-9 huge man stepped into Texas ‘starting lineup from game one this season, and he is showing indications of his production from a couple of years ago. Disu has missed out on simply 4 shots inside the arc. He had 12 points versus Gonzaga then chose 10 boards and 5 blocks over the weekend versus UT Rio Grande Valley.
5. Virginia Cavaliers (5-0)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: at Michigan (Tuesday), vs. Florida State (Saturday)
Among the notable advancements for Virginia through the first month of the season has been the maturation of Kadin Shedrick on the interior. The 6-foot-11 forward wasn’t asked to be much of an offending contributor in 2021-22, striking double figures 10 times all season. He still isn’t the focal point (or a 2nd or 3rd option), but he has provided the Cavaliers another genuine risk inside. Shedrick is balancing 11.2 points through 5 games, shooting nearly 74% from the field, and he had 17 points in the win over Baylor previously this month. He also is getting to the totally free toss line at a very high rate.
6. UConn Huskies (8-0)Previous ranking: Unranked Today: vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Thursday)
We’re highlighting Donovan Clingan today for the Huskies. The 7-foot-2 center from Bristol, Connecticut, wasn’t anticipated to be a consistent factor for UConn right off the bat, however he has affected the game at both ends of the flooring from the first day. He has actually scored in double figures in four of eight games, is crashing the offensive glass and obstructing chance ats extremely high rates and is offering Dan Hurley a genuine bench alternative behind Adama Sanogo. Clingan came off the bench versus Iowa State in Sunday’s Phil Knight Invitational national championship and had 15 points and 10 rebounds in simply 18 minutes.
7. Creighton Bluejays( 6-1)Previous ranking: 7 Today: at Texas (Thursday), at Nebraska (Sunday)There were questions about whether the Bluejays were as good as the rankings perceived, offered they went simply 23-12 last season. However Creighton showed its top-10 qualifications in Maui last week, despite the two-point loss to Arizona in the title game. It’s clear Greg McDermott has a team that can make a deep NCAA competition run. Ryan Nembhard is as great a point player as there is in the sport, averaging 20.3 points and 4.3 assists and shooting 63.6% from 3 in three Maui games. Baylor Scheierman is a big-time tough-shot maker, and Ryan Kalkbrenner is a great two-way big guy.
play 1:00 Alabama makes it through at the buzzer to take down No. 1 UNC in 4OT
8. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: vs. South Dakota State (Saturday)
Some of the Crimson Tide’s time in Portland wasn’t extremely aesthetically pleasing, consisting of the final 10 minutes versus UConn and some of the last possessions versus North Carolina. But Nate Oats’ club has actually returned to Tuscaloosa with wins over Michigan State and North Carolina, plus a loss to what appears to be an outstanding Huskies group. Alabama’s lineup also continues to look much deeper and deeper, especially after Jahvon Quinerly’s return from an ACL injury throughout the first round of the 2022 NCAA competition. Jaden Bradley struck double figures in back-to-back games. And versus UNC, Noah Gurley had 13 off the bench, Mark Sears buried 7 3s and Charles Bediako came out of no place to post 14 points and 16 boards.
9. Kansas Jayhawks( 6-1 )Previous ranking: 5 This week: vs. Texas Southern (Monday)
, vs. Seton Hall(Thursday) Kansas had played with fire a few times this season, with 4 wins by six points or less, before its 17-game winning streak (dating back to last season) lastly ended against Tennessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game. It was the Jayhawks’ worst offending efficiency in more than eight years. When a team’s two offending stars– in this case, Jalen Wilson and Gradey Cock– shoot a combined 5-for-23, it’s going to be tough to beat an excellent team. While the Jayhawks likely will not shoot like that once again, it deserves noting they have actually now been held below 1.00 point per possession in 3 of seven games.
10. Arkansas Razorbacks(5-1)Previous ranking: 13 This week: vs. Troy Trojans (Monday), vs. San Jose State Spartans(Saturday)Arkansas made it clear it’s not going to be a group any person wants to play come February and March. The Razorbacks are filled with professional talent and are still without Nick Smith Jr., arguably the best NBA possibility in college basketball. But the most significant headliner from Arkansas’ 2-1 trip to Maui was freshman guard Anthony Black. The 6-foot-7 Texas native made plays at both ends of the flooring and went toe-to-toe with Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard, finishing with 26 points, six rebounds and 6 helps. He controls the pace, has great vision and likewise shot 40% from 3 during the 3 games in Hawai’i.
11. Gonzaga Bulldogs(5-2)Previous ranking: 6 Today: vs. Baylor in South Dakota(Friday)The only two-loss team in the rankings, Gonzaga has actually played an absolutely brutal nonconference schedule so far– and still has big games versus Baylor and Alabama, among others, staying. A couple of noteworthy products from Sunday’s win over Xavier. Initially, the Zags didn’t miss a shot from the field over the last 6:30, and went 9-for-12 from the totally free toss line over that stretch. They can close out wins. Second, consider Mark Few’s rotation. Only six players played more than 9 minutes, with Ben Gregg seeing an extended role off the bench for the 2nd game in a row after playing sparingly for more than two seasons in Spokane.
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12. Indiana Hoosiers
(6-0)Previous ranking: 10 This week: vs. North Carolina (Wednesday
), at Rutgers( Saturday )It’s about to get real for Indiana. The Hoosiers, who have actually played just one group ranked inside the top 250 in KenPom.com’s rankings so far in 2022-23, will face North Carolina, Arizona, Kansas– together with a roadway game at Rutgers and a home game versus Nebraska– over the next three weeks. Their win at Xavier must only grow in stature over the course of the season, but Mike Woodson’s team can make major statements throughout the coming stretch. How will Indiana accumulate from the perimeter? It’s shooting a remarkable 38.3% from 3, but the Hoosiers have made more than seven threes simply twice in 6 games and rank in the bottom 40 in 3-point attempt rate.
13. Illinois Battling Illini(5-1)Previous ranking: 9 This week: vs. Syracuse (Tuesday), at Maryland (Friday)
Jayden Epps’ development through the first month of the season has actually been a welcome surprise for Brad Underwood. The freshman from Virginia is an onetime Providence commit who was ranked just inside the leading 100 in the 2022 class. But Epps has actually been the team’s very first guard off the bench, averaging double figures in the very first six games. He is shooting 61% from inside the arc, 38% from 3-point range and has been impossible to keep out of the lane. Epps is shifty off the bounce and supplies something different offensively than the rest of the Illinois border players.
14. Baylor Bears(5-1) Previous ranking: 11 Today: at Marquette(Tuesday), vs. Gonzaga in South Dakota (Friday)
Baylor’s boundary depth continues to grow. Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer are the stalwarts, with freshman star and future NBA lottery game pick Keyonte George also off to an excellent start. They aren’t the only guards Scott Drew can turn to, though. Dale Bonner has actually been a constant piece off the bench, scoring in double figures twice and likewise dispensing 12 helps in this past week’s win over McNeese State. Watch on Langston Love. The previous top-50 hire redshirted last season with a torn ACL, but he has actually revealed flashes of ability up until now, consisting of 13 points against Mississippi Valley State and 11 versus McNeese State.
play 0:47 The Volunteers earn their fifth straight win over an AP top 10 opponent by defeating the Jayhawks 64-50 and winning the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
15. Tennessee Volunteers(5-1
)Previous ranking: Unranked Today: vs. McNeese State (Wednesday),
vs. Alcorn State( Sunday )Tennessee quite definitively responded to the concern of whether it was closer to the group that damaged Gonzaga in a preseason exhibit game or the one that lost by 12 in Nashville to an extremely inconsistent Colorado group. It’s the previous. The Volunteers won the Fight 4 Atlantis last week, topped by a dominant 64-50 win over Kansas. The title game was an elite protective efficiency, holding the Jayhawks to their least points considering that Nov. 18, 2014– and simply 0.75 points per belongings, also Kansas’ least expensive because that 2014 game against Kentucky. Rick Barnes has actually had a top-five defense in each of the previous two seasons and seems poised for another in 2022-23.
16. Iowa State Cyclones(5-1)Previous ranking: Unranked This week: vs. North Dakota (Wednesday), vs. St. John’s (Sunday)
Last season’s Cyclones was among the surprise teams nationally, beginning 12-0 and making it to the Sugary food 16 as an 11-seed before falling to Miami. Although they lost numerous essential pieces from that group, seemingly the defense that T.J. Otzelberger preaches in Ames didn’t alter. Iowa State beat Villanova in overtime before removing top-ranked North Carolina in the PKI semifinals and eventually losing to UConn in the title game. The Cyclones have a veteran unit filled with plenty of transfers. Was their week in Portland a hot few games or an indication of things to come?Dropped out: North
Carolina Tar Heels(No. 2), Michigan State Spartans (No. 8), Duke Blue Devils (No. 12), Auburn Tigers (No. 15)In the waiting space
Michigan State Spartans: The Spartans lost to Alabama on Thanksgiving, then struggled in wins over Oregon and Portland. The huge issue is Malik Hall’s injury. He is anticipated to miss out on a couple of weeks, which is brutal timing after it looked like he was hitting his stride against Kentucky and Villanova.
Auburn Tigers: It’s going to be tough to inform how great the Tigers in fact are for a few weeks (they play Memphis in Atlanta on Dec. 10 and travel west to USC and Washington prior to Christmas), but they did hang on to beat both Northwestern and Saint Louis this past week.
Duke Blue Devils: While Jon Scheyer waits for Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead to discover their games after preseason injuries, and for Tyrese Proctor to find some consistency, a minimum of he’s getting consistent production from Kyle Filipowski. The 7-footer has actually hit double figures in each and every single game this season and is shooting 36.4% from 3.