We’re now through two weeks of the men’s college basketball season. NCAA.com’s Andy Katz delivers his latest Power 36 rankings, as well as his player of the week, team of the week and the top-10 games to watch for the upcoming week.
- Tennessee (1): The Vols enter the Maui Invitational as a Final Four favorite.
- Arizona (2): The Wildcats continue to roll and are the team to beat in the Pac-12.
- Purdue (3): The win over Xavier sets up the Boilers for a possible Maui title run.
- Kansas (4): The Jayhawks beat Kentucky at the Champions Classic behind a triple-double from Kevin McCullar.
- UConn (5): The Huskies roasted Indiana Sunday in prep for a showdown with Texas Monday.
- Marquette (6): The Golden Eagles proved they continue to be road warriors with a win at Illinois.
- Creighton (7): The Bluejays are going to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch, as evident from their win over Iowa.
- Miami (8): The Canes took down Kansas State for a title in the Bahamas.
- Baylor (9): The Bears are going to be with Kansas atop the Big 12 all season.
- Duke (10): The Blue Devils had a strong second half to pull away from Michigan State in the Champions Classic.
- Houston (13): The Cougars beat Dayton for a tournament title in Charleston.
- Texas A&M (12): The Aggies are one of the least-discussed teams with the most upside.
- Alabama (13): The Tide are rolling, thus far.
- Clemson (18): The Tigers took apart Boise State to continue their undefeated start.
- Gonzaga (22): Graham Ike is healthy and putting up major numbers but so far against lesser competition. It gets real for the Zags in Honolulu.
- Kentucky (19): The Wildcats’ youth grew up against Kansas, and although they couldn’t close, they will be in contention in the SEC.
- James Madison (17): The Dukes remain unblemished and should continue to garner respect.
- UCLA (24): The Bruins are finally all eligible and on campus in time for the Maui Invitational.
- North Carolina (28): The Tar Heels have handled their challenges so far but the level of competition increases in Atlantis.
- Texas (25): Max Abmas delivered a last-second shot to beat Louisville and propel the Longhorns into the Empire Classic title game against UConn.
- Memphis (21): The Tigers have the look of an NCAA tournament team early, but Atlantis will give everyone a better read on their potential this week.
- Mississippi State (NR): The Bulldogs beat Northwestern for the tournament title at the Mohegan Sun, all without Tolu Smith.
- Oregon (35): The Ducks have the look of a conference contender again.
- Michigan State (31): The Spartans are finally hitting their shots and should be climbing up the top 25 again.
- Auburn (NR): The Tigers beat St. Bonaventure for a Legends title in Brooklyn.
- Virginia (26): The Cavaliers beat Florida and are primed to be an ACC contender again.
- Illinois (20): The Illini lost to Marquette at home but there is no shame in that at all.
- BYU (27): The Cougars are off to a fabulous start, and need to be before the Big 12 grind begins.
- San Diego State (NR): The Aztecs crushed Saint Mary’s and then outlasted Washington in overtime to bounce back after the previous week’s road loss at BYU.
- TCU (32): Jamie Dixon has a squad that will be in the thick of a top-five Big 12 finish.
- Pitt (36): The Panthers have one of the best freshmen in the country in Carlton Carrington.
- Arkansas (15): The Hogs dropped after a stunning home loss to UNC Greensboro.
- Colorado (NR): The Buffs are getting national respect but we will know more once the strength of schedule improves.
- USC (11): The Trojans weren’t 100-percent but still lost at home to UC Irvine.
- Nebraska (NR): Fred Hoiberg has the Huskers off to their best start under him at 4-0 after the win over Oregon State in South Dakota.
- Nevada (NR): Steve Alford has a Wolf Pack team rolling offensively and undefeated.
Dropped out: Florida Atlantic (12), Villanova (23), Northwestern (27), Wisconsin (30), Michigan (33), St. John’s (34).
Also under consideration: Iowa State, Penn State, Kansas State, Providence, Liberty, Dayton, Xavier.
🌴 MAUI INVITATIONAL: Bracket, schedule, teams for the 2023 event
Top 10 games/events to watch this week
- Maui Invitational, Nov. 20-22: The relocated Maui event in Honolulu is the best non-conference tournament ever. Don’t be surprised to see at least two teams from this event in the Final Four in Phoenix. Kansas, Tennessee, Purdue and Marquette could all be in the Final Four. Gonzaga and UCLA are no slouches, either. And neither is Syracuse. The semifinals could be a preview of the Elite Eight and/or Phoenix.
- Battle 4 Atlantis, Nassau, Nov. 22-24: This event looked even better a week ago before there were a few upsets with Arkansas losing to UNC Greensboro, Michigan to Long Beach State and Villanova to Penn. Still, all three of them are legit NCAA tournament contenders and more. The favorite is North Carolina, but don’t sleep on Memphis in this bracket. Stanford, Texas Tech and Northern Iowa make up for a solid field.
- UConn vs. Texas, Madison Square Garden, Monday: The Empire Classic title game will pit the reigning champs against a Texas squad that survived against Louisville on a Max Abmas buzzer beater.
- Michigan State vs. Arizona, Palm Springs, Thursday: The Spartans are finally starting to make shots while Arizona is playing in March form. This will be another barometer for MSU and yet another chance for the Wildcats to add to their resume.
- Alabama vs. Ohio State, Destin, Fla., Friday: The Tide have an SEC title-contending squad. The Buckeyes are still trying to find their offensive flow. This is a great test for both.
- Penn State vs. Texas A&M, Kissimmee, Fla., Thursday: This is a sneaky good game, especially at the point between Ace Baldwin and Wade Taylor IV. The Nittany Lions can leap into the top 25 if they do well in this event (FAU also in the field).
- Wisconsin vs. Virginia, Fort Myers, Fla., Monday: The Badgers have to play well after a poor effort against Providence. The Cavaliers have handled each challenge so far well.
- Boston College vs. Colorado State, Las Vegas: The Eagles are off to a flying start and the Rams are one of the potential contenders in the Mountain West. This is a game that will have legs in March.
- Pitt vs. Florida, Preseason NIT, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, Wednesday: This game has two hidden gems on display: Pitt’s Carlton Carrington and Florida’s Riley Kugel.
- UC Irvine vs. Toledo, Henderson, Nev., Wednesday: The Anteaters beat USC on the road and are one of the best teams in the Big West up against Toledo, one of the top two teams in the MAC.
National Player of the week
Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State: LeDee, an impactful player from the national title game run last April, busted out with 34 points and 17 rebounds in a 100-97 overtime win over Washington Sunday night. Prior to that outing, he scored 27 points in a win over Long Beach State (before the 49ers beating Michigan a few days later) and then torched Saint Mary’s with 25. LeDee consistently got to the free-throw line in all three games, kept his shooting percentage at a high clip and proved that he could be the Mountain West player of the year by season’s end.
Team of the Week
Marquette: The Golden Eagles went to Illinois in the Gavitt Games before heading to Hawaii with the uncertainty on Tyler Kolek’s availability. Kolek played, scored 24 points and dished out six assists in the 71-64 win over the Illini. This team is tough!