The second Power 36 of the 2019-20 season has some controversy. Michigan State gets the nod at the top over Duke.
Let the debate rage on.
Every Monday, we will tab our team and player of the week. The Power 36 (the number 36 is the same number of at-large teams in the field) isn’t the seed list, but rather a snapshot of the top 36 teams in a given week. The number next to each team in this edition of the rankings was the ranking for last week’s Power 36.
Team of the Week
Evansville: The Purple Aces beat then-No. 1 Kentucky, stunning the Wildcats in Rupp Arena and giving alumnus Walter McCarty the biggest win of his young head coaching career.
Player of the Week
Malik Hall, Fr., Michigan State: Hall came off the bench and scored 17 points on 7-fo-7 shooting, including the decisive basket in the 76-73 win over Seton Hall in Newark. It was the best win of the week.
Onto the rankings:
1. Michigan State (3): The Spartans had the best win of the week — taking down Seton Hall in front of a hostile crowd. And they showed their depth with Malik Hall putting in 17 points off the bench while not missing a shot.
2. Duke (2): The Blue Devils will be a consensus No. 1, but in weighing the two teams, Michigan State had the better win. Tre Jones went off for 31 points against Georgia State.
3. Louisville (6): The Cardinals are rolling through the appetizer portion of the schedule. Games against Michigan and Texas Tech, the latter in New York, will be a good barometer.
4. Virginia (12): The Cavaliers aren’t going to wow anyone offensively. But the defense? Come on, this defense has been ridiculous with holding three straight teams below 50 points.
5.Maryland (5): The Terps are clicking like it’s midseason. The win over Rhode Island at home is going to look better as the season progresses.
6. Kansas (4): The Jayhawks will find out if they’ve corrected their turnover woes against an elite opponent when they get to Maui next week and advance in the tournament after a likely win over Chaminade.
7. North Carolina (7): Cole Anthony has been simply sensational. The Tar Heels are running well, and will be one of the toughest outs in a loaded Battle 4 Atlantis next week.
8. Gonzaga (10): The Zags are torching their opponents and absolutely blitzed Texas A&M on the road. It doesn’t matter that the Aggies are rebuilding. Gonzaga still won by 30!
9. Seton Hall (9): The Pirates aren’t dropping here because they lost at home in the final minute to Michigan State. Myles Powell put up 37 points in the loss. The Pirates then went on the road and won at Saint Louis on Sunday.
10. Texas Tech (8): The Red Raiders only slid a tad in these power rankings because they haven’t played the same level of competition — yet. But Texas Tech still has the look of a top-10 team so far.
11. Kentucky (1): The Wildcats will be fine. But they have to drop in the power rankings after losing at home to Evansville.
12. Ohio State (13): The Buckeyes beat Villanova by 25. That should send a clear message to the rest of the Big Ten that the Buckeyes are a contender.
13. Oregon (20): The Ducks beat Memphis in Portland and Payton Pritchard is playing as well as any veteran point guard in the country.
14. Arizona (15): The Wildcats have a stellar freshmen class and Zeke Nnaji has been one of the most consistent players in the class of 2019. Oh, and the Wildcats blew out New Mexico State. This team is going to be tough to slay this season.
15. Memphis (11): The Tigers’ only loss this season so far is to Oregon in Portland. They have looked the part of a top-15 team in each game.
16. Auburn (21): The Tigers are showing no signs of not being able to score after losing their key shooters from last season’s team. Auburn will start to get into the meat of the non-conference schedule with the Legends Classic next week.
17. Florida State (17): The loss to Pittsburgh seems to be the outlier, with the win over Florida more the norm.
18. Tennessee (NR): I waited to see how the Vols would handle their first big-time game. They beat Washington. And now they are in the top 20.
19. VCU (33): The Rams had Richmond rocking with LSU and former head coach Will Wade in last week. VCU won by two points and Marcus Santos-Silva continues to be a dominant player on the backboard.
20. Penn State (36): The Nittany Lions needed a credibility win and they got win at Georgetown in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
21. Texas (22): The Longhorns and Andrew Jones’ amazing comeback continue to be one of the best storylines in the first month of the season.
22. Washington (14): The Huskies lost to Tennessee in Toronto. But that’s not unexpected considering this team is still young at key positions. The Huskies will still be in the thick of the Pac-12 title chase.
23. Baylor (19): The Bears did drop in the rankings, but only because a number of teams had better wins in the past week.
24. USC (24): Nick Rakocevic and Onyeka Okongwu are off to fantastic starts. So too are the Trojans, who should be in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Pac-12.
25. Colorado (27): The Buffaloes are winning games that they should, whether in China or stateside. And they should be unbeaten heading into the Kansas game on Dec. 7.
26. Oklahoma (35): The Sooners beat Minnesota in South Dakota and Oregon State in Portland. Kristian Doolittle was outstanding in the win over Oregon State with 19 points and 16 boards.
27. Utah State (25): The Aggies are cruising along, but it’s still too early to fully gauge their potential. Playing LSU next week should be the necessary barometer.
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28. Villanova (16): The Wildcats had to drop after getting blitzed at Ohio State. The Cats then bounced back to beat Ohio by nearly the same margin (25 to 24).
29. Vermont (36): The Catamounts are climbing after winning at St. John’s. Vermont is not going away. Yes, the next game is at Virginia, but expect the Catamounts to be a tough out.
30. Wisconsin (NR): The Badgers have rebounded quite nicely since the opening overtime loss to Saint Mary’s. The win over rival Marquette should reset Wisconsin.
31. Xavier (33): The Musketeers escaped a possible loss to Missouri State, a team looked at as a possible Missouri Valley favorite.
32. Evansville (NR): The Purple Aces are undefeated, with one of the wins coming at then No. 1 Kentucky. That’s enough for inclusion in this week’s rankings.
33. LSU (28): The Tigers shouldn’t be penalized too much for losing by one basket at one of the toughest venues on the East Coast.
34. Georgetown (25): The Hoyas have struggled at times this season, but losing to Penn State is nothing to drop them out of the poll. This will end up being a quad one loss.
35. San Diego State (NR): The Aztecs have a five-point win at BYU to show why they should be included at this juncture.
36. BYU (NR): The Cougars pulled off a buzzer-beating win at Houston as T.J. Haws gave BYU momentum heading into Maui, still sans Yoeli Childs.
First four out: 1. Marquette, 2. Cincinnati, 3. Houston, 4. Oregon State
Next four out: 1. Saint Mary’s, 2. Illinois, 3. Utah, 4. Dayton