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College Basketball Power Rankings: Evaluating college hoops following a wild "Feast Week"

Credit: Arizona athletics

Feast Week is done, and with it, it's time to update our College Hoops Power Rankings entering the first week of December.

As always, make sure you're following along and listening to the College Hoops Daily pod.

Also, get ready for another loaded slate of college hoops this week, with the ACC-SEC Challenge, featuring Miami at Kentucky, Duke at Arkansas and Tennessee at North Carolina. Plus, a mega showdown between UConn and Kansas on Friday.

Here is our post Feast Week Top 25.

1. Purdue Boilermakers

While plenty of questions still remain for the Boilermakers in March, there isn’t a team in college basketball who had a better week, or who has a better resume right now. Purdue collected victories over three top 11 teams at the Maui Invitational and reigning National Player of the Year Zach Edey has put up even better numbers through this point in the season than he did a year ago. With a backcourt featuring two very capable players who are now Sophomores and an impact transfer in Lance Jones, Purdue’s guard play was very impressive this past week as well.

Although Matt Painter still has a couple of things to figure out at the four spot, Purdue looks like the clear-cut best team in the Big Ten right now. Just two weeks into the season, Purdue is building a resume that could put them in great position to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Boilers very challenging non-conference schedule is nowhere close to over, with neutral site games against Arizona and Alabama still on the docket, before the start of Big Ten Conference play.

2. Arizona Wildcats

Tommy Lloyd’s team has looked the part throughout the first three weeks of the season, having arguably the best victory in college basketball so far this season, with a true road victory at Duke. In addition, Arizona was able to defeat Michigan State in a barnburner on Thanksgiving Day. Arizona’s two marquee wins have both been relatively close, but showing the ability to win close games this early in the season is something to build on. It was evident the last two seasons that Arizona was lacking a certain element of toughness and thanks to some transfer portal additions that problem could be solved.

Keshad Johnson, a key member of San Diego State’s national runner-up team was massive in the victory over Michigan State with 13 points and 10 rebounds. This after leading the Wildcats in both categories in their win at Duke. Arizona will still have games against Wisconsin, Purdue, Alabama and Florida Atlantic during the non-conference slate, and will be plenty tested before Pac-12 play.

3. UConn Huskies

The defending national champs didn’t miss a beat this past week at the Empire Classic, collecting wins over both Indiana and Texas. What's most impressive is how the Huskies returning players from last year's title team have taken the next step. Alex Karaban hitting tough shot after tough shot to lead to a 20-point performance against Texas, and Tristen Newton becoming the program’s all time leader in career triple doubles with three over the weekend against Manhattan.

The scary part for the Huskies is five-star freshman Stephon Castle hasn’t played since November 11th with a knee injury. Plus, we haven't seen anything close to the best version of future NBA first round pick Donavan Clinga, who dealt with an injury in the preseason. Keep an eye out for Junior Forward Samson Johnson, who missed the majority of last season with a foot injury but has been an absolute stud throughout the Huskies first six games. The 6’10” forward has averaged 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds off the bench, and will be one of the best sixth men in college basketball this season.

4. Marquette Golden Eagles

If you didn’t buy the Marquette hype last season after the Golden Eagles won the Big East regular season and conference tournaments then you should now. Shaka Smart’s team played very well in the Maui Invitational this past week, coming back to beat UCLA, outplaying then No. 1 Kansas from start to finish on Tuesday, and losing a hard-fought game to Purdue in the title game.

There isn’t a top three in all of College Basketball that is more well-rounded than the Golden Eagles with Tyler Kolek and Kam Jones in the backcourt and Oso Ighodoro as a versatile frontcourt piece. The thing that makes this Marquette team so scary, is that they have a bench filled with young players that have a tremendous future. The trio of Sean Jones, Chase Ross and Ben Gold, will all make a major impact for the Golden Eagles not only this season, but in years to come. With a top-notch defender in Stevie Mitchell and a top notch three-point shooter in David Joplin to round out this starting five, the Golden Eagles have terrific balance and one player that can do a different thing well.

5. Houston Cougars

There aren’t many programs in college hoops in the last half decade who have been as consistent as Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars. That has only continued into this season, with Houston off to a 6-0 start and a tournament victory the Charleston Classic. Houston collected wins over Towson, Utah and Dayton to take home the Trophy, which may not seem like anything spectacular. However, it is important to remember that Houston is now a member of the Big 12 Conference, and the emphasis shouldn’t be as high to play such a loaded non-conference schedule.

Despite the losses of Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark from last season’s team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Houston has as good of guard depth as anyone in the country. Jamal Shead, LJ Cryer, Terrance Arceneaux, and Emmanuel Sharp are all guys I would trust with the ball in their hands and can make any shot at any time. With a vintage Cougars frontcourt that continues to get after it on the offensive glass, this team will compete with Kansas at the top of the Big 12 Conference.

6. Duke Blue Devils

The reason why Duke isn’t in the Top 5 of these rankings, isn’t because they lost to Arizona earlier in the season. But at the same time, they have just yet to look like the team that we all thought had the most, pure talent in the sport entering 2023-2024. The Blue Devils best win to this point was against Michigan State in the Champions Classic, which was a good win, however Michigan State has now lost on two other separate occasions.

The good news: Kyle Filipowski has held up his end of the bargain as one of the premier players in the sport, averaging 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. That included dropping 25 points in back-to-back games against Dartmouth and Arizona. One question I had with Duke entering the season was if they could get away with playing Filipowski at the five spot after the loss of Dereck Lively to the NBA. The answer so far is an emphatic no; however, freshman Sean Stewart has shown a ton of promise lately, including scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 boards in Duke’s victory over La Salle.

The Blue Devils have a mega-challenge in this week's ACC-SEC Challenge, when they travel to Arkansas on Wednesday.

7. Kansas Jayhawks

After entering the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the AP Top 25, Kansas dropped their first game of the season in the Maui Invitational semifinals to Marquette. They also barely survived Kentucky in the Champions Classic.

While losing to Marquette isn’t something that will hurt the Kansas resume on Selection Sunday, there are some concerns for the Jayhawks, considering how high the expectations were entering the season. As a team, Kansas is currently shooting 37.4 percent from three which is tied for 205th in the country.

In addition, Towson transfer Nicholas Timberlake, whose strength was shooting the ball from the perimeter, has just not been the player Bill Self thought he was getting so far. He is currently averaging 4 points a game, while shooting 26 percent from three, in just 13 minutes per game of action. Despite Timberlake’s struggles the Jayhawks major portal addition has worked out in a big way, with Hunter Dickinson averaging a ridiculous 21.2 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. Dickinson became the first Jayhawk since Cole Aldrich in 2009 to have two 20 rebound games in a season. We are not even in the Month of December yet, and he did it twice in an eight-day span.

The Jayhawks have a big game at the end of this week, as they host reigning national champion UConn on Friday.

8. Miami Hurricanes

One very underrated topic of conversation on the college basketball national scene, is just how good of a job Jim Larranaga has done with the Miami program over the course of the last two seasons. After not winning an NCAA Tournament game from 2017-2021, Miami has made an Elite Eight and Final Four in each of the last two seasons. There is no reason to think they will be slowing down anytime soon.

There aren’t many starting fives in the country more talented than these Hurricanes. Nigel Pack is ready to be the best player on a great team continuing to make a large amount of ridiculously tough shots on a game-to-game basis. Forward Norchad Omier continues to play every game like he’s seven feet tall, despite only being 6 '7". Plus, guys like Wooga Poplar and Bensley Joseph have only gotten better after spending the last few seasons coming off the bench, and are now ready for much bigger roles as starters. With Florida State Transfer and former five-star recruit Matthew Cleveland coming in to round out this starting five, there is just a ridiculous amount of talent in Coral Gables.

The Hurricanes earned a pair of impressive victories last week in the Baha Mar Hoops Basketball Tournament over Georgia and Kansas State. We will continue to learn more about these Hurricanes when they travel to Rupp Arena to take on Kentucky in the ACC/ SEC Challenge on Tuesday.

9. Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols had a somewhat disappointing week in the Maui Invitational, dropping two games against Purdue and Kansas, after beating Syracuse to kick off the tournament. It’s not that those are bad losses at all, however the thing that is disappointing was the fact that it felt like the same old Tennessee. The Vols have been an elite defensive team over the course of the last two seasons, which have featured a combined 50 wins. But while the defense has been elite, the offense that has failed to come through in the biggest moments.

This offseason, Rick Barnes really prioritized adding a little more firepower on the offensive side of the ball, by bringing in Northern Colorado Transfer Dalton Knecht. While he’s had some good moments so far, Knecht didn’t play particularly great in either one of the two losses for the Vols. That was especially the case against Kansas on Wednesday, when he scored 13 points on an inefficient 4/17 from the field and 1/6 from three. Tennessee as a team is currently shooting 40.7 percent from the field, which is tied for 305th in the entire country.

The bottom line is Tennessee needs to be a significantly better offensive team, if they want to finally end their March demons.

10. Baylor Bears

Baylor was a team I had some difficulty ranking in the preseason after losing star guards Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer and Keyontae George. Just three weeks into the season, Scott Drew has already put those concerns to rest, with his Bears starting 6-0. That includes wins over a pair of SEC teams in Auburn and Florida, and the Bears will still have two marquee non-conference games against Duke and Michigan State, before the start of Big 12 Conference play.

So what has led to their success this year? It starts with transfer guard Ray-J Dennis. While bringing in a guard from the mid-major level is always somewhat of a risk as a Coach of a Power 6 school, it is safe to say that Dennis has felt no ill effects in moving up a level, and has played his two best games of the season so far for Baylor against those SEC opponents. Dennis controlled the game the whole way for the Bears on Friday against Florida, with 24 points and eight assists. In addition, it took him a little bit of time to get going in Baylor’s season opener against Auburn, but finished with 15 points, including multiple huge shots in the final minutes to secure the victory.

Five-star Freshman Ja’Kobe Walter leads the team in scoring averaging 17.8 points per game, and there is a great mix of veterans, transfers and freshman around him. This Baylor team’s depth is a massive strength unlike last season, and Scott Drew’s team should be right there competing with the likes of Kansas and Houston at the top of the Big 12.

11. Auburn Tigers

It only took watching Auburn’s first game against Baylor to realize that this team is already significantly better than last season's. Which should be a massive positive for Tigers fans, considering last year’s team not only made the Big Dance, but was able to win a game in the first round over Iowa. Freshman point guard Aden Holloway has already made a major impact on the offensive end scoring and passing the basketball. Holloway has already made his way into the starting lineup, averaging 13.2 points and 3.8 assists per game, while shooting 42% from three. While the preseason comparisons to Auburn legend Jared Harper were lofty expectations, you can already see why they were made.

Auburn also has a ton of returning talent from last year’s team that should only get better, including big man Johni Broome. Broome is leading the team in scoring averaging 15.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while also showing he can shoot the three ball, currently sitting at 40 percent from three. If Holloway and Broome can consistently make shots from deep throughout the season, this will be one of the most difficult teams in the entire country to guard. Despite dropping their opening game to Baylor, Auburn did take home the Legends Classic Title in Brooklyn last week, with victories over Notre Dame and St Bonaventure.

With that being said, much bigger tests remain before the start of SEC play, with games against Virginia Tech, Indiana and USC upcoming.

12. Kentucky Wildcats

Heads began to turn this offseason, when John Calipari went back to his usual ways of building his team around primarily freshmen. In the last handful of seasons in college basketball, it seems like it is the older teams that have had success, yet if anyone can break that trend however, it is Coach Cal and so far, this Kentucky team has lived up to the expectations plus more. The Wildcats turned heads on Friday night putting up a ridiculous 118 points in their victory over Marshall at Rupp Arena. Kentucky was led by freshman DJ Wagner, who had his first signature performance of the season with 28 points, on an efficient 10/14 from the field.

The thing that makes this Kentucky team really scary, is the fact that it seems like anyone can take control and lead this team to victory on any given night. Another highly regarded freshman Robert Dillingham, has already had some electrifying moments, scoring in double figures in each of Kentucky’s first six games of the season Fellow freshman Reed Sheppard has also been one of the breakout stars of the early season. The wild part is Kentucky doesn’t even have a ton of size right now, with injuries to both of their 7 footers in Aaron Bradshaw and Ugonna Onyenso. Neither of them have played a single second yet on the season. That doesn’t even include another big man freshman, Zvonimir Ivisic who has not been cleared to play by the NCAA yet.

Considering these circumstances and Calipari’s young teams usually struggling out of the gate before finding their stride in March, I don’t think Big Blue Nation could have asked for a better start. We will learn more about these Wildcats this week, in the ACC/SEC Challenge against Miami.

13. Villanova Wildcats

After the Wildcats missed their first NCAA Tournament since 2012 last season, there was some pressure on second year coach Kyle Neptune to really get things turned around this season. That pressure was only magnified when the Wildcats dropped their first game of the season against Penn at the Palestra on November 13th.

There weren’t many teams that entered Feast Week this more at stake than the Wildcats and boy did they come through in a big way. Villanova earned wins over three teams that should be in the NCAA Tournament when it’s all set and done, in Texas Tech, North Carolina and Memphis.

The thing that made this week really impressive was that Villanova really left no doubts against Texas Tech and Memphis, while also finding a way to win a close, competitive game against North Carolina. There weren't many performances better throughout Feast Week than what Dixon did against North Carolina, scoring 34 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the victory. Kyle Neptune’s team has a very interesting mix of guys that have been in the program for a while, along with some very talented transfers.

14. Gonzaga Bullodgs

It seems like each and every offseason, the question of “Is this the year Gonzaga finally takes a step back?” comes up, and each time the answer is always the same. It was no diferent this year when Saint Mary's was selected over the Bulldogs as the preseason favorites in the West Coast Conference.

While nothing has been determined just three weeks into the season, it is safe to say that the Bulldogs are still the team to beat in that league. After a very competitive opening round loss in the Maui Invitational to Purdue, Gonzaga collected a pair of nice victories over Syracuse and UCLA. Gonzaga competed better in that Purdue game than most would expect considering the fact that size and depth is not a particular strength of this team, and they still found a way to hold their own against Zach Edey.

The backcourt trio of Ryan Nembhard, Nolan Hickman, and Dusty Stromer should be a massive strength, with all three players being pretty above average scorers on the offensive end. Senior forward Anton Watson also had a night to remember against UCLA with 32 points, on a ridiculously efficient 14/15 from the field. While Gonzaga might not be the team that was consistently ranked in the Top 5 of the AP Poll over the course of the last few seasons, this team will continue to hover around the top 10 throughout the majority of the season, and wouldn’t be one I count out, despite the lack of depth.

15. BYU Cougars

There were some more than reasonable questions about the Cougars entering the season, after moving to the Big 12 Conference. But BYU started their season with a statement win at home over the reigning National Runner Up San Diego State Aztecs, and continued to roll during Feast Week.

The Cougars earned a pair of wins over Power 6 competition in Arizona State and NC State in Sin City and have five different players currently averaging double digits in points per game. That includes former Texas A&M and Arkansas Guard Jaxson Robinson, who is currently averaging 15.3 points per game, on an efficient 45.8 percent from the field.

The Cougars are currently ranked 9th in KenPom which is something not anyone had on their bingo cards entering this season.

16. Creighton Bluejays

Greg McDermott’s Jays suffered one of the more head scratching losses we’ve seen so far this season on Thursday Night against Colorado State. It wasn’t only the fact that Creighton lost the game, but a team that is supposed to have one of the best offenses in the country was held to 48 points. The Blue Jays shot an abysmal 17/61 from the field, and 6/29 from three. While it is reasonable for any team to have an off-shooting night here and there, absolutely no one saw this coming.

Considering it was only one game, I’m still a believer in this Creighton team. Especially since prior to the Colorado State game, Creighton’s lowest number of points scored was 82 against Loyola Chicago. All of those games resulted in wins; however we still have a ton to learn about these Jays. The schedule will begin to ramp up prior to the start of Big East Conference play, with games against Alabama and undefeated in-state rival Nebraska, in the month of December. I still trust Coach Mac and the guys to get this thing figured out, however the leash will be short after such a pitiful offensive performance on Wednesday.

17. Mississippi State Bulldogs

There are very few teams in the country who have been more surprising to start off this season, than Chris Jans and his Bulldogs. Although Mississippi State found a way to make the NCAA Tournament last season, there weren't many people who expected them to be this good right out of the gate. That's especially true when you consider that last year's leading scorer Tolu Smith hasn’t played a single second of this season yet, after suffering a foot injury in October. The other main concern for State entering this season was the fact that they were the worst three-point shooting team by the numbers in all of college basketball last season. As a team the Bulldogs shot 26 percent from deep last season, and Jans knew that was something that needed to be addressed in the worst way.

So far this season not only has it been fixed, but it could even be considered a strength. The Bulldogs as a team have shot 31 percent so far, and they have a number of players that have all the confidence in the world to take those shots. Freshman Josh Hubbard has been playing out of his absolute mind so far, leading the team in scoring with 16.2 points per game, while shooting 41% from three. In addition, Dashawn Davis, Trey Fort and Shawn Jones Jr. are all shooting over 35 percent from deep on the season.

Considering the SEC will give the Bulldogs plenty of chances for quality wins, the Bulldogs non-conference schedule isn’t particularly difficult at all. There is a more than realistic chance the Bulldogs will enter conference play with a perfect record.

18. Florida Atlantic Owls

There was definitely some panic that began to set in for the Owls following their shocking home loss to Bryant last Saturday. While that is never a game a team with FAU’s expectations should lose, they did a great job showing why they are just a much different team with a healthy Alyjah Martin this weekend. The Owls won the ESPN Events Invitational, collecting a trio of wins over Power 6 competition in Butler, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.

The main difference for the Owls is Martin finally looks healthy, which makes a massive difference. In Florida Atlantic’s first three games of the season Martin averaged 6.7 points per game, while shooting 4-16 from three. This weekend, Martin averaged 18.3 points per game, while shooting 10-25 from three. This is the same guy who dropped 26 points in the Owl’s heartbreaking Final Four loss to San Diego State. The Owls as a team averaged 90.3 points per game in their three games of action this weekend.

With a healthy Martin, there aren’t many teams that the Owls won’t be able to beat. FAU also didn’t have their best defender on the court this weekend in Nick Boyd due to a leg injury. They were still able to win the event rather easily. With there not being a ton of chances for quality wins in the American Athletic Conference, the Owls still have a loaded non-conference schedule ahead featuring games against the likes of Liberty, Arizona, and Illinois.

19. Colorado State Rams

The Rams had arguably their best win in the five plus year coaching tenure of Niko Medved this past week, dominating Creighton from start to finish in Kansas City. Although the Rams were selected fifth in the preseason Mountain West Poll, Medved is one of those coaches that you always have a difficult time counting out. Point guard Isaiah Stevens is still one of the best in the country, scoring over 20 points in three of the Rams first six games so far this season. Stevens is really the only main contributor still with the Rams, from their team in 2021-2022 that made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

Colorado State will have three more marquee games to add to their non-conference resume against Colorado, Washington and St. Mary’s before the start of Mountain West play. If the Rams can win at least two of those three, they will be in an excellent position to earn an at-large bid on Selection Sunday. Three of the Rams top five scorers are shooting over 50 percent from three, and as a team are shooting 39.1 percent from downtown. That ranks tied for 33rd in the country. Any Power 6 program looking for a new Head Coach this offseason should highly consider Medved, after the way he has turned around this program.

20. San Diego State Aztecs

There was some concern for the reigning national runners up after dropping a road game at BYU on November 8th. Despite returning a decent core from last season, the Aztecs did lose a number of key contributors including Matt Bradley, Nathan Mensah, Keshad Johnson and Aguek Arop. My question was could San Diego State’s defense still be elite, without the big rim protector in the middle in Mensah.

While the defense overall hasn’t been as great as year’s past so far, there is one key factor differentiating this Aztecs team so far compared to year’s past. His name is Jaedon LeDee. The 6’9” Senior from Houston, showed flashes of how good he could be last season, including scoring 12 points in the Aztecs miraculous victory over Florida Atlantic in the Final Four. I don’t think anyone saw what he’s done this season though.

There haven’t been many better players in the entire country so far this season with LeDee averaging 25.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. Anytime the Aztecs need a bucket they will put the ball in his hands and let him go to work. LeDee scored 34 points and collected 17 rebounds in the Aztecs Overtime victory over Washington last week, to win the Las Vegas Main Event.

With guards Lamont Butler, Darrion Trammel and Micah Parrish also returning from last year’s team, alongside USC transfer Reese Waters, the Aztecs are a much more dynamic team offensively, which should be a scary sight to the rest of the Mountain West.

21. Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies participated in the ESPN Events Invitational this past weekend, going 2-1 with wins over Penn State and Iowa State, and losing to Florida Atlantic. While that might not seem like much, Texas A&M deserves credit, considering the circumstances. The Aggies have been without their starting center from last season Julius Marble, as he is “working through University process,” per Buzz Williams. He has not played a single second so far this season. The Aggies also lost their second leading scorer Henry Coleman against Florida Atlantic due to an ankle injury. Despite being without two of their starters, Wiliams’ squad still found a way to earn a comeback victory over a solid Iowa State team on Sunday. This was after going into the halftime locker room facing a 10 point deficit, and Texas A&M still found a way to outscore the Cyclones 48-34 in the second half to secure the victory.

Luckily, depth is a massive strength for this A&M team as they returned eight of their top nine leading scorers from last season’s team that went 15-3 in the SEC and made the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore Soloman Washington shined against Iowa State, scoring a career high 18 points in the victory.

23. Oklahoma Soonersso be very excited about a road win earlier in the season at Ohio State, that continues to age better and better as the season goes on. Texas A&M will have three must-see TV Non-Conference games before the start of SEC play, starting this week at Virginia in the ACC/ SEC Challenge. That will be followed up by a true home game against Memphis and a neutral site game at Houston.3

21. Clemson Tigers

In many instances a team in Clemson’s shoes that returned everyone from a team that narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament last season, would have a ton of hype and expectations entering the new season. Maybe it’s the fact that it seems like Brad Brownell has been on the hot seat for the last half decade, but this Clemson team has a ton of talent and looks like one of the better teams in the ACC. There aren’t many inside-outside duos in the country better right now than Chase Hunter and PJ Hall, who are currently averaging a combined 34.4 points per game. In addition, Syracuse transfer Joseph Girard has provided some nice scoring punch, averaging 12.4 points per game, while shooting 38 percent from three. Sophomore RJ Godrey also seems like he is ready to take a nice leap and has shown some nice flashes, after only averaging 9.4 minutes per game as a freshman.

Te Tigers have a well-balanced roster with guys that do a good job in one particular area. They brought back sharpshooter Alex Hemeneway, who is about to begin his fifth season in the program. Plus, the addition of Jack Clark from NC State in the portal, helps improve their perimeter defense. Clemson’s non-conference schedule will begin to heat up shortly, with games at Alabama, vs TCU and at Memphis before the start of ACC Conference play.

22. Oklahoma Sooners

Entering year number three of the Porter Moser era in Norman, a reasonable expectation was basically NCAA Tournament or bust, after the Sooners missed the Big Dance each of the last two years. While there is still a long way to go, Oklahoma looked like a team that will be going dancing this past week at the Rady Children's Invitational in San Diego. Oklahoma collected a pair of wins over Iowa and Southern California and have started the season with a perfect 6-0 record.

The Sooners lost four of their top five scorers from last year, but returnee Otega Oweh has shined, averaging 15.0 points per game and hitting the game winning shot to beat USC on Friday. The Big 12 Conference will give the Sooners plenty of chances for quality wins, but winning an event like this gives your team so much confidence early on in the season.

Moser also deserves credit for bringing in a handful of under the radar transfers that have contributed nicely so far including Javian McCollum from Siena, John Hughley IV from Pittsburgh, Jalon Moore from Georgia Tech, and Rivaldo Soares from Oregon. The scary part about this Oklahoma team is that sophomore point guard and former Top 100 Recruit Milos Uzan, hasn’t even gotten going yet. Uzan was expected to be one of the breakout players in the Big 12, and once he gets going, this Oklahoma team will become even more difficult to defeat.

24. Memphis Tigers

While getting blown out against Villanova in the championship game will leave a sour taste in many people’s mouths, Memphis had a very good week in Atlantis. The Tigers collected a pair of wins over two teams that should be playing in the NCAA Tournament in Michigan and Arkansas. Under Penny Hardaway in the past, the Tigers have gotten off to some slow starts in the non-conference portion of their schedule. That hasn’t been the case so far this season, starting off 5-1. Memphis brought in a handful of older, experienced players from the portal this offseason and its paid dividends so far.

In terms of specifics, one thing is clear: St. John's transfer David Jones will be the team’s go-to scorer. Jones dropped 36 points in the Tigers semifinal victory over Arkansas on Thursday, on an efficient 10 of 14 from the field and 4 of 8 from three. Jones has scored in double digits in each of Memphis’ first six games on the season and has shown throughout his career just how capable of a scorer he can be. Two seasons ago, Jones averaged 14.5 points per game at DePaul, and has also been a very underrated rebounder with good size at 6 '6".

With Coach Hardaway focusing on bringing in older experienced players opposed to relying on freshmen, this really does have a chance to be his best and most consistent team, since he arrived at Memphis prior to the start of the 2018-2019 season.

25. Ohio State Buckeyes

Despite many Buckeyes fans still trying to recover from what happened on the gridiron this past weekend, Buckeyes hoops had a very productive week at the Emerald Coast Classic. Ohio State earned a pair of victories over Alabama and Santa Clara to take home the trophy, and we saw why head coach Chris Holtmann was so optimistic about his team entering the season. The duo of Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle had some lofty expectations as sophomores entering the season, following the loss of classmate Brice Sensabaugh to the NBA. They have delivered in a massive way so far, averaging a combined 32.2 points per game. Thornton was the best player on the floor Friday against Alabama, dropping 29 points, while shooting 4/6 from deep.

Last season it felt like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the Buckeyes, but Chris Holtmann is too good of a coach to let that continue into this season. Minnesota Transfer Jamison Battle has also made a difference with his scoring impact on the floor, dropping 21 points in the Buckeyes title game victory over Santa Clara on Saturday. Behind Purdue right now, the Big Ten seems like a wide-open conference with the struggles of Michigan State, and the Buckeyes are a prime candidate to take advantage.

Zac Krull covers college hoops for AT Media and is the host of the College Hoops Today podcast. Follow on Twitter @ZacKrull_

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