Why wait until Monday morning to rank new powers? That is our mindset for this college basketball season – a season that promises to see as many twists and turns as in the latest memories. So we will issue a new power rating every day the results need it.
Kansas and Kentucky fought for pre-season No. 1 us, and while Kansas lives up to the hype on the opening night of the season, the same cannot be said for Kentucky, which was eliminated by Duke. We usually do not move the team to number 1 or exit from No. 1 easily, but the Blue Devils' hard hit against Kentucky is very scary. We know Duke may have the highest ceiling of any team in the country that has entered this season and we saw the ceiling on Tuesday night. At present, they are the best team in college basketball.
Meanwhile, John Calipari came to a confident campaign about his group, but clearly there were still a number of restraints to work, especially at the defensive end. Calipari must think about the optimal rotation and formation, because nothing works on Tuesday.
1. Duke Blue Devils (1-0)
This week: Beat Kentucky 118-84; Next game: vs. Army (Sunday, 1 noon ET, ESPN)
Yes, they are good. Perhaps the most important aspect of the first class is their shooting. Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and RJ Barrett combined to shoot 7-for-16 from a 3-point distance.
2. Kansas Jayhawks (1-0)
This week: Beat Michigan State 92-87
The biggest subplot that came out of Kansas's victory was the use of Udoka Azubuike. Bill Self says Azubuike is the No. option. 1 team – but the team still dropped it at the end of the match.
3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (1-0)
This week: Defeat Idaho State 120-97. Next game: vs. Texas Southern (Saturday, 10pm ET)
While all eyes were on the Champions Classic, Gonzaga casually dropped 120 points in Idaho State in the Pacific Northwest. Rui Hachimura has 33 points.
4. Nevada Wolf Pack (1-0)
This week: Defeat BYU 86-70. Next game: vs. Pacific (Friday, 10 am ET, ESPN3)
Nevada's depth was full on Tuesday night, when Caleb and Cody Martin struggled to score – but Jordan Caroline dominated earlier.
5. Virginia Cavaliers (1-0)
This week: Defeat Towson 73-42. Next match: George Washington (Sunday, 2 PM ET, ACC Network)
Virginia saw the biggest jump from preseason rankings, because the initial ranking came out before Braxton Key received a waiver to play immediately.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-0)
This week: Defeat Wofford 78-67. Next game: vs. Elon (Friday, 7 nights, ESPNU)
Full credit for Roy Williams to start the season by going to Wofford and going to Elon. More elite teams must play the game early, especially against mid-major.
7. Auburn Tigers (1-0)
This week: Defeat South Alabama 101-58. Next game: vs. Washington (Friday, 9:30 a.m. ET)
Tiger is still in the process, considering various suspensions and injuries. But if they make 18 3-pointers like they do with South Alabama, they will be fine.
8. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0)
This week: Beat Lenoir Rhyne 86-41. Next game: vs. Louisiana (Friday, 9:30 a.m. SEC Network)
Another balanced effort for Tennessee, which has five players in double numbers, but no one has more than 18 points.
10. Kentucky Wildcats (0-1)
This week: Lost to Duke 118-84. Next game: vs. Southern Illinois (Friday, 7:00, SEC Network)
So they are clearly not as good as expected – however. Defense is the biggest problem, because they are really run over by the Duke's new students.
11. Oregon Ducks (1-0)
This week: Defeat Portland State 84-57. Next game: vs. Eastern Washington (Friday, 9:00 ET)
We will not see how good Oregon is until Duck is fully healthy, which may not be until December.
12. Syracuse Orange (1-0)
This week: Beat Eastern Washington 66-34. Next game: vs. Front State (Saturday, 7 nights, ACC Network)
Like Oregon, Orange dealt with short-term injuries – but their defense was more than adequate on Tuesday, holding East Washington to 34 points.
13. Virginia Tech Hokies (0-0)
This week: vs. Gardner Webb (Friday, 7 am ET, ACC Network)
The Hokies open the season on Friday without Chris Clarke, who is suspended indefinitely.
14. Kansas State Wildcats (0-0)
This week: vs. Kennesaw State (Friday, 8 am ET, ESPN3)
Bruce Weber's team is probably the most intense competition in Kansas in the Big 12, but there is a considerable sense of gap at the moment.
15. Michigan State Spartans (0-1)
This week: Lost to Kansas 92-87. Next game: vs. Florida Gulf Coast (Sunday, 6pm ET)
The Spartans are clearly behind Kansas in terms of their development, which is understandable. One bright spot is Kenny Goins, who has 17 points and 11 rebounds.
16. Florida State Seminoles (1-0)
This week: Defeat Florida 81-60. Next game: vs. Tulane (Sunday, 7 nights ET, ESPN3)
Seminoles Leonard Hamilton rises from No. 19 to No. 16 after dominating Florida with 21 points – without Phil Cofer, coming out in five or six weeks.