The holidays are here! I’ll be doing a slightly-abridged version of the power rankings this week and next week so we don’t miss anything, but this column will be back to full strength on January 8th. By that time, conference play will be up and running again and we’ll be firing on all cylinders.
Remember, these rankings are based on the current strength of the teams, not necessarily where I expect them to finish. Here we go…
1. Michigan State
The train just keeps rolling. That’s 11 in a row for the Spartans after two 40+ point blowouts last week.
Upcoming: vs Cleveland State / vs Savannah State
Same thing can be said about the Boilermakers, who have now won 8 in a row. There is a significant gap between the top 2 on this list and everyone else.
Upcoming: vs Lipscomb
More of the same from Michigan last week. They seem to get stronger with every game. This is a team to watch once conference play resumes.
Upcoming: vs Jacksonville
4. Ohio State
A neutral court loss to UNC ended a 5-game winning streak for Ohio State. Still, Buckeye fans have to be happy about the progress their team has made so far.
Upcoming: vs Miami (OH)
The Gophers added two more wins last week, but may have potentially lost Nate Mason for an extended period of time. That would be deadly.
Upcoming: vs Harvard
The Terps used a 24-0 run to run away from FDU on Thursday night. They’ve quietly reeled off 5 in a row, but for now they’ll stay in the 6th spot.
Upcoming: vs UMBC
It seems like nobody wants to be 7th. Despite being blown out by Oklahoma, the Wildcats remain in place this week thanks to a lot of losing behind them. I think it’s fair to say this team is not nearly as strong as last year’s version though.
Upcoming: vs Brown
Big jump for the Cornhuskers this week – partially based on their play and partially based on some bad losses around them. They may not have the most talent, but they’ve been playing hard for Tim Miles lately.
Upcoming: vs Stetson
A win over Green Bay (ranked 300+ in KenPom) isn’t exactly a resume booster, but maybe it will help the Badgers get some of their swagger back.
Upcoming: vs Chicago State / vs UMass Lowell
10. Penn State
Penn State drops a spot this week after falling to Rider at the buzzer. That loss could come back to haunt them in March.
Upcoming: vs Coppin State
Just a few days after being Notre Dame, the Hoosiers fell flat against Fort Wayne (for the second year in a row). To quote Bruce Springsteen – “one step up and two steps back.”
Upcoming: vs Youngstown State
The heartbreaker against Stony Brook was the first really bad loss under Steve Pikiell, and it came right after his signature win. It will be interesting to see how the Knights respond, with only one more game before Big Ten action.
Upcoming: vs Hartford
The Illini held on for the win in a rivalry game against Missouri. It was an important victory for Brad Underwood, whose team had only won 2 of their previous 7 games coming in.
Upcoming: vs Grand Canyon
Iowa put together a 2-0 week and has been playing better lately, but they still have yet to beat a team ranked in the KenPom Top 100. They’ll have a chance to make a statement in the first week of January.
Upcoming: vs Northern Illinois