How do we handle two-day, early season events? Coming out of the 2K Classic in New York City this week, the pecking order would appear to be Iowa, then UConn, then Oregon, then Syracuse. But that's probably not the case.
Entering the season, Oregon and Syracuse were both top-15 teams, and Iowa and UConn were not expected to be NCAA tournament teams. Do we blow all that up because of two November games? That's the question we have to answer in this edition of the power rankings.
Oregon and Syracuse dropped out. The Ducks looked uninspired against Iowa but bounced back to handle Syracuse by 15 points. Bol Bol was tremendous and the defense looked much improved. But there are still questions of consistency and how Oregon will create offense while Louis King is sidelined. Syracuse did not look the part of a contender this week. The Orange gave up 80-plus points in back-to-back games, and Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett -- two stalwarts from last season -- are struggling to shoot the ball. Meanwhile, veteran point guard Frank Howard is still out because of an injury.
Iowa's status changed the most, but it is just outside the top 16 for now. The Hawkeyes are going to be a factor in the middle of the Big Ten standings. Tyler Cook and Luka Garza are one of the better under-the-radar frontcourt duos in the country, and they have enough guards to make plays. The question will be on the defensive end of the floor, but they've been solid so far.
Dan Hurley has turned around the culture at UConn quicker than expected, but the Huskies aren't there quite yet.
1. Duke Blue Devils (3-0)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: Beat Eastern Michigan 84-46 on Wednesday
2. Kansas Jayhawks (3-0)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: Beat Vermont 84-68 on Monday; Beat Louisiana 89-76 on Friday
There were some concerns that Kansas might not have enough shooting heading into the season. Lagerald Vick has single-handedly solved those issues. One game after going for 32 points and eight 3-pointers, he went for 33 points and seven 3-pointers Friday.
3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (3-0)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: Beat Texas A&M 94-71 on Thursday
Freshman Filip Petrusev has been a pleasant surprise for the Bulldogs. The Serbian big man has hit double figures in all three games, bringing another dimension to Gonzaga's frontcourt while Killian Tillie is sidelined.
4. Nevada Wolf Pack (3-0)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: Beat Little Rock 87-59 on Friday
Jordan Brown headed to Reno with plenty of hype, a top-50 recruit who chose Nevada over the likes of Arizona and California. So it was a surprise to see him play just five minutes in the season opener. In the two games since, he's played at least 20 minutes -- and notched a double-double on Friday.
5. Virginia Cavaliers (3-0)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: Beat Coppin State 97-40 on Friday
Virginia's never going to give up many points -- so when the Cavaliers shoot 60 percent from both the field and 3-point range, the way they did Friday, there might not be a team in the country that can beat them.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-0)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: Beat Stanford 90-72 on Monday; Beat Tennessee Tech 108-58 on Friday
There was supposed to be a point guard battle to replace Joel Berry, but it became clear as the preseason progressed that it was Coby White's job. He has had a strong start and racked up four assists for the second time this week.
7. Auburn Tigers (3-0)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: Beat Mississippi College 103-52 on Wednesday
In its final Maui Invitational tuneup, Auburn struggled shooting the ball from the perimeter for the first time this season -- but dominated anyway. Up next is Xavier in Maui, and then potentially games against Duke and Gonzaga.
8. Tennessee Volunteers (3-0)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: Beat Georgia Tech 66-53 on Tuesday
The Volunteers still don't have stud sixth man Lamonte Turner healthy, but it hasn't mattered thus far. Grant Williams has been dominant to start the season, averaging 22.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
9. Kentucky Wildcats (2-1)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: Beat North Dakota 96-58; vs. VMI (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network)
We had been waiting for a breakout game from PJ Washington, who seemed poised for stardom in his sophomore season. After totaling 11 points and eight boards in his first two games, Washington went for 25 points and seven rebounds Wednesday.
10. Michigan Wolverines (3-0)
Previous ranking: 12
This week: Beat Villanova 73-46 on Wednesday; vs. George Washington (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN3); South Carolina or Providence (Sunday)
Seems like a big jump, since we didn't have Michigan in our preseason top 25. But the Wolverines are simply an elite defensive team (Villanova's 46 points were the most they've allowed all season), and they've got underrated options offensively.
11. Virginia Tech Hokies (3-0)
Previous ranking: 13
This week: Beat Ball State 73-64 on Thursday; Beat Northeastern 88-60 on Friday; vs. Purdue (Sunday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Don't overlook the Hokies' 28-point drubbing of Northeastern on Friday. Northeastern already beat Harvard and Alabama by double figures and is a CAA favorite. Nickeil Alexander-Walker continues his breakout sophomore season.
12. Kansas State Wildcats (3-0)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: Beat Denver 64-56 on Monday; Beat Eastern Kentucky 95-68 on Friday; vs. Penn (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
Cartier Diarra showed flashes during Big 12 play and down the stretch last season but had been quiet early, scoring four points total in Kansas State's first two games. He woke up on Friday, finishing with 14 points and four assists.
13. Michigan State Spartans (2-1)
Previous ranking: 15
This week: Beat Louisiana-Monroe 80-59 on Wednesday; vs. Tennessee Tech (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET, BTN)
The Spartans continue to round back into form after their opening-night loss, but we'll have to keep an eye on Nick Ward. He left Wednesday's game because of an apparent injury, but a Michigan State spokesperson told reporters it was "nothing serious."
14. Florida State Seminoles (2-0)
Previous ranking: 16
This week: No games
PJ Savoy has always been productive in limited minutes but now that he has taken on a starting role, he has been a consistent scorer. Savoy went 8-for-14 from 3-point range and scored 34 points in two games last week.
15. LSU Tigers (4-0)
Previous ranking: Unranked
This week: Beat Memphis 85-76 on Tuesday; Beat Louisiana Tech 74-67 on Friday
In terms of pure talent, coach Will Wade has as much as anyone in the SEC. And the scary thing is, they haven't put it all together just yet. The Tigers beat Memphis with only eight points from Tremont Waters, and beat Tech despite Naz Reid scoring only four.
16. Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0)
Previous ranking: Unranked
This week: Beat Long Beach State 79-51 on Friday
It has been an awfully consistent start to the season for star guard Quinndary Weatherspoon. His scoring numbers in the Bulldogs' first three games: 21 points, 22 points, 21 points. Keep an eye on his brother, Nick, who reportedly suffered an ankle injury Friday.
Dropped out: Oregon (No. 9), Syracuse (No. 11)