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Joe Boozell | | February 4, 2019

College basketball rankings: Kentucky in the top five; Wisconsin rises in new AP Poll

Michigan falls in Andy Katz's latest Power 36

Here's a full look at the newest AP Top 25:

1 Tennessee (48) 20-1 1,579 1
2 Duke (12) 19-2 1,532 2
3 Virginia (4) 20-1 1,478 3
4 Gonzaga 21-2 1,423 4
5 Kentucky 18-3 1,310 7
6 Nevada 21-1 1,228 8
7 Michigan 20-2 1,217 5
8 North Carolina 17-4 1,167 9
9 Michigan State 18-4 1,051 6
10 Marquette 19-3 1,029 10
11 Virginia Tech 18-3 948 12
12 Houston 21-1 838 13
13 Kansas 17-5 809 11
14 Villanova 18-4 801 14
15 Purdue 16-6 697 17
16 Louisville 16-6 561 15
17 Iowa State 17-5 545 20
18 Texas Tech 17-5 482 16
19 Wisconsin 16-6 462 24
20 Iowa 17-5 242 NR
21 LSU 17-4 205 19
22 Florida State 16-5 180 25
23 Buffalo 19-3 153 18
24 Maryland 17-6 144 21
25 Cincinnati 19-3 142 NR

There aren't as many significant movers as there were last week, but once again, we'll highlight Kentucky. The Wildcats jumped two spots after beating Florida and Vanderbilt and are up to No. 5. Kentucky is just smothering people on defense lately, as it held the Gators and Commodores to under 55 points each. college hoops home | NET rankings

The Wildcats have won eight in a row and are one of the scariest teams in America. Their two-way prowess can't be overstated. Kentucky ranks 17th in offense and eighth in defense, per KenPom, and those numbers seem to improve by the day. The Wildcats are the team we thought they were coming into the season. It just took a little longer than we expected for them to get there.

The biggest riser this week was Wisconsin, which vaulted to No. 19 with wins over Nebraska and Maryland. The Badgers are now 8-3 in the loaded Big Ten and have one of the nation's top players in Ethan Happ.

Happ is getting more help lately, though, as guard Brad Davison has stepped up. He made four 3s and scored 21 points against Nebraska, and when Wisconsin's shooters are hitting, they are particularly tough to beat. Side note: duh, making outside shots helps you win games. That's true of every team. But because of how much attention Happ draws inside and his elite passing, the Badgers get an unusually high number of open looks. So when Wisconsin is accurate from distance, it's especially lethal.

No. 24 Wisconsin beats No. 21 Maryland

The top four teams are the same as last week, but there was some light shuffling elsewhere in the top 10. Both Michigan schools fell. The Spartans are down to No. 9 after a loss to Indiana, while the Wolverines fell to No. 7 after a setback against Iowa.

These schools are both national title contenders, but it's fair to question whether or not they peaked too early. Michigan started 17-0 but has gone 3-2 since, and the defense has come down to earth. Michigan State won 12 games in a row but has lost its last two, and learned Joshua Langford will miss the rest of the season. The Langford news is more important to MSU's title hopes than the last two outcomes, by the way. He's a difference-maker on the wing.

Iowa takes down No. 5 Michigan

Nevada rose two spots to No. 6 this week, though that's mostly because of Michigan and Michigan State's losses. That said, the Wolf Pack seem to have bounced back after an ugly loss to New Mexico in early January. Nevada has beat its last four opponents by at least 15 points. It's hard to know what to make of the Wolf Pack given their light conference schedule, but we know they are supremely talented, and they're winning the games they should. At 21-1, Nevada will be a fascinating team come Selection Sunday.

College hoops: Andy Katz's latest Power 36 rankings

We'll wrap up by touching on a few teams that jumped multiple spots: No. 15 Purdue and No. 17 Iowa State.

The Boilermakers are the hottest team in the Big Ten right now and are up to third in offensive efficiency after wins over Minnesota and Penn State. It looked like Michigan State and Michigan would battle for the Big Ten crown, but Purdue is butting its way into the conversation. The same goes for Iowa State, but in the Big 12, where the Cyclones are now 6-3 and are a real threat to dethrone Kansas. The Jayhawks are also 6-3. The two split their regular season matchups.

This time next month, we'll be in the midst of conference tournaments. The greatest time of year is just around the corner.

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