The Power 36 will have a slew of fluidity over the next few weeks as more teams pick up quad one wins during high-profile tournaments and true road games.
But the top isn’t changing this week.
Our March Madness player of the week, Duke freshman Vernon Carey Jr., helped keep the Blue Devils in the top two with an MVP performance at Madison Square Garden. Carey scored 51 points and grabbed 22 boards in wins over Cal and Georgetown.
The team of the week, Florida, dropped out of the Power 36 just a week ago after losing its second game in November. But the Gators flipped the script on their season with a Charleston Classic title win Sunday night over Xavier.
On to the rankings:
1. Michigan State (1): This remains a bit of an outlier selection. But I still believe the Spartans are a notch above Duke as Michigan State begins the Maui Invitational.
2.Duke (2): The Blue Devils withstood a physical Georgetown team to win the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden.
3. Louisville (3): The Cardinals just keep steam-rolling lesser opponents.
4. Virginia (4): The Cavaliers gave up a season-high 55 points (a crazy stat!) to Vermont, but then held UMass and Arizona State to under 50.
5. Maryland (5): The Terps continue to look like a Big Ten title contender here in November.
6. Kansas (6): The Jayhawks are primed for a shot at Michigan State in a hopeful Maui Invitational final this week.
7. North Carolina (7): The Tar Heels could make a major statement to the rest of the country if they can win the Battle 4 Atlantis.
FRESHMAN PHENOM: How freshman Cole Anthony lived up to the hype in his UNC debut
8. Gonzaga (8): The Bulldogs got Killian Tillie back and he’s already having a major impact. He could be a key factor in Atlantis this week.
9. Seton Hall (9): The Pirates could be a top five team by week’s end if they end up winning the Atlantis title.
10. Texas Tech (10): The Red Raiders should claim a title later this week in Las Vegas, setting up their toughest game in two weeks against Louisville at MSG.
11. Kentucky (11): The Wildcats are still maturing, evolving and learning how to play for John Calipari.
12. Ohio State (12): The Buckeyes have the pieces for a deep run in March, let alone challenging Michigan State and Maryland.
13. Oregon (13): The Ducks took care of Houston and have a shot at moving into the top 10 if they win the Atlantis title.
THANKSGIVING HOOPS: Your full calorie-free tournament guide
14. Arizona (14): The Wildcats will venture out of Tucson this week for the Wooden Legacy in Anaheim, where they are an overwhelming favorite to win the title.
15. Baylor (23): The Bears moved up into the top 15 with a Myrtle Beach Invitational title over Villanova.
16. Florida (NR): Yes, the Gators are back in the rankings and where they should be after winning the Charleston Classic title Sunday by holding off Xavier.
17. Auburn (16): The Tigers are looking every bit like a team that could win the SEC yet again.
18. Florida State (17): Yes, I know the Seminoles beat Florida, but the Gators had the better week to shoot ahead.
19. Tennessee (18): The Vols are primed to make another run for a top-four finish in the SEC.
20. VCU (19): The Rams are now the clear favorite to win the A-10.
21. Penn State (20): The Nittany Lions have another shot to make their mark if they can win the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn.
22. Utah State (27): The Aggies knocked off LSU in Jamaica. Utah State still doesn’t have Neemias Queta healthy and yet is still undefeated.
ANTHONY ANSWERS: Listen to Cole Anthony on the UNC-Duke rivalry, his dad, and more
23. Oklahoma (26): The Sooners are a sneaky pick to finish in the top four in the Big 12.
24. Washington (22): The Huskies are going to be extremely tough to beat as the season progresses and the freshmen get more comfortable.
25. Villanova (28): The Wildcats lost to Baylor, but don’t sleep on this squad as a legit power this season.
26. Temple (NR): The Owls had one of the better wins this past week, knocking off USC in Los Angeles.
27. Memphis (15): The Tigers aren’t the same team without James Wiseman, but did beat Ole Miss and are still going to be a tough out over the next month.
28. Wisconsin (30): The Badgers are a possession away in overtime from entering the Legends Classic undefeated.
29. Colorado (25): The Buffaloes dropped without losing, but that’s only because the teams above had a more impressive week.
30. Georgetown (34): The Hoyas lost to Duke, but showed very well in the loss and sent a strong message to the Big East that they will be a player.
31. Xavier (31): The Musketeers aren’t going anywhere after a valiant effort to nearly knock off Florida in the Charleston Classic final.
32. Texas (21): The Longhorns fell to the Hoyas in New York, but don’t be fooled. This team is going to be in the mix in the Big 12.
33. San Diego State (35): The Aztecs have a chance to make a name for themselves if they can get a shot at Texas Tech later in the week in Las Vegas.
34. DePaul (NR): The Blue Demons are no longer a doormat after winning another true road game to move to 5-0.
35. Saint Mary’s (NR): The loss to Winthrop seems like it was more of an outlier for the Gaels.
36. West Virginia: The Mountaineers have one of the best freshmen in the country that will get plenty of pub soon in Oscar Tshiebwe.
First four out: 1. USC; 2. Marquette; 3. Oregon State; 4. LSU. Next four out: 5. Dayton; 6. Wichita State; 7. Arkansas; 8. Liberty.