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Andy Katz, Correspondent | January 6, 2020

College basketball rankings: Michigan State surges, Gonzaga keeps top spot in latest Power 36

College basketball rankings: Here's why undefeated Auburn dropped, Michigan State surged in Power 36

Unpredictable will be the word of the season.

No team is safe.

But in the Power 36 we’re starting to see the top teams settle in near the top. There was some movement based on how teams looked and played the last week. So, don’t be too offended or upset. The rankings are based on how I see the teams in this snapshot in time and the quality of wins.

Let’s digest and debate:

1. Gonzaga (1): The Bulldogs could be challenged in every WCC game this season. The league is that deep. But they still have the answers and the Portland and Pepperdine games were a good wakeup.

2. Kansas (5): Great second half by the Jayhawks and Udoka Azubuike meant a quality quad one win over West Virginia.

3. Michigan State (13): The Spartans look like the No. 1 team in the country and certainly the best team in the Big Ten after blitzing Illinois and beating Michigan.

4. Duke (4): The Blue Devils drilled Miami on the road, showing that their defense is transferring from Cameron.

5. Auburn (2): The Tigers did drop in these rankings but are still undefeated.

6. Baylor (6): The Bears are going to be in the thick of the Big 12 title chase.

7. San Diego State (9): The Aztecs won at Utah State. They may run the table in the Mountain West.

8. Butler (10): The Bulldogs beat down Creighton after nearly blowing a big lead at St. John’s.

9. Florida State (14): Can we stop underrating Florida State? The Seminoles won at Louisville to serve notice that they are a contender for the ACC title.

MORE: Seminoles' Leonard Hamilton on FSU upset of No. 7 Louisville

10. Oregon (3): The Ducks did lose at Colorado, but then came back strong at Utah. I firmly believe this could be a Final Four team.

11. West Virginia (7): The Mountaineers looked strong in the first half, but there is no shame in losing in the second half at Kansas. I fully expect the Mountaineers to beat KU in Morgantown.

12. Kentucky (15): The Wildcats are starting to find themselves and that will be trouble for everyone else in the SEC.

13. Penn State (19): The Nittany Lions are quietly looking like a top four team in the Big Ten.

14. Maryland (20): The Terps finally had a performance that made you look at them as a Big Ten title contender again. They were impressive in handling Indiana.

15. Dayton (23): The Flyers are the clear favorite in the A-10 and Obi Toppin is a legit first-team all-American.

16. Marquette (18): Markus Howard and Koby McEwen helped lead the Golden Eagles past Villanova. That’s a huge plus for Marquette’s Big East/NCAA hopes.

17. Arkansas (25): Eric Musselman has put his imprint on the Razorbacks in less than three months. Don't be surprised to hear about Arkansas in the SEC race.

18. Seton Hall (36): The Pirates were picked to win the Big East. They are playing like they will.

19. Michigan (17): No harm in playing hard and competing at Michigan State and losing without Isaiah Livers. The Wolverines are still going to be a factor.

20. Memphis (8): The Tigers are facing their first adversity in a month after losing at home to Georgia. How they bounce back with Wichita State looming should say a lot about them in the AAC race.

21. Villanova (11): The Wildcats didn’t win at Marquette. But they still own the win over Kansas and did take down Xavier. They will be fine.

MORE: Wildcats' Jay Wright named AP coach of the decade

22. Houston (33): The Cougars are starting to find their groove. Houston has re-emerged as a favorite in the American.

23. Texas Tech (30): The Red Raiders are getting healthier and starting to be a tougher out. They will be in the Big 12 chase.

24. Wichita State (24): The Shockers are primed for their showdown with Memphis in the AAC.

25. Ohio State (12): The Buckeyes had to drop after a home loss to Wisconsin. Ohio State is hitting a major speed bump. How it deals with the adversity could determine if they will be a contender in the Big Ten title chase.

26. Arizona (NR): The Wildcats looked like the team that was billed to make major noise this season with a blowout win over Arizona State.

27. Louisville (16): The Cardinals drop after losing yet another game to a likely NCAA team (1-3 now in those games with the one win being home against Michigan).

28. Wisconsin (NR): The Badgers have made a steady climb back into the Big Ten/NCAA picture with four-straight wins and two on the road in Tennessee and Ohio State.

29. Iowa (29): The Hawkeyes nearly clipped Penn State at the Palestra. Give Fran McCaffery loads of credit for keeping this team in the chase without Jordan Bohannon.

30. LSU (NR): The Tigers are back to being relevant in the SEC with a solid road win at Tennessee.

31. Virginia (NR): The Cavaliers can’t forget the home loss to South Carolina, but dispatching Virginia Tech easily is a good sign they are going to climb back.

32. Washington (NR): The Huskies bounced back from a disheartening loss at home to UCLA with authority Sunday night with a 32-point win over USC. When the Huskies looked the way they did Sunday they can challenge for the top spot in the Pac-12.

33. VCU (NR): The Rams are going to chase Dayton throughout the A-10 and likely be an NCAA tournament team.

34. Xavier (31): The Musketeers split the week by following up the road loss at Nova with a critical home win over St. John’s.

35. BYU (NR): The Cougars have won six in a row and are thoroughly in the race in the WCC.

36. Georgia (NR): The Bulldogs have won four in a row and could have a season-changing win now at Memphis.

Team of the week

Wisconsin: The Badgers played themselves back into the Big Ten/NCAA conversation after a disastrous non-conference. Wisconsin beat Ohio State in Columbus for the best win of the week. The Badgers have won four in a row, including two straight on the road (Tennessee). Wisconsin had lost its previous five games away from the Kohl Center.

Player of the week

Cassius Winston, Sr., G, Michigan State: Winston re-asserted himself into favorite status for national player of the year last week. Winston scored a career-high 32 points and dished out nine assists in the rivalry home win over Michigan on Sunday. Earlier in the week, he scored 21 in a blowout home win over Illinois.

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