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Andy Katz | Correspondent | January 4, 2021

College basketball rankings: Michigan, UCLA, Clemson take big steps forward in first Power 36 of 2021

How the latest Power 36 compares to the first NET rankings of the year

Time to amend the clear favorites. There are now three instead of four. Kansas’ home loss to Texas puts the Jayhawks into a second tier. The three teams comfortably — for now — in the Final Four conversation are Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova. The rest of the field is wide open.

Get ready for a very fluid Power 36: Digest and debate below.

1. Gonzaga (1): The Bulldogs started off the WCC with a resounding win over San Francisco.

2. Baylor (2): The Bears are beating up on the Big 12 so far.

3. Villanova (3): The Wildcats are off pause and ready to go back into the Big East.

4. Texas (6): The Longhorns win at Kansas was arguably the most significant conference in any league so far.

RECAP: Texas routs Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse

5. Wisconsin (8): The Badgers smacked Minnesota at home and continue to impress.

6. Illinois (10): The Illini have one of the best 1-2 pops of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn.

7. Michigan (15): The Wolverines remain undefeated in the Big Ten, the only one left.

8. Iowa (12): The Hawkeyes survived at Rutgers and have proven they are going to be in the thick of the race for the title.

9. Kansas (4): The Jayhawks were stunned by Texas. Let’s see if that ends up being an outlier.

10. Tennessee (7): The Vols lost at home to Alabama after blitzing Missouri in Columbia.

11. Houston (5): The Cougars bounced back from the Tulsa loss to beat SMU.

12. Creighton (11): The Bluejays beat Providence on the road on a dunk!

13. Oregon (14): The Ducks had a comeback win over Stanford. The Pac-12 may still run through Eugene or Westwood.

14. Minnesota (17): The Gophers responded to the Wisconsin loss with a double-digit win over Ohio State.

15. Rutgers (19): The Scarlet Knights nearly took down Iowa. But they showed, once healthy, they will be a tough out.

16. Missouri (9): The Tigers were humbled at home, but then responded with a win at Arkansas.

17. Ohio State (18): The Buckeyes split the week. Losing at Minnesota is not a bad loss. This team will be fine once it’s healthy.

18. UCLA (30): Time to recognize the Bruins are legit. They will bein the chase for the Pac-12 title with Oregon.

19. Virginia Tech (22): The Hokies are proving their win over Villanova wasn’t a fluke.

20. NC State (20): The Wolfpack plucked off a win over rival North Carolina.

21. Clemson (35): The Tigers will end up being a factor in the ACC race.

22. Boise State (23): The Broncos have emerged as the team to beat in the Mountain West.

23. BYU (24): The Cougars are easily No. 2 in the WCC.

24. Alabama (NR): The Tide pulled off the stunner of the week by winning at Tennessee.

25. Oklahoma (NR): The Sooners beat West Virginia and served notice they are going to be a pest in the Big 12.

26. Virginia (26): The Cavaliers are back on pause.

MORE: Here's where recent national champions were ranked on January 1

27. Florida (NR): The Gators are learning to play without Keyontae Johnson and had a significant win over LSU.

28. Northwestern (16): Life on the Big Ten road is brutal as the Wildcats found out at Iowa and Michigan.

29. Seton Hall (NR): The Pirates are now emerging as possibly the third-best team in the Big East.

30. UConn (33): The Huskies blew out DePaul and have one of the top scorers in the country in James Bouknight.

31. West Virginia (13): The Mountaineers are going to have to reinvent themselves with the departure of Oscar Tshiebwe.

32. Arizona (NR): The Wildcats won a wild one at Washington State. Arizona isn’t eligible for the postseason due to a self-imposed ban but they can still win the Pac-12.

33. Saint Louis (36): The Billikens are on pause, but when they return they will be the team to beat in the A-10.

34. Oklahoma State (NR): The Cowboys knocked off Texas Tech to show they belong in the upper half of the Big 12.

35. Tulsa (NR): The Golden Hurricane held on to upset Houston at home.

36. Drake (NR): The Bulldogs are 12-0 and their best player a year ago is the starting center at Minnesota.

Dropped out: No. 21 Florida State, No. 25 San Diego State, No. 27 Texas Tech, No. 28 Michigan State, No. 29 North Carolina, No. 31 Arkansas, No. 32 Xavier, No. 34 Stanford.

Also under consideration: Duke, TCU, Providence, SMU, UCF, Marquette, LSU, Colorado State, Winthrop.

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