Let’s call it the conference shuffle.
Conference play is starting to define the contours of the nation’s top echelon, and so we’ve seen some movement in the Power 10, including a new No. 1 for the week, a jostling in the lower half of the rankings, and the re-inclusion of our of our early power picks.
Here’s the NCAA Power Ten for the week ending Jan. 5, 2020. Next to the team's name is their record and previous Power 10 ranking from last week. Florida State dropped out this week and Texas A&M joins the rankings:
1) Oregon (11-1) (3). When the margin is this slim, it’s all about the margins. The Ducks had an easy opening weekend in Pac-12 play with decisive wins over Colorado and Utah — a combined margin of 95 points in two games — looking every bit like a team that is favored to win a title. Sabrina Ionescu added to her list of milestones by hitting 900 career assists, the 12th player in the history of NCAA basketball to reach that mark.
2) Oregon State (14-0) (1). The Beavers were pushed on Sunday at home before pulling away for a 12-point win over Colorado thanks to a 16-point, 16-rebound game from senior guard Mikayla Pivec, who is the Pac-12’s leading rebounder out of the backcourt. Now OSU heads south to Arizona for a tough weekend against No. 18 Arizona and an always dangerous Arizona State squad.
3) Connecticut (10-0) (2). In a final prelude before Thursday’s barometer game against Baylor, the Huskies moved to 123-0 in American Athletic Conference play since they joined the league in 2013-14 with a 38-point win over SMU.
4) South Carolina (14-1) (5). The Gamecocks picked up a big road win, holding off an Alabama comeback bid to win their eighth straight game. Things are about to get more difficult in a hurry with three of South Carolina’s next four opponents — including Arkansas and Mississippi State — coming from the top 25 ranks.
5) Baylor (11-1) (6). The Bears passed their first Big 12 test with a 21-point win over Oklahoma, a game in which Te’a Cooper, the graduate transfer from South Carolina, scored a career-high 32 points, adding to the Bears’ list of reliable weapons. They will need them all a little later this week when the have a little game against Connecticut.
6) Stanford (13-1) (4). The Cardinals depth — Tara VanDerveer is consistently going 10-deep in her lineup at this point — paid off with a pair of Pac-12 opening wins at home this weekend against a pair of the conference’s upstart teams in Washington State and Washington. Next for Stanford, a rivalry weekend set of games against Cal on Friday and Sunday.
7) UCLA (14-0) (8). An impressive weekend for the Bruins ends with a decisive 70-58 victory over No. 18 Arizona to add to the best start in program history. UCLA used a strong second-half to blow past the Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion, scoring more points against Arizona than any team had done all season. Next up, the first road trip of the Pac-12 schedule for games against Utah and Colorado.
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8) North Carolina State (14-0) (10). The Wolfpack remain unbeaten and off to a 3-0 start in the ACC with wins this week over Virginia Tech and Virginia thanks to two straight 20-point plus games from sophomore center Elissa Cunane. The next stretch for NC State might be the toughest of the season so far, with games at North Carolina (Thursday) and at Notre Dame (Sunday), followed by a Jan. 16 home game against Florida State.
9) Louisville (14-1) (7). The Cardinals lose a bit of ground here. Two of their first three ACC games have been decided by five points or less. Louisville is doing just enough offensively to pull out close wins against quality, but unranked, conference opponents. The common denominator in those close games was the Cardinals' struggles to score and barely putting up 60 points in either game. It doesn’t get easier. Next up a Thursday road game against No. 23 Miami.
10) Texas A&M (13-1) (NR). The Aggies have won eight in a row and are back in the Power Ten after a strong road win at No. 20 Arkansas to open SEC play. Chennedy Carter has a run of seven straight 20-point games, while junior guard Kayla Wells has scored in double figures in eight of her last nine games. Next up, a pair of home games against Ole Miss and LSU. The Aggies currently have a 12-game home winning streak.