We officially have a No. 1 debate for Monday.
Kansas came back from a nine-point deficit in the second half to beat Tennessee in overtime, and the Jayhawks can now make their case after Gonzaga beat Duke earlier this week.
Kansas has wins over Tennessee, Michigan State and Marquette -- and perhaps the most impressive thing about the Jayhawks is they have done it in different ways. Quentin Grimes was terrific against the Spartans in the season opener but has struggled since. Lagerald Vick scored two points in the opener but has been on fire from 3-point range lately. Bill Self has a deep and versatile team.
Will it be enough for No. 1? Or is Gonzaga's win in Maui over Duke the difference?
Thursday Update: UNC's Turn To Drop
Two days, two Tobacco Road losses.
This time, it was North Carolina's turn, as the Tar Heels fell to Texas out in Las Vegas on Thursday.
And it's only November, but North Carolina is suddenly entering a critical stretch of its season.
The Tar Heels tumbled eight spots in the rankings after losing to the Longhorns and are going to have to turn things around quickly. They face Michigan, Gonzaga and Kentucky within the next month. Their on-ball defense will need to improve to remain in the rankings, as they made it far too easy for Texas to score points on Thursday.
Wednesday Update: Gonzaga Earns The No. 1 Spot
We're starting to feel a little bad for Kansas.
The Jayhawks were No. 1 entering the season in the Power Rankings -- then got jumped when Duke dominated Kentucky in the opener, despite Kansas looking impressive against Michigan State. And now, with the Blue Devils losing on Wednesday night, it's time for a new No. 1.
But it's not going to be Kansas.
We're going with the team that beat Duke: Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs had their highest-ever preseason ranking this season and are living up to it so far. They actually looked inconsistent through their first two games at the Maui Invitational, but they punched Duke in the mouth early on Wednesday and never looked back en route to a 16-point second-half lead. The way the Zags hung on late in the game was also impressive, coming up with multiple stops in the final minute to finish off the two-point win.
Gonzaga has all the pieces. Josh Perkins looks far more poised and patient at the point guard spot; Zach Norvell Jr. can make shots and get his own; Rui Hachimura might be a lottery pick; and graduate transfer Brandon Clarke was terrific against Duke, at both ends of the floor. And remember: Killian Tillie won't be healthy for another month.
By the way, if Kansas beats Tennessee on Friday, we'll have a legitimate No. 1 debate on our hands
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (6-0)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: at Maui Invitational -- Beat Illinois 84-78 on Monday. Beat Arizona 91-78 on Tuesday. Beat Duke 89-87 on Wednesday
No one will be able to accuse Gonzaga of playing a soft schedule this season; the Bulldogs are scheduled to play two more top-10 teams in the next month: vs. Tennessee in Phoenix and at North Carolina. Will they still be No. 1 by then?
2. Kansas Jayhawks (5-0)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: at NIT Season Tip-Off -- Beat Marquette 77-68 on Wednesday; Beat Tennessee 87-81 (OT) on Friday
Quentin Grimes struggled again, Udoka Azubuike fouled out after just 17 minutes and Marcus Garrett was out -- but Kansas still knocked off a top-10 team in Tennessee. Dedric Lawson was terrific, but it was a really impressive performance from the Jayhawks' bench and supporting cast.
3. Duke Blue Devils (5-1)
Previous ranking: 1
This week: at Maui Invitational -- Beat San Diego State 90-63 on Monday. Beat Auburn 78-72 on Tuesday. Lost to Gonzaga 89-87 on Wednesday
We finally saw some weaknesses pop up for the Blue Devils on Wednesday. Duke didn't shoot well from beyond the arc; Cam Reddish floated in and out of the game; and the offense became far too stagnant late in games.
4. Nevada Wolf Pack (6-0)
Previous ranking: 4
This week: Beat Cal Baptist 90-55 on Monday; at Las Vegas Holiday Invitational -- Beat Tulsa 96-86 on Thursday; Beat UMass 110-87 on Friday
Everyone knew about Caleb and Cody Martin, and Jordan Caroline heading into the season, but Tre'Shawn Thurman came up big Friday. He finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, and was key when the Minutemen kept it competitive in the first half.
5. Virginia Cavaliers (6-0)
Previous ranking: 5
This week: at Battle 4 Atlantis -- Beat Middle Tennessee 74-52 on Wednesday; Beat Dayton 66-59 on Thursday; Beat Wisconsin 53-46 on Friday
Virginia's game against Wisconsin pitted perhaps the two most methodical teams in the country -- and the Cavaliers just do it better. They held the Badgers to 46 points, and De'Andre Hunter continued his outstanding start to the season with 20 points and nine rebounds.
6. Auburn Tigers (5-1)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: at Maui Invitational -- Beat Xavier 88-79 on Monday. Lost to Duke 78-72 on Tuesday; Beat Arizona 73-57 on Wednesday
Considering Auburn had its worst shooting performance of the season and gave up 1.10 points per possession defensively, losing to Duke by only six points isn't the end of the world. Avoiding a 1-2 stretch in Maui was key.
7. Michigan Wolverines (6-0)
Previous ranking: 8
This week: Beat Chattanooga 83-55 on Friday
Ignas Brazdeikis has been one of the best freshmen nationally who hasn't received enough attention. He scored another 20 points on Friday, grabbing seven rebounds as well. He's a difficult matchup given his size, strength and ability to score at multiple levels, and he has begun to earn some NBA buzz.
8. Tennessee Volunteers (4-1)
Previous ranking: 7
This week: at NIT Season Tip-Off -- Beat Louisville 92-81 on Wednesday; Lost to Kansas 87-81 (OT) on Friday
Tennessee had Kansas on the ropes late in Friday's NIT final, but Grant Williams fouled out near the end of regulation -- and the Volunteers simply couldn't respond on the offensive end. "Think about it, we're one rebound from winning the game in regulation, and we couldn't come up with it," coach Rick Barnes said afterward.
9. Virginia Tech Hokies (5-0)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: Beat St. Francis PA 75-37 on Saturday
The Hokies erased a first-half deficit to knock off Purdue and win the Charleston Classic. Buzz Williams' group now has plenty of momentum -- and might be favored in every single game until it heads to Virginia on Jan. 15 to face the Cavaliers.
10. Michigan State Spartans (5-1)
Previous ranking: 12
This week: at Las Vegas Invitational -- Beat UCLA 87-67 on Thursday; Beat Texas 78-68 on Friday
Michigan State won the Las Vegas Invitational in impressive fashion, coming back from a 19-point first-half deficit to beat Texas on Friday. Josh Langford (29 points) and Cassius Winston (20 points, 10 assists) stated their case as the Big Ten's best backcourt in the win.
11. Kentucky Wildcats (5-1)
Previous ranking: 10
This week: Beat Winthrop 87-74 on Wednesday; Beat Tennessee State 77-62 on Friday
After Friday's game, John Calipari summed up his thoughts: "We're not a very good team right now." The Wildcats have won five in a row, but they haven't been overwhelming in any of the five. There just hasn't been much game-to-game consistency from anyone, although Keldon Johnson stepped up with 27 points against Tennessee State.
12. Kansas State Wildcats (6-0)
Previous ranking: 11
This week: Beat Missouri 82-67 on Monday; Beat Lehigh 77-58 on Saturday
Kansas State won the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands by knocking off Missouri in the title game. Dean Wade finally broke out from the perimeter, burying four 3-pointers -- after not making one through the Wildcats' first four games.
13. Florida State Seminoles (5-0)
Previous ranking: 14
This week: Beat Canisius 93-61 on Monday; at Advocare Invitational -- Beat UAB 81-63 on Thursday; Beat. LSU 79-76 (OT) on Friday; vs. Villanova (Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN)
Florida State can really make a statement Sunday against Villanova in the title game of the Advocare Invitational, and the Seminoles should be favored. They knocked off LSU on Friday on a Mfiondu Kabengele 3-pointer in the final seconds, and did a good job of limiting Tremont Waters.
14. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-1)
Previous ranking: 6
This week: Beat St. Francis, Pa., 101-76; at Las Vegas Invitational -- Lost to Texas 92-89 on Thursday; Beat UCLA 94-78 on Friday
It was a really strong bounceback performance from the Tar Heels after getting beaten by Texas on Thursday. Coby White (19 points) continued his stellar start to the season, and Nassir Little (14 points) looked more aggressive off the bench. UNC's defense still struggled, though, especially in the first half.
15. Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-0)
Previous ranking: Unranked
This week: At Hall of Fame Classic -- Beat USC 78-63 on Monday; Beat Nebraska 70-52 on Tuesday; vs. Northern Colorado on Saturday)
Despite the loss of several key pieces from a season ago -- including guards Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith -- Chris Beard has the Red Raiders out to a hot start. They pounded both USC and Nebraska in Kansas City, and Jarrett Culver (18.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.0 APG) is having a breakout season thus far.
16. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-0)
Previous ranking: Unranked
This week: Beat Alabama State 105-78 on Wednesday.
To be honest, if Iowa played Oregon on a neutral court again tomorrow, we might take Oregon -- but the Hawkeyes already took care of business earlier this month and then crushed UConn a day later. Tyler Cook and Luka Garza are matchup nightmares in the frontcourt, and Iowa is guarding much better than a season ago.
Dropped out: LSU (No. 15), Wisconsin (No. 16)