Two teams have been third so far: Texas and UConn. This week, Ohio State ascends to that spot. The Huskies move down a bit, while the Longhorns, at 4-4, dropped out of the Power Rankings in Week 2 and are likely to be out of the Associated Press poll this week.
How do we balance the Irish's big win over UConn with their last-second loss to Maryland, which then was pummeled at home by Nebraska? Can LSU move into the top 10 when the Tigers have yet to play anything close to a ranked team?
When was the last time the Louisville women's and men's teams were a combined 5-12 to start a season? All five wins belong to the women, but at 5-4 -- with losses to Ohio State and Middle Tennessee this past week -- the Cardinals are (spoiler alert) out of the Power Rankings.
Louisville could join Texas in exiting the AP women's poll, which is released Monday; Tennessee already did. All three were top-10 teams in the preseason.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, it would be the first time that more than one team ranked in the preseason top 10 would be out of the poll by the fifth poll of the season.
Louisville recovered in 2015-16, finishing that season 26-8. So we will see whether better days are ahead for the Cardinals (and Longhorns and Lady Vols).
Iowa star Caitlin Clark sets a Big Ten record with the seventh triple-double of her career.
Player of the Week: Caitlin Clark, Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes went 1-1 this week, but the junior guard made more of her customary magic. She had 45 points in Thursday's loss to NC State, which was one off her career high and a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record (breaking her mark of 43 last season). Then, in Sunday's victory at Wisconsin, she had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to notch her first triple-double this season and the seventh of her Iowa career, a Big Ten record.
Team of the Week: Ohio State Buckeyes
Taylor Mikesell and Rebeka Mikulášiková combined for 47 points in beating Louisville, and 61 points in a win over Rutgers, this past week. The Buckeyes are off to an 8-0 start and have the notice of Ohio native and Buckeyes fan LeBron James, who sent the team custom headphones and shoes Friday.
Taylor Mikesell nails the triple vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Win of the Week: St. John's 66, Creighton 62
St. John's is the lone unbeaten team in the Big East thanks to this victory over No. 13 Creighton and UConn's loss to Notre Dame, both coming Sunday. The Bluejays dropped to 7-1 and the Huskies to 6-1, while the Red Storm are 8-0 for the just the fourth time in program history.
Creighton is the highest-ranked team St. John's has defeated since then-No. 8 Marquette in 2019. Jayla Everett, who previously played for Pittsburgh and New Mexico, led St. John's with 20 points Sunday.
Coach of the Week: Lindsay Edmonds, Rice Owls
In her second season at Rice, Edmonds has the Owls off to a 7-0 start, the best record among Conference USA teams. Rice was picked to finish fourth in C-USA in the preseason poll. The Owls beat TCU 68-58 this week, which comes after a victory at Texas A&M on Nov. 27. That was Rice's first win against Texas A&M since 2006. Edmonds came to Rice after eight seasons at NC State as an assistant to Wes Moore.
Aliyah Boston racks up 18 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and three assists in South Carolina's win over UCLA.
What is even scarier for opponents than 6-foot-5 reigning national player of the year Aliyah Boston ruling the paint? When Boston and 6-7 teammate Kamilla Cardoso are doing that together. Coach Dawn Staley was blunt about wanting more from Cardoso, and she's getting it. In victories over UCLA and Memphis, Cardoso had a combined 34 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Boston combined for 32 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks. Be afraid, SEC, be very afraid.
2. Stanford Cardinal (10-1)
Previous ranking: 2
This week: No games.
The Cardinal have had seven different players as their leading scorer in 11 games, including sophomore forward Brooke Demetre (17 points) in a victory over No. 23 Gonzaga on Sunday. If you think it's easy to scout Stanford, consider that Demetre didn't score at all in Wednesday's win over Santa Clara and had totaled just 19 points in eight games coming into Sunday. In short, you never know who is going to get you when playing Stanford.
The Buckeyes shot 59.7% from the field in beating Louisville and 53.4% in their win over Rutgers. For the season, they are at 51.3%. Guard Jacy Sheldon, dealing with a lower-leg injury, played against the Cardinals but not the Scarlet Knights. Yet in both cases, the Buckeyes still forced more than 20 turnovers, one of their strengths.
Sydney Parrish shows off the range on triple with Indiana pulling away from UNC
Guard Grace Berger is still out and might be for a while. But the Hoosiers keep winning, including an 87-63 victory over North Carolina and a closer-than-expected 65-61 win against an improved Illinois squad. Mackenzie Holmes combined for 48 points in those two games and is shooting 69.6% from the field this season.
Irritated by Diamond Miller's last-second shot that "shushed" the Notre Dame crowd in a 74-72 loss to Maryland on Thursday, the Irish brought the goods against UConn on Sunday. Olivia Miles led the way with 21 points and four assists against the Huskies in a 74-60 victory that showed growth from Notre Dame. Splitting those two games, the Irish stayed put at No. 5.
It seems harsh to drop the Huskies three spots considering that Sunday was their first loss, they have defeated three top-10 teams and fell at Notre Dame with no points from an injured Fudd. Plus, they still await the return of Dorka Juhasz. If Fudd being held out in the second half truly was precautionary, as coach Geno Auriemma said, this seems more a bump in the road for the Huskies. Still, it's a loss they can learn from.
Diamond Johnson knocks down the 3-point shot
NC State's 94-81 victory over Iowa on Thursday was an example of a dominant offense -- and a different way for the Wolfpack to win than is usually their forte. And although they allowed Caitlin Clark to score 45 points, they did a lot of things right defensively and made things very difficult on the Hawkeyes' inside game.
After a 6-0 start, the Tar Heels ran into a buzz saw in losing at Indiana. Their 63 points there were 10 fewer than their previous low this season, and they were held to 35.4% shooting. They also had trouble defensively stopping the Hoosiers inside and outside. But it was the kind of game North Carolina probably needed as a measuring stick.
The Cyclones pounded SIU Edwardsville 93-43 on Tuesday and will go into their biggest state rivalry game with a week of preparation. It will be Iowa State senior Ashley Joens' last game in her hometown of Iowa City, and the last college meeting between her and Clark, two of the best native-Iowan players ever. Unless, that is, the Cyclones and Hawkeyes face off in the NCAA tournament, which would have happened last season had Iowa not been upset by Creighton, which then went on to beat Iowa State, too.
Like LSU, the Hokies have not played a ranked team thus far. However, unlike the Tigers, they have played teams from Power 5 conferences (SEC, Big Ten), and in Tennessee faced a team that previously was ranked this season. Virginia Tech struggled offensively against Tennessee but still came away with a 59-56 win in Knoxville on Sunday. That followed an impressive 31-point victory over Nebraska.
Disappointed as the Hawkeyes were with their defense in their loss to NC State last week, they had no problem beating Wisconsin for the 26th time in a row. Next up is an expected full house at Carver-Hawkeye Arena when the Cyclones visit Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2) in an always-emotional matchup. Last season, Iowa State won 77-70. The year before, Iowa won 82-80 in a game in which the Hawkeyes' Clark had 34 points and the Cyclones' Joens scored 35.
The Wolverines jump into the Power Rankings after nearly making it a week earlier following a win over Baylor. This past week, they defeated Miami on the road and Northwestern at home. Emily Kiser had a combined 38 points in those two games, while fellow senior Leigha Brown had a combined 36.
After opening the season with seven consecutive blowouts, the Tigers got a challenge from SE Louisiana. LSU won 63-55, then beat Tulane 84-72. Angel Reese combined for 46 points and 21 rebounds in those games. We're getting closer to LSU's first game against a Power 5 foe (Oregon State on Dec. 18). And while the rankings surely will change (10-0 Arkansas of the SEC might move into the poll soon), right now the only ranked team on the Tigers' entire schedule is South Carolina in February.
The Utes beat Mississippi Valley State 109-42 last week as part of the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series. This week they have their big state rivalry game as they travel from Salt Lake City to Provo to meet the Cougars. Utah is averaging 97.0 PPG, with six players averaging in double-figures scoring, led by Alissa Pili (19.9).
UCLA fell to No. 1 South Carolina 73-64 on Tuesday but gave the Gamecocks trouble. The Bruins led 31-27 at halftime, with the score tied 47-47 after three quarters before South Carolina asserted itself in the fourth. UCLA seemed to have a little hangover in facing UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, as the Bruins fell behind 20-4 before rallying for a 68-57 win.
The Bluejays lost their first game of the season Sunday, 66-62 at St. John's. That came after a big road win against Villanova, 67-46 two days earlier. So they stay in the Power Rankings. However, the rest of December is very challenging for them. After this week's meeting with former Missouri Valley Conference rival Drake, Creighton faces Arkansas, Stanford, UConn and DePaul to close out 2022.
Fell out: Louisville