The power rankings were pushed back this week because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so please keep in mind that any results listed under "last week" are actually from the past nine days.
Reconfigure your shocked core and read on.
1. SYRACUSE (20-0, 7-0) (1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Villanova (79-66); Beat Providence (78-55); Beat Pittsburgh (71-63)
THIS WEEK: At Notre Dame (1/21); At Cincinnati (1/23)
Let's just go ahead and put Dick Vitale's "no one is going to beat Syracuse in the regular season" comment right next to his "Virginia Tech is absolutely in with this victory, I don't care what anyone says" from last February. The Orange are heads and shoulders above everyone else in the Big East, but they're not robots. Going 18-0 in that conference, even this season, just isn't going to happen.
2. KENTUCKY (18-1, 4-0) (2)
LAST WEEK: Beat Auburn (68-53); Beat Tennessee (65-62); Beat Arkansas (86-63)
THIS WEEK: vs. Alabama (1/21); At Georgia (1/24)
Kentucky finally gave the dominating performance Wildcat fans have been looking for since the North Carolina win in December by thrashing Arkansas 86-63 on Tuesday. UK had failed to cover the spread in 13 straight games before beating it by 4.5 against the Razorbacks.
3. BAYLOR (17-1, 4-1) (4)
LAST WEEK: Beat Kansas State (75-73); Beat Oklahoma State (106-65); Lost to Kansas (92-74)
THIS WEEK: vs. Missouri (1/21); At Oklahoma (1/24)
Baylor wasn't going to beat Kansas on Monday without playing their best game of the season, and that's something they obviously did not do. People have predictably overreacted and thrown the fraud flag in the wake of BU's 18-point loss, but the fact remains that the Bears are the deepest and most talented team in the Big 12. I'll still be surprised if they don't end up winning at least a share of the league's regular season title.
4. MISSOURI (17-1, 4-1) (8)
LAST WEEK: Beat Iowa State (76-69); Beat Texas (84-73); Beat Texas A&M (70-51)
THIS WEEK: At Baylor (1/21)
"It's very valuable. As you all know, Mike is capable of probably starting on any other team in the nation," Tiger forward Ricardo Ratliffe said. "It's like instant offense - he's a scoring point guard, and Phil is a pass-first point guard, so it just gives us the best of both worlds with those two guys."
LAST WEEK: Lost to Illinois (79-74); Beat Indiana (80-63)
THIS WEEK: At Nebraska (1/21)
The Buckeyes got a career-high 28 points from Lenzelle Smith and revenge on Indiana via an 80-63 blowout that was never in doubt. The Hoosiers scored just 14 points in the first half as OSU bounced back impressively from an emotional loss at Illinois earlier in the week.
6. KANSAS (15-3, 5-0) (11)
LAST WEEK: Beat Texas Tech (81-46); Beat Iowa State (82-73); Beat Baylor (92-74)
THIS WEEK: At Texas (1/21); vs. Texas A&M (1/23)
We've reached the point in the season where head-to-head meetings have to carry less weight when determining rankings. Nowhere is this more evident than with the Jayhawks, who sit three spots behind a Baylor team they beat by 18, one spot behind an Ohio State squad they knocked off by 11, and a spot ahead of Duke, who they lost to by seven. Or maybe I'm just wrong here.
7. DUKE (15-2, 3-0) (10)
LAST WEEK: Beat Virginia (61-58); Beat Clemson (73-66)
THIS WEEK: vs. Wake Forest (1/19); vs. Florida State (1/21)
Even with the Blue Devils' loss to Temple, they've probably been the most consistent team in the ACC outside of Virginia. That said, it is a bit troubling that we're into the second half of January and Coach K still seems uncomfortable with his player rotations. Eight different players have started games for Duke this season, and that lack of consistency hasn't been the product of injuries, as those eight players have appeared in all 17 games for the Devils.
8. NORTH CAROLINA (15-3, 2-1) (3)
LAST WEEK: Beat Miami (73-56); Lost to Florida State (90-57)
THIS WEEK: At Virginia Tech (1/19)
North Carolina lost by 33 to Florida State last Saturday. It happened. I saw it. The largest margin of defeat ever for an eventual national champion? Twenty-seven by UCLA during December of the 1964-65 season.
9. GEORGETOWN (15-3, 5-2) (16)
LAST WEEK: Beat St. John's (69-49); Beat DePaul (83-74)
THIS WEEK: vs. Rutgers (1/21)
10. MICHIGAN STATE (15-4, 3-2) (11)
LAST WEEK: Beat Iowa (95-61); Lost to Northwestern (81-74); Lost to Michigan (60-59)
THIS WEEK: vs. Purdue (1/21)
The Spartans, who opened the season with back-to-back losses, have now dropped two in a row after seeing their 15-game winning streak end. Worse stil, their most recent defeat came at the hands of Michigan, a once-dominated rival that has now taken three straight in the series.
"You never want to lose to Michigan," Spartan forward Draymond Green said. "And when you have people saying, ‘three times in a row' and running off the court, it hurts, definitely hurts, a pain like no other."
11. INDIANA (15-3, 3-3) (6)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Minnesota (77-74); Lost to Ohio State (80-63)
THIS WEEK: At Nebraska (1/18); vs. Penn State (1/22)
An 0-2 week put a quick halt to Indiana's return to the top ten. The Hoosiers, who entered the week as the nation's top 3-point shooting team, made just one try in the first half of their losses to both Minnesota and Ohio State.
12. UNLV (16-3, 0-1) (9)
LAST WEEK: Lost to San Diego State (69-67)
THIS WEEK: vs. TCU (1/18); vs. New Mexico (1/21)
The Runnin' Rebels fell 14 points short of their season-average of 81 in an MWC-opening 69-67 loss at San Diego State last Saturday. Still, the league's preseason favorite remained upbeat after the game.
"It's one game out of 14," said Anthony Marshall, who tied his career-high with 26 points. "It's really not going to dictate the conference."
Coach Dave Rice agreed.
"One game, whether it's a win or a loss, doesn't make or break us, in terms of one of our goals, which is to win a conference title," the coach said
13. VIRGINIA (14-2, 1-1) (12)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Duke (61-58)
THIS WEEK: At Georgia Tech (1/19); vs. Virginia Tech (1/22)
The Cavaliers, who continue to hold opponents to a ridiculous 51.1 points per game, probably earned more national respect in their 61-58 loss at Duke than they did in any of their 14 wins.
14. CONNECTICUT (14-3, 4-2) (NR)
LAST WEEK: Beat West Virginia (64-57); Beat Notre Dame (67-53)
THIS WEEK: vs. Cincinnati (1/18); At Tennessee (1/21)
The NCAA's ruling that freshman Ryan Boawright has to sit out an indefinite period of time couldn't have come at a worse point for a Husky team that had appeared to be finally gelling and playing its best basketball.
LAST WEEK: Beat Jacksonville State (66-55); Beat Tennessee Tech (82-74)
THIS WEEK: At Morehead State (1/18); At SIU-Edwardsville (1/21)
I'm going to reiterate my belief that the Racers will not make it into February with an unblemished record. They have not looked solid in their last three games and I really think all the undefeated talk is lodged deeply in their heads right now. That said, if Murray was to run the table and win the OVC Tournament, it would become one of the most talked about seedings in the history of the NCAA Tournament.
Outside of the Racers, the best RPI in the OVC is Tennessee Tech's 160. So where do you place a team that hasn't lost but has just one or two wins over other tournament teams? My initial thought is a five seed, but there's no question any number would result in controversy...but it would still be really fun.
16. SAN DIEGO STATE (15-2, 1-0) (NR)
LAST WEEK: Beat Chicago State (73-65); Beat UNLV (69-67)
THIS WEEK: At New Mexico (1/18); vs. Air Force (1/21)
Bring this thing home, Tim Shelton...
ON THE CUSP: Michigan, Creighton, Saint Mary's, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi State, Gonzaga, Harvard, Seton Hall.
FELL OUT: Seton Hall (13), Kansas State (14).