1. DUKE (1) (9-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Temple (90-67)
THIS WEEK: Idle
Even the most "yeah, but they do this every November" doubter had to have been at least somewhat swayed by Duke's dominant performance against Temple. Mason Plumlee continues to be the early front-runner for national Player of the Year honors, averaging 19.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
2. INDIANA (2) (9-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Central Connecticut State (100-69)
THIS WEEK: vs. Butler (12/15)
The Hoosiers get their first test since the overtime win over Georgetown this Saturday against Butler.
3. FLORIDA (3) (7-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Florida State (72-47)
THIS WEEK: At No. 8 Arizona (12/15)
The Gators humiliated their in-state rivals from Tallahassee by 25, and it actually dropped their average margin of victory to 25.3 points per game.
4. MICHIGAN (4) (9-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Western Michigan (73-41); Beat Arkansas (80-67)
THIS WEEK: vs. Binghamton (12/11); vs. West Virginia (12/15)
Often times the sophomore hype is even more difficult to live up to than its freshman counterpart. That hasn't been the case for Wolverine star Trey Burke, who's averaging 16.9 points and leading the Big Ten in assists at 7.1 per game.
5. SYRACUSE (5) (8-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Eastern Michigan (84-48); Beat Long Beach State (84-53); Beat Monmouth (108-56)
THIS WEEK: vs. Canisius (12/15); vs. Detroit (12/17)
It's been a standard December in Syracuse, where Jim Boeheim's team is throttling overmatched opponent after overmatched opponent inside the Carrier Dome. Next Monday's tilt with Ray McCallum Jr. and Detroit should provide at least a semblance of excitement.
6. LOUISVILLE (8) (8-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat College of Charleston (80-38); Beat UMKC (99-47)
THIS WEEK: At Memphis (12/15)
It's time to talk seriously about Russ Smith as an early POY candidate. The excitable junior guard is averaging over 20.0 ppg (the rarest of occurrences during the Rick Pitino era at Louisville), and ranks in the nation's top five in steals.
7. OHIO STATE (7) (6-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Long Beach State (89-55)
THIS WEEK: vs. Savannah State (12/12); vs. UNC-Asheville (12/15)
A soft early schedule has helped, but Ohio State ranks in the top 25 nationally in in points per game allowed (57.1) and defensive field goal percentage (36.2).
8. KANSAS (12) (7-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Colorado (90-54)
THIS WEEK: vs. Belmont (12/15)
Watching Kasas/Colorado sort of felt like watching a talented son on the verge of adulthood playing a game against the father who has terrified him since he was an infant. The game was over before the opening tip.
9. ILLINOIS (NR) (10-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Western Carolina (72-64); Beat No. 10 Gonzaga (85-74)
THIS WEEK: vs. Norfolk State (12/11); vs. Eastern Kentucky (12/16)
Dating back to the start of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament, John Groce is 15-1 over his last 16 games as a head coach. That one loss came in overtime of a Sweet 16 game against top-seeded North Carolina. I bet Chicago-area AAU coaches know who he is now.
10. ARIZONA (9) (7-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Southern Miss (63-55); Beat Clemson (66-54)
THIS WEEK: vs. No. 5 Florida (12/15)
The Wildcats responded nicely to a challenge from Clemson and a hostile environment inside Littlejohn Coliseum. They'll have a chance to make a gigantic national statement on Saturday against Florida.
11. CINCINNATI (10) (9-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat Arkansas-Little Rock (87-53); vs. UMES (92-60)
THIS WEEK: vs. Marshall (12/15)
The Bearcats set a school record with 23 steals in their win over Arkansas-Little Rock. They're 9-0 for just the 10th time in school history.
12. (11) MISSOURI (8-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Southeast Missouri State (81-65); Beat Tennessee State (68-38)
THIS WEEK: vs. South Carolina State (12/17)
It's been a couple of weeks now and Michael Dixon's departure is still the talk of Columbia.
13. (16) MINNESOTA (10-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat South Dakota State (88-64); Beat USC (71-57)
THIS WEEK: vs. North Dakota State (12/11)
Tubby Smith became just the 19th coach in Division-I history to win 500 games when the Golden Gophers topped USC last week. The last 113 of those victories came at Minnesota.
14. NEW MEXICO (NR) (10-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat USC (75-67); Beat Valparaiso (65-52)
THIS WEEK: vs. New Mexico State (12/15)
15. GEORGETOWN (14) (8-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Texas (64-41); Beat Towson (46-40); Beat Longwood (89-53)
THIS WEEK: vs. Western Carolina (12/15)
The Hoyas scored more points in their win over Longwood (89) than they did in their Tennessee (37) and Towson (46) victories combined.
LAST WEEK: Beat Northern Colorado (80-54)
THIS WEEK: At Tennessee (12/13)
DROPPED OUT: Gonzaga (6), Virginia Tech (13), Creighton (15)
ON THE CUSP: Gonzaga, Creighton, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh