College basketball power rankings: Gonzaga tops in debut, with Arizona and Florida in top five in Hey 19

1 Record: 6-0. The Zags make it easy enough in Hey Nineteen’s season debut. Defeated Texas and UCLA by a combined score of 169-137 and neither game was ever close. Gonzaga will face Duke Friday and it’s only the second time a team has ever faced three top-10 opponents (per AP ranking) in the month of November. Also playing against UCLA and Duke this week, Gonzaga is also the only team in history to face two top-five opponents in less than a week in November. 2 Shot: 5-0. With impressive wins over North Carolina and Villanova, Matt Painter’s team is second in offensive efficiency to KenPom to Gonzaga (121.7 to 118.6) and looks to be a cut above everyone else in the Big Ten. Remarkable but mostly meaningless: By beating UNC and Nova, Purdue defeated the 2016, 2017 and 2018 National Championship Schools on consecutive days. 3 Shot: 5-0. The reigning champion has been quietly dominant to start the season, but that’s because of the schedule. Scott Drew’s schedule has yet to play against a team expected to compete in the NCAA tournament. Nevertheless, the undefeated Bears pick up where they left off in April, beating their opponents by a whopping 30.2 points. VCU awaits in the semifinals of Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday. 4 Report: 5-0. According to BartTorvik.com’s calculations, Gonzaga and Arizona are the two best performing teams in the first 16 days of play if you remove all preseason biases. Tommy Lloyd has got off to a great start in his first head coaching stint with victories over Wichita State and Michigan this week to win the Roman Main Event in Las Vegas. 5 Report: 5-0. Hello, Gators! What a thrilling win Wednesday night in the Fort Myers Tip-Off title game to beat Ohio State. UF stayed behind most of the night, then Tyree Appleby provided one of the highlights of the week with a long buzzer knocker. That Fort Myers event has become one of the best Thanksgiving week tournaments in sports. The Gators are pretty good now – and they’ve done it with seven transfers playing prominent minutes. 6 Record: 6-0. The Blue Devils started the season with a bloated win over Kentucky. Since then it has been five home wins against sub-150 leagues. The Gonzaga game (Friday night at 10:30 PM ET on ESPN) is the first of two in the coming week that will dictate our respect for this team. Next Tuesday, the only road race outside the conference is scheduled, in the state of Ohio. If Duke is to have a shot at a No. 1 seed this season, it will have to be at least 1-1 in those two, as there is no new Quad 1 noncon game on the schedule. 7 Report: 5-0. Memphis didn’t allow Virginia Tech to score a run for four and a half minutes on Wednesday night (until Storm Murphy hit a shot with 19.3 seconds left) finishing the game at a 14-4 point. The defense is the story here. Offensively, the Tigers are ugly now. Simple as that. But DeAndre Williams (16 points, 10 rebs vs. VT) is and will be the soul of this team if the Tigers are to maintain top-10 status for most of the season. 8 Record: 4-0. The Trojans have two wins on the road, which is more than anyone else on this list. I will always reward that kind of planning ambition (and success). The wins came at Temple and Florida Gulf Coast, but nevertheless they were put on the schedule, USC flew across the country and got it done. Next up is the Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim, which starts Thursday. 9 Report: 5-0. An incredible double overtime 115-109 victory Wednesday in the quarter-finals of the Battle 4 Atlantis vs. No. 19 Auburn. Sixteen days into the season, I think this is the best game of the bunch so far. The Huskies have a player you should know in sophomore great Adama Sanogo, averaging 18.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 turnovers and 60.5% from a 2-point range. 10 Report: 5-0. Few teams have looked as coherent and seamless as the Bonnies. Boise State, Clemson and Marquette were all broadcast by Kyle Lofton, Osun Ossuniyi and Company. I told you in the preseason this was a top 20 team. To date, nothing has disproved that claim. 11 Record: 4-0. The Crimson Tide has yet to face a power conference opponent, but that could change this weekend with the ESPN Events Invitational. The first is Iona — a first-round rematch from last year’s NCAAs — and then a potential flip against Belmont or Drake, both of which will be a tough assignment in a one-day turnaround. Nate Oats’ team is my pick to win the SEC. 12 Record: 5-1. On Wednesday, the Badgers were the surprise winner of this year’s Maui Invitational, which was held in Las Vegas due to the pandemic. I was wondering, historically does winning Maui suggest you’re heading for the NCAA tournament? The Maui Invitational has been around since 1984, meaning there were 37 champions for this year. Only three teams failed to dance (aside from Kansas in 2020, which would have been a No. 1 seed): Providence, 1985; Vanderbilt, 1987; Notre Dame, 2018. That’s a 92% success rate. Be optimistic, Badgers fans. 13 Report: 5-0. The Razorbacks defeated Kansas State and Cincinnati (which was a tough one) to win this week’s Kansas City Hall of Fame Classic. This is a 5-0 team destined to go 9-0; the next four games are at home against teams at 210th (Penn), 343rd (Central Arkansas), 298th (Little Rock), and 218th (Charlotte) in KenPom. 14 Record: 6-0. The Rams entered this season with Sweet 16 hopes, thanks to much of the roster returning. They still have room to spare thanks to a perfect start, most recently bolstered by a championship win in the Paradise Jam, including a win over Creighton. Niko Medved has the best team in the Mountain West. 15 Record: 3-0. The Jayhawks had to find a way to get in but they will be held back a bit as they have only played thrice so far (wins over Michigan State, Tarleton State and Stony Brook). Bigger tests await in the coming hours; KU is part of the ESPN Events Invitational and a game against Alabama could take place over the weekend. 16 Record: 5-1. The Coogs might have beaten Wisconsin in the Maui semifinals if the game had lasted 41 minutes instead of 40. But a two point loss on Tuesday put them in a consolation game against Oregon, and it was there and then the team showed from Kelvin Sampson exactly how angry they were at their performance the day before. The Cougars tore up the Ducks so hard (78-49) that the win put them in the debut edition. There is also a 20 point win over Virginia on UH’s list. 17 Report: 5-0. Like Houston, BYU has a dominant win over Oregon. (Oregon looks average at best, which almost no one predicted.) The Cougars have played three DI opponents, one of their other wins was a close home in the state of San Diego. Will have to win on the road in the Holy War against Utah on Saturday to stay in this ranking next Thursday. 18 Record: 5-1. That Gonzaga loss Tuesday night was damaging, but the impressive home win against Villanova on November 12 is still worth enough money to keep the Bruins involved. I also give Mick Cronin’s team a little leeway as Cody Riley was not available. Good karma comes in time for Cronin’s side – he’s one of the few coaches to stick with the suit look in 2021. Props. 19 Report: 5-0. Will Wade’s Tigers will face their first opponent in the big conference on Friday (a Penn State green team), but the display of dominance over five games is too authoritative not to include here. LSU wins its matches with an average score of 85-51, and it is the No. 1 rated team nationally in steal percentage (19.1%).

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