NCAA Power Poll: Bruins on top
Jeff Goodman / FOXSports.com
1. UCLA (5-0) — The Bruins have more right to this spot than anyone else. Ben Howland's club knocked off a pair of Top 25 programs — Georgia Tech and Kentucky — on a neutral floor out in Maui. Darren Collison has been instrumental for the Bruins and Josh Shipp is working himself back to where he was prior to the hip injury that kept him out for nearly all of last season.
Next test: Dec. 9 vs. Texas A&M in Wooden Classic (Anaheim, Calif.)
2. Pittsburgh (7-0) — The Panthers haven't had to venture away from the Peterson Center other than for a game against Western Michigan in the Maggie Dixon Classic. They had little difficulty with UMass and Florida State — at home. The addition of Mike Cook has been instrumental, but the Panthers have plenty of other weapons.
Next test: Dec. 16 at Wisconsin
3. Kansas (6-1) — This was a tough call because of the Jayhawks' setback to Oral Roberts and a lackluster effort against Ball State. However, Bill Self's team knocked off the defending national champion Florida Gators. Julian Wright is a star and freshman Darrell Arthur has stepped up in a big way. The key will be whether Sasha Kaun can give KU consistent low-post play on both ends of the court.
Next test: Saturday at DePaul
4. Florida (7-1) — The Gators didn't exactly set the house on fire in a loss to Kansas in Las Vegas. Corey Brewer, who was playing with mononucleosis, missed a last second 3-pointer in overtime. Billy Donovan's team will be just fine because they have been there, have chemistry and play hard.
Next test: Sunday at Florida State (without Brewer)
5. North Carolina (5-1) — The Tar Heels got yet another dominating effort from sophomore big man Tyler Hansbrough in a terrific game against a Greg Oden-less Ohio State club. Wayne Ellington had a strong second half — as did fellow freshman Brandan Wright.
Next test: Saturday vs. Kentucky
6. Ohio State (6-1) — The Buckeyes gave a valiant effort without their star big man in a loss at Chapel Hill. Senior Ron Lewis went for 30, freshman Daequan Cook was terrific and fellow frosh Mike Conley Jr., was unrattled in one of the toughest environments. Thad Matta's group had played its first half-dozen games at home with its toughest opponent being Kent State.
Next test: Dec. 23 at Florida
7. Alabama (6-0) — The Crimson Tide have managed to remain unbeaten despite playing with a banged-up Ron Steele and an emotional Jermareo Davidson, whose girlfriend was killed in a car accident. Mark Gottfried's club beat a tough Xavier club in the Virgin Islands.
Next test: Dec. 7 at Notre Dame
8. Marquette (7-0) — Tom Crean's team needed overtime to knock off Idaho State, but the Golden Eagles have rebounded strong with neutral-court victories against Duke and Texas Tech. Sophomore point guard Dominic James has been every bit as good as advertised.
Next test: Dec. 9 vs. Wisconsin
9. Butler (8-0) — No one has had more quality wins than Todd Lickliter's Bulldogs. They knocked off Notre Dame, Indiana, Tennessee and Gonzaga en route to a Preseason NIT title. Then, one day after the win over the 'Zags, Butler came back to beat mid-major power Kent State in double overtime.
Next test: Dec. 16 vs. Purdue in the Wooden Tradition
10. Wichita State (5-0) — How can these guys not be in the Top 10 after road wins against two Final Four teams from a year ago — LSU and George Mason. Shockers coach Mark Turgeon's team has experience and balance.
Next test: Saturday at Syracuse
11. Texas A&M (6-0) — Billy Gillespie's Aggies have yet to venture away from College Station and haven't really played anyone of note. The victims include Prairie View A&M, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, St. Louis, Idaho State and Arkansas-Little Rock. Acie Law IV has led Texas A&M thus far.
Next test: Dec. 5 at LSU
12. Gonzaga (6-1) — The 'Zags knocked off arguably the most talented team in the nation, North Carolina, at Madison Square Garden before losing to Butler in the championship game. Guard Derek Ravio and big man Josh Heytvelt have done a good job making people forget about Adam Morrison.
Next test: Saturday vs. Texas in Phoenix
13. Arizona (4-1) — The Wildcats had a slip-up at Virginia on the night that the Cavaliers opened their new building. But the wing trio of freshman Chase Budinger as well as Marcus Williams and Jawann McClellan have been nearly unstoppable. Add in senior forward Ivan Radenovic and it's a team difficult to defend. The key is clearly point guard Mustafa Shakur.
Next test: Dec. 5 vs. Louisville in Jimmy V Classic in New York
14. Georgia Tech (6-1) — Paul Hewitt's club knocked off Memphis out in Maui and also took care of Purdue before losing badly to the No. 1 team in the land — UCLA. The Yellow Jackets will continue to get better as freshmen Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young rack up experience.
Next test: Sunday at Miami
15. Duke (6-1) — Greg Paulus is still coming back from a foot injury and Josh McRoberts still isn't the same after off-season back surgery. That said, the Blue Devils are still 6-1 with a pair of quality wins against Air Force and Indiana.
Next test: Saturday vs. Georgetown
16. Maryland (8-0) — The Terps have earned it with a blowout win at St. John's, a road victory against Illinois and a win against Michigan State in New York. Heady guards Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes have made a huge difference.
Next test: Dec. 10 at Boston College
17. Washington (6-0) — The Huskies are young with a trio of freshman starters and Lorenzo Romar has primarily scheduled cupcakes early. The toughest opponent thus far has been Northern Iowa. Quincy Pondexter has emerged and fellow freshman Spencer Hawes is starting to come on of late.
Next test: Dec. 9 at Gonzaga
18. UConn (6-0) — These Huskies are just as young as the ones from Seattle. Jim Calhoun's group has found a big-time scoring guard in freshman Jerome Dyson and fellow frosh Hasheem Thabeet has been an intimidating presence down low.
Next test: Dec. 6 at LSU
19. Memphis (4-1) — The Tigers dropped a game against Top 25 team Georgia Tech, but ended up coming back from Hawaii with victories against Kentucky and Oklahoma. John Calipari will need to get more from Robert Dozier and could also use more consistent perimeter shooting.
Next test: Dec. 6 at Tennessee
20. Oklahoma State (8-0) — The Cowboys knocked off a Missouri State team that just got through taking care of Wisconsin. Mario Boggan has been tough inside while freshman Obi Muonelo has given Sean Sutton scoring punch from the wing.
Next test: Dec. 5 vs. Syracuse in New York