Purdue debuted at No. 10 in the power rankings last week because its tiny sample size was highlighted by a home win over Xavier, which was nice but not overwhelmingly impressive. Now, after tearing through the loaded Maui Invitational, the Boilermakers are a clear choice for No. 1.
Their three victories came against three top-11 teams in the AP poll as Purdue beat Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette, each of whom won NCAA Tournament games last season. The Boilermakers, of course, did not win a game in March Madness as they became the second No. 1 seed to ever lose against a No. 16 seed.
When Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose against a No. 16 seed in 2018, it followed up by winning the national title the following year. Based on its performance in Hawaii, Purdue looks capable of replicating that blueprint. Reigning national player of the year Zach Edey was phenomenal, and the Boilermakers received substantive contributions from their supporting cast.
As a reminder, the power rankings are not a prediction of what's in store for the 2023-24 season, and they don't give much credence to what transpired in past seasons. That's why teams like Kentucky and North Carolina are still on the outside looking in.
The Wildcats can crash the party with a win over Miami next week, but they still haven't beaten anyone of note and just needed overtime at home to beat St. Joseph's. North Carolina began the Battle 4 Atlantis with a nice win over Northern Iowa on Wednesday, but we'll still need to a see more from the Tar Heels over the weekend before they are worthy of entry into the power rankings.
Here's the second batch of college basketball power rankings for the 2023-24 season.
College basketball power rankings
|Purdue tore through the Maui Invitational with wins over Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette. Zach Edey was a monster and helped the Boilermakers dominate on the glass. He also got substantive contributions from the supporting cast. That was especially true in the title game victory over the Golden Eagles as Purdue shot 10 of 21 from beyond the arc while keeping pace with its up-tempo opponent.
|The Huskies beat Indiana and Texas by double-digits in the Empire Classic, even while playing without projected freshman star Stephon Castle, who is out due to a knee injury. UConn appears to have picked up right where it left off in Houston in April, when it cut down the nets as the national champs.
|Marquette cut Purdue's lead to one with 53 seconds left but couldn't get over the hump in the Maui Invitational title game. Still, it was a great trip for the Golden Eagles, who added wins over UCLA and Kansas to an early resume that already featured a win at Illinois.
|It's a cruel world when you keep winning and then drop in the rankings. Such is life this early in the season. Through no fault of their own, the Wildcats are no longer No. 1. But their win at Duke is still one of the best by anyone this season, and they can add another quality win to their resume against Michigan State on Thanksgiving Day.
|Kansas has neutral site wins over Kentucky and Tennessee along with a loss to Marquette. There's no shame in that early-season resume, even if the loss to the Golden Eagles will likely result in a fall from the top spot in the AP poll.
|Miami won the Baha Mar Bahamas Hoops Championship with victories over Georgia and Kansas State. The Hurricanes have been a machine offensively during their 5-0 start, as all five starters are averaging double figures. A Tuesday game at Kentucky will give Miami a chance to validate its hot start.
|Memphis reached the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis with a 71-67 win over Michigan on Wednesday. The Tigers are 4-0 and also have a road win at Missouri, although that one was devalued a bit when Mizzou lost to Jackson State. Nonetheless, these Tigers are old, big, unselfish and unbeaten entering Thursday.
|There aren't a ton of teams with three wins over power conference opponents at this point in the season. Mississippi State is one of them after adding victories against Washington State and Northwestern in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. The Bulldogs' 5-0 start is even more impressive considering it's transpired with star center Tolu Smith sidelined due to injury.
|Texas A&M is off to a 4-0 start that includes road wins over Ohio State and SMU. The Aggies are in the ESPN Events Invitational this week, beginning with a Thanksgiving Day game against Penn State, followed by a game against either FAU or Butler.
|Houston impressed in the Charleston Classic with double-digit wins over Utah and Dayton. The Cougars' nonconference schedule is relatively light ahead of the program's first season in the Big 12, but it appears coach Kelvin Sampson has assembled another gritty group of winners.
|BYU's win over San Diego State on Nov. 10 is retaining its value as the Aztecs have gone on to win three straight games over decent opponents since falling to the Cougars. Coach Mark Pope's club will be challenged again Thursday against Arizona State in the Vegas Showdown.
|Creighton is in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic on Thursday after beating Loyola Chicago 88-65 in Wednesday's semifinals. The Bluejays also have a 92-84 win over Iowa on their resume and are looking elite offensively yet again.
|Baylor beat Auburn on opening night and will have the chance to add another quality win to its resume vs. Florida in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday
|Duke's home loss to Arizona is counterbalanced by a neutral site win over Michigan State. The Blue Devils have also scored 90+ in three blowout victories against inferior opposition. We'll get a better read on where this team belongs when it plays Arkansas and Baylor in the coming weeks.
|James Madison finally suffered its first football loss, but the Dukes remain undefeated on the hardwood after winning the Cancun Challenge with victories over Southern Illinois and Fresno State. With an MTE title and road wins over Michigan State and Kent State, JMU is well on its way to building on last year's 22-11 season.
|One of the 2023 NCAA Tournament's darlings is off to a great start as the Tigers are 5-0 with a win over Rutgers, a road victory against a respectable Duquesne team and a neutral-site and neutral-site dub over a Charleston squad that was among the nation's top mid-majors last season.
|Alabama gets its first semi-test of the season Friday against Ohio State in the Emerald Coast Classic. The Crimson Tide have been other-worldly offensively against overmatched foes so far. If they keep it going in this weekend's MTE, they'll be in line for a massive jump.
|The Flames are 5-0 with five double-digit victories. Among them are wins against Furman and Vermont, both of whom were NCAA Tournament teams last season. Those wins, along with a victory over Wichita State, lifted Liberty to the Myrtle Beach Invitational title.
|Gonzaga emerged from the Maui Invitational in decent shape, despite being relegating to the loser's bracket after a 73-63 loss to eventual champion Purdue. The Zags recovered with nice wins over Syracuse and UCLA to reach 4-1 during what amounts to a rebuilding season following the departure of Drew Timme.
|Nevada's big win to date came on the road against Washington, and it's holding up pretty well considering the Huskies beat Xavier and took San Diego State to overtime. The Wolf Pack blew out overmatched foes in their other three games.