We are down to seven undefeated teams. Who are they? You'll see below, as all of them, naturally, are slotted in this week's Hey Nineteen.
How long will we have at least one undefeated team? The answer to that lies in a combination of team strength, scheduling and good fortune. Going back to 1991-92, all but six seasons have gone through at least the first two weeks of January with an unbeaten team. However, in three of the past six seasons, men's college hoops lost its final undefeated squad on Dec. 30 of that year.
Baylor and Iowa State will play each other on Jan. 1, so we'll lose one there (if not before) and Arizona has a four-game road stand forthcoming that will be a gargantuan task. As COVID-19 cases have become more commonplace across the country and in sports this month, it also seems destined to produce scheduling wrinkles that further complicate matters.
Hey Nineteen Power Rankings
Reminder: My rankings are not solely about whom I think is "best." (Ouralready does that daily.) The Hey Nineteen is a weekly encapsulation of the 19 hottest, most successful and/or most interesting teams in college basketball, combining team quality with win quality but also leaving no shame for recency bias and rewarding significant winning streaks.
|Record: 9-0 | Last week: 2nd. As I said on CBS Sports HQ on Monday, Baylor is not just the deserving No. 1 team in the here and now, it's also operating as the best program -- big picture -- in the sport. The Bears have the nation's longest winning streak (15 games) and have gone 18-3 in their last 21 games vs. ranked opponents. BU has also won eight straight games vs. top-10 teams and is 63-6 since the 2019-20 season. |
|Record: 10-0 | Last week: 3rd. The No. 1 team in the NET is U of A. The Wildcats have been a fun surprise through the first five weeks of the season. Bennedict Mathurin, who had 30 points vs. Illinois on Saturday, just won back-to-back Pac-12 Player of the Week awards, the first time that's happened with an Arizona player since Hassan Adams in 2005-06, shockingly enough. Mathurin has a case for national player of the year frontrunner right now. Such a fun team. |
|Record: 11-0. | Last week: 4th. Best record in hoops as of today. The Trojans continue to get more respect in the Hey Nineteen than anywhere else in college hoops media. At least Andy Enfield's crew finally broke into the top 10 of the AP Top 25 this week. USC did get a good push Wednesday night vs. UC Irvine but won 66-61. |
|Record: 10-0 | Last week: 7th. LSU found itself down against Georgia Tech on Saturday, only to flip a switch and toss aside the Yellow Jackets in the second half. Sophomore forward Tari Eason put up a personal-best 23 points as LSU won the second half scoring battle 39-19. The Bayou Bengals are the No. 2 team in the NET but are yet to beat a projected NCAA Tournament team. Ranked highly in respect of the undefeated record and the huge average margin of victory (26.2). |
|Record: 10-0 | Last week: 8th. The Rams were the shared lead item of this week's Court Report, along with undefeated San Francisco. Here's another reason why CSU has grown into an elite mid-major: Niko Medved's system is a concoction of styles that doesn't seem to have a match anywhere else in the sport. It's a crossbreed of John Beilein's two-guard front, a helping of the Princeton offense, some of the "old spread" that Dana Altman and Brad Underwood have run, plus some five-out and pro concepts. CSU can score above 1 point per possession in transition and the halfcourt. It spaces the floor well and doesn't play anyone significant minutes who shoots worse than 47% from 2-point range and 33% from 3. |
|Record: 10-0 | Last week: 9th. On Friday I'll have a story about who is in the mix for national player of the year at this stage of the season. Right here, right now I'll give you my national coach of the year top tier, as it starts with ISU's T.J. Otzelberger. He first, then it's Arizona's Tommy Lloyd, Minnesota's Ben Johnson, Baylor's Scott Drew, USC's Andy Enfield and DePaul's Tony Stubblefield. |
|Record: 8-1. Last week: 10th. The Blue Devils won by 41 Tuesday night over South Carolina State. Appalachian State goes into Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday night, so more Duke is coming after an elongated break due to finals. Duke's final nonconference game was supposed to be Cleveland State. The Vikings had to cancel due to COVID. Duke got a make up game scheduled with a quickness vs. Loyola Maryland. |
|Record: 8-1. Last week: 12th. As the NFL, NBA and NHL have taken on more than 100 collective positive tests among players in the past two weeks, we've seen the COVID creep come back into college hoops as well. It happened with UCLA on Wednesday, as the Bruins' game vs. Alabama State was . We await to see if the team will travel to Las Vegas for the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday vs. UNC. Two of UCLA's past three wins have come on the road. |
|Record: 9-1 | Last week: 1st. Purdue fans playfully razzed me a bit in the preseason when I revealed I was taking the Boilermakers to win the '22 title. I poignantly understood that sentiment when Purdue was knocked off by one of the more memorable regular season buzzer-beaters of the past five seasons at Rutgers. Dropping eight spots is even a bit generous, considering Purdue had to rally down 12 with less than seven minutes remaining to beat NC State in overtime on Sunday at the Barclays Center. Next up is Butler in the Crossroads Classic in Indy on Saturday. |
|Record: 8-2 | Last week: 13th. In a game that was initially planned to be played last season, the Zags will meet Texas Tech on Saturday in Phoenix in the Jerry Colangelo Classic. It's going to be an obvious contrast in styles. Gonzaga likes to play as smoothly as possible, while Texas Tech completely rides your hip, bumps you out and loves to grind the game into a paste. Tech was my first team not to make the cut this week, so if it wins this game, it'll soar into next week's rankings. |
|Record: 10-1 | Last week: 14th. I continue to appropriately respect and reward a team that still has a bevy of human and computer skeptics. The Friars had a forgettable home win over a building Central Connecticut team over the weekend. Saturday brings the next test, the game that will decide for many if Ed Cooley's team is legit. PC at UConn on Saturday. |
|Record: 10-0 | Last week: 16th. The Dons would do well to split this weekend against Grand Canyon and Arizona State. When I talked to coach Todd Golden on Monday, he told me about how he landed Jamaree Bouyea more than five years ago: turns out, the father of one of his former teammates at Saint Mary's made a recommendation. Bouyea was 6 feet, 150 pounds. But he looked like he had D-I potential. He didn't sign until the spring of his senior year of high school. Now he's a viable NBA prospect. "It was a straight moneyball play," Golden said. "He had a great basketball IQ." |
|Record: 8-1. Last week: 17th. The Jayhawks welcomed old foe Missouri back into the building last weekend, marking the first time the Border War had been played on the hardwood since 2012. Kansas promptly won 102-65. We can only hope next season's game in Columbia, Missouri, will be much closer. Kansas' next two games in the coming days are against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday and at Colorado on Tuesday.|
|Record: 10-1 | Last week: 18th. I remain very high on the Musketeers, in no small part because of what's not happening. Paul Scruggs, who has the potential to be a top-five guy in the Big East, has scored in single digits in six of his past eight games. He's not shooting well and he's turning it over too much. I will lean in on these habits getting curbed, making Xavier that much better by February. Zach Freemantle is also battling with Jack Nunge for playing time. |
|Record: 9-1. Last week: N/R. A third of the way through the season, I think the best player in the Big East to this point has been Seton Hall's Jared Rhoden. He's averaging 17.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. He makes a few "needed that one" type of plays each night. The efficiency needs to improve, but he's a good one. The Hall jumps in by virtue of its home win last week over Texas. |
|Record: 9-1. Last week: 19th. The Mountaineers are quietly humming along with a .900 win percentage and the lone loss coming against Marquette. A tasty under-the-radar matchup awaits this weekend when WVU goes on the road to play against 9-2 UAB, which ranks 44th at KenPom.com. UAB is projected to win and will be favored. |
|Record: 8-2 | Last week: 15th. The Tide split, having a nail-biter at home vs. Houston, then dropped Tuesday night's road game at Memphis. Alabama is currently enjoying its first top-10 ranking this early in the season since the 2006-07 season campaign. Alabama is still No. 1 among all SEC teams in points per game, 3-point volume and percentage and defensive rebound rate. A goodie arrives Tuesday: vs. unbeaten Colorado State in Birmingham. |
|Record: 9-1 | Last week: N/R. Bruce Pearl's two-game suspension has come and gone, meaning he'll be on the sideline Saturday for the Tigers' tilt at 8-3 Saint Louis. Auburn is slotted between 11th and 17th in the six metrics on NCAA team sheets (NET, KenPom, Sagarin, BPI, Strength of Record, KPI). |
|Record: 9-2. Last week: 13th. The Cougars' two losses have come away from home by a combined three points to two teams currently ranked (Wisconsin and Alabama). So it wasn't a hard call to keep Kelvin Sampson's squad in here. That was a tough way to lose at Alabama, but I believe the officials' no-call was right. JD Davison's swat as time expired was legal. UH ranks No. 6 in defensive efficiency and No. 10 in offensive efficiency, according to BartTorvik.com. |