College basketball: Conference power rankings – SEC struggling, ACC keeps crown

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 12: Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats walks off of the court after the 67-64 loss to the Evansville Aces at Rupp Arena on November 12, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 12: Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats walks off of the court after the 67-64 loss to the Evansville Aces at Rupp Arena on November 12, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

College basketball was rocked by two big upsets of SEC powerhouses this week and they now find themselves at the bottom of the conference rankings.

1. ACC

They were the top seed last week and nothing crazy happened in the last seven days to knock them from that spot. A new set of rankings also places the Duke Blue Devils as the number one team in the nation. Mike Krzyzewski’s team might not have as much top-end talent as a year ago but they have been able to be one of the most consistent teams in the nation early in the season. Down Tobacco Road, Cole Anthony continues to be a one-man wrecking crew for the North Carolina Tar Heels as Roy Williams enjoys the fruits of no longer being under NCAA investigation. Meanwhile, the Virginia Cavaliers remain one of the most slept on defending national champion. The Pack Line remains formidable and they have just enough offensive firepower to cross the 50-point mark.

2. Pac 12

Aside from the Washington Huskies losing to the Tennessee Volunteers in Canada, the second week of play for the Pac 12 conference went nearly as well as the first. The Arizona Wildcats look like they are ready to rejoin the conversation of elite programs. At the Phil Knight Invitational, the “home team” Oregon Ducks were able to hold off the young Memphis Tigers to get one of the biggest wins for the conference in years. The Los Angeles teams are holding it down for California to start the year and the Pac 12 has a chance to tout its depth as their strongest attribute this year.

3. Big Ten

The Gavitt Tipoff Games saw the most high-profiled meetings between ranked teams as Michigan State went on the road to face Seton Hall and Ohio State hosted Villanova in Columbus. The Spartans and the Pirates gave us the early contender for game of the year in their 76-73 battle that Michigan State emerged victorious from. Freshman Malik Hall went a perfect 7-7 from the field and earned co-Freshman of the Week honors for the Big Ten. The Buckeyes thoroughly handled the Wildcats to the tune of 76-51 a day earlier. Quietly, the Maryland Terrapins have been one of the most impressive teams at the start of the season and with their schedule looking easy the rest of the month they should work their way into the top five shortly.

4. American

With James Wiseman’s future with the Memphis Tigers uncertain and the Houston Cougars losing at home to BYU this conference’s chances of potentially producing a Final Four team have dropped measurably. Penny Hardaway still has the talent and the team should still win its fair share of games but without Wiseman, the outlook changes drastically. However, the conference got a huge boost when UConn was able to take down the 15th ranked Florida Gators in Gampel Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. Dan Hurley gets his signature win and the Huskies look to be getting off to a strong start before they return to the Big East next season.

5. Big East

Aside from the losses suffered by Villanova and Seton Hall during the Gavitt Tipoff Games, Xavier barely survived a home game against Missouri State, Vermont went to Queens and knocked off St. Johns, and Wisconsin got the better of Marquette in their in-state meeting. The Big East has tried to regain its footing as one of the premier conferences in college basketball but aside from the Wildcats two championships in three years, not many other teams have made the appropriate noise to get them back among the elite. It’s still early but unless multiple teams are able to turn it around it’s unlikely that they’ll be back among the best anytime soon.

6. Big 12

Not much happened in the Big 12 this week. The ranked teams (Kansas, Texas Tech, and Baylor) won easily in games where they were the far superior team. Only Oklahoma turned some eyeballs as they were able to defeat Oregon State in Oregon as part of the Phil Knight Invitational. The holiday tournaments are getting ready to start and they will provide an opportunity for the conference to make a statement about where they stand to the rest of the country. While they haven’t done much on the national stage, this league is once again set up to have a tight in-conference race for the regular season and conference tournament championships.

7. SEC

Here’s a recap of the major storylines from the SEC (caps for emphasis): THE KENTUCKY WILDCATS LOST AT HOME TO EVANSVILLE! THE FLORIDA GATORS LOST ON THE ROAD TO UCONN! LSU LOST TO VCU ON THE ROAD! THE VANDERBILT COMMODORES LOST TO THE RICHMOND SPIDERS IN OVERTIME! THE TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS UPSET THE WASHINGTON HUSKIES! Only one of those paints the conference in a good light –and that doesn’t even mention near-losses Kentucky and Florida suffered in their other games– and that is why they end week two at the bottom of the conference power rankings.

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