With the 2016-17 college basketball season approaching the end of its first month, we’re learning a lot about where teams are in the development process of their respective seasons. UCLA, which is off to a 9-0 start, has the look of a national title contender, especially after their 97-92 win at No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday. The Wildcats had won 42 consecutive games at Rupp Arena, and after a slow start to the game by the visiting Bruins it appeared as if John Calipari’s team would extend the streak to 43. But the Bruins regained their composure, and players both young and old alike chipped in to help the program beat a top-ranked Kentucky team for the second consecutive season.
Point guard Lonzo Ball may not have enjoyed his most prolific game offensively, but guards Isaac Hamilton and Aaron Holiday provided a boost as did senior guard Bryce Alford. And in the front court, freshmen T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu more than held their own in the post on a day that saw starter Thomas Welsh struggle with foul trouble and generally ineffective play. Picked to finish third in the Pac-12 during the preseason, Steve Alford’s team has looked like the class of the conference thus far. And given how much time there is for UCLA to continue to grow, who’s to say they can’t accomplish even more than winning the Pac-12 this season?
We’ve still got a long way to go before Selection Sunday, but teams such as UCLA, Villanova and Baylor have picked up wins that will only help them when the 68-team NCAA tournament field is revealed in March. Here are our top 30 power rankings for this week.
Click on the “next page” graphic below for teams 30-26