The Power 16 is back for another season and though we are now three weeks into the year, we take our first look at the top college teams. With an incredible early season match up, #1 Duke faced #3 Gonzaga and the Zags experience and depth won out as they were able to build a big lead hold off a late game surge by Duke to bring home the Maui Jim Maui Invitational title.

Here is how we see the top 16 teams in the nation heading into the final week of November.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Gonzaga (NR)
After what might end up as one of the best games of the season, the Zags were able to edge out Duke and take over the top spot on this list. In winning the Maui Jim Maui Inviational, Gonzaga won a game that had the excitement and feel of a National Championship game. They were able to firmly establish themselves as a contender, and quite possibly the team to beat. For the past few years people have been quick to dismiss Gonzaga for their lack of quality wins. This year there will be no excuse to not give Gonzaga the respect they deserve. They took down a national powerhouse, a team many were beginning to think had a shot to go undefeated, without one of their impact players in Killian Tillie.
2. Kansas (NR)
Bill Self has himself another championship level team. The Jayhawks started the year as the AP #1 and got jumped after Duke’s strong start to the year. Now that Duke has suffered a loss to Gonzaga, the Zags take over our top spot. Lagerald Vick and Dedric Lawson have both put together an incredible start to the season and seem to have the ability to carry this Kansas team the distance. With wins over Michigan State and Tennessee in the young season, Kansas has one of the most impressive resumes in the country.
3. Duke (NR)
Duke fans have no reason to worry after their loss to Gonzaga. The Blue Devils were trailing for the vast majority of the game and it got to a point where it seemed as if the game was over. Duke was able to go on a huge run late in the game and bring the game down to the final seconds. Duke fans may question the play calling, but this game seemed to be more about what Gonzaga is capable of rather than Duke being overhyped. Look for the Blue Devils to bounce back in a big way.
4. Nevada (NR)
The Martin brothers are on mission this year. The Wolfpack have won their six games by an average of over 22 points and are really just overpowering teams this year. I understand the competition hasn’t been much, but Nevada is doing exactly what they are supposed to do against these teams; dominate. The offense looks prolific, the defense looks stout, and Nevada looks like a legit contender that could improve on their Sweet 16 appearance from a year ago.
5. Tennessee (NR)
You really can’t punish a team too much for a single-digit, overtime loss to one of the best teams in the country. The fact that the Vols took Kansas into overtime is enough to solidify them at the top of the rankings that had many questioning why the AP poll had them there in the first place. Grant Williams is averaging 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists in what has turned out to be one of the more impressing showings from any player in the young season. Tennessee is one of the reasons why the SEC isn’t just a football conference anymore.
6. Virginia (NR)
After an uncharacteristic start to the season for Virginia where they were scoring north of 75 points and even hung 97 in a game, the Cavaliers we have grown to love were back in a 53-46 win over Wisconsin on Friday. Virginia’s suffocating defense will once again be the anchor of this team that will be extra motivated after their historic first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament last year.
7. Michigan (NR)
Although a win over Villanova might not look as impressive as we thought due to Nova’s struggles, the fact that it was an utter beatdown carries the weight needed to solidify Michigan as a top-ten team. Michigan has shown no reason to not believe they are the team to beat in the Big Ten as they have beaten their opponents by an average of 22.5 points. A big game against UNC will further show what this Wolverine team in made of.
8. Michigan State (NR)
Michigan State is another team that has their only loss in a single-digit game against Kansas. Tom Izzo’s squad was able to take down a red-hot Texas team on Friday fresh off an easy win over UCLA. Big Ten basketball is usually centered around the state of Michigan and this year will be no different. Despite the loss of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson, the Spartans haven’t seemed to lost a step.
9. Auburn (NR)
The Tigers have looked like a solid team in their six games. Their offense looks incredible consistent and their defense seems to be good enough to get them where they want to be. Bryce Brown is the leader of the team and has an arsenal of ways to get the ball in the hoop. The Tigers are the flashiest team in the country but they play a good brand of basketball that has the feeling of making them a legit SEC contender.
10. North Carolina (NR)
Roy Williams’ group was able to rebound from their loss to Texas with a win over UCLA that helps prevent the level of worry UNC fans may have had. Luke Maye hasn’t had the start to the year he probably would’ve hoped but the surrounding cast has done a great job of picking up the slack. Coby White has the feeling of a player that could fill out and become the X-factor UNC needs to make another deep run into the postseason. Their next game against Michigan gives the Tar Heels a chance to make a statement.
11. Kentucky (NR)
After starting the year with an embarrassing loss to Duke, John Calipari has his troops back into form. The defense still has shown some issues but with a surprising number of returning players to a Kentucky team, they should find their way into becoming a more respectable defensive team. The SEC is up for grabs and with what looks like a solid balanced offensive attack, expect Kentucky to be right in the mix as always.
12. Texas (NR)
Texas is an early surprise to the college basketball season. They beat UNC in a barnburner and came right back and had the lead over Michigan State at halftime. Texas wasn’t able to close out the game but they have shown the ability to hang in there and even beat some of the top teams in the country. It’s too early to tell if this is the Texas team we will see night-in and night-out but if it is, it’s a scary team to face.
13. Virginia Tech (NR)
After taking down Purdue, Virginia Tech beat St. Francis 75-37. No matter who the opponent is, holding a team to under 40 points in a collegiate basketball game is something to take notice of.  In the ACC teams like Virginia Tech are going to face a beating from the top teams in the conference but what they’ve done so far is enough to earn them a spot in power rankings.
14. Kansas State (NR)
Despite playing nobody of a quality caliber, Kansas State is still rolling off of their Elite Eight appearance from last year. Dean Wade is a problem that defenses will struggle with all season long and the surrounding cast will make Kansas State a very respectable team throughout the season. The Wildcats have a real chance to dethrone Kansas as the top dog in the Big 12.
15. Maryland (NR)
Maryland has handled their business very well this year and has a very talented roster. Bruno Fernando is averaging 16 points, 9 rebounds, and is sending away 2.5 shots per game this year and might very well be the best big man in the Big Ten. Anthony Cowen is one of the quickest guards in the conference who has a knack of making an impact in the game on multiple fronts. The Big Ten is a very crowded conference and the Terps could very well make a run this year.
16.  Oregon (NR)
Oregon lost to Iowa a few weeks back but has responded very well. They handled Syracuse in what is their signature win thus far and have looked like the team people thought they can be. Bol Bol is as good as advertised and looks like a Mo Bamba, but better. Every second Bol is on the court it creates problems with the opposing defense. Bol will get his, but this Oregon team will succeed or fail based on what his teammates can contribute.



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