It doesn’t help that I missed last weeks rankings to take a short break and enjoy a little bit of actual down time for the holidays, but now with conference play beginning, the rankings are already all over the place. The first few games of conference play have already seen several big upsets and other games that haven’t gone as I expected.

The ACC, which was predicted to be the best conference in the land this season was the biggest victim of the craziness that has been conference play so far. This week convinced me that the ACC is obviously one of the deepest leagues, but it might not be the best overall. Right now that title is split between the Big 12 and the Big East currently. Villanova looks almost unbeatable at the top and then the Big 12 has Baylor, Kansas, and West Virginia all in my Top 10.

As always, college basketball season just keeps getting better, but for now, here is who I think the top teams in the country are right now:

1. Villanova Wildcats

In another great game for this college basketball season, Villanova traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to face Creighton in their second Big East game. Creighton put up an excellent fight, but the poise of Villanova weathered all of Creighton’s runs and ended up putting it away in the final minutes.

2. Baylor Bears

Other undefeated teams have fallen, but the Baylor Bears remain alive, and have been doing it in convincing fashion. The Bears got started with Big 12 with a pounding of Oklahoma on the road. Kansas has the edge because they’re Kansas and they’ve won 12 years in a row, but Baylor and West Virginia are going to make the Big 12 one exciting race this season.

3. Kansas Jayhawks

Speaking of the Jayhawks, Kansas was able to hold off a tough TCU team on the road despite losing promising big man Udoka Azubuike for the season before starting Big 12 play. Since losing to Indiana to start the year, Kansas has won 12 straight games including a win over Duke and a handful of other decent or good teams.

4. UCLA Bruins

UCLA fell on the road to a much improved Oregon team thanks to a Dillon Brooks three at the end but one loss doesn’t take away from the fact that this UCLA team is still a Top 5 team in the country. After bouncing back with another road win over Oregon State, UCLA now gets two key home games against Cal and Stanford to prove they’re the best team in the Golden State and the West.

5. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Another team that might be able to make claim as the best team in the West is the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Mark Few has the Bulldogs still undefeated as they head into WCC play. The Bulldogs certainly won’t face a ton of challenges in their conference, but if Gonzaga can manage to survive their games against Saint Mary’s there is a good shot that the Bulldogs could talk about heading into March undefeated still.

6. West Virginia Mountaineers

Virginia has been the gold standard for defense the past few seasons but West Virginia with they’re different style haven’t been far behind. This year the Mountaineers have paired their defense with a top offense as well which when put together can give any team in the country trouble, especially if they have to come to Morgantown.

7. Kentucky Wildcats

Yes, Kentucky lost by three on the road against Louisville, but the Cats responded with an absolute pounding of Ole Miss on the road to once again show how good this Kentucky team can be. Like most teams under John Calipari, these Wildcats are young and talented. As the season goes on, especially in the SEC, they should continue to play better and leave more and more of the young mistakes and issues behind them.

8. Louisville Cardinals

Louisville should get credit for knocking off their rivals to end non-conference play, but then the Cardinals followed it up with a loss to a Virginia team proving that they’re still not the top defensive team in the ACC just yet. A win over Indiana rights the ship, and gets the Cardinals through a tough three game stretch with two wins, but things won’t get any easier as ACC play picks up.

9. Wisconsin Badgers

With Purdue and Indiana losing this week and Michigan State having their struggles, I think Wisconsin is the team to beat in the Big Ten currently. The Badgers will put my claim to the test as they travel to face both Indiana and Purdue on the road in back to back games. The Big Ten is another conference with a solid race for the top and these next few games for Wisconsin will go a long way in helping their own cause or another team’s.

10. Creighton Bluejays

I’ve been higher on the Bluejays than most people this year and even with the loss to Villanova, I think they impressed me even more. The late game shot selection and decision making ultimately doomed them, but for 36 minutes the Bluejays went back and forth with a team that I think is the best team in the country. Nothing will be easy in the Big East, but the Jays have the opportunity to finish right up there with Xavier and Villanova.

11. Duke Blue Devils

12. Xavier Musketeers

13. Arizona Wildcats

14. Florida State Seminoles

15. Oregon Ducks

16. Purdue Boilermakers

17. Virginia Cavaliers

18. North Carolina Tar Heels

19. Saint Mary’s Gaels

20. Florida Gators

21. Butler Bulldogs

22. Cincinnati Bearcats

23. Virginia Tech Hokies

24. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

25. Clemson Tigers

Next Ten:
  • USC Trojans
  • Iowa State Cyclones
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders
  • Indiana Hoosiers
  • SMU Mustangs
  • TCU Horned Frogs
  • Miami Hurricanes
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • South Carolina Gamecocks

As I got towards the end of my rankings I just found too many teams that are worthy of being mentioned and kept track of, so I’ve extended to an extra 10 teams as conference play has begun. College Basketball is about to get even more fun and I’ll do my best to keep track of the top teams based on what I see.