The shakeup has arrived.
After weeks of stability as the top teams dominated opponents across the country, the Thanksgiving week provided some very informative matchups, including three Top 10 matchups on Saturday alone.
It’s been eight years since the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country lost on the same day, so expect all of the national rankings to get Etch-A-Sketched this week.
But if this week’s results helped to shuffle the balance of power across the country, it was equally informative for the teams that played in these big games. Chances are, win or lose, they learned a lot about themselves and how they measure up against the best.
And while what happens in November can be illuminating, it is by no means defining. Those days are still to come.
Here’s the NCAA Power 10 for the week ending December 1, 2019:
1) Stanford (8-0) (3). The two teams in front of them — Oregon and Baylor — went down this weekend in matchups against other Power 10 teams. The Cardinal notched two wins over ranked teams, including a Power 10 win despite the fact that they were missing starting guard DiJonai Carrington all weekend. They are beat up in the backcourt with a late-game injury to Kiana Williams Saturday night against Mississippi State, and they have lineups on the floor rife with freshmen and sophomores. So, Tara VanDerveer’s team gets the No. 1 spot this week and a long break to both heal and improve. Stanford won’t be back on the court again until Dec. 15 for a stretch that will include a home game against Ohio State, a road game at Texas and then back to Maples for the annual matchup against Tennessee.
2) Oregon State (7-0) (7). The Beavers are playing solid, consistent, high-level basketball, shooting the ball from the perimeter as well as anyone nationally and can make a strong argument that they belong at this spot. They have two wins over ranked teams (DePaul and Miami, by 22 points in the Canes’ home gym) and a win over a team that sits just outside the rankings (Missouri State). Scott Rueck earned the 500th win of his coaching career with Oregon State’s hard-fought win over Liberty on Saturday. The Beavers, who play just one game in the next two weeks, don’t play another ranked team until Pac-12 play begins in 2020.
3) Louisville (8-0) (NR). Been waiting for right moment to bring the Cardinals into the Power 10 as it became clear that all the new pieces are coming together quickly. That moment has emphatically arrived. The Cardinals own the biggest upset of the weekend, knocking off the top-ranked Ducks with an inspired defensive effort that snapped a five-game losing streak against top-ranked teams. Kylee Shook’s 18-point, 15-rebound performance was key to the win. As was holding Sabrina Ionescu to 13 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the floor. Next up: two more road games next week at Ohio State and Northern Kentucky.
4) Connecticut (6-0) (4). The Huskies stayed out of the tournament fray this week, a by-product of the high-profile non-conference games they will be playing in early 2020. The Huskies are still looking for offensive consistency, having been unable to score more than 75 points in four of their six games thus far. Following a mid-week game at Seton Hall, the degree of difficulty for UConn should increase with next Sunday’s rivalry matchup with Notre Dame, following by a Dec. 16 matchup at DePaul that will tell them more about who they are heading into the New Year.
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5) Oregon (6-1) (1). Unbeaten no more, the Ducks didn’t shoot nearly well enough to beat Louisville. Oregon was held 31 points below its season scoring average of 93 points a game coming in. They were 6-of-35 from beyond the 3-point arc, forced to the perimeter as they struggled to get the ball inside to Ruthy Hebard, who was 5-of-10 from the floor. They were outrebounded. Losing isn’t the worst thing. It shows you where you need to shore things up and no team is a finished product in November. The Ducks, who have been on the road for 10 days, will take the week off to rest and then play three of four games in Eugene before the start of conference play.
6) South Carolina (8-1) (6). Aliyah Boston is already making a strong case as the national freshman of the year. Her career-high 20-point, 13-rebound day at the Paradise Jam Saturday — which included six points and two blocks down the stretch — propelled the Gamecocks to the victory over the defending national champions. South Carolina has a pair of Power 10 wins already this season, and a loss a strong Indiana team just two days before their biggest win of the season so far. That resilience bodes well for what’s coming.
7) Baylor (7-1) (2). A 36-game winning streak — and a 10-game winning streak against ranked teams — comes to an end without Lauren Cox on the floor. To this point, the Bears could make do without their All-American post, who has missed six games with a stress reaction in her foot, but she is missed against an opponent of this caliber. Particularly on the boards, where the Bears were outrebounded 43-29 against South Carolina. Next up, the Bears take on Georgia at home on Wednesday.
8) Maryland (7-1) (8). Over their past two games, the Terps have forced 57 turnovers and allowed an average of 35.0 points. Their closest margin has been 19 points in the last five games since a too-close-for-comfort win over James Madison. Seven players are averaging at least 9.0 points a game. Those same seven players have at least 10 steals so far this season. This is a team that gets offense from its defense and Maryland is building confidence as the Big Ten season approaches. Next up will be a telling matchup at North Carolina State on Thursday.
9) Florida State (7-0) (NR). The Seminoles make their first appearance this season in the Power 10 on the heels of an impressive 80-58 win over Texas A&M Sunday night that capped the holiday week marquee matchups. The victory marked Florida State’s first win over a ranked team this season, and their third win over an SEC team so far this season — the others being Florida and LSU. Next up on Thursday night is a meeting with another ranked opponent in Michigan State in Tallahassee.
10) Mississippi State (8-1) (9). The Bulldogs get the nod over UCLA for the last spot in the Power 10 because of the fact that they hung tough against No. 3 Stanford Saturday in their first game this season against a ranked opponent. MSU, relying heavily on freshmen and sophomores for their offense at this point, scrambled back from a double-digit deficit against the Cardinal. Next up, the Bulldogs will take a week off before facing a strong No. 23 West Virginia team at home on Sunday.