Through a week and a half of the college basketball season, no one has a more impressive résumé than Arizona. Well, it’s not exactly a résumé considering the Wildcats have played just three games. It’s basically just a sheet of paper with one bullet point in bold, ALL CAPS, using a 48-point font. And what it says, jumps off the page.
Arizona won on the road last week against a Duke team that ranks among the highest nationally in minutes continuity after going undefeated at home last season. When college basketball’s regular season winds to a close in early March,on Friday may still stand as the best in the sport.
Duke bounced back with a neutral-site win over Michigan State in the Champions Classic, which helped validate the fact that the Blue Devils are indeed a good team. Last Friday, Arizona was simply better as the Wildcats looked thoroughly undaunted by the hostile atmosphere even as a couple of true freshmen played extended minutes off the bench in the first road action of their college careers.
Because of that win, Arizona debuts at No. 1 in this season’s power rankings. Power rankings are not a prediction of what’s to come, and they seek to minimize the influence of history. This is a snapshot ranking of where things stand right now — in the moment — based on what’s been accomplished on the court in college basketball this season.
That’s why Gonzaga, Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina and others you’ll find in most college basketball rankings aren’t here yet. It’s why UConn, Alabama and Houston fans will be offended by the placement of their teams. As the data and results roll in, adjustments will be made accordingly each week.
For now, here’s the first batch of college basketball power rankings for the 2023-24 season.