We’ve got a great week of basketball ahead of us.
Feast Week is bringing several big tournaments spread out all over North America, including the loaded Maui Invitational — where top-ranked Kansas should face at least one, if not two major tests in Honolulu. Though last week was relatively calm, we should learn a lot about the college basketball landscape throughout the Thanksgiving break.
Here’s everything you missed in week two of the season, and the latest Associated Press men’s basketball poll.
Kansas, Kentucky leave Chicago big winners
Obviously, Kansas beat Kentucky last week at the State Farm Champions Classic.
Jayhawks transfer Hunter Dickinson dropped a ridiculous 27 points and 21 rebounds in the win, which made him the first player to have such a statline against a Kentucky team in the past 25 seasons. He seemed unstoppable inside, and he’s something teams are undoubtedly going to struggle to defend later in the season. Dajuan Harris had a career-high triple-double in the win, too, and Kevin McCullar had a triple-double. The Jayhawks undoubtedly proved they’re a top team in the country just two weeks into the season.
That aside, though, the Wildcats looked good at the United Center. Four-star freshmen guards Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard looked incredible — especially Dillingham, who dropped 16 points in the first half. They led Kansas by double-digits late, and showed for a young team that coach John Calipari needs to have a strong season after his latest struggles.
Kentucky, which opened the season at No. 17, moved up a spot this week to No. 16 despite the loss. While they couldn't figure it out against Kansas this time, Calipari has a group that's capable of making another run down the stretch. We saw flashes of it this week, and we're sure to see it again.
Duke beat Michigan State in the other game of the Champions Classic. The Blue Devils moved to stayed at No. 9 this week in the poll, while Michigan State — which fell to James Madison in their season opener — dropped to No. 21.
Outside of Chicago, there were a few other notable losses this week. Arkansas fell to UNC Greensboro on Friday night, and dropped from No. 14 to No. 20 in this week’s poll. Florida Atlantic fell to Bryant on Saturday in what was Bryant’s first ever win against a ranked opponent. The Owls fell from No. 10 to No. 19 this week. USC, though they recovered with a win over Brown, fell to UC Irvine in a rough outing on Tuesday. The Trojans fell seven spots to No. 23.
Best Maui Invitational Ever?
It’s now Feast Week, and we’ve got perhaps the best Maui Invitational ever — or at least in recent memory — coming up.
The classic Thanksgiving week tournament was moved from Maui to the island of O’ahu due to the wildfires on Maui earlier this year. Five of the eight teams in the field are ranked inside the top 11 in the country. UCLA and Syracuse, along with host Chaminade, are there too and can absolutely hold their own.
Kansas will open with Chaminade, a Division-II school which holds an all-time record of 8-95 in the tournament. The winner of that game will take on either UCLA or No. X Marquette, which is back in the tournament for the first time since 2017. The Golden Eagles are 3-0 this season and are fresh off a big win over Illinois last week.
Then on the other side, No. 7 Tennessee will open with Syracuse. The winner of that game will take on either No. 2 Purdue and reigning National Player of the Year Zach Edey or No. 11 Gonzaga, who will square off on Monday night.
In theory, if Kansas or Purdue can get through the tournament unscathed, they’ll absolutely set themselves apart from the rest of the country. With how good the field is, though, that’s almost certainly not going to happen. This week is going to be a battle and should produce plenty of great games.
There’s several other packed tournaments this week, too, including the Battle 4 Atlantis — which has No. 14 North Carolina, Villanova, Michigan and Memphis, among others. The ESPN Events Invitational starts on Thursday, and has Penn State, Texas A&M, No. 19 FAU and Iowa State, among others. And, of course No. 21 Michigan State and No. 3 Arizona will go head to head in the Acrisure Classic in Southern California on Thanksgiving.
Games to watch this week
*Neutral Site Game
No. 2 Purdue at No. 11 Gonzaga | 5 p.m. ET | ESPN2 *
No. 5 UConn at No. 15 Texas | 7 p.m. ET | ESPNU *
UCLA at No. 4 Marquette | 11:30 p.m. | ESPN2 *
No. 7 Tennessee/Syracuse vs. No. 2 Purdue/No. 11 Gonzaga | 8 p.m. ET | ESPN *
No. 1 Kansas/Chaminade vs. UCLA/No. 4 Marquette | 10:30 p.m. ET | ESPN *
Maui Invitational Championship Game | 5 p.m. ET | ESPN*
No. 21 Michigan State at No. 3 Arizona | 4 p.m. ET | Fox *
AP Top 25
The full AP Top 25 poll from Nov. 20, 2023
1. Kansas (3-0)
2. Purdue (3-0)
3. Arizona (5-0)
4. Marquette (3-0)
5. UConn (4-0)
6. Houston (6-0)
7. Tennessee (3-0)
8. Creighton (4-0)
9. Duke (3-1)
10. Miami (5-0)
11. Gonzaga (2-0)
12. Texas A&M (4-0)
13. Baylor (4-0)
14. North Carolina (3-0)
15. Texas (4-0)
16. Kentucky (3-1)
17. Alabama (4-0)
18. Colorado (3-0)
19. Florida Atlantic (2-1)
20. Arkansas (3-1)
21. Michigan State (3-2)
22. James Madison (4-0)
23. USC (3-1)
24. Virginia (4-0)
25. Mississippi State (5-0)
Others Receiving Votes: Memphis 149, BYU 138, Illinois 138, San Diego St. 77, UCLA 75, TCU 69, Iowa St. 67, Villanova 44, Auburn 28, Clemson 12, Oklahoma 10, Princeton 10, Michigan 10, Liberty 7, South Carolina 3, Chattanooga 2, Nevada 1, Drake 1, Colorado St. 1.