Sean Rayford/Associated Press
We've already mentioned Duke and North Carolina climbing in the latest poll, but Kansas, Kentucky and Indiana are on the rise as well. Say what you will about the lack of elite teams this season, but 83.3 percent of college basketball's blue bloods are starting to look pretty darn good (sorry, UCLA).
Kentucky, in particular, is playing staggeringly well at the moment. After beating Florida 80-61 last weekend, the Wildcats continued to display their dominance with a 34-point home win over Georgia and a 27-point road win over South Carolina. While most of the nation struggled, Kentucky looked completely untouchable and soared from No. 22 to No. 14.
During that three-game winning streak, Jamal Murray shot 58.1 percent from three-point range while Tyler Ulis averaged an absolutely absurd 19.7 points, 10.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.0 turnovers. But don't forget about the continued contributions from Derek Willis, either, as the former benchwarmer has averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds over his last 10 games.
When those three are playing well together, the Wildcats have the goods to win it all. But UK might need to figure out how to get through KU to claim the title, as the Jayhawks climbed to No. 2 in this week's poll after what might have been the most impressive week any team has had since Miami went on a rampage through the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in November.
Kansas opened the week by avenging a January loss to West Virginia. Frank Mason and Wayne Selden combined for 13 turnovers in the first game, but they committed just four while scoring 25 in the rematch. And it was the third member of Bill Self's backcourt trio who shone extra bright in Saturday's marquee road win over Oklahoma, as Devonte' Graham scored 27 while playing suffocating defense on Buddy Hield.
And like Kentucky, it has been the emergence of a junior forward who has really helped pushed Kansas to new heights. Landen Lucas has 32 points, 35 rebounds and six blocks over his last four games, during which the Jayhawks have been much more impenetrable on defense.
Indiana can also thank a midseason breakout for its improved play. OG Anunoby barely even touched the floor during the first six weeks of the season, but with James Blackmon Jr. out of the lineup, Anunoby has averaged 6.5 points per game in Big Ten play while playing outstanding defense. The freshman is going to be one heck of a menace for the next few years.
More importantly, the Hoosiers knocked off Iowa this week, picking up their biggest win of the season and hopping back into the AP Top 25 at No. 22 after a one-week hiatus.