Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

If the last few days are any indication, the 2023-24 Big East title race is poised to be a wild ride. League play began this week with UConn losing at Seton Hall, Creighton losing to Villanova and Providence taking down Marquette as the Friars scored a big win for first-year coach Kim English in his Big East debut.

Providence played a relatively light nonconference schedule highlighted by a win over Wisconsin and losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma. The small sample size against quality competition left some questions over English's squad entering league play. The Friars started answering them with impressive defense against Marquette, holding the high-flying Golden Eagles to a season-low 57 points on a season-worst 32.1% shooting. Providence is ranked No. 16 nationally in opponent shooting percentage, limiting foes to 37.9% from the floor.

While the big win over Marquette may be partially attributable to an elite home-court advantage, defense travels and Providence clearly has defense. The Friars look ready to be a disruptor in the Big East and have officially cracked the newest edition of the power rankings.

Here is the full 1-20 breakdown.

College basketball power rankings

Purdue settled the question over who deserves to be No. 1 on Saturday when it beat Arizona 92-84. The Boilermakers' resume is stacked, and their only loss came in overtime on the road against a respectable Northwestern team. Last week: 1
Kansas showed guts in its first true road game by rallying from a 13-point deficit to win at Indiana. The Jayhawks are not deep, but their top four players are phenomenal. Coach Bill Self's club is likely to enter Big 12 play at 12-1. Last week: 3
Arizona responded to its loss to Purdue by beating Alabama 87-74 on Wednesday night. All five starters reached double figures as the Wildcats picked up another quality nonconference victory. Last week: 2
Houston picked up arguably its best win yet Saturday, squeaking past Texas A&M for a 70-66 victory after leading by 21 in the second half. The Cougars are one of three undefeated teams remaining, thanks in part to a light schedule but in larger part because of a tenacious defense. Last week: 5
It turns out winning on the road against Big East teams not named DePaul is difficult. The Huskies fell 75-60 at Seton Hall on Wednesday but are still clearly conference title contenders and potentially more if center Donovan Clingan , who left the loss to the Pirates early with an ankle injury, can stay healthy. Last week: 4
Memphis beat two of the ACC's best, taking down Clemson 79-77 on Saturday and dismantling Virginia 77-54 on Tuesday. The Tigers have assembled a rock-solid nonconference resume and look poised to tear through a diminished AAC. Last week: 14
BYU has rebounded well from a 73-69 loss at rival Utah on Dec. 9. The Cougars resumed their high-scoring ways with consecutive blowout wins over Denver and Georgia State . Mark Pope's club will likely enter Big 12 play at 12-1. Last week: 10
Colorado State's offense continues to rate among the best nationally in several metrics behind the play of star point guard Isaiah Stevens . With wins over Creighton, Colorado and Washington , the Rams won't be intimidated by anyone if they reach this year's Big Dance. Last week: 11
Clemson shouldn't be docked too much for losing on the road against a surging Memphis team. It was the first loss of the year for coach Brad Brownell's club, which owns victories over Alabama, Pittsburgh , South Carolina and TCU . Last week: 8
Oklahoma fell from the ranks of the unbeaten against North Carolina in a road-like environment on Wednesday. But it's still been a great start for the Sooners, who own wins against Iowa , USC , Providence and Arkansas . Last week: 7
Kentucky's neutral-site win over an older North Carolina team in a thrilling CBS Sports Classic showdown on Saturday proved that the Wildcats are for real. There will be hurdles ahead with a freshman-laden roster, but UK's ceiling is higher than it's been in a while. Last week: NR
The Big East is off to an upside-down start, which includes Marquette's loss at Providence on Tuesday. Still, the Golden Eagles did enough good in nonconference play (wins over Illinois , UCLA , Kansas and Texas ) to keep a spot in the power rankings. Last week: 9
The only Quad 1 victory on the Ole Miss resume is a home win against Memphis, but you've got to respect an 11-0 record even if the schedule's been light. League play will prove challenging, but for now the Rebels are thriving in Year 1 under Chris Beard. Last week: 13
James Madison is two likely victories away from finishing nonconference play at 13-0. The Dukes began with an overtime win at Michigan State and have stayed on a heater since. Is JMU this year's FAU ? Last week: 15
Duke's resume is still relatively thin, but Wednesday's 78-70 win over Baylor showed the potential. Playing without starting point guard Tyrese Proctor , the Blue Devils thrived down the stretch for a much-needed quality win. Last week: NR
Providence picked up a massive win over Marquette on Tuesday night to open Big East play. The Friars played a light nonconference slate in coach Kim English's first season, but a 15-point victory over the reigning league champions deserves some respect. Last week: NR
Auburn beat Indiana and USC by 28 and 16, respectively, in recent weeks. The Tigers are fast and deep but also play great defense. This team is poised to compete for a wide-open SEC. Last week: NR
Tennessee scraped through one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country with an 8-3 record. The Volunteers are usually elite defensively and may have enough offense to compete for the SEC title. Last week: 18
A split with Kentucky and Oklahoma is enough to keep North Carolina clinging to a spot. The Tar Heels have shown glimpses of greatness while also wrestling with some inconsistency. But it's clear this year's squad is running much smoother than its predecessor. Last week: 17
Wisconsin has shown its potential in double-digit wins over Virginia, Marquette and Michigan State. Those victories are counterbalanced by double-digit losses to Tennessee, Providence and Arizona. The Badgers may be chaotic, but they are clearly capable. Last week: 19