Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Of all the top teams in the country with an excuse to lose over the past week, UConn's stood out above the rest. The Huskies are navigating the beginning of the calendar year without 7-foot-2 star Donovan Clingan, who remains sidelined with a foot injury.

But even without its towering star, UConn managed road wins over Butler and Xavier to reach 14-2 (4-1 Big East) and reclaim the top spot in this week's power rankings. The Huskies were the only team in the top six of last week's power rankings to avoid defeat, making UConn an obvious candidate to rise.

The carnage of the last few days in college basketball also opened the door for some big brands to surge upward. Duke is up 11 spots, North Carolina is up six spots and Kentucky is up six spots after each of the three continued their impressive starts to league play.

Meanwhile, the bottom of this week's rankings features a handful of newcomers as league play continues to shake up the college basketball landscape. 

With that, here are the latest CBS Sports power rankings.

College basketball power rankings

No Donovan Clingan, no problem. UConn has won four in a row, including two straight on the road while navigating life without its injured star center. Things got tense at Xavier on Wednesday, but unlike the other four teams in the AP top five, the Huskies got it done. Last week: 4
Purdue fell victim to a 3-point barrage at Nebraska on Tuesday, losing 88-72 and falling to 14-2 (3-2 Big Ten). The Boilermakers won the Big Ten by three games last season, but it could be a bit more dramatic this time. Still, there's no real reason to worry about this team. The only losses were on the road against decent teams that had great shooting nights. Last week: 1
Playing in its first hostile road environment of the season, Kentucky roared back from an 11-point deficit to win at Florida on Saturday. It was an impressive showing from a freshman-oriented roster, and the Wildcats followed it up with a 90-77 win over Missouri. Last week: 9
How did North Carolina end up with three straight ACC road games to begin January? No matter, the Tar Heels handled the inconvenience with little issue, notching double-digit victories over Pitt, Clemson and NC State. UNC stands atop the league standings with a 4-0 record. Last week: 10
UCF was supposed to be the doormat of a revamped Big 12. But the Golden Knights handed Kansas a stunning loss Wednesday night, dropping the Jayhawks to 13-2 (1-1 Big 12). KU has committed a season-worst 18 turnovers in each of its two losses. Fix that and this team will be fine. Last week: 2
Auburn was picked to finish behind both Texas A&M and Arkansas in the SEC standings before the season. The Tigers beat both by double-digits over the past week while extending their winning streak to eight games. With LSU, Vanderbilt and a home game vs. Ole Miss up next, a 16-2 start is quite possible. Last week: 19
Houston went 32-4 over its final two seasons in the AAC. Such dominance is implausible in the Big 12, which the Cougars learned the hard way in a 57-53 loss at Iowa State on Tuesday. LJ Cryer and Jamal Shead combined to go for 7 of 24 from the floor, which won't happen very often. Last week: 3
Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd's two decades as a Gonzaga assistant will come in handy this season. He knows what it's like to try and keep a team motivated when it is supremely better than the others in its conference. The Wildcats should enjoy this while they can before joining the Big 12 next season. Last week: 12
Duke has won seven straight, including consecutive ACC road victories over Notre Dame and Pitt. Whether it be Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell, Jared McCain or someone else, the Blue Devils have no shortage of talented players capable of popping off. Last week: 20
Wisconsin is the last unbeaten team in Big Ten play and is looking capable of mounting a challenge to Purdue's expected supremacy this season. The Badgers' 4-0 start against league foes includes four double-digit victories. They've put some mid-November struggles well in the rearview mirror and may have their best team of eighth-year coach Greg Gard's tenure. Last week: 15
Oklahoma began Big 12 play with a 71-63 win over Iowa State on Saturday before suffering an 80-71 setback at TCU on Wednesday. Road losses in the Big 12 are to be expected, and at 13-2, the Sooners are in great shape. Last week: 8
Memphis continues to flirt with disaster. The Tigers have won nine straight, but the dominance of a 77-54 win over Virginia on Dec. 19 feels distant. Examples: a 77-75 home win over Vanderbilt, a 78-75 win at Tulsa, a 62-59 win over SMU. The latest scare came Wednesday in an overtime win against a poor UTSA team. Last week: 7
Iowa State entered Big 12 play at 11-2 after playing a light nonconfernece schedule. Advanced metrics loved the Cyclones, but there were no significant victories validating their strangely high placement in the NET. Tuesday night's win over Houston finally provided the validation. Last week: NR
Tennessee handed Ole Miss its first loss Saturday, blowing out the Rebels at home. The Volunteers then fell 77-72 at Mississippi State on Wednesday for their first loss since Nov. 29. This team isn't perfect but it's got a high floor. Last week: 14
San Diego State may be the class of an extremely competitive Mountain West. The Aztecs are 3-0 in league play after beating Saint Mary's Washington, Stanford and Gonzaga in nonconference action. Their only losses are against quality foes BYU and Grand Canyon. Last week: NR
Texas Tech disintegrated last season under Mark Adams on and off the court, and it seemed like a rebuilding year may be in store under first-year coach Grant McCasland. There are still some off-court challenges (more details at this link), but the on-court product is looking sublime. The Red Raiders won 78-67 at rival Texas on Saturday and throttled Oklahoma State on Tuesday night to reach 13-2 (2-0 Big 12). Last week: NR
Illinois hung tough at Purdue on Friday before falling 83-78. The Illini are navigating life without suspended star Terrence Shannon Jr. but still look like one of the Big Ten's best teams even without him. Last week: 17
Nebraska picked up its first win over the nation's No. 1 team since 1982 on Tuesday when it shot the lights en route to an 88-72 victory over Purdue. At 13-3 (3-2 Big Ten), the Cornhuskers are finally looking like a potential NCAA Tournament team under fifth-year coach Fred Hoiberg. Last week: NR
Utah State slayed Colorado State on Saturday and reached 3-0 in Mountain West action with a 24-point victory over Wyoming on Tuesday, improving to 15-1 overall. The Aggies are a bad 3-point shooting team but are incredibly effective inside the arc and playing some great defense under first-year coach Danny Sprinkle. Last week: NR
St. John's is off to a 4-1 start in Big East play in coach Rick Pitino's first season. The Red Storm handed Villanova its first league loss on Saturday in Philadelphia and are trending in the right direction to secure an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 2019. Last week: NR