Texas, Tennessee and Louisville were top-10 teams in the preseason Associated Press women’s basketball poll and in the first week of ESPN’s 2022-23 Power Rankings on Nov. 14. Then things started to go sideways for the trio.
By the second week of the Power Rankings, Texas and Tennessee were out. Same for Louisville in Week 4. Combined, the teams had 14 nonconference losses. But now in mid-January, the Longhorns, Lady Vols and Cardinals appear on their way back. Texas is the first of the three to reappear in the Power Rankings, returning this week after home victories against two ranked teams, Kansas and Iowa State.
Tennessee, which has won seven in a row and is tied atop the SEC, and Louisville, which went 1-1 this past week but is in a three-way tie for third in the ACC, aren’t back in the Power Rankings yet, but they’re moving in the right direction.
And for the first time this season, we have a shake-up among the top two teams, as Stanford — in the second spot all season — drops after being upset by USC.
Texas now sits atop the Big 12 at 4-1, tied with Oklahoma, another Big 12 team that also returns to the Power Rankings for the first time since Week 1.
The Longhorns and Sooners perhaps should be wary: Last week’s Power Rankings newcomers, Baylor and Arizona, both lost twice this past week and are out now. Two other teams are leaving the Power Rankings this week for the first time all season: Iowa State and NC State.
The recent ESPN midseason report card characterized the ACC as the deepest of the Power 5 leagues, with the Big Ten close behind. The Big 12 and Pac-12 are proving to have challenging depth, too. In this week’s Power Rankings, the Big Ten still has the edge, leading the way with five teams. The ACC and Pac-12 each have…