Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Just a month ago, the sky was falling on Villanova as the Wildcats dropped their third straight game and fell to 6-4 with an overtime loss at Kansas State. On the heels of a disastrous 0-3 showing against fellow Philadelphia schools Penn, Saint Joseph's and Drexel in the Big 5 Classic, 'Nova looked destined for disappointment.

All the Wildcats have done since then is win four straight games and emerge as the last unbeaten team in Big East play. Villanova's 66-65 win over Xavier on Wednesday night required a last-second defensive stand after a couple of rare missed free throws, but it carried it to 3-0 in league play.

After starting 2-5 in the Big East last season during coach Kyle Neptune's debut campaign, Villanova should be 5-0 when it heads to Marquette on Jan. 15. This team's résumé is pure chaos, but its potential is clear. With wins over the likes of North Carolina, Memphis and Creighton -- all away from home -- the Wildcats have a Final Four-type of ceiling.

Their struggles within Philly also suggest a floor is somewhere outside the NCAA Tournament field. But with a young coach in Neptune finding his footing and a rotation using four transfers, this club was never going to be a finished product in the season's first month. Now two months into the season, the Wildcats are rounding into form and learning how to win close games. As a result, college basketball's ultimate chaos team deserves some recognition.

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

College basketball power rankings

Purdue put some serious hay in the barn during November with wins over Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette at the Maui Invitational. More recently, three of the Boilermakers' last five wins are against Alabama, Arizona and Maryland, all away from home. Last year's team made it to Feb. 4 before picking up a second loss. This one could as well. Last week: 1
Kansas opens Big 12 play against TCU on Saturday and travels to UCF on Wednesday. It's a relatively soft beginning to conference play for the Jayhawks, who don't play Houston, Baylor or BYU until February. If Purdue slips up, KU should be well-positioned to claim No. 1 in the power rankings and the AP Top 25 poll. Last week: 2
Houston's schedule has been light, but there's ample evidence at this point to suggest the Cougars are legitimate national title contenders. Opponents are averaging just 49.4 points per game against them, which makes UH's defense the nation's best. Last week: 4
An injury to 7-foot-4 star center Donovan Clingan is forcing UConn to navigate some adversity early in the Big East slate. The Huskies are off to a 2-1 start and have a manageable stretch ahead against Butler, Xavier and Georgetown. If Clingan comes back healthy, this team should be the Big East's favorite. Last week: 4
Colorado State is 13-1 after outlasting New Mexico in a battle of Mountain West powers on Tuesday to begin league play. The Rams beat Creighton, Colorado and Washington in nonconference play and are marching toward a great NCAA Tournament seed behind the play of potential All-American point guard Isaiah Stevens. Last week: 10
BYU is one of the nation's top surprise teams after finishing 19-15 last season while members of the West Coast Conference. Heading into their first season as members of the Big 12, the Cougars are 12-1 and look poised to be a force in their new, tougher league. Last week: 8
Memphis finished 11-2 against a nonconference schedule ranked No. 24 by KenPom. Now comes the less interesting part of the Tigers' journey. A weak AAC is even weaker now without Houston Cincinnati or UCF, and the Tigers don't play FAU until late February. If they can stay engaged, they can wind up with their best NCAA Tournament seeding since the John Calipari era. Last week: 9
Oklahoma's only loss is against North Carolina, and it owns wins against Iowa, USC, Providence and Arkansas. The Sooners are just 12-24 in Big 12 so far under third-year coach Porter Moser but look ready to make big strides this year. Last week: 13
Kentucky's only true road game to this point was at Louisville on Dec. 21, and there were an abundance of UK fans in the house for that one. It will be interesting to see how the young Wildcats handle their SEC opener at Florida on Saturday.  Last week: 11
North Carolina is the best team in the ACC right now. Third-year coach Hubert Davis appears to have nailed the roster composition. Returning stars RJ Davis and Armando Bacot are combining with key veteran transfers and a few young players to give UNC everything it needs for a successful redemption tour. Last week: 19
Whoever wins the Big East is likely to have more than three league losses, which is the final tally the Golden Eagles ended up with while winning the conference last season. The league's top seven teams are simply too good for any one squad to dominate over the course of the 20-game slog. Last week: 14
The holidays were unkind to Arizona, which has lost three of its last five after suffering a 100-82 loss at Stanford on New Year's Eve. The Cardinal made an obscene 16 of 25 attempts from 3-point range in that game, making it an anomaly of a loss for the Wildcats. This team should still win the Pac-12 by multiple games. Last week: 7
Villanova could make the Final Four or miss the NCAA Tournament altogether. The Wildcats have one of the nation's best collection of wins and one of the worst collection of losses. For now, they are alone atop the Big East standings with a 3-0 league record. Last week: NR
Tennessee is elite defensively yet again. Shocker. The Volunteers' excellence on that end guarantees a high floor. What about the ceiling? That will be determined by whether the offensive prowess of Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht can handle the rigors of SEC play. Last week: 20
Wisconsin has won nine of its last 10 games, and its only loss over that span came on the road against an Arizona team that was ranked No. 1 at the time. The Badgers outscored Iowa 51-40 in the second half on Tuesday to reach 2-0 in Big Ten play. Last week: NR
A 13-0 start under first-year coach Chris Beard has certainly been impressive. But it came against KenPom's No. 274 ranked nonconference schedule. Saturday's SEC opener at Tennessee could be a rude awakening. Last week: 15
Illinois is down 12 spots from last week even after beating FDU and Northwestern by 33 and 30 points, respectively. The drop is due to the suspension of star wing Terrence Shannon Jr., who was charged with rape in Kansas. The Illini should still be an NCAA Tournament team without him, but their ceiling is diminished. Last week: 5
James Madison is one of three unbeaten teams remaining in college basketball as it heads to Louisiana on Thursday night for a tough Sun Belt test. The Dukes have a thin margin for error if they wish to be an at-large team. But you've got to respect an undefeated squad with a road win against Michigan State. Last week: 16
Buy stock in Auburn now. The Tigers are one of the nation's best shot-blocking teams and have the program's best offensive rating at KenPom since the 2019 squad which reached the Final Four. Bruce Pearl's club is deep, plays fast and is going to wear opponents down in SEC play. Last week: 18
There are teams with better resumes than Duke with legitimate gripes for being snubbed here in favor of the Blue Devils. But a Dec. 20 win over Baylor and Tuesday night's thrashing of Syracuse are signs that one of the nation's most-talented rosters is starting to figure it out. Last week: 17