College basketball rankings: Alabama soars to No. 10 in Top 25 And 1 as star freshman Brandon Miller shines

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Arkansas’ Nick Smith still hasn’t played in a game, and Duke’s Dereck Lively has been mostly irrelevant after missing part of the preseason with a calf injury. Those were two of the top three prospects in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports. So not all of the elite first-year players have been awesome already.

But a lot of them have.

That was on full display on Thursday as high-profile holiday tournaments provided a nice stage for them to perform. Alabama freshman Brandon Miller got 24 points and nine rebounds in an 81-70 win over short-handed Michigan State. Duke freshman Kyle Filipowski got 19 points and 14 rebounds in a 54-51 win over Oregon State. Tennessee freshman Julian Phillips got 25 points and eight rebounds in a 73-66 overtime victory over USC. Combine those efforts with what Kansas freshman Gradey Dick, Houston freshman Jarace Walker, Baylor freshman Keyonte George and Arkansas freshman Anthony Black have already consistently done this season, and it’s reasonable to suggest that the top of this freshman class has, generally speaking, had a really nice November.

Miller’s great start — the 6-foot-9 freshman is averaging a team-high 21.0 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds in 31.6 minutes per game — is the main reason Alabama is 5-0 heading into the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon, where the Crimson Tide will play UConn on Friday night at 9:30 ET. Alabama is up to No. 10 in Friday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. UConn is No. 22. The winner of that game will play the winner of Friday’s game between North Carolina and Iowa State in Sunday’s championship game of the eight-team event.

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