Bedlam. That was last week. Five of our top ten teams lost. Some in games you wouldn’t predict in a million years. It’s clear that Christmas came early for college basketball fans, as chaos dominated. We had Florida get trounced by their rival then inexplicably lose to a mid-major. Kansas got shocked in a pair of home games (ok… one of those was in Kansas City. But who do you think they were cheering for?) and fell like a rock. Mighty Duke, the expert escape artists, finally found a deficit they couldn’t overturn. And who took down the vaunted Blue Devils but… the Boston College Golden Eagles? If conference play is anything like this past week, there will be gigantic movement in every new poll.
However, this storm has left a need to calm down in its wake. This coming week, many programs either have light schedules or no games at all. In all the madness, it can get tough to remember that these world-class athletes are also still students who have student-like responsibilities. Finals are the dreaded archenemy of the college student. Schools have often settled on this week, the second full one in December, as the ideal time for exams. Because of this, there may not be as much excitement at this time next Monday.
But first, let’s recall the utter calamities that gripped the college basketball world this past week. Teams have jumped. Teams have sunk. Without further ado, let’s take a peek at the newest edition of the CPP Top 25:
- Michigan State (9-1, LW: 2) def. Rutgers, 62-52; def. Southern Utah, 88-63. Michigan State and Villanova actually ended up with the exact same number of votes. However, the Spartans received one more first place vote than the Wildcats, and have therefore ascended to the top spot. With Oakland as their only competition for the week, they’re likely to stay here.
- Villanova (10-0, LW: 4) def. Gonzaga, 88-72; def. La Salle, 77-68. The undefeated Wildcats are basically our number one team. Their decimation of the Bulldogs further drove home the fact that they will be a factor all season. Despite their mediocre performance against La Salle, they held on to win. Temple, on the road, is the next game.
- Miami (FL) (8-0, LW: 6) def. Boston, 69-54. With the losses in front of them, Miami has risen to the number three spot, despite an underwhelming game against the Terriers. Dewan Huell and the Hurricanes don’t play until Saturday, when they come to the nation’s capital for a game with George Washington.
- Wichita State (8-1, LW: 5) def. South Dakota State, 95-85; def. Oklahoma State, 78-66. After a lackluster performance against SD State, the Shockers looked strong in their road win over Oklahoma State. Landry Shamet netted 30 points to key the victory. Wichita State only has one game this week, but it’s a big Saturday battle with Oklahoma.
- Duke (11-1, LW: 1) def. St. Francis (PA), 124-67; lost to Boston College, 84-89. Duke made 15 threes and scored 71 in the first half as they absolutely dismantled St. Francis (PA). However, they ran into a hot offense in BC. And suffered a shock loss. The Blue Devils won’t have an immediate chance to regroup, as their finals break will run until Wednesday the 20th.
- Xavier (9-1, LW: 9) def. Kent State, 96-70; def. Colorado, 96-69. If you like scoring, Xavier may be the team for you. They average 90 points a game! This offensive prowess was on full display against both of their previous opponents. The rolling Musketeers don’t play until Saturday due to finals, then meet East Tennessee State.
- Seton Hall (8-1, LW: 15) def. VCU, 90-67. How’s that for a nice jump? All the losses around them, combined with a great showing against VCU, have the Pirates vaulting well into the top ten. This gives the Big East three teams in the top seven. With their next opponents only being St. Peter’s and Rutgers, don’t expect the Pirates to leave the elite any time soon.
- Arizona State (9-0, LW: 19) def. St. John’s, 82-70; def. Kansas, 95-85. Speaking of big jumps, no one had a better climb than the Sun Devils, who rose an insane eleven spots from last week. An impressive road win against Kansas can do wonders for a team! A week off to party (and take finals) will prelude a home game against Vanderbilt on Sunday.
- Texas A&M (8-1, LW: 7) lost to Arizona, 64-67; def. Prairie View A&M, 73-53. Texas A&M couldn’t handle the heat in Phoenix, falling to a desperate Arizona team. SWAC foe Prairie View provided the perfect bounce-back game. The Aggies will play just once this week, on Wednesday against Savannah State.
- North Carolina (9-1, LW: 12) def. Western Carolina, 104-61. The Tar Heels will head into their exam break off an emphatic win. Six players scored in double figures, and the team combined to go 16-22 from three-point range. A big-time road game against Tennessee on Sunday will be their next test.
- Kansas (7-2, LW: 3) lost to Washington, 65-74; lost to Arizona State, 85-95. There probably haven’t been many worse weeks in recent Jayhawks basketball history than this past one. We’ll see if KU can recover from their big drop in the rankings, but it may be tough with their lack of depth. They travel to Nebraska for a game on Saturday night.
- Kentucky (8-1, LW: 11) def. Monmouth, 93-76. UK looked awfully good against the Hawks, leading by twenty most of the way. Brad Calipari even got into the game and played 6 minutes! Wildcat fans will hope it’s that easy every time, but with freshmen, that’s unlikely. They will look for a quality win with a home game against Virginia Tech next up.
- West Virginia (9-1, LW: 20) def. Virginia, 68-61; def. Pittsburgh, 69-60. Two rivals, two wins. The Mountaineers rolled to a great week. The way Jevon Carter’s playing, there aren’t many teams that one would pick against WVU. Their only game this week will be on Saturday against a Division II foe, Wheeling Jesuit.
- Notre Dame (8-2, LW: 10) lost to Ball State, 77-80; def. Delaware, 92-68. Most teams have a ludicrous loss during the season. For the Irish, this happened last Tuesday against Ball State. The team was able to rebound nicely against Delaware, however. The Crossroads Classic will see them meet Indiana on Saturday.
- Florida (6-3, LW: 8) lost to Florida State, 66-83; lost to Loyola (IL), 59-66; def. Cincinnati, 66-60. That week certainly sucked for the Gators. A pair of home losses had the entire program on high-alert. Luckily, their trip to Newark resulted in a win against the Bearcats. Following finals, they meet Clemson on Saturday in a neutral court game down at the BB&T Center.
- TCU (10-0, LW: 18) def. SMU, 94-83; def. Nevada, 84-80. The Horned Frogs had a strong week, picking up a pair of quality wins to remain undefeated. At this point, they should be taken seriously in the Big 12 race. Like so many others, they will have the entire week off to take finals.
- Cincinnati (7-2, LW: 17) lost to Florida, 60-66. Cincy’s only game this past week was a tough loss to the Gators in a neutral court game. The Bearcats were unable to perform during crunch time as they lost the game in the final minutes. After a pair of losses, Cincinnati will look to get back on track with games against Mississippi State and UCLA.
- Virginia (8-1, LW: 14) lost to West Virginia, 61-68. A hot start came to a crashing halt as the Cavaliers got a taste of reality in their loss to WVU. Still, this is but a minor step back for a team that’s already proved they intend to stay near the top of the ACC. They also have a week off for finals and return to action against Davidson over the weekend.
- Gonzaga (7-2, LW: 13) lost to Villanova, 72-88; def. Washington, 97-70. Playing Villanova was not a fun experience for the Zags. Thankfully, behind Johnathan Williams, they were able to put the loss behind them to dismantle Washington. Their only game will be on Saturday, at home, against North Dakota.
- Oklahoma (7-1, LW: 24) def. UT-San Antonio, 97-85; def. USC, 85-83. Trae Young has Oklahoma rocking! His 29 points led the way for the Sooners in their win over USC, which was played at a “neutral” site in Los Angeles. They won’t play until Saturday, but then comes a major test at Wichita State.
- Florida State (9-0, LW: NR) def. Florida, 83-66; def. Loyola (MD), 96-71; def. Tulane, 72-53. Undefeated and under the radar no longer, the Seminoles have found their way into our rankings this week. Terance Mann has keyed a deep roster; he had 25 in the statement win over Florida. A test with Oklahoma State is on the docket for this weekend.
- Purdue (10-2, LW: NR) def. Valparaiso, 80-50; def. IUPUI, 86-61. Back in the rankings are the Boilermakers, due to both their own winning and the losing of others. That’s not to say they weren’t impressive in rolling to wins last week; they were. But a much stiffer test awaits this weekend. Butler will be their opponent in the Crossroads Classic.
- Louisville (6-2, LW: 25) def. Siena, 86-60; def. Indiana, 71-62. A pair of wins has the Cards on the rebound after a horrid stretch the previous week. Deng Adel led the squad over Indiana; he’s averaging 16 points a game. Louisville will meet Bryant tonight and then take on Memphis in the Gotham Classic on Saturday, at MSG.
- Baylor (7-2, LW: 22) def. Sam Houston State, 84-56; def. Randall University, 105-82. It appears our voters punished Baylor a bit for playing against weak competition. It won’t get any harder, either. Their next games are against Texas Southern and Savannah State. Expect Baylor to win both games by about thirty.
- Tennessee (7-1, LW: NR) def. Lipscomb, 81-71. Last week, Tennessee cracked the AP poll. This week, they got enough votes to become our new number twenty-five. They’ll go ten deep and have good scoring distribution. Rick Barnes will get to see how his team does against North Carolina on Sunday, as the Volunteers have the preceding days off to finish finals.
Out from Last Week: Minnesota (16), USC (21), Nevada (23)
Just Missed the Cut: Texas Tech, Arizona, USC, Nevada, Georgia
As previously mentioned, this week will be slower than the previous couple. The season’s been shot out of a rocket at its start, but it’s finally going to slow down, at least for a bit. Still, there are definitely games worth checking out this week, headlined by the unique event of the Crossroads Classic. Don’t sleep on Wichita State-Oklahoma or North Carolina-Tennessee, either. And be sure to check back with College Pride Press to get the best look at all of these titanic tilts!