Last week, the college basketball year truly began, thanks to the Champions’ Classic. Those two battles brought us high-level competition just days into the season. In addition, a couple other ranked teams also saw themselves get beat, or nearly. This includes Northwestern and USC, one of which clung to a tough win and kept its lofty ranking; the other fell short and crashed out. Given the results, there is some actual movement in the poll this week. Without further ado, let’s get to the latest CPP Top 25:
- Duke (4-0, LW: 1) def. Michigan State, 88-81; def. Southern 78-61. Well, it certainly appears Grayson Allen has put his troubles behind him and is back to being a stellar baller. In an underwhelming performance against SWAC foe Southern, Wendell Carter led the way with a double-double. Duke first takes aim at Furman tonight, before heading out west to partake in the loaded Motion Bracket of the PK80.
- Arizona (3-0, LW: 3) def. CSU-Bakersfield, 91-59. The Wildcats have yet to be challenged on the young season. That happens when you shoot near 60 percent as a team through three games. How’s a stacked Battle 4 Atlantis bracket sound for a challenge? An undefeated NC State will be their first-round opponent. Northern Iowa and SMU could provide a second-round test. Purdue and Villanova also headline the field.
- Kansas (3-0, LW: 4) def. Kentucky, 66-61; def. South Dakota State 98-64. In a wild game, KU knocked off UK to cap another astounding Champions’ Classic. They play a pair of games this week as part of Maui Invitation on-campus games; it’s unfortunate the Jayhawks won’t actually be in Hawaii. Those opponents will be Texas Southern and Oakland.
- Wichita State (2-0, LW: 5) def. Charleston, 81-63. The Shockers haven’t played in seven days, last knocking off C of C without a ton of effort. This week, Landry Shamet and co. travel to the tropical paradise of Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. They open up with Cal tonight in a slightly weaker Maui field than usual.
- Michigan State (2-1, LW: 2) lost to Duke, 81-88; def. Stony Brook, 93-71. The Spartans couldn’t contend late against Duke, but it was a good outing until the game’s final five minutes. That insanely good sophomore class led Coach Izzo over Stony Brook, thought Bridges picked up a minor injury. He better get healthy quick, because the Victory bracket of the PK80 will be tough to navigate. They play DePaul first, then meet Oregon or Connecticut.
- Villanova (3-0, LW: 6) def. Nicholls State, 113-77; def. Lafayette, 104-57. With six players averaging double-figures, ‘Nova’s stellar roster has not missed a beat. Though their opponents to this point have been easy, it gets tougher with a trek to the Bahamas and the Battle 4 Atlantis. First up in the loaded field is Western Kentucky. Arizona looms in a potential final.
- Cincinnati (3-0, LW: 10) def. Western Carolina, 102-51; def. Coppin State, 97-54. The Bearcats have not been tested this season and are averaging 102 points a game. On Monday, they play Buffalo in the Cayman Islands Classic, the first game in the Bearcats’ quest for some early season hardware. They’re the heavy favorites on Grand Cayman Island.
- USC (3-0, LW: 9) def. North Dakota State, 75-65; def. Vanderbilt, 93-89. This past week was a struggle for the Trojans, who sleepwalked against ND State and then were nearly upset by a rebuilding Vandy side. It took 35 points from senior talisman Jordan McLaughlin to beat the Commodores in Nashville. This week, they first play Lehigh, then meet Texas A&M.
- Florida (3-0, LW: 8) def. Gardner-Webb, 116-74; def. North Florida, 108-68; def. New Hampshire, 70-63. After a pair of strong showings, the Gators struggled for much of the game against UNH. They’ll have to put that behind them quickly, the PK80 motion bracket awaits. Stanford is their first-round game, though Duke could be a later opponent.
- Texas A&M (2-0, LW: 14) def. UC-Santa Barbara, 84-65. Behind continued love for their win over WVU and some hackneyed play from other teams, the Aggies saw a nice boost in their ranking. This week, they head to Brooklyn for the Legends Classic. First up will be Oklahoma State. Their other opponent will either be Penn State or Pittsburgh.
- North Carolina (2-0, LW: 12) def. Bucknell, 93-81. Carolina struggled at times against a solid program in Bucknell, but won behind five players in double figures. One of them was not Joel Berry, who looked rusty shooting 1-11 in his return from injury. Carolina is one of the headliners in the PK80, meeting Portland State in their first-round game of the Victory Bracket.
- Miami (FL) (3-0, LW: 11) def. Florida A&M, 90-59. A ho-hum week that only featured a win over the Rattlers from the MEAC saw the ‘Canes drop a couple spots. Despite the injury to Lonnie Walker, this should hopefully not become a trend. They have La Salle and North Florida in another slow week.
- Kentucky (3-1, LW: 9) lost to Kansas, 61-66; def. East Tennessee State, 78-61. Chicago was not kind to the young Wildcats, as they couldn’t quite overcome the Jayhawks. Coach Calipari got the team back on track against ETSU, though the team has still looked remarkably ordinary. It will click eventually for this group, maybe in one of their three games this week.
- Minnesota (4-0, LW: 17) def. Providence, 86-74; def. Niagara, 107-81; def. Western Carolina, 92-64. A busy week headlined by a road win against Providence saw the Golden Gophers rise in our rankings. They’ll host Alabama A&M in a tune-up for the Barclays Center Classic. There, they will meet UMass and Alabama. Miami looms in the following week.
- Notre Dame (3-0, LW: 13) def. Mount St. Mary’s, 88-62; def. Chicago State, 105-66. The Irish rolled past a pair of inferior opponents in their final games before leaving the mainland for Maui. For Coach Brey, his team opens up against host school Chaminade. A second-round game with Michigan or LSU should provide a stiffer test.
- Xavier (3-0, LW: 16) def. Rider, 101-75; def. Wisconsin, 80-70. It was strong week for Xavier, who knocked off Rider before picking up a strong road win in Madison behind 25 points from Trevon Bluiett. Their quest for November silverware will take them to Sin City for the Las Vegas Invitational. Their first-round opponent will be George Washington. They also play Monday night against Hampton in an on-campus game for the event.
- Seton Hall (4-0, LW: 15) def. Indiana, 84-68; def. NJIT, 82-53. That win over Indiana is big for the Pirates, even if the Hoosiers are rebuilding this year. Following a blowout over NJIT, and Seton Hall is undefeated in the early season. They stay in their backyard for their early season tournament, competing in the Preseason NIT out of New York. URI is their first opponent.
- Purdue (4-0, LW: 20) def. Marquette, 86-71; def. Fairfield, 106-64. A school record 19 made three-pointers, including 13 in the first half, carried the Boilermakers past Fairfield. That, combined with a win at Marquette, has Purdue flying high as they prepare for a first round game against Tennessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
- Louisville (2-0, LW: 18) def. Omaha, 87-78. The Cardinals seem to have fallen a bit off the radar, and that’s good, considering they expectedly have not looked overly dominant early in the season. They have tougher games ahead, but don’t participate in a tournament this week. Instead, they get more tune-ups in Southern Illinois and St. Francis (PA).
- West Virginia (2-1, LW: 21) def. American, 98-64; def. Morgan State 111-48. That’s more like it for the Mountaineers. Their wins came by a combined 97 points. Daxter Miles had a career-high 32 against Morgan State. This week, WVU will contest the Advocare Invitational. First up is an on-campus game against Long Beach State. Then, they travel to Orlando to begin the tournament in earnest with a game against Marist.
- Gonzaga (3-0, LW: 19) def. Howard, 106-69; def. Utah State, 79-66. Business as usual last week for the Zags. They have six players averaging at least 10 points a game, with a seventh, Rui Hachimura, at 9.7. The stacked PK80 Motion Bracket awaits Coach Few. Ohio State will be their first opponent. Should the Zags win, Florida looms in the next round.
- St. Mary’s (4-0, LW: 23) def. New Mexico State, 92-74; def. Cal State Fullerton, 76-57; def. San Jose State, 79-61. Three easy opponents made for a strong week. The big three of Landale, Hermanson, and Naar have the Gaels looking deadly. The Wooden Legacy field could challenge the Gaels a bit more, though they are decisive favorites to win the trophy. Harvard is their first opponent.
- TCU (3-0, LW: NR) def. Tennessee Tech, 100-63; def. South Dakota 76-71. Quietly under the radar, the confident Horned Frogs have started the season on the right foot. Pay attention to a team averaging 86 points a game. First up for TCU this week is Omaha. Over the weekend, they play in the Emerald Coast Classic, in which they first meet New Mexico.
- Texas Tech (4-0, LW: NR) def. Boston College, 75-64; def. Northwestern 85-49. Meet the 2017 Hall of Fame Tip-Off champions. The Red Raiders came to Connecticut with an intent to conquer, and they did just that, knocking off BC before throttling a formerly-ranked Northwestern team. Now, TTU has a ranking. This could just be the beginning.
- Virginia Tech (3-1, LW: 22) lost to St. Louis, 71-77; def. Washington, 103-79. The Hokies came into the 2K Classic as the favorite, but faltered against the Bilikens. Luckily, the blew out UW behind their usual high-powered offense, and that showing helped them maintain a ranking. They’ve got two home games on the docket for this week, Houston Baptist on Tuesday and Morehead State on Saturday.
Out from Last Week: (24) UCLA, (25) Northwestern
Just Missed the Cut: UCLA, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, Oklahoma
It’s that time of year where we are all reminded to be thankful of the good things in life. After all, no one likes an unappreciative, selfish hack. So over the next week, remember to count your blessings! We’ve all got something in life to be proud of and thankful for.
Here at College Pride Press, we’re most thankful for college basketball. Specifically, for this week, early season tournaments. A couple kicked off this past weekend, but over the next four days, we get the opening and following rounds of prestigious competitions! Yes, that includes dynamic duels in Maui, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Oregon, and many, many more! At CPP, we will have in-depth coverage of all the titanic tilts coming up. Make sure to check back and get the lowdown before it’s over!