It happened: the number one team in the nation finally lost. After posting a 38-3 record in the calendar year of 2016, and starting the current season 14-0, the Villanova Wildcats were undone by poor perimeter shooting and a little bit of magic from historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. The win immediately gives Butler a signature win that they can point to when it comes time to decide seeds in March. Elsewhere, Virginia Tech, fresh off their win over Duke, lost twice to fall back out of the polls, while a controversial moment at the end of the rivalry game between Kansas and Kansas State cost the Wildcats a shot to hand Bill Self his tenth home loss with Kansas (to put that in perspective, KU has won twelve straight Big 12 regular season titles. He has won more conference titles than lost home games as the lead man in Lawrence. Without further ado, here is how our writers voted on the nation’s top 25 teams:
- Baylor (15-0, LW: 2) Def. Iowa State 65-63, Def. Oklahoma State 61-57. What a meteoric rise. The Bears did not receive a single vote in the preseason AP poll, and now, they are the unanimous number one in the CPP Writers’ Poll. Close wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State showed that the Bears are vulnerable, and while they should enjoy their well-earned time at the top, they will lose eventually. It could be as soon as this week, as a pair of difficult road games against ranked teams in West Virginia and Kansas State await Baylor.
- Kansas (14-1, LW: 3) Def. Kansas State 90-88, Def. Texas Tech 85-68. The Big 12 claimed the top two spots in our poll this week, as Baylor’s rise has been complemented by the steady, consistent excellence of the Kansas Jayhawks. While they blew away Texas Tech last Saturday, their previous win over rival Kansas State was one marked by clear controversy. Still, the Jayhawks have now won fourteen in a row after the opening night loss to Indiana, and will play both Oklahoma schools in their next slate of games.
- Villanova (15-1, LW: 1) Lost to Butler 58-66, Def. Marquette 93-81. Don’t be sad the run’s over, Wildcat fans, be happy it happened. 2016 was a heck of a year for Villanova, and they promptly began 2017 with a tough loss to Butler. They then bounced back, and hit fourteen three-point shots against Marquette. It doesn’t get any easier in the loaded Big East, as ‘Nova plays host to a ranked Xavier team before traveling to the Big Apple for a game with the St. John’s Red Storm.
- Gonzaga (15-0, LW: 6) Def. San Francisco 95-80. Nigel Williams-Goss had one of the best games of anyone this season against USF, netting 36 points and dishing out 11 assists for a Zags team that outrebounded the Dons 39-23. Unfortunately, their game against Portland was postponed due to the storms ravaging the West Coast. Gonzaga hosts Loyola Marymount this week, in addition to the much anticipated showdown with St. Mary’s Saturday night.
- UCLA (16-1, LW: 5) Def. California 81-71, Def. Stanford 89-75. The Bruins had an uneventful week, knocking off their neighbors from the northern part of the state without a ton of trouble. Against Stanford, the outstanding freshman duo of Ball and Leaf combined for 36 points. UCLA’s high powered attack travels to Colorado and Utah for games this week.
- Kentucky (13-2, LW: 4) Def. Texas A&M 100-58, Def. Arkansas 97-71. It was business as usual for the Wildcats last week, as they throttled a pair of overmatched opponents. Malik Monk is squarely in the All-American picture, averaging 21.9 points a game. Expect UK to continue its demolition this week, as they play at Vanderbilt and home against Auburn.
- Duke (14-2, LW: 7) Def. Georgia Tech 110-57, Def. Boston College 93-82. Grayson Allen returned, and the Blue Devils picked up a pair of easy wins. But as they get back an outstanding player in Allen, they also must wave goodbye to Coach K, at least for the rest of the month. While the legendary coach begins his recovery from back surgery, the Blue Devils will travel to Tallahassee to play upstart Florida State, and also make the always difficult trip to Louisville.
- Florida State (15-1, LW: 15) Def. Virginia Tech 93-78. The ‘Noles stayed hot, vanquishing the Hokies for their second straight win over a ranked opponent. Dwayne Bacon, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and co. have paced the Seminoles out to an impressive ranking. However, with games against Duke and North Carolina this week, we will soon know if Florida State is truly worthy of such a lofty number.
- Oregon (15-2, LW: 13) Def. Washington 83-61, Def. Washington State 85-66. And just like that, the Ducks are back among the top ten teams in the country. Luckily, star Dillon Brooks won’t face additional reprimands for his ejection Saturday against the Cougars. The rolling Ducks have won thirteen in a row, and play Oregon State this upcoming weekend.
- Creighton (15-1, LW: 12) Def. St. John’s 85-72, Def. Providence 78-64. The Jays’ trip to the East Coast Megapolis was a successful one, as they knocked off the Red Storm in New York City before winning in Providence. Marcus Foster leads the team at 18.6 points a game. Creighton hosts Butler, looking to stop the Bulldogs’ hotstreak before it begins, and Truman State, a Division II team from Missouri.
- Butler (14-2, LW: 18) Def. Villanova 66-58, Def. Georgetown 85-76. What a week it was for the Bulldogs, who used some Hinkle Fieldhouse home court advantage to knock off number one. One of the key stats: Butler outrebounded the Wildcats 33-24. Their win in Washington, D.C. should not be understated, either. This week, they play a pair of difficult games, as they travel to Omaha to challenge Creighton, and then host Xavier.
- Virginia (12-3, LW: 11) Lost to Pittsburgh 76-88, Def. Wake Forest 79-62. Someone finally managed to crack UVA’s defense, and albeit with the help of an overtime period, the Pitt Panthers knocked off the Cavaliers and nearly scored 90 points. A strong second half and London Perrantes carried the Cavs over Wake Forest in their other game last week. This week, Virginia travels to Clemson in their only contest.
- Wisconsin (13-3, LW: 9) Def. Indiana 75-68, Lost to Purdue 55-66. The Badgers’ trip to Indiana resulted in a win over the Hoosiers, and a loss to the Boilermakers. As a squad, they need to hit the three more consistently. After going 10-20 in Bloomington, the Badgers went only 2-14 against Purdue. They return to the friendly confines of the Kohl Center this week, hosting Ohio State in their only game.
- Louisville (13-3, LW: 8) Lost to Notre Dame 70-77, Def. Georgia Tech 65-50. The Cards seem to always have trouble in South Bend, and another twenty-point game from Donovan Mitchell. The Greenwich, Connecticut native also paced the Cards in their road win at Georgia Tech. Louisville welcomes an under the radar Pitt squad first this week, before playing host to the Duke Blue Devils at noon on Saturday.
- West Virginia (13-2, LW: 10) Lost to Texas Tech 76-77, Def. TCU 82-70. An incredible shot at the end of their game in Lubbock cost the Mountaineers against TTU, but they came back nicely with a win over TCU. Now, West Virginia can turn their attention to their biggest game of the year so far: a home contest with the Baylor Bears. On Saturday, they’ll also play at Texas.
- North Carolina (14-3, LW: 14) Def. Clemson 89-86, Def. North Carolina St. 107-56. UNC, like Duke, knocked off an ACC opponent by 50 this past week. They also narrowly managed to get by Clemson, with the hot hand of Joel Berry leading the way; he also had 19 against NC State. Theo Pinson is also finally healthy, giving the Tar Heels another experienced weapon. They will play at Wake Forest and host the Seminoles this upcoming week.
- Arizona (15-2, LW: 17) Def. Utah 66-56, Def. Colorado 82-73. Lauri Markkanen scored 33 points over two games last week. The freshman is averaging 16 a game for the season, and can do it from three point (44 percent) and the line (84 percent) in addition to the paint. Arizona has slid a bit out of the national picture, but they are not a team to take lightly, especially if Allonzo Trier ever plays. Their only game this week is against in-state rival Arizona State.
- Xavier (13-2, LW: 16) Def. Georgetown 81-76, Def. St. John’s 97-82. The Musketeers ar the only undefeated team in the Big East, and have quietly won 6 in a row since losing at Colorado by a bucket. Edmund Sumner continues to score, and the return from suspension of Myles Davis gives Xavier another veteran in the backcourt. This week will give the Musketeers a chance to shoot themselves back onto the national radar: they play a pair of road games against ‘Nova and the team who beat them, Butler.
- St. Mary’s (14-1, LW: 19) Def. BYU 81-68, Def. San Francisco 63-52. Jock Landale needs to get more recognition. The Australian big man scored 24 against BYU, and then 26 against San Francisco. St. Mary’s takes a trip to the Pacific Northwest, meeting the Portland Pilots on Thursday before the first titanic WCC battle of the year against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
- Purdue (14-3, LW: 20) Def. Ohio State 76-75, Def. Wisconsin 66-55. Both wins for Purdue were of high quality last week. Winning at Ohio State, in the tight fashion they did, combined with their easier than expected home triumph against the Badgers, solidified Purdue as a Big Ten contender. Caleb Swanigan had 18 and 13 against Wisconsin for his fourteenth double-double of the season. The Boilermakers play only once this week, a road game against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
- Notre Dame (14-2, LW: 24) Def. Louisville 77-70, Def. Clemson 75-70. The Irish picked up a couple of impressive home wins, and moved to 3-0 in the ACC. The upset win over Louisville was a particularly huge victory. Coach Brey will take his team on the road this week, as they battle Miami and Virginia Tech.
- Cincinnati (13-2, LW: 22) Def. Houston 67-58. Houston had been 12-3 on the year, but couldn’t compete with Cincy’s veteran squad, who were unfazed by going on the road and traveling to deep Texas. Transfer Kyle Washington scored 19 points and chipped in nine rebounds. The Bearcats host another tough AAC team in SMU next Thursday, and also plays East Carolina on Sunday.
- Florida (12-3, LW: NR) Def. Ole Miss 70-63, Def. Tennessee 83-70. After a hiatus of a couple weeks, the Gators are back in the rankings. Their winning streak is now at 5 since they lost consecutive games to Duke and Florida State. They’re undefeated early in the SEC season, and will look to continue this run with an away game against Alabama and a home contest with Georgia coming up next.
- Minnesota (15-2, LW: NR) Def. Northwestern 70-66, Def. Ohio State 78-68. Congratulations, Golden Gopher fans! This was a tad overdue, but Minnesota had previously set back their ascension to the rankings by falling against the Spartans a couple of weeks ago. Their only other loss was on the road against Florida State. After winning twice last week, Minnesota is finally, and deservedly, ranked. They have a chance for revenge this week, as they travel to East Lansing, before playing Penn State.
- Kansas State (13-2, LW: NR) Lost to Kansas 88-90, Def. Oklahoma 75-64. He traveled. As much as everyone loves Svi Mykhailiuk, he clearly took an extra step on his game winner over the Wildcats. However, even in defeat, their performance in Lawrence was quite impressive. Couple that with a win over Oklahoma, and it’s easy to see why the Wildcats have now broken in at number 25. They play in Lubbock against Texas Tech, and host the new number one team, Baylor, in their upcoming games.
Just Missed the Cut: Clemson, Wichita State, Indiana, UNC-Wilmington, Maryland
There is now a new team in the top spot. However, Baylor will be tested right away this week, as their road game against West Virginia is one of headliners for the weekday slate of this games. The Big East also gives us a couple of big time games this week. Overall, expect more excitement, more controversy, and more losses by ranked teams. Now fully in the swing of conference play, expect lots of movement in next week’s poll, and all of the polls that follow, as we march our way to March.