Well, were you expecting anything different? The level of parity in college basketball is RIDICULOUS. Not only are ranked teams falling when they have to hit the road (West Virginia, Miami, and many others), but they’re also being defeated at home (Michigan State, Arizona State, and more!). Twelve of our ranked teams from last week lost. At this point, there isn’t really a point in putting these conundrums into words. That many teams losing has become the norm, not the exception. And the game’s better for that. Anyways, let’s see how our writers rank the top twenty-five teams in the nation:
- Villanova (16-1, LW: 1) def. Xavier, 89-65; def. St. John’s, 78-71. Villanova holds at the top spot after a strong week. Smacking Xavier was particularly impressive. You’ll have to excuse old Big East fans if they get nostalgic this week; Jalen Brunson and co. will be playing at Georgetown, then at Connecticut.
- Wichita State (15-2, LW: 2) def. East Carolina, 95-60; def. Tulsa, 72-69. The Shockers pounded ECU, but then had trouble against Tulsa, needing hot shooting from Landry Shamet and Connor Frankamp to secure the victory. SMU comes to Koch Arena on Wednesday. On Saturday, Wichita State travels to Houston for a tough matchup.
- Virginia (16-1, LW: 6) def. Syracuse, 68-61; def. NC State, 68-51. Virginia is the last undefeated team remaining in ACC play. Just as writer Brett Siegel detailed last week, Tony Bennett deserves to be a candidate for National Coach of the Year. The Cavs hit the road this week, playing at Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.
- Duke (15-2, LW: 5) def. Pittsburgh, 87-52; def. Wake Forest, 89-71. It was an easy week for the Blue Devils against the dregs of the ACC. If you needed more proof that Marvin Bagley is a basketball god, check out his 30-point game against Wake, which the Blue Devils won without Coach K on the sidelines. He should be back for clashes with Miami and Pitt again.
- Texas Tech (15-2, LW: 8) lost to Oklahoma, 65-75; def. West Virginia, 72-71. Court storming as a top-ten team? The Red Raiders are still getting used to being good at basketball. Despite their loss to Oklahoma, that win over WVU was enough to give them a nice boost. They hit the road for contests with Texas and Iowa State over the next week.
- Oklahoma (14-2, LW: 9) def. Texas Tech, 75-65; def. TCU, 102-97. Norman, Oklahoma is becoming a fortress. Two ranked teams came in last week, and behind Trae Young, the Sooners defeated both. Young may be the most dynamic freshman guard since Derrick Rose. A pair of road tests await Oklahoma as they travel to Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
- Purdue (17-2, LW: 13) def. Michigan, 70-69; def. Minnesota, 81-47. Purdue has played their way into the top-seed conversation. Last week they definitely earned it, picking up a pair of great road wins. The Big Ten schedule has them meeting Wisconsin and Iowa this week, with the latter on the road.
- Michigan State (16-3, LW: 4) def. Rutgers, 76-72; lost to Michigan, 72-82. It was a week to forget for the Spartans. First, they needed overtime to beat lowly Rutgers at home. While still in East Lansing, they then lost to Michigan in a discouraging performance. The Spartans will look to regroup by beating Indiana and Illinois this week.
- Kansas (14-3, LW: 10) def. Iowa State, 83-78; def. Kansas State, 73-72. Nothing’s easy in the Big 12. Two of the conference’s bottom dwellers took Kansas to the brink – at home! A monumental tilt with West Virginia comes on Monday. Over the weekend, the Jayhawks will host yet another quality team in Baylor.
- West Virginia (15-2, LW: 3) def. Baylor, 57-54; lost to Texas Tech, 71-72. This steep fall has more to do with other teams than the tight road loss suffered by the Mountaineers. They’re in a four-way tie for first in the Big Ten with the three teams above them. A monumental game with Kansas on Monday night could cause some havoc on the standings.
- Cincinnati (15-2, LW: 15) def. South Florida, 78-55. Just like conference mate Wichita State, the Bearcats have surged to an undefeated start in AAC play. USF admittedly played Cincy tight in the first half, but the superior talent was too much in the second half. Cincy continues their schedule with UCF and East Carolina on the docket.
- Xavier (16-3, LW: 11) lost to Villanova, 65-89; def. Creighton, 92-70. You can’t really knock someone for falling against the nation’s top team. Xavier also dominated Creighton to draw even on the week. Trevon Bluiett fully deserves to be in All-American conversations. The Musketeers play St. John’s at home as a prelude to a weekend clash with Seton Hall.
- Gonzaga (16-3, LW: 21) def. Portland, 103-57; def. San Francisco, 75-65. Conference opponents proved to be no trouble for the Zags. With their scoring balance, Gonzaga could finish conference play undefeated. St. Mary’s will have something to say about that, and they travel to Spokane Thursday night. Gonzaga will also travel to Santa Clara this week.
- Arizona State (14-3, LW: 7) lost to Oregon, 72-76; def. Oregon State, 77-75. Instead of enjoying their home games, the Sun Devils struggled, showing their inexperience in losing to Oregon and allowing Oregon State to come close. The Sun Devils now stand at 2-3 in Pac-12 play as they next meet Stanford and California.
- Auburn (16-1, LW: 22) def. Ole Miss, 85-70; def. Mississippi State, 76-68. They were down 11 at the half, on the road. Instead of quitting, Auburn extended their winning streak to 14, which is now the longest in the country. Their next game in a tough SEC will take them to rival Alabama. They will also host Georgia over the weekend.
- Miami (FL) (13-3, LW: 12) lost to Clemson, 63-72. Miami only played once last week, and unfortunately were beaten by Clemson, despite another strong game from freshman Lonnie Walker. The road gets even tougher for Miami this week, as they host Duke on Monday then head to NC State over the weekend.
- Arizona (14-4, LW: 17) def. Oregon State, 62-53; def. Oregon, 90-83. The Wildcats took care of business at home, although Oregon presented a sturdy challenge for most of the game. Fortunately, Deandre Ayton and Allonzo Trier combined for 49 points to defeat the Ducks. Arizona hits the road this week to challenge California and Stanford.
- Ohio State (15-4, LW: 23) def. Maryland, 91-69; def. Rutgers, 68-46. Just like Purdue, the Buckeyes are riding high and undefeated in conference play. The growth of Keita Bates-Diop is one of the most underrated stories in the country. Ohio State plays at Northwestern on Wednesday, then meets Minnesota on a neutral court, in New York, on Saturday.
- Seton Hall (15-3, LW: 14) lost to Marquette, 64-84; def. Georgetown, 74-61. Seton Hall went on the road and took a spanking, but recovered to knock off the reeling Hoyas from the comfort of their home court. This coming week is an important one for the Pirates; they travel to Creighton, then host Xavier.
- Michigan (15-4, LW: NR) lost to Purdue, 69-70; def. Michigan State, 82-72. John Beilien has got the Wolverines ranked for the first time this season! Michigan played ultra-competitively in their loss to Purdue, then picked up one of the top road wins of the season in their convincing defeat of the Spartans. Maryland and Nebraska are their next obstacles.
- Kentucky (14-3, LW: 25) def. Texas A&M, 74-73; def. Vanderbilt, 74-67. Kentucky got their victories last week, but it was not without difficulty. They showed some tenacity with a late rally to beat A&M, then got 22 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to pull out the W over Vandy. UK travels to South Carolina during the week, but then meets Florida.
- TCU (13-4, LW: 20) lost to Texas, 98-99; lost to Oklahoma, 97-102. Both games needed more than forty minutes to decide. Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs, they came up short twice on the road, despite a pair of dynamite performances from Jaylen Fisher. TCU will look to snap their three-game losing streak at home against Iowa State. They also play at Kansas State.
- Clemson (15-2, LW: 19) lost to NC State, 77-78; def. Miami (FL), 72-63. Raleigh is proving to be a tough place to play for opponents this season. However, the Tigers rebounded nicely with a win over the ranked Hurricanes thanks to Donte Grantham. This week, Clemson will attempt to do the impossible for them: win in Chapel Hill. They will also host Notre Dame.
- Tennessee (12-4, LW: 18) def. Vanderbilt, 92-84; def. Texas A&M, 75-62. The Vols, fell through no fault of their own, as both of their victories last week were earned. Moving forward, the Vols have a couple of road games to extend their modest winning streak. First up is Missouri, then South Carolina.
- Florida State (13-4, LW: 16) lost to Louisville, 69-73; def. Syracuse, 101-90. Home losses are a good way to drop. The Seminoles had one of those last week, which combined with other results led to our voters giving them a sharp tumble in the rankings, despite the double-overtime win over Syracuse. Boston College and Georgia Tech are next on the schedule.
Out from Last Week: (24) Butler
Just Missed the Cut: North Carolina, St. Mary’s, Louisville, Butler, Arkansas
There are any number of teams listed above that could come up short this week. Being ranked is no longer a layer of armor. Instead, it puts a target on a team’s back, represents a challenge for their opponents. Many more ranked teams are going to fall this coming week; it’s simply a way of life in today’s game. Whoever emerges on top come March Madness will have traveled a long road and certainly earned the glory. Everyone enjoy the journey!