Another week of college basketball, another slew of salacious upsets. It feels kind of numb at this point, as these results have become expected. Even still, there were some shocking results, such as Wichita State losing at home to SMU and Texas Tech getting blasted by Iowa State. And those are just the teams that managed to keep their ranking in our new poll. Five teams fell out from last week, including Kentucky after they took a home loss to Florida. The NCAA tournament can’t get here soon enough! Before we get there, however, we’ve got a few more weeks and a few more polls to enjoy. Here’s how we stack up college basketball this week:
- Villanova (18-1, LW: 1) def. Georgetown, 88-56; def. Connecticut, 81-61. Though neither of those programs are what they used to be, Villanova should be satisfied with their resounding wins last week. Their three-point barrage is a thing of beauty. It’ll be unleashed against Providence and Marquette next.
- Virginia (18-1, LW: 3) def. Georgia Tech 64-48; def. Wake Forest, 59-49. Virginia took care of business to remain on top of the ACC. They have by far the top scoring defense in the country, but that will be put to the test by the next opponents. First up is depleted Clemson at home, but then, on Saturday, is a trip to Duke.
- Purdue (19-2, LW: 7) def. Wisconsin, 78-50; def. Iowa, 87-64. Meet the only team left that has not lost a game within the United States! The rolling Boilermakers have the second-best shot (behind ‘Nova) to win the national title, according to ESPN’s BPI. Hosting Michigan could prove to be a test, as might playing at rival Indiana.
- Duke (17-2, LW: 4) def. Miami, 83-75; def. Pittsburgh, 81-54. Duke’s biggest victory last week may have come on the recruiting trail and not on the court (more on that later). Their furious comeback stunned the Hurricanes, then the Blue Devils toyed with lowly Pitt on their way to a blowout. Duke meets Wake and Virginia for their next slate of games.
- Michigan State (17-3, LW: 8) def. Indiana, 85-57. The Spartans rolled over the Hoosiers during their only contest of the past week. They did it on the backs of Miles Bridges and Nick Ward, who combined for 40 points and 16 rebounds. Michigan State has a rare Friday night game this week against Wisconsin. They also will contest a road game at Maryland. Oh, and tonight, Monday night? They play at Illinois. That’s right, a three-game week for the Spartans.
- Kansas (16-3, LW: 9) def. West Virginia, 71-66; def. Baylor, 70-67. Kansas had a pretty dramatic week, storming back to top West Virginia in Morgantown before squandering a lead against Baylor only to come back late. The result is Kansas in a familiar place on top of the Big 12. They play a monumental road game against Oklahoma on Tuesday, then host SEC foe Texas A&M over the weekend.
- West Virginia (16-3, LW: 10) lost to Kansas, 66-71; def. Texas, 86-51. It was a tough loss on their home court to the Jayhawks for the Mountaineers, but they got to take out some frustration with a blowout win over Texas. They have another tough slate of games, traveling to TCU on Monday before hosting out-of-conference opponent Kentucky on Saturday.
- Arizona (16-4, LW: 17) def. Cal, 79-58; def. Stanford, 73-71. Can a team with the talent that Arizona has be under the radar? With all the losses around them, the Wildcats have vaulted back into the top ten and are the clear class of the Pac-12. Their home games this week include a chance to get revenge on Colorado. Utah also comes to town.
- Xavier (18-3, LW: 12) def. St. John’s, 88-82; def. Seton Hall, 73-64. JP Macura may rub a lot of people the wrong way, but his dazzling performance against Seton Hall is why you’re always happy to have a guy like that on your team. Xavier hosts Marquette in their only game over the next seven days.
- Cincinnati (17-2, LW: 11) def. Central Florida, 49-38; def. East Carolina, 86-60. Despite a first half that set basketball back sixty years (UCF was winning 19-15!), Cincy picked up the road victory and then held serve against ECU. They are in the driver’s seat for the AAC regular season crown. Their next opponents will be Temple and Memphis, the latter of which is on the road.
- Ohio State (17-4, LW: 18) def. Northwestern, 71-65; def. Minnesota, 67-49. Ohio State is 8-0 in the Big Ten and has two more winnable games this week against Nebraska and Penn State at home. The Buckeyes just might crack the top ten next week as Kieta Bates-Diop continues to push himself into the All-American conversation.
- Oklahoma (14-4, LW: 6) lost to Kansas State, 69-87; lost to Oklahoma State, 81-83. There isn’t a bad team in the Big 12. It’s 10 for 10 in terms of quality teams. 48 points from Trae Young wasn’t enough for the Sooners to overcome their rivals; perhaps letting him throw up 39 shots isn’t an efficient offense? He’ll need to be superhuman when the Sooners meet Kansas and Alabama this week.
- Arizona State (15-4, LW: 14) lost to Stanford, 77-86; def. Cal, 81-73. Despite a loss, there was enough chaos across the country that the Sun Devils moved up a spot instead of falling. However, there are some red flags on what once looked like a top-three team in the country. They, like the Wildcats, host Utah and Colorado this week.
- Texas Tech (15-4, LW: 5) lost to Texas, 58-67; lost to Iowa State, 52-70. More proof the Big 12 is the most complete league in the country, and it comes at the expense of the Red Raiders. The offensive struggles are troubling for Coach Chris Beard. Tech returns home to host Oklahoma State, then heads to South Carolina for a crossover game.
- North Carolina (16-4, LW: NR) def. Clemson, 87-79; def. Georgia Tech, 80-66. Perhaps a week too late, the Tar Heels are finally back in our rankings. For the millionth time in a row, they knocked off Clemson on their home court. Georgia Tech was also an easy victory. The upcoming road game against Virginia Tech may not be so easy.
- St. Mary’s (19-2, LW: NR) def. Gonzaga, 74-71; def. Pacific, 72-69. It’s been a long climb back into the rankings for the Gaels, who have not lost since November. However, they needed a quality win to validate a number next to their name. A win at Gonzaga sufficed, and now the Gaels are the WCC favorite. Home games with BYU and Portland await.
- Wichita State (15-4, LW: 2) lost to SMU, 78-83; lost to Houston, 59-73. This isn’t the Missouri Valley anymore. The Shockers lost twice, both times against quality teams. Despite that, they fell like a rock in our rankings this week. They’ll look to begin the rebound with a pair of home games, welcoming UCF and Tulsa to town.
- Gonzaga (17-4, LW: 13) lost to St. Mary’s, 71-74; def. Santa Clara, 75-60. The Bulldogs took a tough home loss to rival St. Mary’s. It throws the WCC into a funk, as there is not a clear path for Gonzaga to climb back to the summit without a road win at St. Mary’s later in the season. First, they have to get past Portland and San Francisco.
- Florida (14-5, LW: NR) def. Arkansas, 88-73; def. Kentucky, 66-64. Florida had a very strong week. Not only did they handle a quality team in Arkansas, but they went to Rupp Arena and knocked off the Wildcats. Are the early-season struggles finally behind them? Home games with South Carolina and Big 12 foe Baylor are the next tests.
- Tennessee (13-5, LW: 24) lost to Missouri, 55-59; def. South Carolina, 70-63. Rick Barnes sure has done a good job keeping Tennessee ranked most of this season. The Vols moved up despite the loss to Missouri, but face a staunch test in a non-conference game at Iowa State. Before that, they host Vanderbilt in an SEC game.
- Clemson (16-3, LW: 23) lost to North Carolina, 79-87; def. Notre Dame, 67-58. Sure, Clemson played some basketball last week, but the biggest news is that Zion Williamson was seduced away from his home state by the Duke Blue Devils, shocking experts everywhere and breaking Clemson’s heart. To add injury to insult, Donte Grantham has a torn ACL. Oh yeah, and Clemson has to travel to the number-two team (UVA) in the country for their next game.
- Auburn (17-2, LW: 15) lost to Alabama, 71-76; def. Georgia, 79-65. Auburn yo-yoed back to number 22 after hitting 15 in our last ranking. Despite the loss to Alabama, their first in the SEC, Auburn should still be taken seriously as a potential second-weekend team. First for them this week is a road game in Missouri. Over the weekend, LSU comes to town.
- Miami (14-4, LW: 16) lost to Duke, 75-83; def. NC State, 86-81. They had Duke beaten. Up 13 with 8 minutes left. That loss has to especially sting for the Hurricanes. Luckily, they picked up a quality road win against the Wolfpack to salvage something for the week. Miami hosts Louisville and then travels to Florida State for their next games.
- Louisville (15-4, LW: NR) def. Notre Dame, 82-78; def. Boston College, 77-69. Turmoil and all, the Cardinals are 5-1 in the ACC and back in our rankings this week. They’ve done it mostly under the radar, but that could be changing. The Cards travel to Miami on Wednesday before returning home to meet Wake Forest.
- USC (15-6, LW: NR) def. Oregon, 75-70; def. Oregon State, 73-67. Back in the rankings after a long absence are the Trojans! They’re a half game behind Arizona in the Pac-12 and are adjusted to life without De’Anthony Melton. They spend the next week at home, entertaining challenges from Stanford and Cal.
Out from Last Week: (19) Seton Hall, (20) Michigan, (21) Kentucky, (22) TCU, (25) Florida State
Just Missed the Cut: Michigan, Houston, Kentucky, Nevada, Kansas State
As we trudge through January, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. Will Kansas hold on to their Big 12 crown? Can Kentucky’s freshman finally gel and become the juggernaut they can be? Is there a team capable of stopping Villanova from running through the rest of the schedule? We may be past the halfway point of the season, which sucks, but there’s still a lot of drama yet to unfold, and College Pride Press will be there every step of the way.