Here’s this week’s top 25!
1. Duke (21-2, 9-1 ACC; 0)
2. Gonzaga (23-2, 10-0 WCC; +2)
3. Virginia (20-2, 8-2 ACC; -1)
4. Tennessee (21-1, 10-0 SEC; -1)
5. Michigan (22-2, 11-2 Big Ten; 0)
6. Houston (23-1, 10-1 AAC; +4)
7. Kentucky (20-3, 9-1 SEC; +1)
8. Kansas (18-6, 7-4 Big XII; -2)
9. North Carolina (19-4, 9-1 ACC; 0)
10. Michigan State (19-5, 10-3 Big Ten; -3)
11. Nevada (23-1, 10-1 MWC; 0)
12. Purdue (17-6, 10-2 Big Ten; +2)
13. LSU (19-4, 9-1 SEC; +4)
14. Marquette (20-4, 9-2 Big East; -1)
15. Villanova (19-5, 10-1 Big East; 0)
16. Texas Tech (19-5, 7-4 Big XII; +4)
17. Florida State (18-5, 6-4 ACC; +12)
18. Kansas State (18-5, 8-2 Big XII; +9)
19. Iowa State (18-6, 7-4 Big XII; -3)
20. Virginia Tech (18-5, 7-4 ACC; -8)
21. Buffalo (19-3, 8-2 MAC; 0)
22. Louisville (17-7, 8-3 ACC; -3)
23. Cincinnati (20-4, 9-2 AAC; -5)
24. Maryland (18-6, 9-4 Big Ten; +1)
25. Iowa (19-5, 8-5 Big Ten; +1)
26-30. Wisconsin, TCU, Washington, Auburn, Mississippi State
It hurts a little bit to have to move Tennessee down a spot, given that they’ve got the longest winning streak in the country, but what Gonzaga did this week was just breathtaking. I see a lot of skeptics out and about the internet, openly questioning why Gonzaga should be a #1 seed in the tournament if they “”haven’t played anybody””, but this week’s pair of games should be exhibits 1 and 2. These past two weeks have been the toughest part of Gonzaga’s WCC schedule (never mind their non-conference schedule, which was actually quite strong). They’ve played the next four best teams in the conference, and even though three of those four games were at home it’s still probably the best litmus test we have for them. Let’s see how those games went… oh, they won three of those games by 30, and the other by a paltry 16. The capper, Saturday’s game against St. Mary’s, was a showcase. The Zags literally doubled up the Gaels and then some, winning 94-46. The game was practically over within the first five minutes, when Gonzaga went up 14-2. Six games remain in their regular season, and it would really be kind of a surprise if they don’t go undefeated. The biggest remaining test, by far, is the return trip to Moraga, CA to play St. Mary’s again. They’re really and truly deserving of that #2 spot.
Three new teams in the 25 this week, starting with a huge week for Florida State. The Noles have rebounded seriously from their 1-4 start in conference play, winning five straight. This week was their best yet – a big win away at Syracuse, followed by an overtime win on their home court vs. Louisville. All of a sudden it looks like they’re the fourth-best team in the ACC rather than Louisville or Virginia Tech. Kansas State has been trending up for a long time now, and nearly broke into last week’s top 25, but they do in a major way this week, beating Kansas and Baylor, running their in-conference winning streak to 8 games (there’s a loss in the middle, but in the Big 12/SEC challenge to A&M), and taking a 1 1/2 game lead in the Big 12 standings. Iowa also picked up a pair of wins this week and finds themselves in the top 25, but was more underwhelming in doing so. Yesterday in particular, it took a minor miracle for them to come back and beat a pretty bad Northwestern team (they trailed by 11 with just over two minutes left). They just sneak in there at #25.
Wisconsin can feel okay about dropping out of the top 25, since it came in a loss to Michigan. Ditto Washington, though slightly less so, but a road loss to Arizona State is as forgivable as it gets in the Pac-12. Mississippi State took two losses this week, and they were both at home, so not great there, but they were playing LSU and Kentucky, so again, pretty excusable. So it’s not too bad a week for anyone up there – I suppose this week saw the standard for inclusion in the top 25 rising a bit.
Notable unranked teams include #31 Syracuse, #33 Ohio State, #35 Oklahoma, #39 Arizona State, #40 Ole Miss, #45 Alabama, #58 Arkansas, #60 NC State, #69 Indiana, #70 Georgetown, #81 Arizona, #99 Saint Louis, #117 Missouri, #137 Illinois, #149 Illinois State, and #318 SIUE. The new lowest-ranked team is #353 Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Games of the Week: some huge matchups this week, including one of the ACC’s best matchups tonight, and the game of the year in the SEC taking place on Saturday.
1. Virginia (-3.5) @ North Carolina, Monday
2. Tennessee @ Kentucky (-2.5), Saturday
3. Michigan State (-1.5) @ Wisconsin, Tuesday
4. Purdue (-1) @ Maryland, Tuesday
5. Duke (-7.5) @ Louisville, Tuesday
6. Kansas (-1.5) @ TCU, Monday
7. Iowa State @ Kansas State, Saturday
8. Oklahoma @ TCU (-2.5), Saturday
9. Oklahoma @ Baylor (-2), Monday
10. Syracuse @ NC State (even), Wednesday
Alright, all, thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the rankings page to see exactly where your team, or every team, stands. I’ll have a new bracket up on Tuesday so you can see what I and the algorithm think will be this year’s tournament bracket. See you all next time!