This past week showed us that no one is safe in college basketball.
Kentucky lost its first regular season game in 635 days when the Wildcats were outplayed and beat by UCLA. Oregon was beat by UNLV. UNC looked like a different team at home against Maryland with Marcus Paige is back. Syracuse lost to Wisconsin and Georgetown. The list goes on and on…
These rankings will change at the top again next week as we have Oklahoma and Villanova playing tonight in Hawaii. Let us know if you agree or disagree with these rankings in the comment section.
Note: These rankings are based on the teams today, not how I think they will be in March.
1. Oklahoma: Undefeated? Check. One of the best players in the country? Yep, got that. Balance in the frontcourt? Ryan Spangler covers that. The Sooners are good on both sides of the ball and a win over Nova tonight means they will be No. 1 until they lose.
2. Michigan State: It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win. That’s what happened when Michigan State came from behind to beat Louisville in East Lansing. Going forward, this team can’t score five points in 10 minutes and expect to win, though.
3. North Carolina: Was that the preseason No. 1 team in the country we saw with Marcus Paige back on the floor? I don’t think they will look that way all year, but we saw what Carolina is capable of. The growth and development of Kennedy Meeks isn’t being talked about enough.
4. Kentucky: I’m not putting much stock in that loss against UCLA. The Wildcats were playing with an injured point guard and lost Marcus Lee to a head injury. This team will grow as the season goes on.
5. Iowa State: Iowa State doesn’t have a signature win yet, but that’s okay simply because it don’t have a terrible loss like a lot of other teams. The Cyclones have a chance to get a notable win when they host hated rival Iowa this week. Monte Morris still isn’t talked about enough on the national level for being as good as he is. He’s the best player on this team, not Georges Niang.
6. Villanova: Villanova is quietly the No. 1 team on KenPom, thanks to the effective scoring the Wildcats have this year. Again, the big matchup is tonight against Oklahoma, which will move Nova into the top 3 or down to about 10. Josh Hart needs to have a big game in order for the Wldcats to win.
7. Xavier: This isn’t a typical Xavier team. This Xavier team can score, and do so almost at will. Jalen Reynolds in the post provides a whole different look for this team. The biggest thing, though, is the fact that Xavier is still playing defense. The Crosstown Shootout against Cincinnati is this week, and will tell us more about the Musketeers.
8. Kansas: The Jayhawks survived a scare at home against an average Harvard team over the weekend. This is a team that needs to figure it out, because they are too talented to be struggling. Getting Cheick Diallo eligible is huge going forward for Kansas
9. Duke: Duke steamrolled Indiana last week, which isn’t saying much because anyone who can dribble a ball can score against the Hoosiers. Grayson Allen is developing into the go-to guy for Duke, but Brandon Ingram is finally starting to look the part of a McDonald’s All-American, which is what this team needs.
10. Purdue: So, Purdue can score. This is weird. I still need to see the Boilermakers to improve shooting from outside, but right now A.J. Hammons is looking like an All-Big 10 player. This is the best team Matt Painter has had during his time at Purdue.
11. Maryland: People will want to focus on the great 15 minutes Melo Trimble played at UNC. But, what about the 15 minutes when he was brutal? If Trimble is really an All-American, he can’t have a lull like that in that big of a game. This team should figure it out come March, but for now they will struggle, as we’ve seen.
12. Baylor: A come from behind victory against Vanderbilt says a lot about this Baylor team. Rico Gathers is still getting double doubles, which will continue all year. However, it’s the play of Taureen Prince that has Baylor ranked this high
13. Vanderbilt: I’m not going to punish Vanderbilt too much for a road loss to a good Baylor team. But, Vandy needs to close that game out. The Commodores get a chance this week, when Dayton comes to town, for another quality win.
14. Butler: A buzzer beater on the road against Cincinnati? I told you college hoops is weird this year, guys. This is a different offensive team this year with Tyler Lewis running point and it’s showing. Kellen Dunham is having himself a career year as well.
15. Arizona: You want to talk about the most impressive win of the year? How about going to Gonzaga, coming back from double digits while Kyle Wiltjer puts up 30+ points and playing without your starting center? That’s what Arizona did.
16. West Virginia It was a slow week for West Virginia, so the Mountaineers stay put for now. However, a win at MSG against Virginia this week will shoot them up the rankings. This team is playing defense and utilizing a deep rotation.
17. Gonzaga: The backcourt is going through some growing pains, which was expected. Kyle Wiltjer is in the talks for National Player of the Year, but he needs help from the backcourt. Like Maryland, this team should have no problem come March, but for now they are slightly struggling.
18. Virginia: Virginia has a lot of wins against nobodies. This week features a chance for the Cavaliers to change that narrative, though. Right now, Virginia struggles against physical teams. That’s what West Virginia brings to the table, and a win this week would show the nation that Virginia can be tough.
19. Miami: After an embarrassing loss to Northeastern, the Canes rebounded and won at Nebraska, which is tougher than it sounds. This week there are two chances again for quality wins against Florida and Charleston.
20. Oregon: The Ducks lost their first game of the year late Friday night against UNLV in Las Vegas. This team is better than I thought, thanks to Tyler Dorsey. The big thing, though? Oregon will get better when Dylan Ennis returns from injury and adds perimeter defense and shooting.
21. SMU: The Mustangs are beating teams rather easily, which makes it even a bigger sham about not being allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament because of Larry Brown. Nic Moore is scoring 15 points a game with a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio. This team is good.
22. Cincinnati: I was bullish on Cincinnati until the home loss to Butler. You can’t blow a second half lead at home and then get beat on a full court pass at the buzzer. This team is still talented, but I’m going to hold back my excitement a little bit.
23. Providence: Kris Dunn. That is all.
24. Dayton: Sure, the Flyers got blown out by Xavier, but you can watch this team and see the talent. Scoochie Smith has the best name in basketball, but he can also play pretty damn well from the point guard spot. The Flyers should be the favorite to win the A-10 again this year.
25. Utah: There has to be a 25th team in the top-25, and frankly, you could put about 10 teams here. I give the edge to the Utes after beating rival BYU, and because they have one of the better players in the country in Jakob Poeltl.