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Reagan’s Top-25 Rankings – A Ranker Gives Up

In the famous words of a Seinfeld episode. I’m out.

I give up. I’ve stopped understanding what truly is going on this season in college basketball. Countless hours of watching games, teams continue to lose games they have no business losing. This week it was Iowa State dropping a game at Texas Tech, no word if Jeff Orr was there to rush the floor.

The only thing I do know is Kentucky is clearly the best team in the country and Virginia still isn’t going to make the Elite Eight.

Note: These rankings are before games played on January 26.

25. Butler

Butler makes its way back to the Top 25 after a dominating performance against Seton Hall on Sunday night. The Bulldogs are currently 15-6 on the season and starting to look like those teams that made back-to-back title games.

24. Arkansas

The Razorbacks won two games by a combined three points last week over Missouri and Alabama. Bobby Portis continues to be the best player people don’t know about yet. If Arkansas can tighten up its defense, this team can make a run since they have the 16th best offense in the country.

23. Georgetown

The Hoyas had one of the nicest wins of the season last week when they defeated Villanova by 20 points in the nation’s capital. They followed it up with an overtime win at Marquette, where Joshua Smith looked like a McDonald’s All-American with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

22. Miami

The Hurricanes are a bad call away from beating Virginia and six points away from beating Notre Dame. They are 4-2 in the ACC, including a dominating win at Duke and most recently went to Syracuse and got a win.

21. Oklahoma

After going to Texas and winning by 21 points, the Sooners have lost four of their last five. There’s a slight break in the schedule as Oklahoma has Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and TCU in the next four games.

20. Baylor

All Rico Gathers does is grab rebounds and have people wonder how long he’s been in college. Against NAIA Huston-Tilltoson, Gathers scored 25 points to go along with 28 rebounds. For a team that was supposed to be down this season, the Bears are looking like a tough out come March.

19. Northern Iowa

The Panthers sure love taking three’s when it doesn’t look like they need to. The most recent one came on Sunday, when Nate Buss hit a three with Northern Iowa down two points and six seconds to go.

18. Texas

Texas is the perfect example of Rick Barnes doing a Rick Barnes coaching job. Talent-wise, the Longhorns are a top-10 team. But, they currently sit at 14-5, 3-3 in the Big 12 with losses at home to Stanford, Oklahoma and Kansas. This team is the perfect example of not making sense.

17. West Virginia

Do yourself a favor and track down the ending of the West Virginia-TCU game on Saturday. It’s college basketball at its finest. Bob Huggins should be on the short list for national coach of the year.

16. Wichita State

Wichita State can’t be in the talk for another Final Four, can they? Well, according to KenPom, they very well are making the cut when it comes to Final Four teams. Currently ranked 9th in KenPom with a top-25 rating in both offense and defense, the Shockers could, well, shock people in March. The game against Northern Iowa will tell more about this team.

15. Maryland

Maryland got steamrolled by Indiana last week and was on the verge of dropping an embarrassing game at home to Northwestern, when the Terps trailed by 11 with just 3:30 left. However, a tip-in by Dez Wells at the buzzer allowed Maryland to salvage the win. A trip to Ohio State looms this week.

14. VCU

The Rams just keep on winning. Sure, it took a last-second full court drive by Treveon Graham to win against a terrible St. Louis team, but VCU has now won 11 in a row and is easily the best team in the Atlantic-10.

13. Louisville

After the Cardinals looked like a team who wouldn’t score 50 points the rest of the season, Louisville went to Pittsburgh and scored 80 points. The Cardinals finally attacked the rim and didn’t settle for outside shots, something that Terry Rozier and Chris Jones need to do the rest of the season.

12. Iowa State

The Iowa State loss to Texas Tech was touched on earlier. However, there are larger issues at hand for the Cyclones. According to KenPom, the Cyclones have allowed 501 points on 494 possessions since Christmas. Their defense needs to improve, no matter what.

11. North Carolina

Ever since Marcus Paige hit a game-winning layup against Louisville, he’s been playing like many expected him to before the season started. In the four games since, he’s averaging 15.5 points, 5.8 assists and 2.5 steals per game while shooting over 52 percent from deep. North Carolina is starting to look like the favorite to win the ACC.

10. Notre Dame

While Delon Wright should win national player of the year, Jerian Grant might be the most valuable player in the country. After missing pretty much all of last season due to academic problems, the Irish are now 19-2, 7-1 in the ACC. Last season they were 15-17, 6-12 in the ACC. Yeah, he doesn’t make a difference.

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 25 Notre Dame at North Carolina State

After missing much of last season, Jerian Grant is one of the most valuable players in the nation this year.

9. Virginia

Barely surviving Virginia Tech helps solidify my statement of Virginia not being an Elite Eight team. The Cavaliers stay at No. 9. The next two weeks could change my mind or drop Virginia to barely in the Top-25.

8. Kansas

Bill Self reads TodaysU.com – that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself. The reason why? Because Kelly Oubre is finally the focus point of this offense and he’s not trying to jam the ball down low all the time. If this holds up, it’s another Big 12 title for Bill Self and the Jayhawks.

7. Utah

Utah hasn’t played a game that’s been closer than 13 points in over a month. The Utes are currently 9-1 in those games, with the one loss coming at Arizona. Not a bad recipe to get you to 16-3 on the year. The Pac-12 is looking down this year, but Utah continues to be impressive in the late games.

6. Villanova

The loss to Georgetown was a fluke. The Hoyas shot 51 percent while Nova shot just over 30 percent. That only happens on a weird night. That’s all that way. Nothing to see here. The Wildcats bounced back by trouncing Creighton by 21.

5. Arizona

After losing at UNLV and Oregon State many people started writing Arizona off the way people wrote Texas off. But, the Wildcats are 18-2 overall and have been running over everyone in the Pac-12 besides the game at Oregon State. Stanley Johnson is starting to find his groove and be the force many projected him to be.

4. Wisconsin

Can the Badgers stay healthy this season? That’s the question that will be asked pending what happens in March. After Sam Dekker was banged up for the nonconference schedule, Frank Kaminsky missed a game with a concussion and Traevon Jackson is currently out. However, Bronson Koenig has stepped in for Jackson, putting up 37 points in 111 minutes.

3. Duke

Something about 1,000 wins happened on Sunday? I think? Not sure, didn’t hear too much about it. What I do know is Tyus Jones is one of the best point guards in the country, and he’s just a freshman. There’s a chance he hasn’t missed a shot all year.

2. Gonzaga

Gonzaga just blew out St. Mary’s at home in what was its toughest conference game to date. In fact, Gonzaga has won its 10 Division 1 home games by an average of 29.3 points. The Bulldogs should win out until the NCAA Tournament and continue to be the second best team in the country thanks to a Kentucky transfer in Kyle Wiltjer.

1. Kentucky

This team’s defense is good. I mean it’s really good. The Wildcats just held South Carolina to 22 percent from the floor in a road game. There’s not a better team in the country and it’s not close.

 

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