It was a crazy weekend of college basketball, culminating in four top-10 upsets on the same day Saturday. All of this madness will certainly tear up the AP Top 25 poll, but more importantly, how will it impact the Rock Chalk Blog Top 25 poll?
Ryan Landreth’s ballot for December 21, 2015:
1. Michigan State (last week: 1)
2. Kansas (2)
3. Oklahoma (3)
The top three teams remain the same. They set distance between themselves and the rest of the country on Saturday by all winning by double-digits.
4. Virginia (7)
5. North Carolina (6)
6. Maryland (4)
Virginia jumps into the top five with a nice win over Villanova, but North Carolina is the team I’m really focused on here. The Tar Heels fell all the way to #11 in the AP Top 25 after losing at the buzzer to Texas. UNC does have two losses, but they’re both fluky because the other was when it was without Marcus Paige. If there’s one team that can challenge Kansas for the country’s deepest team, it’s Roy Williams’ squad.
7. Butler (23)
8. Arizona (9)
9. Xavier (13)
10. Providence (20)
Butler, which moves up a whopping 16 spots, is the biggest jumper in this week’s poll. The Bulldogs really impressed me when they beat Purdue, a top 10 team in last week’s AP Top 25. Butler will contend with two of the other three teams in this tier, Xavier and Providence, for the Big East crown, making it the best this league has been since it was re-inaugurated a few years ago.
11. Louisville (19)
12. Iowa State (5)
13. Miami (18)
14. SMU (16)
15. Purdue (15)
Louisville takes a big jump because it keeps on winning, but Iowa State falls out of the top five after the upset to Northern Iowa. The Cyclones were one of the team’s most overrated teams at the time of their miracle win over Iowa. I’m concerned to see how Steve Prohm’s incredibly thin roster (Iowa State played just seven guys in Saturday’s loss) impacts the grueling gauntlet that is the Big 12 schedule. By the time the tournament comes around, after playing 18 games plus the Big 12 tournament against those teams, is Iowa State’s starting five even going to be able to move?
Also: it’s really a bummer that we can’t see SMU in the NCAA tournament this year. The Mustangs, one of the country’s few undefeated teams remaining, are just a pleasure to watch with their smart play and fast tempo.
16. Kentucky (8)
17. Villanova (11)
18. Texas A&M (NR)
19. West Virginia (12)
20. Duke (10)
Here’s where I’m going to catch some heat. Kentucky and Duke, both top-seven teams in the AP poll, are outside of my top 15. For Kentucky, which has looked lackluster since the Duke game, it’s a matter of time. John Calipari’s team will be very good, but for right now, this isn’t a top 15 team, especially after yesterday’s stunning loss to Ohio State. As for Duke, the Blue Devils have zero quality wins and are 0-for-2 against teams that will be ranked on Monday. Their best win is probably against a three-loss Indiana team, but even that was at home.
Villanova is a team that I still think will be very good, it’s just run into a buzzsaw in consecutive weeks with Oklahoma and Virginia. Texas A&M climbs into the poll after walloping Baylor, and West Virginia, which was ranked #12 as a mistake last week (I forgot about the loss to Virginia when I posted it), remains in the top 20.
21. Cincinnati (25)
22. George Washington (NR)
23. Colorado (NR)
24. South Carolina (NR)
25. UConn (22)
I can’t wait to see Cincinnati play Iowa State this week. That’s a huge game for the Bearcats, who need a signature win and can get it with a limping Cyclone team coming into town. A trio of teams enter this week’s poll, including South Carolina, which is 10-0 and rolling behind the leadership of Frank Martin.
With how many opportunities for big wins you get in the Big 12, it’s only a matter of time before Baylor re-enters the top 25, but that was a hideous performance on Saturday night. UNLV had the chance to save its spot, but it came up short on the road in Arizona.
Where did I get it right, and where did I get it wrong? Let me know on Twitter.