Top 25

Rock Chalk Blog Top 25 Poll for February 8, 2016

The #1 and #2 teams in the AP poll lost this weekend. It was just the seventh time ever that both of the top two teams lost to unranked squads on the same day. It was, arguably, the craziest weekend of college basketball yet this season. Here’s how all of the changes break down in my Top 25:

Ryan Landreth’s ballot for February 8, 2016

1. Villanova (last week: 3)
2. Maryland (4)
3. Kansas (6)

The Wildcats of Villanova take over as the #1 team. It’s the second week of February, yet it’s already the sixth different team that I’ve ranked atop my ballot. Winners of 12 of their last 13, the Wildcats are playing better basketball than any other team right now. Maryland is right there with Villanova, landing them the #2 spot.

I’m moving the Jayhawks up three spots for one reason: I think Kansas is finally putting it together. Saturday at Oklahoma will be a great test for KU, but I really think that the Jayhawks, who are one of the deepest and most talented teams in the nation, are seeing rotations finalized and patterns familiarized. And if they have in fact figured it out, there’s no better bet to win the national championship than Bill Self’s Jayhawks.

4. Oklahoma (1)
5. Virginia (9)
6. Xavier (5)
7. Iowa (7)
8. North Carolina (2)

The Sooners fall three spots after a loss to Kansas State. I’m concerned about the Oklahoma bench, which has to come through if the Sooners hope to make a deep NCAA run. Buddy Hield is fantastic, but if OU wins the whole thing, it’ll have six games to win. More than likely, Hield won’t be 11/14 from the floor in all six. There will be a game in the tournament where the threes aren’t falling, like on Saturday against K-State. The Sooners’ bench must develop for them to reach their ceiling.

Nobody has been as hot as Virginia recently, as the Cavs just continue to defeat ranked teams week after week. Xavier and Iowa place 6th and 7th after winning two games apiece this week, while North Carolina tumbles to No. 8 after losing twice since the last poll. The Tar Heels may have gone 0-2 this week, but narrow road losses against ranked teams shouldn’t drop them out of the top 10.

9. Michigan State (14)
10. Oregon (10)
11. Providence (12)
12. Miami (17)
13. SMU (15)
14. West Virginia (22)
15. Texas A&M (8)

Want to know who I was most impressed with this weekend? Michigan State. The Spartans went on the road and just obliterated the arch rival Wolverines. Now that Denzel Valentine is finally healthy, Michigan State is as good of a Final Four pick as any.

Oregon keeps its top 10 spot as it continues to lead the Pac 12, while Providence doesn’t get punished for losing to the soon-to-be #1 team in the country. Miami and SMU check in at #12 and #13.

If there’s one team that I was flat-out wrong about, it’s West Virginia. The Mountaineers had as good of a week as any team has had this season, defeating Iowa State on the road and then walloping Baylor at home. West Virginia’s reward for a great week? A road game at Kansas on Tuesday. Also, Texas A&M was the anti-West Virginia this week, as the Aggies continue to slide in the month of February. As a result, they tumble to #15.

16. Iowa State (16)
17. Arizona (23)
18. Purdue (25)
19. Dayton (N/R)
20. Texas (N/R)

Iowa State has some issues, but for now, the Cyclones are keeping afloat in the best conference in America. Arizona surges six spots to re-enter the top 20, while Purdue climbs up because of its impressive near-takedown of Maryland on the road.

A pair of new teams enter the top 20 with Dayton and Texas, both of whom are doing things that hardly any other team has been able to do recently: win conference road games. Archie Miller’s Flyers have won 12 of 13, while Shaka Smart’s Longhorns have won six of seven. Those are both extremely impressive accomplishments.

21. South Carolina (N/R)
22. Kentucky (19)
23. Louisville (N/R)
24. Indiana (13)
25. Notre Dame (21)

How about the job that Frank Martin is doing with the Gamecocks of South Carolina? If you had told me that South Carolina would be an at-large team within five years in 2012, I would have told you that you were insane. What an impressive takedown of Texas A&M that was for the Gamecocks on Saturday.

Kentucky lost to Tennessee, but the Wildcats’ demolition of Florida keeps them in the top 25 this week. Louisville re-enters the rankings after its upset win over North Carolina, while Indiana slides all the way to #24 after a head-scratching bad road loss to Penn State. Finally, Notre Dame closes out the top 25 after salvaging a spot by beating the Tar Heels on College Gameday.

Dropped out:
Wichita State (11)
Baylor (18)
Butler (20)
St. Mary’s (24)



Where did I get it right, and where did I get it wrong? Let me know on Twitter.

Ryan Landreth

I’m a recent graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University. In addition to writing for Rock Chalk Blog, I host the Inside the Paint podcast that covers KU basketball, and I write for Royals Review in the summer. My grandma has had season tickets to Jayhawk basketball for 30 years, and I have the privilege of going to most games with her.

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