Top 25

Rock Chalk Blog Top 25 Poll: Week 4 (November 27, 2016)

Okay, so this week was ridiculous. Putting together a college basketball ballot for this week is like ranking your 25 favorite restaurants: you can probably put your top 3-5 together pretty easily, but after that, it’s a complete mess. Here, I’ll give it a shot:

Ryan Landreth’s ballot for November 27, 2016

1. Villanova (last week: 1)
2. North Carolina (6)
3. Kentucky (3)
4. Kansas (4)
5. Duke (5)

Villanova stays No. 1, but I was very tempted to jump the Tar Heels up to the top spot after a very impressive week in paradise. En route to winning the Maui Invitational, North Carolina didn’t trail for a single second, which included a dominant performance against a top-15 team in Wisconsin. The Tar Heels have something that, at least until Duke’s freshmen get healthy, none of the other teams in the top five can match: dominant frontcourt play.

I continue to be harder on Kentucky than most, as many people have them at No. 1. I want to see the Kentucky frontcourt go up against Lousiville’s and North Carolina’s, both of which will happen in the next few weeks. And Kansas and Duke held serve against opponents they should have handled this week, allowing them to remain fourth and fifth.

6. Virginia (7)
7. Baylor (24)
8. Gonzaga (15)
9. Indiana (2)
10. UCLA (18)

Virginia slides up a peg, but that’s where the craziness starts. Nobody has been more impressive in the season’s first three weeks than the Baylor Bears, who have already picked up wins against Louisville, VCU, Oregon, and Michigan State – and we’re still in November. I’m not sold on Scott Drew’s X’s and O’s in the last two minutes of close games yet, despite an impressive showing in the Bahamas, but Baylor is playing as a top-10 team now and looks to be Kansas’ biggest challenger in the Big 12.

Gonzaga finally got what I wanted to see them get: a victory (two, actually) against legitimate power-five conference teams. The Bulldogs won the Old Spice Classic in Orlando after beating both Florida and Iowa State. As for the biggest shocker of the season, Indiana falls seven spots to No. 9 in a game that showed its biggest weakness: three-point shooting can be extremely streaky. I still think the Hoosiers are awesome, but their streakiness will lead to a couple of head-scratching losses this year. And at No. 10, the freshmen-led UCLA Bruins, whose offense will keep them in any game with anybody.

11. Xavier (13)
12. St. Mary’s (12)
13. Creighton (17)
14. Louisville (9)
15. Wisconsin (10)

Xavier, St. Mary’s, and Creighton just keep winning, which keeps them climbing into the top-13. Louisville is No. 14 after blowing a 22-point lead against the Bears in Atlantis, but I still think that the Cardinals will be solid going forward, particularly defensively.

Wisconsin is a team that I just don’t know what to do with. The Badgers were completely punked against North Carolina, but a lot of that screamed fluky to me. Wisconsin is one of the bets offensive rebounding teams in basketball, yet it didn’t pick up its first one until there were fewer than 10 minutes remaining in the game. I think Wisconsin is right there with Indiana in the Big Ten, but that was hideous, and the Badgers need more impressive showings in the future against big teams. It’ll get one this week against Syracuse.

16. Butler (N/R)
17. Arizona (8)
18. Purdue (16)
19. Rhode Island (19)
20. Iowa State (20)

The Bulldogs surge into the top-25 in November seemingly every year, and 2016 is no exception. Butler was the only team to take down a top-10 team this week when it upset No. 8 Arizona in Las Vegas. Right behind the Bulldogs is Arizona, as the Wildcats’ injury woes finally caught up to them, and they’ll take a slide as a result. Purdue and Rhode Island held serve this week, and Iowa State rounds out the top 20 despite the loss to Gonzaga in Orlando.

21. South Carolina (N/R)
22. Temple (N/R)
23. West Virginia (14)
24. Oregon (11)
25. Notre Dame (N/R)

South Carolina just may be the second best team in the SEC. It was a great week for Frank Martin’s Gamecock squad, as they beat a pair of ranked opponents in Michigan and Syracuse. Temple also beat two ranked opponents (Florida State and West Virginia) to win the NIT Tip-Off in New York, so the Owls enter the polls just ahead of the Mountaineers.

Oregon is a mess. At some point, this team is going to get it together. They’re too talented not to. But…that offense right now. Yikes. It’s terrible. And in the No. 25 spot, Notre Dame makes its first appearance of the year because the ACC just doesn’t have enough representation.

Dropped out:
Syracuse (21)
Michigan State (22)
Virginia Tech (23)
California (25)


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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