College Basketball: Top 25 Commentary
The Story: Kansas and Texas are not only top dogs in the Big 12; they are also the top two teams in the nation according to this week’s AP and Coaches’ polls. Kansas, 5-0, remained the No. 1 team and Texas moved up from No. 3 to No. 2. Kansas received all but 3 combined first-place votes in both polls. Texas and Syracuse received the other first place votes in the AP poll and Duke, No. 6/5, received the only other first place vote in the Coaches’ poll. The top 5’s in each poll are different. Villanova, Kentucky, and Purdue round out the top 5 in the AP poll. Duke is No. 5 in the Coaches’ poll; Purdue is No. 6. Michigan State fell seven spots to No. 9 in both polls after losing to Florida in Atlantic City. It was a bad week for Big Ten teams as Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois all fell out of the Top 25. Vanderbilt and Maryland have also been dropped from both polls. The Blake Griffin-less Oklahoma Sooners fell from the AP Poll. It was an up and down week for mid-major programs. Butler, the mid-major “powerhouse” fell 10 spots in the Coaches’ poll to No. 20 and 11 spots in the AP poll to No. 23 with two losses this week to Minnesota and Clemson. This week’s big winner may have been Portland, as the mid-major program cracked the Top 25 in this week’s AP poll at No. 25.
Ryter’s Block: Since this is the first Top 25 commentary this year, I would like to point out one thing that I kept reiterating last season. Both polls are never on the same page. I don’t expect that all 25 teams will be exactly the same in both polls, but they aren’t even on the same page for the top 5. I also find it amazing that Duke and Syracuse can receive first place votes but Duke is ranked No. 6/5 and Syracuse isn’t even in the top 5. I know it’s early, but many people expected the Big East to have a “down” year. They currently have seven teams in the Top 25, with Marquette looming. Marquette, 6-1, despite losing to Florida State in the final of the Old Spice Classic, should be ranked this week. They beat Michigan and Xavier in that tournament and if they beat NC State this week, could crack next week’s rankings. It was a good week for the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga beat a very good Cincinnati to win the Maui Invitational and Portland cracked the AP Poll at No. 25 after beating UCLA and Minnesota in the 76 Classic. How on Earth is Portland not ranked in the Coaches’ poll? Where’s the love? Speaking of Love, I praised Butler this year and predicted that they would make the Final Four this year. However, I think that they should have been dropped from the polls this week. With that said, they will bounce back.
Here’s a look at a few games this week that may shake up the polls…
Tuesday, December 1st:
No. 9 Michigan State at No. 11 North Carolina
Wednesday, December 2nd:
Washington State at No. 9 Gonzaga
No. 5 Duke at Wisconsin
Illinois at No. 19 Clemson
Saturday, December 5th:
No. 11 North Carolina at No. 5 Kentucky
Sunday, December 6th:
No. 3 Villanova at Maryland