Weekly Top 25 Commentary: Northwestern's Debut

December 29th, 2009

The Story: Northwestern, No. 25, has earned its first AP ranking since January 1969. The Wildcats have won nine straight since losing to Butler and are one of four new teams this week to earn an AP ranking. Kansas is no longer the unanimous No. 1 team in the Coaches’ poll as Texas earned more first place votes in both polls this week. The Longhorns earned three first place votes in the Coaches’ poll and eleven, up from seven, in this week’s AP poll. The top 8 teams remained the same, with the top six remaining unbeaten. Michigan State’s loss to Texas dropped them two spots in both polls to No. 11.  Despite not playing a game this week, Gonzaga has managed to fall off the AP poll, but jumped up two spots to No. 22 in the Coaches’ poll. Texas A&M lost their second leading scorer and senior leader, Derrick Roland, for the season with a compound fracture in his right leg. The Aggies also fell from this week’s AP poll. Florida and Butler also fall from this week’s AP poll. Previously unranked Florida State, Wisconsin, and UAB join Northwestern as newcomers to this week’s AP poll. Florida State and Texas Tech replace Florida and UNLV in the Coaches’ poll.


Polls: AP & Coaches’


Ryter’s Block: Northwestern is the only team from a BCS conference to never earn an NCAA tournament bid. They are hoping to change that this year. After Kevin Coble, their leading scorer, went down in mid-November with a foot injury, their chances of playing in the Big Dance seemed to be on hold yet again. However the rest of the team, behind Michael Thompson’s 16.7 ppg and 3.8 apg, has picked up their game and has this team on its longest winning streak in 16 years. They start conference play on the road this week in Illinois (12/30). Let’s see if they can continue streaking. I have no issue with Gonzaga dropping off of the AP poll, however I find it almost comical that they fell off one poll, yet moved up two spots in another. How can they move up in the rankings when the last game they played was a blowout loss to Duke? It makes zero sense. I tend to agree more with the AP poll each week anyway, and this makes an even stronger case for that. Is USC for real? They’ve beaten Tennessee at home and then went to Hawaii where they won the Diamond Head Classic with a win over then-ranked UNLV. They could very well challenge Washington as the top team in the Pac-10.  


Games to watch:


Tuesday, December 29

#5 Syracuse at Seton Hall

#24 Texas Tech at #17 New Mexico


Wednesday, December 30

#10 Connecticut at Cincinnati

Northwestern at Illinois


Thursday, December 31

#15 Ohio State at Wisconsin

Oklahoma at #22 Gonzaga


Friday, January 1

#6 West Virginia at #4 Purdue


Saturday, January 2

#1 Kansas at #19 Temple

Louisville at #3 Kentucky


Sunday, January 3

#18 Clemson at #7 Duke