We have a new #1 this week, in addition to a lot of movement elsewhere. There were a few teams who had outstanding weeks, and a couple who really struggled. Four teams in the AP Top-10 have gone down in the last week. I spent more time watching games this week than I have all season, and that has changed my opinion on certain teams. That is why you will notice a ton of change from last week’s ranking. And with that, here is my new Top-25…
25. Iowa State (12-4, 1-3)
It’s been a rough start to Big 12 play for the Cyclones. They couldn’t find any Hilton Magic in a home loss to Baylor, and then were lucky to even take Texas to overtime, where they eventually lost by 3. They host Oklahoma early next week, and that will give them a chance to get a nice signature conference victory. They desperately need it.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Kansas State; Mon 1/18 vs Oklahoma
24. Michigan (13-4, 3-1)
With leading scorer Caris LeVert on the shelf, it was looking like a tough week for the Wolverines. They struggled in a loss to Purdue, but were able to bounce back in a big way with a home win over AP #3 ranked Maryland. I don’t have them higher because I feel the win over Maryland was more a bad performance by the Terrapins than a good performance by them.
Upcoming Games: Sun 1/17 @ Iowa; Wed 1/20 vs Minnesota
23. Wichita State (11-5, 5-0)
This is an experienced team, and their results thus far this season reflect that. They had an early season 3-game losing streak, but that was without star PG Fred Van Vleet. With Van Vleet on the court, the Shockers are 10-2. Led by Van Vleet and G Ron Baker, if this team gets into the tournament, they will be dangerous.
Upcoming Games: Sun 1/17 vs Indiana State; Wed 1/20 @ Northern Iowa
22. Purdue (15-3, 3-2)
The Boilermakers got a big win over Michigan late last week, but they followed that up with a brutal loss to Illinois. They got back on track with a dominant win over Penn State, and they continue to be a major threat to the teams at the top of the Big Ten.
Upcoming Games: Mon 1/18 @ Rutgers
21. Arizona (13-3, 1-2)
What an awful week for Arizona. They lost to UCLA last Thursday, and then followed that up by losing to USC in four overtimes. Even worse, in that game, they lost freshman G Allonzo Trier to an injury. Trier has been one of the Wildcats’ best players so far this season, and it’ll be interesting to see how they do without him.
Upcoming Games: Thu 1/14 vs Washington; Sat 1/16 vs Washington State
20. USC (15-3, 4-1)
It was a huge week for the Trojans. After defeating Arizona State and Arizona at home, they made the short trip over to Pauley Pavilion, where they defeated UCLA in dominant fashion last night. Andy Enfield, of Florida Gulf Coast fame, has this USC team riding high, as they look to be a legitimate threat to win the Pac 12.
Upcoming Games: Thu 1/21 @ Oregon
19. Baylor (13-3, 3-1)
Not many teams go into the Hilton Coliseum and come away victorious. Baylor was able to pull it off last Saturday. They are a little unproven at this point, but they have a ton of talent, and if they can navigate the difficult Big 12, they will be a trendy pick come March.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Texas Tech; Wed 1/20 vs Kansas State
18. Louisville (13-3, 2-1)
The Cardinals couldn’t get a big win on the road against Clemson, and that’s kinda been the story of this season so far for Louisville. They have a great record, and look great on paper, but their resume to this point leaves a lot to be desired. They have a chance for a huge win tonight against Pittsburgh.
Upcoming Games: Thu 1/14 vs Pittsburgh; Wed 1/20 vs Florida State
17. Texas A&M (14-2, 4-0)
The Aggies have won seven games in a row, and have the looks of a team that could make some noise in the tournament. Led by F Jalen Jones and G Danuel House, Texas A&M just keeps winning games. They have a tough week ahead of them though, and I’ll be watching to see how they perform.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Georgia; Tue 1/19 vs LSU
16. Duke (14-3, 3-1)
I was ready to admit that I was overlooking the Blue Devils, and then they go and lose to Clemson in very disappointing fashion. Brandon Ingram is a legit superstar, but the rest of the team leaves a lot to be desired for me. They lack an interior presence, and that will hurt them in March.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 vs Notre Dame; Mon 1/18 vs Syracuse
15. Pittsburgh (14-1, 3-0)
I was not sold on Pitt last week, but they have started to convince me, helped by their win on the road against Notre Dame on Saturday. That is a quality win for the team rated #2 in offensive efficiency by KenPom. They have a chance to add another feather in their cap tonight when they travel to take on the Louisville Cardinals.
Upcoming Games: Thu 1/14 @ Louisville; Sat 1/16 vs Boston College; Tue 1/19 vs NC State
14. Kentucky (13-3, 3-1)
I may have been a little too harsh on Kentucky. This is a quality basketball team with very good players. PG Tyler Ulis gets better with each game, but at the same time, Kentucky’s three losses look worse with each passing day. A January 30 date with Kansas looms, and that will be followed by a 10-game season-ending stretch where they will not face a team outside of KenPom’s top-100 teams.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Auburn
13. Iowa (12-3, 3-0)
It has been 9 days since the Hawkeyes last took the court, but they return tonight in a big way, as they head to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. The Spartans lone loss of the year came a few weeks ago to this Iowa team, but that was without Denzel Valentine. This is a revenge game for MSU, and if Iowa can find a way to beat them again, the Hawkeyes will officially be for real.
Upcoming Games: Thu 1/14 @ Michigan State; Sun 1/17 vs Michigan
12. Miami FL (13-2, 2-1)
Unfortunately for Miami, they ran into Virginia at the wrong time. The Cavaliers needed a win, and it came at the expense of the Hurricanes. This is still an extremely good basketball team, and they will look to get back on the winning track against Clemson this weekend.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Clemson; Wed 1/20 @ Boston College
11. Providence (15-2, 3-1)
Kris Dunn saved his Friars with a last-second jumper to put away Creighton, but it’s only going to get more difficult from here for Providence. They struggled big-time offensively against Creighton, and their next four games are against the teams joining them at the top of the Big East. They need to figure it out quick.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 vs Seton Hall; Tue 1/19 vs Butler
10. Virginia (13-3, 2-2)
Virginia was able to recover from back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech with an impressive home victory over Miami, who was riding an 8-game winning streak coming into the game. This team has wins over West Virginia and Villanova this year, and they don’t miss many shots. They still have a great chance to win the ACC.
Upcoming Games: Sun 1/17 @ Florida State; Tue 1/19 vs Clemson
9. SMU (16-0, 5-0)
The more I watch this team, the more upset I am that we won’t get to see them play in March. Nic Moore is one of the best players in the nation, and he is leading this team to an incredible season. With their schedule, 30-0 is realistic. It’s not likely, but it’s definitely possible.
Upcoming Games: Sun 1/17 @ Tulane; Tue 1/19 vs Houston
8. Maryland (15-2, 4-1)
Of the basketball that I have been able to watch this season, I can’t remember a more disappointing performance than the one put forth by Maryland earlier this week in a loss to Michigan. Freshman center Diamond Stone played well, but star PG Melo Trimble disappeared for much of the game. This is a talented team, but a performance like that would doom them in the tournament.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 vs Ohio State; Tue 1/19 vs Northwestern
7. Xavier (15-1, 3-1)
If it wasn’t for a blowout loss to a very good Villanova team a couple weeks ago, Xavier would be undefeated. They are currently without star freshman G Edmond Sumner, but they are still winning ballgames. The Big East is going to wear down every team in it, but Xavier has the looks of a championship-caliber basketball team.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Marquette; Tue 1/19 vs Georgetown
6. West Virginia (15-1, 4-0)
The first place team in the Big 12, I admittedly did not know very much about West Virginia, and I hadn’t seen them play. I watched them face Kansas on Tuesday, and I was sold. This is a team that can win a championship. Their defensive pressure will disrupt any team, and they can get the job done on the offensive end. They won’t keep up this pace all year, but they’ll stay in the conversation.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Oklahoma; Wed 1/20 vs Texas
5. Villanova (15-2, 5-0)
Off to a 5-0 start in the treacherous Big East, Villanova has all the makings of a team that could make a run to the Final Four. They are one of the most efficient offensive and defensive teams in the country, and they look like they’re on their way to a Big East Championship. But we know it won’t be easy.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 @ Georgetown; Wed 1/20 @ Seton Hall
4. North Carolina (15-2, 4-0)
Roy Williams has another fantastic team, and a team likely to find itself playing into late March, and possibly even in April. Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson are stars, and they will carry this team to great things. Their back-loaded schedule is a potential roadblock though, as seven of their last ten games are against teams ranked in KenPom’s top-30.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 vs NC State; Wed 1/20 vs Wake Forest
3. Oklahoma (14-1, 3-1)
A 3-OT loss to Kansas is the only thing that has stood between this team and perfection thus far. Buddy Hield is the early-season favorite for Player of the Year, and he is mostly the reason they have been as good as they are. That is, unfortunately, also part of the problem. I see a team that will go only as far as Hield takes them, so if he has an off game in March, that could be the end for the Sooners’ season.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 vs West Virginia; Mon 1/18 @ Iowa State
2. Kansas (14-2, 3-1)
Kansas looked all sorts of bad in their loss on Tuesday to West Virginia. They get a pass because they had been playing terrific basketball before that game, and I think WVU is a better team than given credit for. Kansas is still one of the most talented teams in the nation, and they stay above Oklahoma (for now) with the win they have over the Sooners.
Upcoming Games: Sat 1/16 vs TCU; Tue 1/19 @ Oklahoma State
1. Michigan State (16-1, 3-1)
Denzel Valentine is back, and Michigan State is once again the best team in the nation. Their only loss came a couple weeks back to a tough Iowa team. Tonight, the Spartans get their chance to exact some revenge on the Hawkeyes. Valentine did not play much in his return to the court against Penn State, but they’ll need him to contribute in a big way tonight if they’re to beat Iowa.
Upcoming Games: Thu 1/14 vs Iowa; Sun 1/17 @ Wisconsin; Wed 1/20 vs Nebraska
There is my Top-25 teams as of today. Lots of movement this week, and there could be lots of movement again next week. Some good action tonight, look for a recap tomorrow morning.