Ever since the NBA changed its rules regarding early entries, requiring prospects to be at least one year removed from high school before being eligible to enter the NBA Draft, many have debated whether or not these prospects are “truly” student-athletes. Dan Patrick discussed the topic on the Dan Patrick Show this morning, just hours after some of the best freshmen in the country played in the Champions Classic in Chicago.
The latest coaches poll was released on Monday, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who the top three teams in the country are.
Villanova, Virginia and Purdue are the consensus three best teams in the sport.
Kentucky also fell out of the top 25 after a pair of losses this week.
Here is the full top 25 poll:
6. Michigan State
7. West Virginia
10. North Carolina
13. Ohio State
14. Texas TEch
16. Wichita State
18. Saint Mary’s
20. Arizona State
23. Rhode Island
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kentucky is out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in nearly four years while another bunch of Wildcats — Villanova — maintained their hold on No. 1.
Kentucky slid out of Monday’s latest poll from No. 18 after losses to South Carolina and Florida, snapping a 30-game home winning streak for the Wildcats in Southeastern Conference play. That dropped coach John Calipari’s Wildcats out for the first time since March 2014 and snapped a 68-week stretch in the poll.
The top three of Villanova, Virginia and Purdue remained the same, with the Wildcats (18-1) remaining firmly in place by collecting 63 of 65 first-place votes. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (18-1) and the Boilermakers (19-2) have combined to win 25 straight games, 19 by double-digit margins, and split the remaining first-place votes.
Duke inched up a spot to No. 4, while Kansas jumped five spots to No. 5 after winning at West Virginia. Michigan State, West Virginia, Xavier, Cincinnati and reigning national champion North Carolina rounded out the top 10, which saw three teams — Oklahoma, Wichita State and Texas Tech — each lose twice last week to take big tumbles.
Kentucky (14-5, 4-3 SEC) started the year at No. 5 and remained in the top 10 until Christmas Day, but the Wildcats have lost three of five overall and are 0-2 against ranked teams this year.
They also rank outside the top 25 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive and defensive national rankings through Sunday’s games. Coach John Calipari’s teams in Lexington have finished outside the top 25 in both categories only once before: the 2012-13 season that ended with 12 losses and a first-round NIT loss to Robert Morris.
Then again, the last Kentucky team to fall out of the AP poll in 2014 went from being a 10-loss disappointment to playing for the NCAA championship in the span of weeks.
“We’re going to be fine,” Calipari said after Saturday’s 66-64 loss to Florida. “I was worried after South Carolina, now. I’m not worried after this. We’ll be fine. I was worried after Vanderbilt to be honest with you, and we won that game. They do this and they stay this course and this is who we are, we’ll be fine.”
Here is the full poll:
1. Villlanova (63 first-place votes)
2. Virginia (1)
3. Purdue (1)
6. Michigan State
7. West Virginia
10. North Carolina
13. Ohio State
14. Texas Tech
16. Saint Mary’s
17. Wichita State
21. Arizona State
24. Rhode Island
The Boilermakers (8-0 Big Ten) have won 15 straight to remain at No. 3, their highest since being ranked No. 2 in March 1988. They have won three straight Big Ten games by at least 23 points for the first time in school history.
THE LONG CLIMB BACK
Arizona (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12) went from ranked No. 2 to unranked in the span of a week in November after a disastrous 0-3 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, including a 25-point loss to Purdue — which started the Boilermakers’ run — in the eight-team tournament’s seventh-place game.
But the Wildcats have won 13 of 14 since and check in this week at No. 11, their highest ranking since falling out.
No. 13 Ohio State (17-4, 7-0 Big Ten) is up nine spots for the week’s biggest leap. The Buckeyes checked in at No. 22 last week for their first AP Top 25 ranking since March 2015.
UNC matched Kansas’ five-spot jump to No. 10 after beating Clemson last week at home.
Wichita State’s first two losses in its new American Athletic Conference home had the Shockers drop 10 spots to No. 17 for the week’s biggest fall.
Two Big 12 teams also took big tumbles after two-loss weeks. Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young fell eight spots to No. 12 after losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma State, while No. 14 Texas Tech slid six spots after losses to Texas and Iowa State.
Arizona State also fell five spots to No. 21 and has lost four of seven since a 12-0 start.
Saint Mary’s led the newcomers at No. 16 after winning at Gonzaga in West Coast Conference play last week. The Gaels, led by Jock Landale, were ranked for three November polls before falling out but have won 14 straight.
No. 20 Florida — which reached No. 5 in December before falling out — and No. 23 Nevada both returned to the poll after being ranked earlier this season, while No. 24 Rhode Island checked in for the first time this season.
In addition to Kentucky, Seton Hall (No. 19), TCU (No. 24) and Miami (No. 25) fell out of this week’s rankings.
Rob Dauster was joined by Jeff Borzello of ESPN to roll through all the happenings in college hoops this weekend, from Zion Williamson committing to Duke to Kentucky, Texas Tech, Seton Hall and Wichita State getting swept to the issues at Gonzaga to whether or not Villanova, Purdue and Virginia are elite. Plus, a geography lesson and the great queso disaster of 2018.
Here is a rundown for today’s podcast:
OPEN: Sunday’s queso fiasco
4:30: Zion Williamson’s commitment to Duke
11:10: Most worried about Texas Tech, Wichita State, or Seton Hall?
16:30: What is going on with Kentucky?
23:50: Trae Young taking 39 shots in a loss
31:00: Are Villanova, Purdue and Virginia ‘elite’?
42:10: Is Gonzaga the fifth-best team on the west coast?
How good has Purdue been?
Let’s take a quick peek … the Boilermakers haven’t lost since returning from Atlantis in November. They are 5-0 in true road games, own a 6-2 mark against the NCAA’s new “Group 1” category, and have won 19 games by an average margin of 22.6 points. This morning, Purdue ranks No. 1 on the Sagarin index and No. 2 at Ken Pom. The Boilers also have a favorable Big Ten schedule; they only play Ohio State (home) and Michigan State (road) once. In other words, without a slip up, Purdue is well on its way toward a potential No. 1 seed come March.
UPDATED: January 22, 2018
FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)
- Kansas State vs. USC | South Region
- Houston vs. Missouri | West Region
- WAGNER vs. NC A&T | East Region
- FLA GULF COAST vs. ARK-PINE BLUFF | Midwest Region
|EAST – Boston||MIDWEST – Omaha|
|1) VILLANOVA||1) PURDUE|
|16) NC A&T / WAGNER||16) FL GULF CST / ARK-PB|
|8) Miami-FL||8) SAINT MARY’S|
|9) Alabama||9) Florida State|
|5) Florida||5) Tennessee|
|12) BUFFALO||12) MID TENNESSEE|
|4) Ohio State||4) Texas Tech|
|13) E TENNESSEE ST||13) LOYOLA-CHICAGO|
|6) Kentucky||6) Wichita State|
|11) SMU||11) Washington|
|3) Oklahoma||3) Clemson|
|14) VERMONT||14) WILLIAM & MARY|
|7) Michigan||7) NEVADA|
|10) Butler||10) Arkansas|
|2) North Carolina||2) Xavier|
|15) CANISIUS||15) MONTANA|
|WEST – Los Angeles||SOUTH – Atlanta|
|1) Duke||1) VIRGINIA|
|16) RADFORD||16) PENNSYLVANIA|
|8) TCU||8) Providence|
|9) Marquette||9) Texas|
|5) RHODE ISLAND||5) Arizona State|
|12) NEW MEXICO ST||12) SOUTH DAKOTA ST|
|4) Michigan State||4) CINCINNATI|
|13) BELMONT||13) LOUISIANA|
|6) Gonzaga||6) Seton Hall|
|11) Houston / Missouri||11) Kansas State / USC|
|3) ARIZONA||3) AUBURN|
|14) S.F. AUSTIN||14) WRIGHT STATE|
|7) Creighton||7) Louisville|
|10) Texas AM||10) Georgia|
|2) KANSAS||2) West Virginia|
|15) HAWAII||15) BUCKNELL|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed – followed by Purdue, Virginia, and Duke
Last Four Byes (at large): Butler, Texas AM, SMU, Washington
Last Four IN (at large): Houston, Missouri, USC, Kansas State
First Four OUT (at large): Boise State, NC State, Baylor, Notre Dame
Next four teams OUT (at large): Syracuse, Maryland, UCLA, LSU
Breakdown by Conference …
SEC (9): AUBURN, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas AM, Missouri
ACC (7): VIRGINIA, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Louisville, Miami-FL, Florida State
Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Seton Hall, Creighton, Providence, Marquette, Butler
BIG 12 (7): KANSAS, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas, Kansas State
Big 10 (4): PURDUE, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan
American (4): CINCINNATI, Wichita State, SMU, Houston
Pac 12 (4): ARIZONA, Arizona State, Washington, USC
West Coast (2): SAINT MARY’S, Gonzaga
Atlantic 10 (1): RHODE ISLAND
Mountain West (1): NEVADA
ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Canisius (MAAC), Middle Tennessee (C-USA), Louisiana (SBELT), Penn (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Wright State (HORIZON), S.F. Austin (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Buffalo (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), William & Mary (CAA), Radford (BSO), North Carolina A&T (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC)
Bracketing principles: read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com.
Remember all that stuff we said about how this is the year the streak ends and how Kansas is no longer the favorite to win the Big 12 regular season title?
Kansas is awesome again, apparently.
The Jayhawks managed one of the most impressive comebacks of the season on Monday, erasing a 16-point deficit at West Virginia to pick up a massive road win before hanging on against Baylor at home. Bill Self’s club now holds sole possession of first place in the Big 12 and a win on the home court of the only team that’s within a game of first-place: West Virginia.
Not even losing Billy Preston can put a damper on a week like that.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- KANSAS STATE: The Wildcats thrust themselves into the NCAA tournament picture by knocking off both No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 24 TCU at home this week. The win over the Sooners was particularly impressive, as TCU held Trae Young to his worst game of the season.
- SAINT MARY’S: Remember when we said that Saint Mary’s was the favorite to win the WCC this season? That seemed crazy for a while. Not so much now that the Gaels own a win over Gonzaga in Spokane.
- PROVIDENCE: The Friars are working their way back into the NCAA tournament picture. This week, they picked off Butler and Creighton at home. The Friars have now won four straight – including Xavier – and currently sit just a game out of first place in the Big East.
- NEVADA: The Wolf Pack moved into sole possession of first place in the Mountain West after they knocked off Boise State in Reno late on Saturday night. Eric Musselman is looking more and more like a guy that can take his team on a run in the NCAA tournament.
- ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide extended their winning streak to four games after back-to-back wins this week, including a win over Auburn. Most impressive, however, is that both of those wins came without Collin Sexton healthy.