Rob Dauster

VILLANOVA, PA - DECEMBER 03: Kris Jenkins #2 of the Villanova Wildcats yells to his team in the first half against the Saint Joseph's Hawks at The Pavilion on December 3, 2016 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Saint Joseph's Hawks 88-57. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

AP Poll: Villanova remains No. 1, Kentucky falls to No. 8

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The top five remained the same in the latest AP Poll, as Villanova sits at No. 1 with 56 first-place votes.

The biggest change came as a result of Louisville’s win over Kentucky. The Cardinals vaulted up to the No. 6 spot while Kentucky fell to No. 8.

AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

1. Villanova (56 first-place votes)
2. UCLA (3)
3. Kansas
4. Baylor (6)
5. Duke
6. Louisville
7. Gonzaga
8. Kentucky
9. North Carolina
10. Creighton
11. West Virginia
12. Virginia
13. Butler
14. Wisconsin
15. Purdue
16. Indiana
17. Xavier
18. Arizona
19. Saint Mary’s
20. Florida State
21. Oregon
22. USC
23. Cincinnati
24. Notre Dame
25. Florida

Player of the Week: Quentin Snider, Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 10:  Quentin Snider #4 of the Louisville Cardinals dribbles the ball during the game against the Texas Southern Tigers at KFC YUM! Center on December 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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In Louisville’s one game this week, Louisville native Quentin Snider scored 22 points and added six boards and five assists as the Cardinals knocked off in-state rival Kentucky, 73-70. He was the best player on the floor in a game against arguably the best back court in the sport.

And that’s saying something.

Entering the season, all the talk surrounding this Louisville team was about how good Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel had the potential to be; some of it was about how they could end up being good enough to make up for the fact that the Cardinals were starting Quentin Snider at the point. Entering Wednesday, the talk was about De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, and how in the world were the Cards were going to be able to deal with that duo.

And on Wednesday, the story was Snider, whose 22 points were a career-high. He was the best player on the floor for either team, which isn’t hyperbole and is about the most shocking thing to come out of that game. That’s not because Snider isn’t good – we’ve seen him have big games before – but more that he’s never found a way to be much more than a tease.

This is what I mean: Last season, Snider went for 20 points on two different occasions. The games were about two weeks apart, and came in the middle of a seven-week stretch where they were the only two games in which he cracked double-figures. Snider had a slow-start to this season, but he’s scored at least nine points in every game for the last month, he’s averaging 16.7 points in his last three and has hit at least two threes in each of his last four games.

And he capped it with this performance.

If he can be a guy that is a consistent source of offense and perimeter shooting, it takes a whole lot of the burden off of Adel and Mitchell.

And that takes Louisville to another level this season.

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College Basketball Talk Top 25: Is Duke still No. 1 after Allen’s suspension?

VILLANOVA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts after making a basket against the Temple Owls in the second half at The Pavilion on December 13, 2016 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Temple Owls 78-57. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

There were only two really noteworthy top 25 developments in the past week.

The first of which was Louisville’s win over Kentucky, which was really the first time that Louisville, who has spent the entire season ranked in the top 15, looked the part of an ACC and Final Four contender. I bumped them up to No. 7 but I still have them behind the Wildcats, who held steady at No. 5. Why?

  1. Louisville won by three thanks to a pair of late free throws in a game they played at home and opened as two-point favorites. In other words, this was basically what was supposed to happen.
  2. I came out of that game more impressed with Kentucky than I was entering the game. The Wildcats had an ugly shooting night from Malik Monk, a miserable night from the free throw line and a poor final ten minutes from Bam Adebayo and still lost by one possession on the road to a top ten team.

Bottom-line: that loss in that building is not enough to convince me that Louisville is actually a better basketball team than Kentucky is.

AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

The other issue is Duke, who I still have at No. 1 in my rankings despite a pair of close, ugly wins marred by two incidents Grayson Allen incidents. In the first, he went viral because people hate him and he got a friendly call. In the second, he tripped another player, the third time in the last 11 months that he’s done this. He was suspended indefinitely. And after all of that, Luke Kennard told media in the locker room after the game that he doesn’t “think we’re a very unselfish team right now.”

Should I mention that Harry Giles III returned and, basically, did nothing in those two games?

So what in the world is going on in Durham?

I’m leaving them at No. 1 for now because I still do think that they will be the best team in college basketball if they ever get things going, but I’m far less confident in making that statement today than I was last Monday.

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Anyway, here is the rest of the top 25:

1. Duke (12-1, 1)
2. Villanova (12-0, 2)
3. UCLA (13-0, 2)
4. Kansas (11-1, 4)
5. Kentucky (10-2, 5)
6. North Carolina (11-2, 6)
7. Louisville (11-1, 11)
8. Gonzaga (12-0, 7)
9. Baylor (12-0, 8)
10. Creighton (12-0, 9)
11. Wisconsin (11-2, 10)
12. West Virginia (11-1, 12)
13. Butler (11-1, 13)
14. Purdue (11-2, 14)
15. Indiana (10-2, 15)
16. Xavier (10-2, 16)
17. Saint Mary’s (10-1, 17)
18. Virginia (10-1, 18)
19. USC (13-0, 20)
20. Cincinnati (10-2, 21)
21. Oregon (11-2, 22)
22. Arizona (11-2, 23)
23. Notre Dame (10-2, 24)
24. Seton Hall (11-2, 25)
25. Florida State (12-1, NR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 19 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 25 Florida State

VIDEO: USC remains unbeaten thanks to McLaughlin’s driving layup

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17:  Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans dunks the ball against the Providence Friars during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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LAS VEGAS (AP) Southern California coach Andy Enfield hopes this isn’t the only time his team wins a tournament championship in Las Vegas this season.

The undefeated Trojans took their last non-conference test Friday night and it turned out to be an extremely difficult one against a stubborn Wyoming team.

With 30 seconds left in overtime, USC had the ball in a tie game.

Jordan McLaughlin dribbled down the clock, drove through traffic in the lane and made a left-handed layup with 4.5 seconds left that gave No. 23 USC a 94-92 win in the title game of the Las Vegas Classic at the Orleans Arena.

“It wasn’t a set play. It was a clear-out,” Enfield said. “We said make a play and if you do, shoot or pass it to someone open. He made a spectacular move to the basket.”

Wyoming’s Jeremy Lieberman missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer, and USC (13-0) remained one of six unbeaten teams in Division I. The Trojans finished without a blemish during the non-conference portion of their schedule.

McLaughlin, the Classic’s MVP, had 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Jonah Matthews led the Trojans with 26 points and six steals, and De’Anthony Melton added 16 points and eight rebounds.

Haydon Dalton, who had 18 points and 18 rebounds for Wyoming, forced overtime by hitting an improbable 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left after Melton missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 15 seconds left and USC leading 90-87.

Jason McManamen and Justin James led Wyoming (10-3) with 23 points apiece. McManamen was 6 of 14 from 3-point range.

“USC is a good team and they deserved to be ranked in the country,” Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said. “We got guys that came off the bench that played well. It was a good challenge. We’ve been playing well.”

This was the final non-conference game for Wyoming as well. Both teams are scheduled to play their conference tournaments in Las Vegas in March.

After Wyoming trailed 50-44 at halftime, the Cowboys grabbed a 52-51 lead and later extended it to 68-62. But USC responded and took an 82-78 lead. The Cowboys answered with four straight points to tie it with 1:40 remaining.

“Wyoming is a tough team,” Enfield said. “They have shooters all over the place. We almost gave it away with missing our free throws down the stretch.”

The Trojans took the lead on a layup by Elijah Stewart with 1:22 left and seemingly had the game in hand until the final seconds of regulation.

USC outscored Wyoming in the paint, 50-28.


Both teams had their offense clicking in the first half. From 3-point range, the Cowboys were 8 of 16, while the Trojans were 5 of 9, and overall from the field, Wyoming was 14 of 31 (45 percent), and USC 17 of 34 (50 percent).

The Trojans will return to Las Vegas in March and compete in the Pac-12 Conference tournament down the street at the new T-Mobile Arena.


USC: The Trojans open Pac-12 Conference play at Oregon State on Wednesday.

Wyoming: The Cowboys start Mountain West Conference play by hosting Air Force on Wednesday. Wyoming will be right back in Las Vegas next Saturday against UNLV.

Charles O’Bannon Jr., son of UCLA star, commits to USC

23 Jan 1997:  Guard Charles O''Bannon of the UCLA Bruins looks to shoot the ball during a game against the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California.  UCLA won the game, 96-87. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones  /Al
Charles O'Bannon Sr., Craig Jones /Al
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Charles O’Bannon Jr. committed to USC on Friday afternoon.

A top 50 prospect in the class, this isn’t the kind of news that will likely get much play two days before Christmas.

The difference here is that O’Bannon isn’t just any recruit. He’s the son of former UCLA star Charles O’Bannon and the nephew of Ed O’Bannon, who was the National Player of the Year in 1995 when UCLA won a national title. Ed was also the face of a lawsuit against the NCAA’s use of player likenesses.

“They want what’s best for me and my future,” O’Bannon said of his Bruin family. “They totally support me going to USC.”

Kentucky lands commitment in Class of 2017

Jon Lopez/Nike
Jon Lopez/Nike

Kentucky landed their fifth commitment in the Class of 2017 as 6-foot-7 wing Jarred Vanderbilt pledged to the Wildcats.

Vanderbilt picked Kentucky over Oregon, TCU and North Carolina. He’s a consensus top 25 prospect and five-star recruit.

Vanderbilt if the fifth member of Kentucky’s recruiting class and the fourth five-star prospect, joining Nick Richards, Quade Green, P.J. Washington and Shai Alexander.