1/31 – College Hoops Week in Review: Louisville, Georgetown make a move in the Big East

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Game of the Week: Louisville 79, UConn 78 2OT

Louisville doesn’t have any one star, but Peyton Siva sure looked like he is primed to be one down the stretch against the Huskies. Louisville trailed for much of the second half, getting down by as much as nine points midway through the half. But Siva sparked a 14-3 run with an and-one bucket in the paint and capped it with two free throws that gave the Cardinals a 57-55 lead. UConn would score four straight points, but Siva broke down UConn’s defense — something that would become a common theme — and score another tough bucket in the paint with 30 seconds left to tie the game. Kemba Walker got a decent look at a jumper on the baseline, but he missed and the game headed to overtime.

In that first OT, Preston Knowles scored Louisville’s first five points, but a Shabazz Napier three and four UConn free throws gave the Huskies a 68-64 lead. After Mike Marra hit a three and Napier went 1-2 from the line, Siva again broke down the UConn defense, tying the game with a dunk in traffic. Walker had two defenders run at him and gave the ball up to Jeremy Lamb, who missed a three point floater that would have won the game.

In the second overtime, back to back threes gave the Cardinals a six point lead, and while UConn made a push, it was two driving hoops from Siva that ended being the difference. Why? Because Louisville missed three straight free throws down the stretch that nearly cost them the game. But with the score 79-78 and eight seconds left, UConn took six seconds to get the ball in Kemba’s hands. He was forced to take a 35 foot three for the win that bounced off the rim. With the win, the Cardinals moved into sole possession of second place in the Big East.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H40sMV8W0pU]

Florida 104, Georgia 91 2OT: In a back and forth game down in Athens, the Gators rallied from a nine point first half deficit to take a lead late in the second half. But Georgia made a run, and thanks to two missed free throws by Erving Walker, Georgia was able to force overtime on a tip-in by Trey Thompkins at the buzzer:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1-piOEBlqA]

After an exciting overtime period, Florida was able to force a second overtime period thanks to this 30 footer from Erving Walker:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thhfGyUgC2E]

In the second overtime, Chandler Parsons got hot and the Gators eventually won by 13 points, but the best moment of the game had nothing to with basketballs.

Utah State 89, Hawaii 84 2OT: The Aggies won their 15th straight game and moved to 9-0 in the WAC, but it wasn’t easy. Hawaii was down by as much as 10 points in the second half, but Zane Johnson and Jeremiah Ostrowski sparked a come back. Bill Amis eventually gave the Rainbows the lead at 61-60. The two teams would trade baskets before Brian Green, who had a team-high 22 points, hit a tough pull up jumper to force the first overtime. Hawaii again had a late lead in the first OT, but Green once again tied the game with a 28 foot three. In the second OT, USU jumped out to an early lead, but after Johnson hit a three to cut the lead to 80-79, the Aggies hit their free throws down the stretch to win the game.

Half-court buzzer beaters: Is it just me, or does it seem like there are more buzzer beaters than usual this season. Weber State handed Northern Colorado their first loss of the Big Sky season on this 45 footer from Scott Bamforth:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7uWl9hiHx0]

Not to be outdone, freshman Michael Alvarado of Manhattan banked in a 55 footer to beat Marist:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/embed/GUOj6Qwa5mg]

Player of the Week: Peyton Siva, Louisville

Siva didn’t put up the greatest numbers this week — in two Louisville wins, he averaged 17.5 ppg and 5.0 apg — but when his points came were much more important than the total number that he scored. Against West Virginia, he helped spark a comeback from an 11 point second half deficit, sealing the win with a tough, up-and-under layup off the glass.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcYCt9VnKVY]

As we already mentioned, Siva was unstoppable in the final minutes against UConn, dissecting the Huskie’s defense for four huge buckets late in the game. The knock of Louisville all season long has been that they don’t have a star, that they don’t have a go-to player that they can give the ball to down the stretch. After this performance from Siva, it appears the Cardinals now have two.

Preston Knowles has hit a number of big shots in his career. He also sparked Louisville’s comeback from 18 points down against Marquette. Combine his shot making with Siva’s play making ability, and the Cardinals back starts to look much more dangerous.

The All-the-were-good-too team (This was hard to do. There were a lot of terrific performances by back court players):

  • G: Darius Morris, Michigan: Morris was terrific in the Wolverine’s win over Michigan State, scoring 17 points and dishing out eight assists. He was even better in a win over Iowa, finishing with 12 points, 10 boards, and 11 assists to notch the second triple double in Michigan history.
  • G: Tu Holloway, Xavier: Xavier certified their dominance in the Atlantic 10 with a 23 point win at Richmond. Holloway was incredible, scoring 33 points to go along with seven boards, five assists, and a 17-17 performance from the line while helping to hold Kevin Anderson to 10 points. Oh, and he had 22 in a win over George Washington as well.
  • G: Brian Green, Utah State: Green had 28 points in the Aggies win against San Jose State early in the week, but it was his 22 point performance against Hawaii that drew my attention. Not only did he score 22 points, but he forced overtime and double overtime with clutch jumpers down the stretch, the second of which was a 28 footer.
  • F: Mike Singletary, Texas Tech: Singletary had 33 points, 10 boards, and five assists (the first ever 30-10-5 game in Big XII history) against Iowa State while adding 25 points and seven boards in an overtime win over Oklahoma State.
  • C: Kenneth Faried, Morehead State: Faried’s best performance this week was a 23 point, 23 rebound performance he had in a win over Tennessee State. He also went for 17 points and 16 boards in a win over Austin Peay and notched 13 points and 15 boards as the Eagles won at Ball State. Should I mention he also had seven blocks, five steals, and 19 offensive boards?
  • Bench: Jimmer Fredette, BYU (37.5 ppg, including 43 vs. SDSU); Talor Battle, Penn State (22.5 ppg, had 20 2nd half points in a win over Wisconsin); Austin Freeman, Georgetown (30 points in a win at Villanova); Rotnei Clarke, Arkansas (26.0 ppg, including 36 in a win at Vanderbilt); Steven Pledger, Oklahoma (38 points, including 12 in overtime, in win over Iowa State)

Team of the Week: Georgetown Hoyas

Three weeks ago, I said I was almost ready to write off the Hoyas. Its a good thing I put an “almost” in that sentence, because the Hoyas have proved that their season is anything but finished. Georgetown had two impressive wins this week. On Wednesday, they smacked a St. John’s team by 25 that would go on to do the same thing to Duke on Sunday. Then on Saturday, the Hoyas went into Philly and knocked off Villanova 69-66. Chris Wright is still struggling (he didn’t score a single point against Villanova) but thanks to Austin Freeman’s resurgence (he had 30 at Villanova), Jason Clark’s excellent all-around play, and Hollis Thompson’s move to sixth man, the Hoyas are playing some of their best basketball of the season.

Its perfect timing. Georgetown is now 5-4 in the Big East, but with Villanova and Syracuse both coming back to earth and the question marks surrounding Louisville, Notre Dame, and UConn, there really only seems to be one dominant team in the Big East. Georgetown is still very much in the thick of the race for a top four seed in the Big East and a double bye in the conference tournament next month.

Teams deserving a shout out: This week was one of the crazier weeks I’ve ever experienced as a college hoops fan. Teams ranked in the top 25 went a preposterous 22-20 this week. Included in that record was this weekend, where 13 of the top 25 teams in the country picked up a loss. That doesn’t mean that the past week was forgettable for everyone, however:

New Mexico: The Lobos picked up two huge wins this week, knocking off both TCU and BYU at the Pit. The BYU win was incredibly important, as it gives Steve Alford’s club a win to hang their tournament resume on. New Mexico has plenty of talent on their roster, but seeing as this is a relatively new team — they lost Darington Hobson and Roman Martinez last season and added three freshmen this season and Drew Gordon in December — it looks as if it has taken a while for this team to gel. New Mexico has the pieces to be capable of a run down the stretch of the season. Hopefully, knocking off the Cougars is the spark they needed.

Louisville: As we mentioned, Peyton Siva’s performance in the clutch this week was impressive. The Cardinals picked up two huge wins over teams in the upper half of the Big East and now sit alone in second place in the conference. Keep in mind, the Cardinals are doing all of this without Raheem Buckles. Or Jared Swopshire, for that matter.

Texas: All of a sudden, the Longhorns look like one of the four or five best teams in the country. This week, they picked up a tough win at Oklahoma State on the night the Cowboys honored the ten year anniversary of the plane crash that killed ten members of their team before they demolished Missouri at home. The final of that 71-58 win against Missouri doesn’t do the Longhorn’s dominance justice, either. If they hadn’t shot 16-34 from the free throw line, it would have been a 25 point win.

Xavier: This wasn’t supposed to be Xavier’s year. With the injuries and eligibility issues they have had this season, it was supposed to be Temple and Richmond that rose to the top of the Atlantic 10. But after a 23 point beatdown of the Spiders in Richmond on Saturday, the Muskies are now sitting at 7-0 in league play and well on their way to another conference championship and NCAA Tournament bid. Chris Mack better have his name near the top of every Coach of the Year list.

Penn State: Believe it or not, the Nittany Lions are now officially on the bubble, which is impressive considering this is a team that few thought was capable of competing in the Big Ten this season. Well, compete they have, as the Bryce Jordan Center has become the conference’s best home court advantage. With wins over Illinois and Michigan State at home already, Talor Battle scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half as Penn State rallied from a nine point halftime deficit to knock off Wisconsin. Penn State has a brutal finish to the season — @ Illinois, Michigan, @ Michigan State, Northwestern, Minnesota, @ Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, Ohio State, @ Minnesota — but if they can piece together a .500 record in that stretch, the bubble is weak enough that this group could very well sneak into the Big Dance.

Kansas: Kansas won at Colorado and at home against Kansas State this week, which wouldn’t be all that impressive if they didn’t have a midweek trip to Washington DC for the funeral of Thomas Robinson’s mother. Kansas has as much talent in the world, and with this added motivation and support, the Jayhawks are a scary team this season. It should be noted that in the win over Kansas State, Robinson had 17 points and nine boards.

Washington State: The Cougars have fallen down to fourth in the Pac-10 standings, but that doesn’t mean this is a team that you can write off just yet. They proved that fact with an 87-80 win over Washington on Sunday night. When Klay Thompson, Faisal Aden, and Reggie Moore are all playing well, Wazzu is not a team that you want to be playing.

VCU: The Commodores moved into sole possession of first place in the CAA with a 3-0 week, which included a statement win over Hofstra. I saw this team play at the Preseason NIT in November, and I said then that they looked like a group capable of winning a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. They are balanced, they have a ton of shooters, and they have a high-major post presence in Jamie Skeen.

Northern Iowa: The Panthers have now won seven straight games in the Valley, capping off that streak with a hard fought, 61-60 win over Missouri State on the road. The Panthers are the hottest team in the conference, sit just a game back of both the Bears and Wichita State, and own road wins over both the teams they trail in league play.

Morehead State: The Ohio Valley may not be the two team race we all expected it to be as five teams are within a game of first place. But thanks to a 2-0 week against two of those five teams, the Eagles find themselves just a game behind Austin Peay and Murray State in the loss column.

Seton Hall: I want the Pirates to be successful this season. We all talk about how devastating this season has been for Thomas Robinson, but no one mentions that the Pirates are a misplaced defibrillator and a poorly aimed bullet away from losing their two best players, Herb Pope and Jeremy Hazell. This past week, the Pirates started their season in the right direction, beating Syracuse by 22 points in the Dome and knocking off Providence.

Texas Tech and Oklahoma: Neither Texas Tech nor Oklahoma will be fighting for an at-large bid this season, but it appears both teams are fighting to keep their coaches employed. Both the Red Raiders and the Sooners are on three game winning streaks right now.

Matchups of the Week:

  • 1/31 – 7:00 pm: Louisville @ Georgetown
  • 1/31 – 9:00 pm: Texas @ Texas A&M
  • 2/1 – 7:00 pm: Purdue @ Wisconsin
  • 2/1 – 9:00 pm: Vanderbilt @ Florida
  • 2/1 – 9:00 pm: Boston College @ North Carolina
  • 2/2 – 7:00 pm: Syracuse @ UConn
  • 2/2 – 7:00 pm: Marquette @ Villanova
  • 2/2 – 7:00 pm: George Mason @ Hofstra
  • 2/2 – 9:00 pm: Duke @ Maryland
  • 2/5 – 12:00 pm: Butler @ Cleveland State
  • 2/5 – 12:00 pm: West Virginia @ Villanova
  • 2/5 – 2:00 pm: Old Dominion @ George Mason
  • 2/5 – 4:00 pm: UNLV @ BYU
  • 2/5 – 4:00 pm: Memphis vs. Gonzaga
  • 2/5 – 9:00 pm: Kentucky @ Florida
  • 2/6 – 1:00 pm: Wisconsin @ Michigan State
  • 2/6 – 2:00 pm: Ohio State @ Minnesota

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Three Things To Know: Shaka’s seat heats up, Baylor survives, Virginia doesn’t

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It was a slow night for college hoops on Monday, but there is still plenty to talk about after some weird results.

Here are the three things you need to know:

1. SHAKA’S SEAT IS HEATING UP

The Shaka Smart era at Texas feels like it has hit an inflection point.

On Monday night, the Longhorns went into Morgantown, W.V., and found themselves wishing Country Roads would take them home before the first half came to a close. No. 14 West Virginia, coming off of blowout loss at Kansas State on Saturday, used a 28-2 run over a 10 minute stretch in the first half to turn a 15-13 lead into a 43-15 blowout. They would go on to win 97-59.

The loss dropped Texas to 12-6 on the season and 2-4 in the Big 12. The Longhorns certainly are not out of it just yet — three of their four Big 12 losses came against teams that currently rank in the top six at KenPom — but it’s getting harder and harder to defend the situation that’s brewing in Austin. Texas has now lost four of their last six and five of their last eight. They are in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the second straight season and for the third time in four years.

But perhaps the biggest concern is that the Longhorns just don’t seem to be growing as a program. Last year, while Texas ended up missing the tournament, they finished as a top 25 team on KenPom and made a run all the way to the NIT title. It’s worth noting that before the tournament started, they were already a top 30 team on KenPom; their ranking wasn’t skewed by getting hot for three weeks in a tournament no one cares about.

The problem this season is that there has been no progression. Texas has been a program under Shaka that has hung their hat on defense, but this is the worst defensive team he has had in his tenure. That becomes even more of an issue when you factor in that they cannot score. They’re 111th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, which is what happens when your offense is, essentially, a spread ball-screen into a contested three.

KenPom has Texas favored to win just three more games the rest of the season. They’re projected to finish 17-14 overall and 7-11 in the Big 12.

That’s not good.

2. NO. 1 BAYLOR SURVIVES

It looked like Baylor was going to cruise to a pretty easy win at home against Oklahoma, but the Sooners had other ideas. They hung around long enough in the second half to make things interesting late. Oklahoma hit back-to-back threes in a 40 second span to cut a 59-51 lead to 59-57 with 41 seconds left, and after Baylor couldn’t find a way to score on their next possession, Austin Reaves cut off a 3-on-1 break to flare to the corner and fire up a wide-open, go-ahead three with less than five seconds left.

He missed.

Baylor won.

And No. 1 lived to fight another day.

3. VIRGINIA LOSES AGAIN

The reigning national champions lost for the fourth time in their last five games on Monday night, this time falling at home against N.C. State, 53-51.

Like Oklahoma, Virginia had a shot to win the game at the buzzer, as N.C. State fouled up three and then missed free throws of their own at the other end. But Virginia is the 346th-best three-point shooting team in the country for a reason, and Casey Morsell missed the game-winner as time expired.

At this point, it’s getting harder to see how Virginia is going to find a way to play their way into the NCAA tournament.

Chris Mack: David Johnson’s shoulder ‘is fine’

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The biggest concern coming out of Louisville’s win at Duke on Saturday evening was the status of David Johnson’s shoulder.

Johnson was the best player on the floor for Louisville, finishing with 19 points, seven assists, four boards, three steals and two blocks as the Cardinals landed a much-needed win in Cameron. But with three minutes left in the game, he landed on his surgically-repaired left shoulder and had to leave the game. He returned to the bench, but he did not return to the game.

Head coach Chris Mack did not seem overly concerned about the injury after the game, and he confirmed as much in a conference call on Monday.

“The shoulder is fine,” Mack said. “He’s just a little sore, but he’ll practice the next couple of days and we fully expect him to play on Wednesday.”

Bracketology: Welcome to the top line, San Diego State

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Here is the latest NCAA tournament bracketology projection.

Welcome to the top line, San Diego State.  The Aztecs join Baylor, Gonzaga, and Kansas as No. 1 seeds in our latest bracket update.  SDSU remains the only unbeaten team in college hoops, buoyed by wins over tournament teams Iowa, Creighton and BYU.

The West-leaning geographical slate of top seeds means someone has to go East.  As SDSU is the fourth overall seed, that adventure belongs to them.  Several additional power conference teams are pushing for the top line, too – including Florida State, Michigan State and surging Seton Hall.  And let’s not forget about Louisville, a preseason top seed.  The Cardinals put together an impressive road win at Duke on Saturday.

The latest look at where our NCAA tournament bracketology projection stands …

UPDATED: January 20, 2020

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
EAST REGION Virginia Tech vs. Georgetown
WEST REGION NC State vs. VCU
SOUTH REGION  PR VIEW-AM vs. NORFOLK ST
WEST REGION MONMOUTH vs. ST. FRANCIS (PA)

SOUTH Houston                           WEST – Los Angeles
Omaha Spokane
1) BAYLOR 1) GONZAGA
16) PV-AM / NORFOLK ST 16) MONMOUTH / ST. FRANCIS (PA)
8) Arkansas 8) Illinois
9) Memphis 9) HOUSTON
Tampa Sacramento
5) Colorado 5) Arizona
12) EAST TENNESSEE ST 12) NC State / VCU
4) Maryland 4) Iowa
13) S.F. AUSTIN 13) NEW MEXICO ST
St. Louis Greensboro
6) Marquette 6) Michigan
11) NORTHERN IOWA 11) Saint Mary’s
3) LOUISVILLE 3) Duke
14) NORTH TEXAS 14) LITTLE ROCK
Albany Spokane
7) Wisconsin 7) LSU
10) USC 10) Oklahoma
2) SETON HALL 2) Oregon
15) WILLIAM-MARY 15) UC-IRVINE
EAST – New York MIDWEST – Indianapolis
Sacramento Omaha
1) SAN DIEGO STATE 1) Kansas
16) RADFORD 16) MONTANA
8) Rutgers 8) Indiana
9) STANFORD 9) Florida
Albany Cleveland
5) Kentucky 5) Creighton
12) LIBERTY 12) YALE
4) Villanova 4) DAYTON
13) AKRON 13) VERMONT
Greensboro St. Louis
6) Penn State 6) Auburn
11) Virginia Tech / Georgetown 11) BYU
3) West Virginia 3) Butler
14) COLGATE 14) WRIGHT STATE
Tampa Cleveland
7) Ohio State 7) Wichita State
10) DePaul 10) Texas Tech
2) Florida State 2) MICHIGAN STATE
15) AUSTIN PEAY 15) NORTH DAKOTA ST

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
USC Virginia Tech Purdue Washington
DePaul NC State Minnesota Saint Louis
Saint Mary’s Georgetown Arizona State St. John’s
BYU VCU Xavier Richmond

Top Seed Line
Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas, San Diego State
Seed List

Breakdown by Conference …
Big Ten (10)
Big East (7)
ACC (5)
SEC (5)

Big 12 (5)
Pac 12 (5)
American (3)

West Coast (3)
Atlantic 10 (2)
Mountain West (1)

AP Poll: Baylor leapfrogs Gonzaga, seventh No. 1 team this season

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Here is the latest college basketball AP Poll.

For those interested, here is the NBC Sports Top 25.

Baylor and Gonzaga were the only two teams in the top five that took care of business last week.

That doesn’t mean they didn’t move around, too.

The Bears (15-1) leaped over the Bulldogs and into the No. 1 spot in college basketball AP poll on Monday, using wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State to give the Top 25 its seventh team on top this season. That matches the record set in 1983 for the most No. 1s in the history of the poll, which dates to the 1948-49 season.

Gonzaga (20-1) was merely a victim of its conference schedule. The Bulldogs blew out Santa Clara and BYU, but just enough voters considered those wins to be less impressive than the Bears’ perfect Big 12 start. Baylor received 33 first-place votes and had 1,591 points from the 65-member media panel while Gonzaga received 31 first-place votes for 1,588 points.

“It takes a team to win,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew, whose team also reached the top of the poll two years ago. “As a coach, you’re just really proud when different people step up, especially guys that have been working hard.”

The rest of the top five looks a whole lot different after Duke, Auburn and Butler all lost both of their games last week.

Kansas (14-3) rose three spots to No. 3 in the college basketball AP poll after victories over Oklahoma and Texas, the latter requiring a big comeback in Austin. San Diego State (19-0) remained perfect with wins over Fresno State and Nevada, and Florida State (16-2) barged into the fifth spot after it beat reigning national champion Virginia and survived overtime to best Miami.

The Seminoles haven’t lost since playing Indiana in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge the first week of December.

Louisville, which tasted the top spot earlier this season, jumped five spots to sixth after beating Pittsburgh in overtime and handling the Blue Devils. Dayton was next, followed by Duke, Villanova and Seton Hall to round out the top 10.

Duke also lost to Clemson earlier in the week, sending coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team tumbling five spots.

“We just have to get older,” he said after the Blue Devils’ 79-73 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “I’m really up on my team. It’s a long journey. I’ve never told you that we’re great. It’s a process for us, playing these two teams. Getting beat, we have to learn from it and move on. It’s a long journey.”

Krzyzewski’s team wasn’t alone in getting a tough lesson last week. Fourth-ranked Auburn fell all the way to No. 16 after losing a pair of blowouts to Alabama and Florida, and fifth-ranked Butler was bounced all the way to 13th after the Bulldogs followed up a loss to Seton Hall by getting soundly beaten by DePaul.

“It’s the time of the year when we should be trying to elevate our play, and we’re not,” said Tigers coach Bruce Pearl, whose team had won its first 15 games. “Obviously, there’s a pretty big price on our head being ranked fourth in the country. And so I think we have to respond to the step-up that we saw this week from both Alabama and Florida.”

Here is the full college basketball AP poll:

1. Baylor (33 first-place votes)
2. Gonzaga (31)
3. Kansas (1)
4. San Diego State
5. Florida State
6. Louisville
7. Dayton
8. Duke
9. Villanova
10. Seton Hall
11. Michigan State
12. Oregon
13. Butler
14. West Virginia
15. Kentucky
16. Auburn
17. Maryland
18. Texas Tech
19. Iowa
20. Memphis
21. Illinois
22. Arizona
23. Colorado
24. Rutgers
25. Houston

Others receiving votes: Wichita St. 94, LSU 83, Michigan 73, N Iowa 42, Ohio St. 36, Stanford 28, Wisconsin 28, Penn St. 24, Liberty 21, Florida 21, Arkansas 19, Virginia 13, Creighton 13, Duquesne 13, Purdue 9, ETSU 6, Indiana 6, Southern Cal 4, Marquette 2, BYU 2, Harvard 1.

Here’s a closer look at the other big news in another fresh Top 25:

RUTGERS ON THE RISE

The Scarlet Knights bounced back from a loss to Illinois by beating Indiana and Minnesota at home, running their record at the RAC to 13-0 this season — the best start in school history. That was enough to get Rutgers (14-4) into the poll at No. 24 for the first time since the final poll of the 1978-79 season. And with Seton Hall at No. 10, the state of New Jersey has two teams ranked for the first time since the Pirates were joined by Princeton in the last poll of the 1990-91 season.

OTHER NEWCOMERS

Iowa, which has been in and out of the poll all season, made the biggest jump back in at No. 19 after its win over then-No. 19 Michigan. The Hawkeyes were joined by No. 22 Arizona — which beat a ranked team in Colorado — and No. 25 Houston, which romped through SMU and then-No. 16 Wichita State last week.

ON THE WAY OUT

The Shockers dropped all the way out after losing to Houston and Temple. The Wolverines also fell out, along with Big Ten rival Ohio State and Creighton, whose one-week stay ended with a loss early last week to Georgetown.

BUCKEYES BUMMER

No team has been falling as steadily as Ohio State, which was 9-0, was ranked in the top five and received first-place votes just six weeks ago. The Buckeyes have lost six of their last nine games, and five of their last six, to complete their tumble from the poll. Their lone victory in the last few weeks was against lowly Nebraska.

___

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

Monday’s Overreaction: Myles Powell, Payton Pritchard, David Johnson and the two worst chokes of the year

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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Myles Powell, Seton Hall

Seton Hall improved to 6-0 in Big East play this season with wins over Butler and St. John’s, but that doesn’t come anywhere close to telling the whose story here.

The Pirates trailed by double-figures at halftime of both of those games. Both of those games were on the road. They were down 40-30 at the break at No. 5 Butler, but Myles Powell came to the rescue, scoring 19 of his 29 points after the break to lead the Pirates to a 78-70 win.

Then on Saturday, Seton Hall trailed St. John’s 43-30 at the Garden at halftime, but Powell — again — took over, scoring 23 of his 29 points in the second half as Seton Hall remained perfect in the Big East.

It took him a while to get fully healthy, but now that he is, Powell is showing everyone why he is a favorite to win National Player of the Year.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

What Steve Pikiell has done with this Rutgers program should never, ever be overlooked.

After a week in which the Scarlet Knights beat both Indiana and Minnesota at the RAC, They are now sitting at 14-4 over and 5-2 in the Big Ten, good for second in the toughest conference in college basketball. They are 24th in KenPom, which is the highest that this program has ever ranked in the metric we all use the most when evaluating teams. They are 18th in the NET with a 2-3 mark against Quad 1 opponents and five Quad 1 and Quad 2 wins combined.

Put another way, Rutgers is very much in a position where missing the NCAA tournament this season would be something of a disappointment.

Now, it should be noted that this is when their schedule gets tough. They play at Iowa on Wednesday and still face off with Michigan twice, Maryland twice, Purdue twice and play at Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State. A home game against No. 24 Illinois is about their sixth-toughest game left on the schedule.

It won’t be easy.

But getting to 14-4 wasn’t easy in the first place.

MONDAY’S OVERREACTIONS

1. DAVID JOHNSON MAKES LOUISVILLE GREAT AGAIN

Louisville may have finally found an answer to their point guard problems.

David Johnson, a freshman from Louisville that has spent the season to date trying to get back up to speed after offseason shoulder surgery, had his coming out party in a big way on Saturday, going for 19 points and seven assists as Louisville went into Cameron and knocked off Duke.

That is incredibly important news for a Louisville team that has desperately been searching for a guy to do all of the things that Johnson did on Saturday night.

The way he scored those points is the most significant part of the equation. He broke down defenses. He dribbled right past Jordan Goldwire and drove the lane for a dunk. He created out of ball-screens. He handled Duke’s ball-pressure like he was playing against high school opponents.

And then there was the passing (see below):

 

This is what the Cardinals have been waiting for. It’s been a talking point all season long, and every time I have mentioned it, I have also mentioned that Louisville was just waiting to see if Johnson would ever get healthy. That staff believed he was a pro after getting him on campus, and anyone that watched him play on Saturday night would be inclined to agree.

If he can remain healthy and play somewhere close to this level for the rest of the season, then this Louisville team is much, much more dangerous.

2. PAYTON PRITCHARD IS A KILLER

The reason Payton Pritchard is one of the frontrunners for National Player of the Year is the fact that he is putting up terrific numbers this season for a top ten team and doing so while putting together some incredibly impressive performances in crunchtime.

Saturday might have been his statement game.

Oregon erased a 13-point second half deficit thanks in large part to Pritchard, who hit a huge three with a minute left to tie the game. In overtime, he hit a floater to give the Ducks the lead before burying this insane three to win the game with 3.2 seconds left:

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Payton Pritchard called game!!!!!!

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No. 8 Oregon avoided going 0-2 on the Washington road trip with a 64-61 win. Pritchard finished with 22 points. The Ducks are now 3-0 in overtime games this season largely due to the fact that Pritchard is arguably the most clutch player in college basketball.

Is there anyone that you would want taking a big shot in a big game more than him?

3. BAYLOR IS A KILLER, TOO

I talked about this in depth at the 19:00 mark of the podcast, but with the exception of an early season loss against Washington — I’ll get to that — the Bears have been arguably the best team in college basketball down the stretch of close games.

Whether it’s wins at Texas Tech, or Kansas, or Oklahoma State, Baylor has consistently been able to execute in situations where teams like Duke have not been able to execute. That is why they are sitting at No. 1 in the country right now and Duke has three losses to their name.

And as far as the Washington game is concerned, the Huskies play zone. Baylor was totally lost against that zone down the stretch. Oklahoma State played zone as well, and Baylor discovered the answer in the second half: Matthew Mayer. They plugged him in at the high post, and it launched a comeback.

So now they have an answer for that, too.

4. WE ALL SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS WEEK COMING FOR AUBURN

Auburn entered this seek as one of just two undefeated teams left in college basketball, but there were question marks.

The Tigers don’t have a single win over a team ranked in the top 40 on KenPom. They have only played three Quad 1 games this season. Their only Quad 1 win is barely a Quad 1 win: It came at Mississippi State, who currently ranks 70th in the NET; the cutoff for Quad 1 road wins is top 75.

The other two Quad 1 games that Auburn has played this season?

They were both this week.

And they were both ugly losses.

On Tuesday, it was Alabama that ran over Auburn in the basketball version of the Iron Bowl, 83-64. On Saturday, it was Florida doing the damage, as they held Auburn to 25.5 percent shooting from the field, 4-for-23 shooting from three (17.4%) and to just a single point during an eight-minute stretch late in the second half that saw the Gators push their lead from 47-43 to 69-44. They won 69-47.

Suddenly, those concerns look prescient.

The truth is this: Auburn is dangerous. They are a team that can make a lot of threes, that can force turnovers and play in transition and has the ability to play big (with Austin Wiley) or small (without Austin Wiley). They have a lottery pick in Isaac Okoro and they have a couple of guards on their roster capable of taking games over in J’Von McCormick and Samir Doughty.

But they haven’t consistently played up to the level of a top five team, and their 15-0 record was inflated by feasting on teams that are just good enough to make us believe.

Auburn is still good.

They’re just not a top five team.

5. STANFORD AND UTAH STATE, WHO CHOKED WORSE?

Stanford was up 46-25 in the second half of their loss at USC on Saturday evening. They led by 15 points with less than 10 minutes left. They were up by five points with 15 seconds left and the ball out of bounds underneath USC’s basket, and not only did they find a way to lose that game in overtime, but they got lucky to actually get to OT. USC missed a free throw that could have won the game in regulation.

According to KenPom, USC had a 3.8% chance to win this game at the half, a 3.6% chance to win the game with 10 minutes left and just a 0.7% chance to win with 15 seconds left.

But that’s not as bad as what happened to Utah State.

The Aggies led 66-48 with less than 4:10 remaining. Boise State had a 0.3% chance of winning this game with five minutes left. Turnovers, fouls, missed threes. Utah State did it all, but they still led 73-67 with 15 seconds left, 75-70 with eight seconds left and 75-73 with three seconds left and the ball.

And they lost.

That just does not seem possible.