After another wild week in college basketball – including a weekend that saw three top five teams lose to unranked teams – it is time for another reshuffle of my top 25.
Let’s start with the basics: I think that Villanova and Michigan State are the two best teams in college basketball, and mollywhoppings at Butler and Ohio State, respectively, have not changed my mind on that. Good teams, even the best team in a league, will lose on the road in league play, especially when the gap between the best and the middle of the pack is not as big this season as it has been in the past.
So those two remain at the top.
That’s where it gets interesting.
For me, the next-four best teams in the country are West Virginia, Purdue, Texas Tech and Virginia. I think you can justify an argument putting them in just about any order, but that is how I lean. I’ll pat myself on the back from never getting off of the West Virginia or Purdue bandwagons, but I was the last person in America to come around on Virginia.
(You can get out of my mentions now, Charlottesville.)
After that, I think the next cluster is a group of six teams: Oklahoma, Arizona, Seton Hall, Arizona State, Xavier and Wichita State. The two names in there that might ruffle some feathers are Arizona and Seton Hall. I’ve been the captain of the Seton Hall hype train since April, and they are just now starting to play their best basketball.
Losing at Colorado wasn’t exactly a crowning achievement, but in the six-plus seasons since Colorado and Utah joined the Pac-12, the Mountain schools have hosted 25 homestands, meaning that 50 times a Pac-12 rival has made that road trip. Of those 50 trips, Utah and Colorado have been swept just four times: UCLA in 2013, Arizona in 2014 and 2015, and UCLA again in 2017. And for the record, in those six years, Utah has been to just two NCAA tournaments and Colorado has finished the year as a top 50 team on KenPom just once.
I’m already on an island with Arizona. I’m not getting off that island because they lost their second game in 40 hours on a brutal road trip at elevation.
I have Duke at 13 and Kansas at 14 because I think that both are too flawed to be considered national title contenders right now. Texas A&M in at 15 because I want to see them at full strength before I say they aren’t the best team in the SEC.
Beyond that, I don’t think anything in here is all that unreasonable.
Here are the full rankings:
1. Villanova, 14-1 (Last Week: No. 2)
2. Michigan State, 15-2 (1)
3. West Virginia, 14-1 (8)
4. Purdue, 15-2 (9)
5. Texas Tech, 14-1 (22)
6. Virginia, 14-1 (16)
7. Oklahoma, 12-2 (7)
8. Arizona, 12-4 (4)
9. Seton Hall, 14-2 (15)
10. Arizona State, 13-2 (5)
11. Xavier, 15-2 (6)
12. Wichita State, 13-2 (14)
13. Duke, 13-1 (3)
14. Kansas, 12-3 (13)
15. Texas A&M, 11-4 (10)
16. Miami, 13-2 (11)
17. Kentucky, 12-3 (17)
18. Gonzaga, 14-3 (18)
19. North Carolina, 12-4 (12)
20. Notre Dame, 13-3 (20)
21. TCU, 13-2 (19)
22. Cincinnati, 14-2 (21)
23. Clemson, 14-1 (25)
24. Auburn, 14-1 (NR)
25. Creighton, 13-3 (NR)
DROPPED OUT: No. 23 Arkansas, No. 24 Tennessee
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 24 Auburn, No. 25 Creighton