Top 25

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College Basketball Talk Top 25: Villanova is the new No. 1


1. Villanova (14-0, Last Week: No. 2): It feels like what Villanova is doing this season is still flying under the radar despite the fact that they are undefeated and the No. 1 team in the country while staking claim as the reigning national champions.

2. UCLA (14-1, 3): UCLA lost on the road on a game-winner with 0.7 seconds left to a team that I now have in the top ten, a team that was in the preseason top five before we realized that Dillon Brooks, who is now healthy and mowing down opponents, wasn’t at 100 percent to start the year. I’m not concerned in the least.

3. Kansas (12-1, 4): The Jayhawks survived a scrappy TCU team in their Big 12 opener thanks to a punishing performance from center Landen Lucas. He has suddenly turned into the most important player on the Kansas team now that Udoka Azubuike is out for the year with a wrist injury.

4. Kentucky (11-2, 5): Kentucky put together their most complete performance on the season last week when they beat Ole Miss in Oxford. Isaiah Briscoe put up a triple-double, Bam Adebayo played his best game of the season and Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox did the things that Monk and Fox do.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

5. Duke (12-2, 1): So what do we do with the Blue Devils? I’m still in the camp that says that Duke has the highest ceiling of any team in the country, and I also think we’ve underrated just how good Virginia Tech is this season; the Hokies would be undefeated right now if they hadn’t choked away a loss to Texas A&M in the Wooden Legacy semifinals. This isn’t like Duke going to Boston College and taking a beating.

But Duke still took a beating, and the biggest concern was that the Blue Devils seemed to lack the effort and the intensity to make the plays they needed to make defensively. They almost looked selfish offensively, as the lack of a point guard on that roster was glaring. They played without Grayson Allen, who was serving the first game of his suspension, but the issues Duke had on display were much bigger than Allen.

Put another way, Saturday made me think that Duke may not ever get to their ceiling. But hey, at least Harry Giles III finally scored a point.

(UPDATE: And now Coach K will miss up to a month to recover from back surgery.)

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6. Gonzaga (14-0, 8): The Bulldogs were pushed by both Pacific and Pepperdine this week, but came out unscathed with double-digit wins. There is a real chance that Gonzaga could head into Moraga on Feb. 11th as the lone undefeated team in college basketball.

7. Baylor (14-0, 9): The Bears keep rolling along. On Saturday, they opened up Big 12 play by mollywhopping Oklahoma in Norman. It is going to be fun when the Bears get together with Kansas this season, on Feb. 1st and Feb. 18th.

8. Wisconsin (12-2, 11): While Indiana lost twice last week and Purdue dropped a home game to Minnesota, the Badgers continue to roll along. Since Nigel Hayes made the change to being a point forward, the Badgers have looked like a totally different team.

9. Louisville (12-2, 7): Outside of Duke, Louisville is the hardest team in this poll to rank. They beat Kentucky, but they beat Kentucky by three in a game they were favored by two on their home floor, the same home floor where they were smacked around by Virginia just five days ago. But then the Cardinals turned around and gave Indiana a similar whooping in Indiana. Wherever you have them ranked, here’s what you need to admit: the Cards are, right now, as good as, if not better than any team in the ACC.

10. Oregon (13-2, 21): Oregon vaults up to No. 10 in our poll for one, simple reason: they’re back.

11. West Virginia (12-1, 12)
12. North Carolina (12-3, 6)
13. Creighton (13-1, 10)
14. Florida State (14-1, 25)
15. Virginia (11-2, 18)
16. Xavier (12-2, 16)
17. Saint Mary’s (12-1, 17)
18. Arizona (14-2, 22)
19. Cincinnati (13-2, 20)
20. Butler (12-2, 13)
21. Purdue (12-3, 14)
22. Virginia Tech (12-1, UR)
23. Notre Dame (12-2, 23)
24. USC (14-1, 19)
25. Indiana (10-4, 15)

DROPPED OUT: No. 24 Seton Hall
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 22 Virginia Tech

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

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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

College Basketball Talk Top 25: Duke No. 1, how high does Butler climb?

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1. Duke (10-1, Last Week: 1): Duke didn’t play last week so there’s not much to discuss regarding the Blue Devils beyond the fact that they are expected to get Harry Giles III back tonight. Giles has not played yet this season after undergoing a knee score in September.

2. Villanova (11-0, 2): After a 37 point outburst in a come-from-behind win against Notre Dame last weekend, Hart went off for 26 points as he and Kris Jenkins became the first players to ever go 16-0 in their four-year career of playing in the Big 5.

3. UCLA (12-0, 3): UCLA didn’t play well, by their standards, against Ohio State on Saturday, and they still managed to win that game by 13 points. Over the last two games, the Bruins are just 21-for-64 from three. They had previously been shooting 47.1 percent from three as a team.

4. Kansas (10-1, 4): After a slow start against Davidson, the Jayhawks pulled away in the second half. Frank Mason continues to be one of the nation’s most under-appreciated players.

5. Kentucky (10-1, 5): Malik Monk scored 47 points, De’Aaron Fox chipped in with 24 points and 10 assists as the Wildcats landed a much-needed marquee win over North Carolina in Las Vegas on Saturday.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBCSports Top 25

6. North Carolina (10-2, 6): If anything, the Tar Heels proved themselves on Saturday afternoon in Vegas. They looked every bit the part of a national title contender, and I was one of the people that wasn’t yet sold on UNC being among the elite.

7. Gonzaga (11-0, 7): I had a chance to bring Miles Simon onto the CBT podcast last week, and he made a really good point about the Zags: Do they have a go-to guy?

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8. Baylor (11-0, 8): The Bears steam-rolled a couple of overmatched opponents this weekend. They have one of the best profiles in the sport right now, but I’m still not convinced that they deserve to be ranked in the top five.

9. Creighton (11-0, 9): The Bluejays did everything they could to lost to Oral Roberts at home on Saturday night, somehow managing to win 66-65 against a team that was 2-9 entering the game without scoring in the final three minutes. That’s concerning.

10. Wisconsin (11-2, 11): The Badgers continue to roll after a slow start to the season, while Nigel Hayes continues to play like one of the nation’s elite players.

11. Louisville (10-1, 11)
12. West Virginia (9-1, 13)
13. Butler (10-1, 19)
14. Purdue (9-2, 14)
15. Indiana (8-2, 9)
16. Xavier (9-2, 16)
17. Saint Mary’s (8-1, 17)
18. Virginia (9-1, 18)
19. South Carolina (9-1, 15)
20. USC (10-0, 20)
21. Cincinnati (9-2, 22)
22. Oregon (10-2, 23)
23. Arizona (10-2, 24)
24. Notre Dame (9-2, 21)
25. Seton Hall (9-2, NR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 25 Texas A&M
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 25 Seton Hall

College Basketball Talk Top 25

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1. Villanova (6-0, Last week No. 1): The Wildcats hold steady at No. 1 this week as they weren’t tested.

2. Kentucky (6-0, 2): The more we watch Michigan State the less impressive that win looks for Kentucky. They’ll get UCLA at home on Saturday. We’ll know a lot more then.

3. Kansas (5-1, 4): The Jayhawks cruised right along with a title in the CBE Classic and a blowout win over UNC Asheville.

4. Duke (6-1, 5): Grayson Allen left a game because his foot was bothering him and it looks like none of the three injured freshmen will be available against Michigan State on Tuesday. We won’t know just how good Duke is for a while longer.

5. North Carolina (7-0, 6): There’s an argument to be made that North Carolina has been the most impressive team in the country this season. They haven’t won a game by fewer than 15 points yet.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

6. Gonzaga (6-0, 8): The Zags did what we expected them to do, cruising to a title in the Advocare Invitational. It was more difficult against Iowa State than it should have been.

7. Xavier (6-0, 12): The Musketeers are starting to fly a bit under the radar. Their 22-point win over Northern Iowa on Saturday is better than you may realize.

8. Baylor (6-0, 15): The Bears are the only team in the country with four top 40 KenPom wins. they deserve this ranking for now. We’ll see if they can keep this thing rolling all year long.

9. Creighton (6-0, 16): The Bluejays look like one of the nation’s most potent offensive teams once again.

10. Virginia (6-0, 10): The Wahoos, on the other hand, are the nation’s most stingy defensive team.

11. UCLA (8-0, 13)
12. Indiana (5-1, 3)
13. Louisville (5-1, 9)
14. Purdue (5-1, 19)
15. Saint Mary’s (5-0, 21)
16. Wisconsin (5-2, 17)
17. Rhode Island (5-1, 20)
18. South Carolina (6-0, NR)
19. Syracuse (4-1, 14)
20. Maryland (7-0, 22)
21. Cincinnati (5-1, 23)
22. Iowa State (5-1, NR)
23. Michigan (5-1, 22)
24. Butler (6-0, NR)
25. Arizona (5-1, 11)

DROPPED OUT: No. 7 Oregon, No. 18 Virginia Tech, No. 24 Dayton
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 19 South Carolina, No. 22 Iowa State, No. 25 Butler

College Basketball Talk’s Top 25: We have a new No. 1 team in America

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1. Villanova (5-0, Last Week: No. 2): The Wildcats went 4-0 this week. Not only did they go on the road and beat Purdue but they also went down to the Charleston Classic and swept through that tournament with relative ease. I’m not sure they’re the best team in the country but it’s hard to argue against their résumé.

2. Kentucky (4-0, 4): The win over Michigan State sounds good, but the Spartans aren’t actually all that good this season, at least not right now. A 21-point win over the Spartans isn’t a season-defining win this year.

3. Indiana (3-0, 5): The Hoosiers smoked two more hapless opponents this week. I’m not totally sold that this team is a top five team just yet, but they did beat Kansas on a neutral court and Kansas beat Duke on a neutral court. So here we are.

4. Kansas (2-1, 6): They’re still my pick to win the national title, even if I came away more impressed with Duke after Kansas beat them.

5. Duke (4-1, 1): All I need to say about the Blue Devils is right here.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll |

6. North Carolina (4-0, 7): They’ve steam-rolled a bunch of teams they should steam-roll. With the Maui Invitational starting this week, we should know enough about the Tar Heels come Thanksgiving.

7. Oregon (2-1, 3): Ditto for the Ducks, who lost at Baylor by 17 points but who are still playing without their all-american Dillon Brooks. He’s expected to be in the lineup Monday for their Maui opener.

8. Gonzaga (3-0, 9): Gonzaga’s win over San Diego State is going to look a lot better on paper in March than it actually was, as the Aztecs are banged up.

9. Louisville (3-0, 10): Undefeated. Untested.

10. Virginia (3-0, 8): I dropped UVA two spots with the news of Austin Nichols’ dismissal. I’m not ready to drop them farther than that yet, not until I see what Tony Bennett can do with these guys.

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11. Arizona (3-0, 11)
12. Xavier (5-0, 14)
13. UCLA (3-0, 13)
14. Syracuse (3-0, 17)
15. Baylor (3-0, NR)
16. Creighton (4-0, 19)
17. Wisconsin (2-1, 12)
18. Virginia Tech (3-0, 18)
19. Purdue (2-1, 16)
20. Rhode Island (4-1, 22)
21. Saint Mary’s (3-0, 23)
22. Michigan (4-0, UR)
23. Cincinnati (3-1, 20)
24. Dayton (2-1, 21)
25. Maryland (4-0, 25)

DROPPED OUT: No. 15 Michigan State, No. 24 Florida State

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 15 Baylor, No. 22 Michigan

College Basketball Talk Top 25

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1. Duke (2-0, Last Week: No. 1): The Blue Devils went 2-0 over the weekend despite the fact that they were playing without Harry Giles III, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden. Granted, those wins came against Marist and Grand Canyon, but how many teams could win two games by an average of 40 points without three of their four best players?

2. Villanova (1-0, 2): Lafayette didn’t have a shot against Villanova on Friday night, losing by 40. The Wildcats get Purdue on the road this week.

3. Oregon (1-0, 4): Oregon won their opener in fairly easy fashion despite playing without Dillon Brooks. Tyler Dorsey had 20 points in the win, but we’ll get a real feel for how good the Ducks are when they play Alec Peters and Valparaiso.

4. Kentucky (2-0, 5): The Wildcats beat both Stephen F. Austin and Canisius – the latter took a little more effort than Coach Cal would have liked – and they did it on the back of strong performances from their back court. That said, the issues they have shooting the ball were prevalent. Kentucky went 9-for-34 from three in the two games, and three of those threes were from Mychal Mulder.

5. Indiana (1-0, 11): The Hoosiers picked off Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic in a thrilling, overtime game. James Blackmon Jr. had 26 points and Curtis Jones looked like he’ll be an impact freshman, but the biggest takeaway from this win is that Indiana has the talent on their perimeter to create offense even with Yogi Ferrell off to the NBA. The Hoosiers suddenly look like the best team in the Big Ten.

NBC Sports Top 25 | Coaches Poll | AP Poll

6. Kansas (0-1, 3): The Jayhawks lost to Kansas in a game where they played well. Frank Mason II was terrific while Josh Jackson … wasn’t. Kansas will be fine. When you lose a game in overtime on a neutral floor to a talented team that made the shots that Indiana made down the stretch, you tip your cap and move on. The good news for Kansas? Duke is expected to be without Giles, Tatum and Bolden in the Champions Classic on Tuesday.

7. North Carolina (2-0, 7): The Tar Heels beat Tulane in New Orleans and then lit up a very good Chattanooga team by 40 points. Joel Berry II looked like a real contender for ACC Player of the Year.

8. Virginia (1-0, 6): Virginia was fine this weekend, winning a road opener in dominating fashion without their star center, Austin Nichols. They dropped two spots because A) Indiana earned their spot in the top five, and B) North Carolina was that impressive.

9. Gonzaga (1-0, 8): Like UVA, the Zags dropped a spot in these rankings because Indiana deserved to jump them. The Zags beat Utah Valley by 23 points this week.

10. Louisville (1-0, 9): Donovan Mitchell looked terrific in Louisville’s opener, as did Jaylen Johnson. Deng Adel did not. Louisville smacked Evansville in their win.

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11. Arizona (1-0, 12)
12. Wisconsin (1-0, 11)
13. UCLA (2-0, 19)
14. Xavier (1-0, 13)
15. Michigan State (0-1, 10)
16. Purdue (1-0, 15)
17. Syracuse (1-0, 16)
18. Virginia Tech (1-0, 17)
19. Creighton (1-0, 18)
20. Cincinnati (1-0, 20)
21. Dayton (1-0, 21)
22. Rhode Island (1-0, 22)
23. Saint Mary’s (1-0, 23)
24. Florida State (1-0, 24)
25. Maryland (1-0, 25)