Top 25 Poll – Week 3

Below are my rankings for the Reddit User Poll following two weeks of games played. Pretty wacky week where a lot of the top teams stayed in their spots or close to them for me. Very cool that my personal rankings had both a #1/#4 and #2/#3 matchup actually get played on the same night. Note – the rankings in the “Last Week” summary are my own personal rankings, not the Reddit User Poll, Coaches Poll, or AP Poll.

  1. Gonzaga (–)
    • Last Week: Def. #4 West Virginia 87-82
    • A solid, gutsy victory over a team that I felt matched up well against the Bulldogs. In particular, the re-entry of Jalen Suggs as well as how Gonzaga stayed competitive while he was sidelined were both equally impressive. Hard for me to be convinced that this isn’t the best team and that won’t change with Gonzaga going into Covid protocol.
  2. Baylor (–)
    • Last Week: Def. #3 Illinois 82-69
    • Very impressed by the performance Baylor had on Wednesday. Illinois gave it their all for about the first 30 minutes before the Bears put the pedal to the medal and finished off a nice victory. I’d argue it was more impressive than Gonzaga’s performance but I do think Gonzaga is still a cut above for now.
  3. West Virginia (+1)
    • Last Week: Lost to #1 Gonzaga 87-82 and def. Georgetown 80-71
    • I’ve never been a fan of poll inertia and am certainly not going to start now. A road win at a Big East team, no matter how down Georgetown is, is a quality win but more importantly, I was extremely impressed by the resolve the Mountaineers had in taking Gonzaga to the final minute. So, I feel totally comfortable keeping the Mountaineers in the top 5 as well as leap frogging them past Illinois.
  4. Illinois (-1)
    • Last Week: Lost to #2 Baylor 82-69
    • Again, I didn’t feel like Illinois’ performance warranted any kind of major drop off. I was more impressed by West Virginia’s loss than the Illini’s which is why I flipped the two teams, but losing to my #1 and #2 teams is not worth moving either of these teams out of the #3 and #4 spots.
  5. Villanova (–)
    • Last Week: Def. Hartford 87-53 and def. #12 Texas 68-64
    • Nova bounced back from an upset loss with ease against Hartford then outlasted a tough, red hot Texas team in a thriller on the road. I felt that some polls overreacted to Nova’s loss to Virginia Tech and felt vindicated by their win on Sunday. While a win at a top 15 team is impressive, though, I felt there was a clear gap from the top 4 last week to Villanova so while they’ve closed the gap, I think they are just a skosh behind Illinois.
  6. Michigan State (+3)
    • Last Week: Def. #13 Duke 75-69, def. Detroit Mercy 83-76, and def. Western Michigan 79-61
    • It wasn’t a pretty finish to the week with a narrow escape against Detroit Mercy followed by Western Michigan keeping it within 5 points with just 8 minutes left before fading. But, a road win at a top 20 team, particularly one that exorcised a lot of demons (pun absolutely intended), was a big addition to the Spartans’ resume.
  7. Iowa (–)
    • Last Week: Def. Western Illinois 99-58
    • Luka Garza continues to be Luka Garza and do Luka Garza things. Other than that, there’s really not much to takeaway from blowing out three vastly inferior opponents. We’ll know a lot more after Tuesday night against UNC.
  8. Houston (+2)
    • Last Week: Def. South Carolina 77-67
    • In a vacuum, I really don’t see anything overly impressive about a 10 point home win over a middle of the road SEC team – solid but unspectacular. The circumstances, though, of doing it without multiple rotation players, the head coach, and an assistant coach, are VERY impressive. Houston has one of the best cultures going in the sport right now.
  9. Texas (+3)
    • Last Week: Def. Davidson 78-76, def. Indiana 66-44, def. #20 UNC 69-67, lost to #5 Villanova 68-64
    • Once again laughing at the concept of poll inertia here. Yes, the Longhorns lost at home narrowly to what I believe is a top 5 team. But at the same time, they also beat three quality opponents in the same week at the Maui Invitational of Asheville, including my #20 team and Indiana, who was and still is in my “Next 5” teams. Texas solidified themselves to me quite a bit this week.
  10. Creighton (+5)
    • Last Week: Def. Omaha 94-67 and def. Kennesaw State 93-58
    • For as much as I’ve lambasted the traditional moving up and down of teams, Creighton does benefit here from simply holding serve and blowing out teams they should have. Jumped them past Duke and Wisconsin who lost, Kansas and Virginia who looked very unimpressive, and Tennessee, who has yet to play a game and is still an entirely conceptual ranking.
  11. Wisconsin (-5)
    • Last Week: Def. Green Bay 82-42 and lost to Marquette 67-65
    • Tough loss for the Badgers this weekend on the road. In all honesty, I fully expected them to pull it out against a much less experienced Marquette team, at least less experienced compared to an all-senior starting lineup. Most surprising was that Marquette won from Wisconsin failing to box out. This team will be fine though.
  12. Tennessee (+2)
    • Last Week: No games played
  13. Texas Tech (+3)
    • Last Week: Def. Troy 80-46 and def. Grambling 81-40
    • Not a lot to add here about Texas Tech doing what they were supposed to. Disappointed to not have the St. John’s game as a better indicator of where this team is at, but don’t sleep on this week’s potential matchup against a spooky Abilene Christian team.
  14. Florida State (+3)
    • Last Week: Def. North Florida 86-58
    • The Seminoles finally got their season going this week and performed as expected against an overwhelmed opponent. This already looks like the prototypical Florida State team we’ve all grown to love over the past several teams.
  15. Richmond (+3)
    • Last Week: No games played
  16. Duke (-3)
    • Last Week: Lost to #9 Michigan State 75-69 and def. Bellarmine 76-54
    • Duke quickly got over the turnover bug they had against Coppin State and did a better job limiting themselves to just 12 turnovers against the Spartans. They struggled to shoot the ball though at just 32% from the field and 22% from three, which will need to improve for me to be higher on Duke.
  17. UConn (+2)
    • Last Week: Def. USC 61-58
    • It was one of the ugliest games I’ve ever seen and UConn didn’t look good against the zone, but they did just enough offensively and held things down on defense to get their best win of the year against a strong USC team led by a phenomenally talented Evan Mobley.
  18. UNC (+2)
    • Last Week: Def. UNLV 78-51, def. Stanford 67-63, and lost to #12 Texas 69-67
    • The Tar Heels did end up losing the Maui Invitational final, but losing to a borderline top 10 team on a buzzer beater shouldn’t discount the other work they did this week. More then anything, I think this week gives confidence that UNC is back to being the UNC we know they can be after the disastrous 2019-2020 season.
  19. Virginia (-11)
    • Last Week: Def. St. Francis (PA) 76-51 and def. Kent State 71-64
    • I gave the Hoos the benefit of the doubt this week, and still think this is a good defensive team, but yeesh, they are not giving me too much confidence. The offensive performance just leaves a lot to be desired and getting taken to OT on your home court by a MAC opponent is not what you expect out of this program.
  20. Kansas (-9)
    • Last Week: Def. #25 Kentucky 65-62, def. DII Washburn 89-54, and def. North Dakota State 65-61
    • Yes, the Jayhawks went 3-0, but it was one of the most underwhelming 3-0 weeks you could have. First, they defeated what has turned out to be (at least so far) a genuinely bad Kentucky team narrowly in one of the ugliest games I have ever witnessed, then needed a clutch late block to fend off a home upset bid from North Dakota State. I do think a lot of these pieces will end up working together, but Bill Self hasn’t appeared to have found the right formula just yet.
  21. Saint Louis (–)
    • Last Week: Def. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 107-54
    • Nothing new to add about the Billikens this week. Took care of business, though getting Hasahn French back healthy will help this team moving forward.
  22. Virginia Tech (–)
    • Last Week: Def. VMI 64-57
    • After a thrilling first week punctuated by an upset over Villanova, the Hokies appeared to come back to earth a bit with an unimpressive home win over VMI. Atrocious shooting, particularly from three, was the main culprit, so with Mike Young at the helm I’m not reading too much into this performance.
  23. Arizona State (–)
    • Last Week: Def. Cal 70-62
    • The Sun Devils bounced back in their Pac 12 opener with a solid road at Cal. In particular, Remy Martin stepped up with 22 points following an awful game against Villanova in his last game against a power conference foe, which will be key for Arizona State moving forward.
  24. San Diego State (–)
    • Last Week: Def. DII St. Katherine 83-41 and def. Pepperdine 65-60
    • The latter game may have been closer than the Aztecs would have liked but as I noted last week with UCLA, the Waves are a sneaky good team with a couple bonafide NBA prospects, so this is a respectable win in my book.
  25. Ohio State (NEW)
    • Last Week: Def. Morehead State 77-44
    • Nothing spectacular from the Buckeyes this week – they move up solely as a result of me giving up any hope of pretending Kentucky is solid right now. Which, speaking of…

Dropped Out:
Kentucky (was 25) – There’s no other way to put it – Kentucky is simply awful right now. While yes, I do think Kansas is still a top 25 team, that game on Tuesday night was a horrific display of basketball, if you want to call it that. Topping that off by getting blown out by a mediocre Georgia Tech team that was 0-2 with home losses to Georgia State and Mercer? Yikes.

Next 5: Florida, Rutgers, Louisville, Indiana, Oklahoma State

Top 25 Poll – Week 1

Below is my first set of rankings for the Reddit User Poll following actual, real college basketball games in 2020. Just happy to see games being played no matter how wacky this season gets. One note – the rankings in the “Last Week” summary are my own personal rankings, not the Reddit User Poll, Coaches Poll, or AP Poll.

  1. Gonzaga (–)
    • Last Week: Def. #8 Kansas 102-90 and def. Auburn 90-67
    • An offensive onslaught showed in Week 1 that Gonzaga is the clear favorite to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament. This roster is an embarrassment of riches for Mark Few.
  2. Baylor (+1)
    • Last Week: Def. Louisiana 112-82 and def. Washington 86-52
    • Baylor is shooting 50% from the three point line as a team through two games. While that’s not sustainable, this team appears to be as good as advertised and the leading contender for Gonzaga thus far.
  3. Illinois (+2)
    • Last Week: Def. NC A&T 122-60, def. Chicago State 97-38, and def. Ohio 77-75
    • While a 2 point win over a MAC foe at home isn’t what you’d expect out of the #3 team in the country, the Jason Preston experience on Friday was one of those jaw-dropping individual performances that I have a hard time knocking a team for. Nobody in the country was stopping him that day.
  4. West Virginia (+3)
    • Last Week: Def. South Dakota State 79-71, def. VCU 78-66, and def. Western Kentucky 70-64
    • It certainly wasn’t a traditional Battle 4 Atlantis field and there were no power conference teams, but those three opponents above are all very quality mid major programs. West Virginia wasn’t dominant by any means, but they found a way to get wins which is a trait that I value quite highly when rating teams.
  5. Villanova (-3)
    • Last Week: Def. Boston College 76-67, def. #19 Arizona State 83-74, lost to Virginia Tech 81-73 (OT)
    • Villanova started in ‘Nova fashion with a grit it out win over a feisty BC team followed by a convincing victory against the Sun Devils. Saturday night was a different story as the Cats blew a double digit 2nd half lead and fell in OT to the Hokies. I was tempted to drop Nova a bit further but the win over Arizona State keeps my faith somewhat high in this team.
  6. Wisconsin (–)
    • Last Week: Def. Eastern Illinois 77-67 and def. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 92-58
    • The Badgers did what they needed two with multiple solid victories, including a blazing 25-0 run to start against UAPB. In the end, they stick where they are in my poll despite UVA dropping back as I was more impressed by West Virginia’s week.
  7. Iowa (+3)
    • Last Week: Def. NC Central 97-67 and def. Southern 103-76
    • My concern with the Hawkeyes was their ability to play defense, and while I didn’t see anything concerning, with all due respect to their opponents, I’d like to see the results against a power conference team before I jump ahead and run them up my poll. Luka Garza, in the meantime, has solidified his position as runaway favorite for Player of the Year.
  8. Virginia (-4)
    • Last Week: Def. Towson 89-54 and lost to San Francisco 61-60
    • I have to be honest, there’s not a lot to say here based on on-court performance to justify keeping them in the top 10. Losing to San Francisco with a dreadful offensive performance brings back striking memories of last season’s offensive incompetence and while they were great against Towson, hard to take away much from that matchup. I still have a lot of faith in this roster and coach, though.
  9. Michigan State (+3)
    • Last Week: Def. Eastern Michigan 83-67 and def. Notre Dame 80-70
    • Don’t be misled by the final score – the Spartans absolutely dismantled an ACC team over the weekend. Michigan State led Notre Dame by as much as 28 points midway through the second half, flexing their muscles and showing a lot of balance and depth.
  10. Houston (+7)
    • Last Week: Def. Lamar 89-45, def. Boise State 68-58, and def. #9 Texas Tech 64-53
    • Absolute stellar week from the Cougars – handled a low major buy game with ease, cruised to a win over a solid mid major (they led by 20 at one point), and pretty thoroughly beat what I felt was a top 10 team coming into the year on a neutral court. The incredibly talented backcourt for Houston showed out.
  11. Kansas (-3)
    • Last Week: Lost to #1 Gonzaga 102-90 and def. St. Joe’s 94-72
    • Credit to the Jayhawks for putting up a decent fight but it was pretty clear Gonzaga was the better team on Thanksgiving day. This should be a fascinating team to follow throughout the year as from my eye, the frontcourt concerns are real but there is a real high potential from a small-ball focused approach. I will be watching Tuesday night with a keen eye.
  12. Texas (+2)
    • Last Week: Def. UT Rio Grande Valley 91-55
    • Really very little to say. The Longhorns handled their business and Greg Brown is a freak athlete. We’ll know a LOT more about this team next week.
  13. Duke (–)
    • Last Week: Def. Coppin State 81-71
    • Not a whole lot to say here either, except I was less than impressed by a 10 point victory over the 327th ranked team per KenPom (hence why I leapfrogged Texas past Duke). Cleaning up the turnovers, which are expected and is doable with a very young and inexperienced team, is a must for the Blue Devils.
  14. Tennessee (+1)
    • Last Week: No games played
  15. Creighton (+1)
    • Last Week: Def. North Dakota State 69-58
    • Again, the general trend here in the mid-teens is power conference teams that handled their business against low majors. Creighton won this with ease and didn’t shoot well at all, which bodes well for future success once the 3 pointers start going down.
  16. Texas Tech (-7)
    • Last Week: Def. Northwestern State 101-58, def. Sam Houston State 84-52, lost to #17 Houston 64-53
    • I admit that 7 spots is pretty harsh considering Texas Tech lost to a team I had ranked in a mostly competitive game. But, I think I may have been a bit too high on the Red Raiders in retrospect, given how many new pieces are in the mix here for Chris Beard. I still have full confidence in this team getting back into the top 10, but am re-calibrating my early season expectations here a bit.
  17. Florida State (+3)
    • Last Week: No games played
  18. Richmond (NEW)
    • Last Week: Def. Morehead State 82-64 and def. #11 Kentucky 76-64
    • I was too shy with the Spiders in the preseason following Nick Sherrod’s preseason torn ACL. I was all geared up to have them ranked somewhere around #22 or #23 but tempered my expectations when that news hit. I retract all hesitation after today’s showing in Rupp Arena – the A10 is gonna be a FUN conference this year.
  19. UConn (+2)
    • Last Week: Def. Central Connecticut State 102-75 and def. Hartford 69-57
    • I am still on somewhat of an island having UConn this high but I am simply a believer in Dan Hurley and this roster. James Bouknight is a PROBLEM. While there’s nothing overly impressive about beating two low majors, I felt more comfortable with UConn than the three high majors with losses that they leapfrogged.
  20. UNC (+2)
    • Last Week: Def. Charleston 79-60
    • Same rationale here as UConn – Charleston is a solid mid major but that’s a game the Tar Heels should have won anyway. While I don’t love relying on poll inertia, this is a place where I’m okay with it.
  21. Saint Louis (+4)
    • Last Week: Def. SIU Edwardsville 89-52 and def. LSU 85-81
    • Feeling a very much “I told you so” vibe here. The weekend victory over LSU, without Hasahn French, is a massive victory for this program (and conference, too). The improved free throw shooting also bodes super well for the Billikens this year.
  22. Virginia Tech (NEW)
    • Last Week: Def. Radford 77-62, def. #2 Villanova 81-73 (OT), and def. South Florida 76-58
    • At the risk of overreacting too much to early season results, I felt I had to note Virginia Tech’s performance and give them due credit. Coming back from down double digits against a well-established contender like Villanova is a heck of a gutsy showing and Mike Young is starting to get this thing cooking.
  23. Arizona State (-4)
    • Last Week: Def. Rhode Island 94-88, lost to #2 Villanova 83-74, and def. Houston Baptist 100-77
    • While the loss to Villanova was a tough one to swallow after a gusty win over Rhode Island, the Sun Devils should still be pretty happy with the takeway that Josh Christopher is a phenomenal scorer at every level. Remy Martin is unlikely to have a worse game than he had Thanksgiving night, either.
  24. San Diego State (NEW)
    • Last Week: Def. #18 UCLA 73-58 and def. UC Irvine 77-58
    • Shame on me and shame on all of us for doubting San Diego State. This is a presumptive #1 seed from last year, that while yes, lost Malachi Flynn, still brings back a TON of talent so the result from the season opener really shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
  25. Kentucky (-14)
    • Last Week: Def. Morehead State 81-45 and lost to Richmond 76-64
    • This is certainly a major drop but here’s my rationale – Kentucky ends up being a top 10-15 team by the end of pretty much every season, but they are rarely in that kind of from from the get go. I was quite unimpressed with their careless play with 21 turnovers and horrific shooting against Richmond but this is just growing pains with a young team. So, I’m not giving up on Kentucky yet, but I’m putting them where I feel is a more accurate representation of both their current level of play AND talent level.

Dropped Out:
UCLA (was 18) – Had to drop UCLA after a loss and after narrowly escaping mid major Pepperdine at home in 3OT. Yes, the Waves have a couple NBA-level talents and aren’t your run of the mill WCC team, but I needed to recalibrate my UCLA expectations.
Ohio State and Florida (were 23 and 24) – Neither one of these teams really did anything to deserve getting dropped entirely (although Ohio State’s performance against UMass Lowell left a lot to be desired). This is more from being leapfrogged by standout performances Richmond, Saint Louis, Virginia Tech, and San Diego State.

Next 5: Ohio State, Florida, Oregon, Indiana, Rutgers

My Preseason Top 25 Poll

  1. Gonzaga — Hard to argue with the order of any of the top 3 teams, but I think Gonzaga has the best blend of elite talent with depth. The addition of Andrew Nembhard with today’s announcement makes this team a cheat code.
  2. Villanova — Really like the versatility and depth the Wildcats have – the additions of transfer Caleb Daniels and later in the season a hopefully healthy former 5-star recruit in Bryan Antoine should help Nova deal with Saddiq Bey’s departure.
  3. Baylor — The loss of Tristan Clark to medical retirement is an unfortunate blow and brutally disappointing for Tristan, but the Bears will be loaded once again. The backcourt of Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, and of course, All-American candidate Jared Butler is filthy.
  4. Virginia — Some of this relies on my banking on Tony Bennett to do his thing, but I do truly believe the offensive woes of last season won’t be repeated. Kihei Clark is super underrated and will have a major offensive weapon in transfer Sam Hauser added to the mix.
  5. Illinois — The return of Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu gives the Fighting Illini perhaps the most entertaining and dynamic duo of any team in the country. They aren’t running the show by themselves, though, as rotation pieces Trent Frazier and Giorgi Bezhanishvili will team up with key freshmen Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo to round out the scoring punch.
  6. Wisconsin — It’s college basketball and Wisconsin is potentially rolling out a starting lineup of 5 seniors. Is there really anything else to say? This should be a quintessentially Wisconsin team.
  7. West Virginia — I absolutely LOVE what the Mountaineers are bringing to the floor this season – as Bob Huggins’ said on Titus & Tate, this team will actually score! Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver are simply unfair in the paint and will anchor another staunch WVU defense.
  8. Kansas — I’m a tad bit lower on the Jayhawks then some, though I guess saying I’m “low” with them ranked at #8 shows what kind of program Bill Self is running every year. Garrett/Braun/Agbaji/Thompson are a nice quartet of complimentary pieces at guard and manning the wings, but I’m mildly concerned about the frontcourt depth with Silvio de Sousa leaving the program. Bill Self will find a way, though.
  9. Texas Tech — I admittedly may be jumping the gun here, but it may be time to seriously start considering Texas Tech as a “new blood” alongside Nova/Gonzaga/UVA. Once again, Chris Beard will work with a highly turned over roster and once again, he will extract a stellar defense out of the pieces he has. Very excited to see the transfer trio of McClung/Ntabmwe/Santos-Silva make immediate high-level impacts.
  10. Iowa — Broken record here as many others have had the same comment, but will Iowa defend? That’s the main issue I see here as the Hawkeyes will without a doubt pour in points this season.
  11. Kentucky — Nothing new to see here folks. It’s a completely remade roster at Kentucky, which is par for the course. They’ll take some lumps early in all likelihood before gelling as a group and finding out who the core pieces will be as SEC play begins in December.
  12. Michigan State — Rocket Watts is an All-American level name and I think he’s poised for a breakout year. Josh Langford returning from multiple missed seasons gets this group to another level if he can be anything close to his previous form.
  13. Duke — Really not quite sold yet on this Duke team – Jordan Goldwire’s steady hand off the bench is likely the most reliable prediction anyone can make at this point. Which of the freshmen will take over in a leading role is the key question, followed closely by whether or not Matthew Hurt or Wendell Moore make the leap this year.
  14. Texas — I recognize this is a huge leap of faith in Shaka Smart given what we’ve witnessed to this point, but man, this roster is sooooo talented. Maybe the hair will be the difference maker for Shaka.
  15. Tennessee — The more I look at Tennessee’s roster the more I wonder if I’m underrating them quite a bit. Santiago Vescovi is awesome and there is a tremendous influx of talent from the incoming recruiting class as well as via the transfer portal. This will be a VERY fun team to watch all year.
  16. Creighton — Speaking of fun teams to watch, we all know what to expect from the Jays these days. The loss of Ty-Shon Alexander as well as some preseason ACL tears to bench pieces hurts, but the key question will be what Jacob Epperson can provide in his return from injury and what Ryan Kalkbrenner can contribute to round out the frontcourt depth.
  17. Houston — #17 just feels…right…for Houston. This is a team that will do few things on a truly elite level, but pretty much everything they will do will be done really well. My one concern with the Cougars is what kind of frontcourt contributions they can get out of Gorham, Gresham, Kiyron Powell, and Reggie Chaney.
  18. UCLA — A little known fact about UCLA is that Mick Cronin is in fact the head men’s basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins. I really liked the way this team developed over the latter half of 2019-2020 and think Johnny Juzang will be a great sparkplug to add into the mix offensively.
  19. Arizona State — Remy Martin’s return announcement this summer revved up expectations in Tempe, which is already flowing with hype for star freshman Josh Christopher’s debut. Romello White’s transfer hurts their frontcourt but there’s enough talent remaining to be a serious contender for the Pac 12 crown.
  20. Florida State — How can anyone bet against Leonard Hamilton? Scottie Barnes is the freshman I am most excited to see, and yes, that even includes Cade Cunningham. His potential usage as a point forward is super intriguing and will give this always lengthy and athletic team another potential look on the offensive end.
  21. UConn — I’m irrationally high on UConn and as a fan of a Big East rival I really don’t want to be, but James Bouknight is awesome and needs to be a household name. I truly think the move back home to the Big East will raise this team’s floor – yes, it’ll be a big step up on a nightly basis from the AAC, but Dan Hurley also has his guys in the program now.
  22. UNC — The frontcourt depth is absolutely overwhelming here, so for the UNC, the outlook all comes down to what they can extract from their talented but mostly raw guards. If Caleb Love can run the show like Coby White did, this team’s ceiling is higher than the roof, or something like that.
  23. Ohio State — The Wessons are finally gone after what felt like a full on decade, but this team brings back a lot of key pieces and will also have essential transfer available in Justice Sueing and Seth Towns, if the latter can get healthy. The backcourt depth took a hit with transfer Abel Porter’s medical retirement, but Holtmann has proven time and time again that he knows how to piece together a winning formula with the best of ’em.
  24. Florida — I bought way too high on Gators stock last year, but I’m gonna buy again with the price a good bit lower. Mike White is quickly approaching Shaka Smart levels of disappointment, but there’s also just a ridiculous amount of talent on what should be Keyontae Johnson’s team to run this year.
  25. Saint Louis – If, and admittedly this kind of a big IF after 2019-2020, the Billikens have learned how to make their free throws, this team can be a Sweet 16 contender. This team really didn’t lose much in the offseason and bring back a core led by Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French. Last year they gave national title contender Dayton fits, and I think they’ll be the best in what should be a sneaky fun Atlantic 10 conference this year.

Next 5: Oregon, Indiana, Michigan, LSU, Rutgers

Top 25 – Week 19

No time for summaries this week, unfortunately, but here’s my poll anyway:

  1. Kansas (–)
  2. Gonzaga (–)
  3. Dayton (+1)
  4. Florida State (+3)
  5. Baylor (-2)
  6. San Diego State (-1)
  7. Oregon (+3)
  8. Creighton (+6)
  9. Kentucky (-3)
  10. Villanova (+5)
  11. Michigan State (+2)
  12. Maryland (-4)
  13. Louisville (-2)
  14. BYU (-2)
  15. Duke (+2)
  16. Seton Hall (-7)
  17. Virginia (+6)
  18. Butler (+2)
  19. Wisconsin (+5)
  20. Utah State (NEW)
  21. Auburn (-2)
  22. Ohio State (-1)
  23. Iowa (-7)
  24. Houston (-6)
  25. Illinois (–)

Dropped out: Penn State

Next 5: Providence, USC, West Virginia, East Tennessee State, Richmond

Bracketology – 3/8

Represents games through Saturday, 3/7. Asterisk indicates auto-bid, number in parentheses represents increase/decrease of seed line (not true seed list) since yesterday’s posting.

Note: On the S-curve, I have East Tennessee State one spot above Arizona State, my last team in, so they would be in the field as of today if they weren’t a projected auto-bid.

1 seeds
Kansas* (–)
Baylor (–)
Dayton* (–)
Gonzaga* (–)
2 seeds
San Diego State (–)
Florida State* (–)
Villanova (–)
Duke (–)
3 seeds
Creighton* (–)
Oregon* (–)
Michigan State (–)
Kentucky* (+1)
4 seeds
Seton Hall (–)
Maryland (–)
Louisville (–)
Ohio State (–)
5 seeds
Butler (–)
Auburn (+1)
Wisconsin* (–)
West Virginia (+1)
6 seeds
BYU (-1)
Houston (–)
Michigan (–)
Virginia (+1)
7 seeds
Iowa (–)
Penn State (-2)
Colorado (–)
LSU (+1)
8 seeds
Arizona (-1)
Florida (–)
Marquette (–)
Illinois (–)
9 seeds
Saint Mary’s (–)
Providence (–)
Oklahoma (+1)
Rutgers (+1)
10 seeds
Wichita State (–)
USC (+1)
Xavier (-1)
Richmond (+1)
11 seeds
Cincinnati (-1) / Indiana (-2) (Last 4 IN)
Utah State* (NEW)
Texas Tech (–) / Arizona State (NEW) (Last 4 IN)
East Tennessee State* (–)
12 seeds
Yale* (–)
Tulsa* (–)
Vermont* (–)
Liberty* (–)
13 seeds
Akron* (–)
Stephen F. Austin* (–)
New Mexico State* (–)
Belmont* (–)
14 seeds
North Texas* (–)
Eastern Washington* (–)
Hofstra* (–)
Bradley* (+1)
15 seeds
Wright State* (–)
Colgate* (-1)
UC Irvine* (–)
North Dakota State* (–)
16 seeds
Little Rock* (–)
Winthrop* (–)
Siena* (–) / Prairie View A&M* (–)
Robert Morris* (–) / NC Central* (–)

First 4 Out
Stanford
Mississippi State
Arkansas
NC State
Next 4 Out
Memphis
Texas
Rhode Island
Oklahoma State

Dropped Out:
Purdue (was 11)
Texas (was 11)

Conference Breakdown:
AAC: 4 bids
A10: 2 bids
ACC: 4 bids
Big 10: 10 bids
Big 12: 5 bids
Big East: 7 bids
MWC: 2 bids
Pac 12: 5 bids
SEC: 4 bids
WCC: 3 bids

Bracketology – 3/7

Represents games through Friday, 3/6. Asterisk indicates auto-bid, number in parentheses represents increase/decrease of seed line (not true seed list) since last posting on 3/2. 

1 seeds
Kansas* (–)
Baylor (–)
Dayton* (+1)
Gonzaga* (–)
2 seeds
San Diego State* (-1)
Florida State* (–)
Villanova (+1)
Duke (+1)
3 seeds
Seton Hall* (-1)
Creighton (–)
Michigan State (+1)
Oregon* (+1)
4 seeds
Maryland (-2)
Louisville (–)
Kentucky* (-1)
Ohio State (+1)
5 seeds
BYU (–)
Butler (+1)
Wisconsin* (+1)
Penn State (–)
6 seeds
Houston (–)
Auburn (-2)
West Virginia (+1)
Michigan (–)
7 seeds
Iowa (-2)
Arizona (–)
Virginia (+1)
Colorado (–)
8 seeds
Florida (+1)
Marquette (-1)
LSU (–)
Illinois (–)
9 seeds
Saint Mary’s (–)
Xavier (–)
Providence (+1)
Indiana (+1)
10 seeds
Wichita State (-1)
Oklahoma (-2)
Rutgers (+1)
Cincinnati (+2)
11 seeds
Purdue (NEW)
USC (-1) / Texas Tech (NEW) (Last 4 IN)
East Tennessee State* (–)
Richmond (-1) / Texas (NEW) (Last 4 IN)
12 seeds
Yale* (–)
Tulsa* (NEW)
Vermont* (+1)
Liberty* (–)
13 seeds
Akron* (–)
Stephen F. Austin* (–)
New Mexico State* (+1)
Belmont* (+1)
14 seeds
North Texas* (-1)
Eastern Washington* (–)
Hofstra* (+1)
Colgate* (+1)
15 seeds
Wright State* (–)
Bradley* (NEW)
UC Irvine* (-1)
North Dakota State* (–)
16 seeds
Little Rock* (–)
Winthrop* (NEW)
Siena* (–) / Prairie View A&M* (–)
Robert Morris* (–) / NC Central* (–)

First 4 Out
Arkansas
Stanford
Utah State
Arizona State
Next 4 Out
Memphis
Mississippi State
Northern Iowa
NC State

Dropped Out:
Stanford (was 11)
Arizona State (was 11)
Northern Iowa (was 11)
Utah State (was 12)
UCLA (was 12)
Radford (was 16)

Conference Breakdown:
AAC – 4 bids
A10 – 2 bids
ACC – 4 bids
Big 10 – 11 bids
Big 12 – 6 bids
Big East – 7 bids
MWC – 1 bid
Pac 12 – 4 bids
SEC – 4 bids
WCC – 3 bids

Bracketology (3/2)

Represents games through Sunday 3/1. Asterisk indicates auto-bid, number in parentheses represents increase/decrease of seed line (not true seed list) since last posting on 2/23. Teams such as Purdue that have otherwise good metrics are not considered due to a poor winning percentage below .533, which is the lowest winning percentage of any team awarded an at-large berth.

1 seeds
Kansas* (–)
Baylor (–)
Gonzaga* (–)
San Diego State* (+1)
2 seeds
Dayton* (–)
Florida State (+1)
Seton Hall* (+1)
Maryland* (–)
3 seeds
Villanova (-1)
Duke (-2)
Kentucky* (+1)
Creighton (–)
4 seeds
Michigan State (+1)
Louisville* (-1)
Oregon (–)
Auburn (+1)
5 seeds
Ohio State (+2)
Penn State (-1)
BYU (+1)
Iowa (+1)
6 seeds
Houston* (+1)
Wisconsin (+2)
Michigan (-2)
Butler (–)
7 seeds
West Virginia (-2)
Arizona (-1)
Colorado (-2)
Marquette (–)
8 seeds
Virginia (+1)
LSU (-1)
Illinois (–)
Oklahoma (+4)
9 seeds
Wichita State (–)
Saint Mary’s (-1)
Florida (–)
Xavier (+1)
10 seeds
Indiana (–)
Texas Tech (-2)
Providence (+2)
USC (+1)
11 seeds
Stanford (NEW)
Arizona State (-2) / Rutgers (-1) (Last 4 In)
Northern Iowa* (+1)
East Tennessee State* (–)
12 seeds
Cincinnati (-1) / Utah State (-1) (Last 4 In)
UCLA* (NEW)
Yale* (–)
Liberty* (–)
13 seeds
Vermont* (–)
Akron* (–)
North Texas* (–)
Stephen F. Austin* (–)
14 seeds
New Mexico State* (–)
Belmont* (–)
Eastern Washington* (NEW)
UC Irvine* (+1)
15 seeds
Hofstra* (-1)
Wright State* (–)
Colgate* (-1)
North Dakota State* (NEW)
16 seeds
Little Rock* (-1)
Radford* (-1)
Siena* (NEW) / Prairie View A&M* (–)
Robert Morris* (–) / North Carolina Central* (NEW)

First 4 Out
Mississippi State
Richmond
NC State
Richmond
Next 4 Out
Texas
Arkansas
Alabama
Memphis

Dropped Out:
Rhode Island (was 10)
NC State (was 11)
South Dakota State (was 15)
Montana (was 16)
Saint Peter’s (was 16)
North Carolina A&T (was 16)

Conference Breakdown:
AAC – 3 bids
A10 – 1 bid
ACC – 4 bids
Big 10 – 10 bids
Big 12 – 5 bids
Big East – 7 bids
Mountain West – 2 bids
Pac 12 – 7 bids
SEC – 4 bids
WCC – 3 bids

Top 25 – Week 18

  1. Kansas (–) – No change at the top – Kansas did what they needed to do and dispatched Oklahoma State and Kansas State to remain the king for now.
  2. Gonzaga (+1) – The Bulldogs absolutely murdered San Diego to nobody’s surprise Thursday night, then finished up the regular season with a solid 10 point home win over a tournament-bound Saint Mary’s team.
  3. Baylor (-1) – While I do like to have a bit of a “power ranking” element in my Top 25, I just can’t make a strong argument for Dayton being a better team than Baylor despite the Bears having lost 2 of 3. All 3 of Baylor’s losses this season have come by just 3 points and while TCU and Washington are strange teams to lose to, weird shit happens in college hoops.
  4. Dayton (–) – Dayton is pretty clearly one of the top 5 teams, and despite a less than dominant performance Tuesday night at George Mason, I did seriously think about bumping them up to #3 past Baylor. The Friday night offensive masterpiece against Davidson alone was worth a major shoutout, and this team still has yet to lose a game in regulation this season. But I just can’t convince myself that Dayton is superior – I really think the top 3 teams have a good amount of separation over #4 and #5.
  5. San Diego State (–) – It wasn’t a cakewalk, but ultimately, the Aztecs finished of a nearly flawless season with a win over Colorado State and a second half rally at Nevada. Next up is the Mountain West tournament where they’ll try to avoid falling to a bid thief.
  6. Kentucky (+2) – Kentucky has yet to look consistently dominant and they’re certainly not a computer metric darling, but I like teams that win, and winning is something this team continues to do so. This week they held Texas A&M at bay and then outlasted Auburn in a competitive game at Rupp Arena.
  7. Florida State (-1) – Weird week for the Seminoles – they did become yet another victim to the big game hunting Clemson Tigers but they managed to surge past Louisville with a phenomenal 2nd half effort and knock down the Cards. Ultimately I went with Kentucky at #6 due to more consistent play but it’s really close for me.
  8. Maryland (-1) – Not a great week or even week and a half for the Terps, with losses to Ohio State and Michigan State and a near loss to Minnesota until Darryl Morsell saved the day with a dagger game-winner. That said, the Big 10 is a gauntlet and the larger sample size says really good things about the quality of this team, and I’ve been a believer all year and am not going to stop now.
  9. Seton Hall (+2) – The Pirates only played once this week, but went on the road and spoiled Markus Howard’s senior day (and 37 point outburst) with a 9 point win on Saturday. After a brief skid with losses to Creighton and Providence, Seton Hall has quickly turned things around and ranks #1 on Bart Torvik’s T-Rank since February 17th.
  10. Oregon (+3) – Poll inertia definitely favored the Ducks this week. A home win against Oregon State doesn’t move the needle a whole lot this year, but unlike Duke, Creighton, and Louisville, the Ducks got the job done this week so I’ll give them the nod at #10.
  11. Louisville (+1) – I actually had Louisville at #12 last week, and while they got throttled for a big portion of the 2nd half at Florida State, a road win to a Top 10 team is better than a blowout road loss to a non-tournament team (see Bluejays, Creighton) or multiple losses (see Blue Devils, Duke).
  12. BYU (+3) – BYU is another big winner of poll inertia, as they completed their regular season with a 17 point road win at Pepperdine, doing exactly what a team of their caliber should do. While I have a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around BYU being ranked this high, they are up to 11th on KenPom, and that includes early season performances that didn’t include the man named Yoeli Childs.
  13. Michigan State (+9) – The Spartans are back from the dead with one of the best weeks anyone has put together in conference play this year. They kicked things off Tuesday with an 8 point home win over a ranked Iowa squad, then went on the road to a juiced up Maryland fanbase and completely controlled the vast majority of the game and raced away to a double digit Top 10 road win. That’s a hell of a week.
  14. Creighton (-4) – There’s coming back down to earth, and then there’s whatever the hell happened to Creighton on Sunday at St. John’s. The 6th best 3-point shooting team in Division I, Creighton, shot all of 15% from beyond the arc, while the 304th best 3-point shooting team in Division I, St. John’s, scorched the nets to the tune of 64% 3pt shooting. Just one of those days, man.
  15. Villanova (-1) – Villanova managed to handle the Red Storm earlier in the week, but they also had a WTF shooting performance over the weekend, as they fell at home to Providence in an ugly 58-54 game. Villanova shot just 35% from the field and 17% from 3 point range, though Providence is certainly a better opponent than St. John’s – since February 17th, the Friars rank 3rd in T-Rank and they rank 8th in T-Rank in the larger sample size that dates back to the beginning of February.
  16. Iowa (+1) – Tough to really do too much in the rankings with Iowa this week – they did drop a tough road loss to Michigan State, but they bounced back with a strong home win against Penn State over the weekend. Feels like Iowa has definitely zoned in on the #16-#20 range this year.
  17. Duke (-8) – Duke has been flat out awful this week, and I’d like to toot my own horn from last week’s rankings, where I said that Duke is very good but more susceptible to a stinker of a performance than any other top team. That came true in their 2OT loss at a truly bad Wake Forest squad, and then Duke fell to the huffing & puffing Virginia Cavaliers over the weekend to complete the winless week, though that loss is far more excusable than the former.
  18. Houston (+2) – Houston feels like another team that’s pretty comfortable in the #17-#24ish range this year. In the AAC they’re the best team and nobody is too close, so there’s no real opportunities to jump up, and they’ve avoided all the land mines of conference play, so they’ve pretty much been at the mercy of poll inertia.
  19. Auburn (-1) – Auburn has now gone 5 straight games without any going to OT, so this string of games with margins of victories ranging from 7-12 points are basically all blowout wins or losses for the Tigers. All joking aside, I think Auburn has finally found its balancing point, as the 1-2 loss team from earlier in the year was just far too lucky to sustain it, but they’ve clearly shown that they have talent to compete with the big dogs, as evidenced by the highly competitive weekend loss to Kentucky.
  20. Butler (+4) – Big time poll inertia here, as an 18 point home win over DePaul doesn’t move the needle too much. The real story here is that Butler introduced the new Butler Blue live mascot over the weekend, so Butler now has to be seriously considered as a tournament darkhorse. In all seriousness, I do recognize that the larger trend of 8 losses in 13 games is not great, but I think it’s just the leveling out of a team that was overperforming early on but is still better than its recent trend.
  21. Ohio State (+4) – Nice week for the Buckeyes, who smoked Nebraska on the road Thursday night, then took down a Michigan team that had a healthy Isaiah Livers by double digits. As the theme has been throughout much of these rankings, this feels like a good place for Ohio State to hang around – they’re not quite the top 5 team they looked like early in the season (though KenPom does have them at #8) but they’re not the same team that at one point was 2-6 in Big Ten play, either.
  22. Penn State (-6) – Top 10 Penn State was fun, but the Nittany Lions have lost 3 of 4 and nearly lost that 4th game until Myles Dread bailed Penn State out against Rutgers on Wednesday night. While the losses have been to Illinois, @Indiana, and @Iowa, all tournament teams, my bigger concern is that Penn State is 72nd on T-Rank over the past two weeks. Sure, its a small sample size and other teams I have ranked like Maryland and Auburn are near them in that regard, but those teams have shown more winning tendencies in their slumps and its not the direction you want to be trending in as March proceeds.
  23. Virginia (NEW) – Virginia still has an offense that makes my eyes want to bleed, but they have very quietly been stacking up wins with 9 in their last 10 and 6 consecutive victories. They’re definitely back on the map now thanks to Saturday night’s upset of Duke, and their defense can absolutely keep them there.
  24. Wisconsin (NEW) – Great week for the Badgers, who pulled off a huge road win at Michigan mid-week, then defended the Kohl Center and handed Minnesota yet another soul-crushing close loss on Sunday. Despite a good deal of turmoil between Micah Potter’s lack of waiver and Kobe King’s surprising departure, this team is headed in a really good direction at the right time, which seems pretty on-brand.
  25. Illinois (NEW) – Illinois is also headed in the right direction, as they’ve reversed course after a 4 game losing streak to win 4 straight. Two of those were against Northwestern and Nebraska, so they only half count (joking…but am I?) but a road win at Penn State and narrow home win over Indiana definitely count. We’ll see where the Fighting Illini stand after a pair of ranked matchups this coming week, but I like the momentum they’ve built.

Dropped Out: Colorado (was 19), West Virginia (was 21), Arizona State (was 23)

Next 5: Marquette, USC, Arizona State, East Tennessee State, Colorado

Top 25 – Week 17

  1. Kansas (+2) – Don’t think there’s really a whole lot to explain here – the Jayhawks went on the road and took down the #1 team in the country in a thrilling, high-level game, and now rank #1 on just about every major computer metric. They’re the best team in the country.
  2. Baylor (-1) – Baylor is now the clear #2 team in the country in my eyes – had Gonzaga won at BYU, I still would have put the Bears in this position. That’s how well-executed the game on Saturday against Kansas was. Any fan of college basketball should hope we get at least one more rematch of the top 2 teams.
  3. Gonzaga (-1) – Though the Bulldogs lost, I find it hard to ding them very much – I’m not sure that even Kansas would’ve won in Provo on Saturday night. That atmosphere is why I’ll always love college basketball more than the NBA, despite the lower quality of play and questionable officiating. Don’t be fooled – BYU is legit and Gonzaga is still an elite team.
  4. Dayton (+3) – How awesome is it that Dayton is about to be a pretty much consensus Top 5 team? This team is just incredibly fun to watch and weathers every storm it encounters – which seems to happen on a near-nightly basis since they are every opponent’s Super Bowl. This week they handled a difficult road test at a desperate VCU team and survived a challenge from Duquesne at home, two wins that don’t have a ton of name branding but are very much quality wins.
  5. San Diego State (-1) – Yes, the Aztecs lost at home to a now 15-14 UNLV team, but I just can’t ding them too much for finally losing – there’s a reason it’s been over 40 years since a college team has gone unbeaten. Not to mention, San Diego State is one of just 3 teams (along with Kansas and Duke) to rank in the top 10 for both AdjO and AdjD on KenPom. I can’t wait to see the Twitter trolls get proven wrong in the NCAA Tournament.
  6. Florida State (+3) – Productive week for the Seminoles, who easily avenged a season-opening loss to Pitt, then went on the road and took down a feisty and very hungry NC State team fresh off a destruction of Duke. I am really looking forward to seeing which one of Florida State, Louisville, and Duke stands above the rest in the ACC Tournament, cause right now, I’m not quite sure which team is the best.
  7. Maryland (-2) – Maryland’s 9 game win streak finally game to an end on Sunday when they fell on the road to the Buckeyes, but the Terps still remain the best team in the best conference, which has to count for something. It’s definitely a bummer that Anthony Cowan fouled out on a technical foul – I was looking forward to seeing if his late game heroics could lead Maryland to another come from behind road win.
  8. Kentucky (+3) – Don’t look now, but Coach Cal has this team rolling – the road loss to Auburn is their only blemish in their past 11 games, and their only other conference loss came on a buzzer beater at South Carolina. That loss to Evansville seems like a distant memory, and while the computer metrics don’t love this Kentucky team, I absolutely love the way they’re playing and the tenacity brought by Immanuel Quickley and Nick Richards.
  9. Duke (-3) – Duke is a very good team, but all season, I just haven’t quite felt as if they’re truly elite. Wednesday’s defeat to NC State demonstrates why I feel that way, despite metrics (and a really strong resume) suggesting they’re near the top of the charts – this team can be dominant when clicking, but for all the talent they possess, it feels as if they’re more prone to an absolute stinker of a performance than any other team in the Top 10.
  10. Creighton (+4) – Creighton is quite possibly the hottest team in college basketball right now with 9 wins in their last 10, and they’ve taken down some juggernauts on the way, with road wins at Villanova and Seton Hall, and after this week, Marquette, plus Sunday’s blowout of a good Butler team. The Tyshon Alexander/Marcus Zegarowski/Mitchell Ballock trio is simply a joy to watch and I really think this team is headed towards a very deep run in the tournament.
  11. Seton Hall (+1) – After an 0-2 week, the Pirates bounced back in a really strong way, with Sandro Mamukelashvili’s buzzer beater leading them over Butler and a convincing win over St. John’s wrapping up the week. The Pirates get a much-needed break until a road trip to Marquette on Saturday where they’ll try to stay on pace for a Big East title, but Creighton remains on their tail and continue to light their opponents up.
  12. Louisville (+1) – Not a whole to say about Louisville other than that they bounced big in a needed way – after losing to two bad teams on the road, two bad teams came into the KFC Yum! Center (that exclamation point is critical, folks) and left with double digit losses. Monday’s road trip to Tallahassee will determine if this is a top 10 team or not.
  13. Oregon (-3) – The Ducks fell on the road in Tempe to a scorching hot and surging Arizona State team, and I’ve got the Sun Devils ranked now, so I can’t drop the Ducks too far for that, especially given the way they came out and stole a win on the road at Arizona late Saturday night. Payton Pritchard continued to make a case for 1st Team All-American with a masterful 38 point performance in a brutally tough road environment.
  14. Villanova (+2) – Villanova held serve on the road this week, extending their winning streak to 4 games after 3 consecutive losses to Creighton, Butler, and Seton Hall. I’m not convinced that they’re quite at the level of Creighton and Seton Hall yet, given that half of this winning streak includes Temple and DePaul, but they’re definitely in the right direction.
  15. BYU (+8) – BYU is definitely my biggest winner in the rankings this week – the metrics have loved them for a while, but I somewhat begrudgingly ranked them at #23 last week despite a narrow road win over San Diego. But now, there’s no way to argue that BYU is not one of the top 25 teams in the country after a massive home win against Gonzaga, and I really believe they’re one of the 15 best teams.
  16. Penn State (-8) – After Penn State ripped off an 8 game winning streak I was perfectly content to launch them up into the top 10, but after the last week, I feel like I may have jumped the gun a bit. A home loss to Illinois and road loss to Indiana certainly aren’t the end of the world by any means; I just think that I needed to recalibrate my view of Penn State a little bit.
  17. Iowa (+5) – Iowa took their only game of the week and made the most of it, boatracing Ohio State in the opening minutes and controlling the game from then on to snag a 9 point victory over a top 25 team. With an impressive win, along with some losses by teams I had previously ranked above the Hawkeyes, Iowa is another big mover.
  18. Auburn (-3) – The Tigers somehow pulled another rabbit out of their hat on Saturday with a massive come from behind victory over Tennessee, but the mid-week loss to Georgia is a bit of a concern for me. Yes, Isaac Okoro was out, so I don’t want to penalize the Tigers too harshly, but at no point this season have I ever felt as if Georgia was close to a good team, and the Tigers have been awfully lucky a lot this season.
  19. Houston (–) – The Cougars fell over the weekend, but a one point road loss to a talented team desperate for a big win to get back in the bubble conversation is hardly shameful. Plus, just a few days earlier they blasted Tulsa by 33 points, so that balances out their past week pretty nicely.
  20. Colorado (–) – The Buffaloes did take a home loss over the weekend to the same team that previously lost to Cal State Fullerton and Hofstra, but really, UCLA is a completely different team from that time. They’re on a red hot streak, so I can’t penalize Colorado too much, especially when others near them in the rankings lost either worse games, are on more prolonged skids of inconsistency, or lost multiple times this past week.
  21. West Virginia (-3) – Compared to Houston and Colorado, it may be a bit more harsh to penalize the Mountaineers for an OT road loss to a conference foe, but my bigger concern is how BAD this team is on the road – in Big 12 play, West Virginia is now 1-6 on the road, with the lone win coming at Oklahoma State. They’re a great team at home, but I really would like to see some better road performances.
  22. Michigan State (+2) – Quiet week for the Spartans, who blasted Nebraska on the road by 21 points on Thursday night and move up thanks to some Big East carnage. We’ll get a better gauge of where the Spartans are at now with Iowa coming to town on Tuesday night and a road trip lined up to College Park on Saturday night.
  23. Arizona State (NEW) – Earlier this season, I didn’t think the Sun Devils were even remotely close to the bubble picture, let alone the top 25 picture, but they are up there with Creighton and Kentucky in the mix for hottest team in the country. Now the leader in the Pac 12 standings, the Sun Devils took down Oregon this week and held serve at home in a narrow win over Oregon State. With 7 straight wins, I’ve gotta give a tip of the cap to Arizona State this week.
  24. Butler (-3) – The days of Butler being a top 5 team seem long forgotten, but I can assure you they happened this very season. Butler is absolutely headed in the wrong direction with 4 losses in their past 5 games, but I’m not completely giving up on them yet. While they ended up getting boatraced by Creighton on Sunday, Kamar Baldwin leaving the game is definitely a major loss that had to have played a part, though I don’t think his injury was even close to being the reason for the blowout. Also, it’s pretty hard to knock a team too much for losing on the road to a top 15 team on a buzzer beater inbounds play with 0.6 seconds left – that’s just tough.
  25. Ohio State (–) – Ohio State came back to the rankings this week after a long break marked by maddeningly inconsistent play, then promptly got beaten pretty handily by Iowa. They bounced back in a huge way though on Sunday, knocking off top 10 Maryland, so I have no problem keeping them where they’re at for the time being.

Dropped Out: Marquette (was 17)

Next 5: Marquette, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia

Bracketology – 2/23

Based on results through games played on 2/22. Asterisk indicates auto-bid, number in parentheses indicates increase/decrease since last update on 2/18.

NOTE: As a reminder, this is based on an algorithm – that said, I have made one correction to match historical precedent, which is that no team that is .500 or worse has ever been awarded an at-large bid. My algorithm would place Purdue as the 2nd last team in the field, which would bump Oklahoma to the first team out, but seeing that Purdue is 14-14, I have not included them in the field and they are not listed in the First/Next 4 Out, either. At this point, I don’t think .500 teams are worthy of being considered, but obviously, if Purdue can get to above .500, they are very much in the mix of bubble consideration.

1 seeds
Kansas* (–)
Baylor (–)
Gonzaga* (+1)
Duke (–)
2 seeds
San Diego State* (-1)
Maryland* (–)
Dayton* (–)
Villanova (+2)
3 seeds
Florida State (–)
Creighton (–)
Louisville* (+1)
Seton Hall* (–)
4 seeds
Penn State (-2)
Oregon (–)
Kentucky* (+2)
Michigan (+3)
5 seeds
West Virginia (-1)
Auburn (-2)
Michigan State (–)
Colorado (–)
6 seeds
Iowa (–)
BYU (+1)
Butler (–)
Arizona (–)
7 seeds
Houston* (–)
Ohio State (-2)
Marquette (-2)
LSU (–)
8 seeds
Wisconsin (–)
Texas Tech (–)
Saint Mary’s (–)
Illinois (+2)
9 seeds
Wichita State (-1)
Florida (+1)
Virginia (+2)
Arizona State* (+3)
10 seeds
Indiana (+2)
Rhode Island (-1)
Rutgers (-1)
Xavier (-1)
11 seeds
Utah State (–)
East Tennessee State* (–)
USC (–)
Cincinnati (-1) / NC State (NEW) (Last 4 In)
12 seeds
Providence (NEW) / Oklahoma (-3) (Last 4 In)
Northern Iowa* (–)
Liberty* (NEW)
Yale* (–)
13 seeds
Akron* (NEW)
Vermont* (-1)
Stephen F. Austin* (–)
North Texas* (–)
14 seeds
Belmont* (NEW)
New Mexico State* (-1)
Hofstra* (–)
Colgate* (-1)
15 seeds
UC Irvine* (-1)
Wright State* (-1)
South Dakota State* (-1)
Little Rock* (–)
16 seeds
Montana* (–)
Radford* (NEW)
Prairie View A&M* (–) / Saint Peter’s* (–)
Robert Morris* (–) / North Carolina A&T* (NEW)

First 4 Out
Richmond
Arkansas
Alabama
Stanford
Next 4 Out
Mississippi State
Georgetown
Memphis
UNC Greensboro

Dropped Out:
Purdue (was 10)
Georgetown (was 11)
Bowling Green (was 15)
Murray State (was 15)
Winthrop (was 15)
North Florida (was 16)
Norfolk State (was 16)