The last two weeks saw many surprising outcomes amongst ranked teams. There are no more undefeated teams remaining in the NCAA as TCU, Arizona State, Villanova, and Miami all lost. A national powerhouse fell to a mid-major team and all together half of the teams from the last Power 16 suffered losses.

The holiday break could have played a part in some teams seeming sluggish on the court. Regardless, as non-conference play ended on Friday, the season really gets going now that conference play has started. In the first weekend of conference play, four AP Top-10 teams lost, setting the tone for a wild NCAA season ahead of us.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1.  Michigan St. (2)
Michigan State is in the middle of a bit of an easy stretch in their schedule, but are playing extremely well. The Spartans put up 100 points in 3 straight games, the first time they’ve done so since 2004. Michigan State gets bumped up to the #1 spot due to a Villanova loss and an impressive 13 game win streak. Big Ten conference play starts up tomorrow which will liven up the Spartans schedule.
2. Duke (3)
Duke improved their resume with a 64-point win against Evansville and a 100-point performance against #24 ranked FSU. Marvin Bagley has remained dominant with a 32-point and 21-rebound outburst in the win against the Seminoles. Duke fans should be excited to see Trevon Duval starting to play with more and more confidence as he took over in the final minutes against FSU.
3. Oklahoma (8)
Trae Young has been undoubtedly the story of college basketball this year. Oklahoma added a win over TCU, ending the nation’s longest win streak with help of 39 points and 14 assists from Young. Young has been breaking records seemingly every game but what’s special is that it isn’t taking away from the team. He makes those around him better and is a special player on a potentially special team.
4. Xavier (10)
Xavier has an impressive looking record at 14-1, but it hasn’t been easy for them to get there. The Musketeers have had to make 2nd half comebacks multiple times this season and haven’t been winning by much as of late. 4-point win over Marshall, 4-point win over Marquette, 5-point win over DePaul, and that’s just in the last two weeks. Xavier has shown many reasons for concern and need to straighten things up.
5. West Virginia (11)
West Virginia is riding a 12-game win streak and rode it right into conference play with a win over Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers are looking better and better as more players begin to become involved. Jevon Carter is the unquestioned leader, but Lamont West, Daxter Miles, Sagaba Konate, James Bolden, and Teddy Allen come together to form a pretty deep and talented team.
6.  Arizona (14)
Arizona keeps looking more like what we expected them to as the season progresses. Deandre Ayton is, for a lack of a better term, a beast. Ayton posted 23 points and 19 boards in a crucial win against then-undefeated #3 Arizona State. Between Ayton, Allonzo Trier, and Rawle Alkins, Arizona is a dangerous team that nobody will want to face.
7.  Villanova (1)
Villanova lost its undefeated season and its #1 rank after a loss to Butler. Now while a loss to Butler might seem pretty bad, it took an unearthly 3-point shooting performance (68%) from Butler to pull off a narrow victory over Villanova. Nova will be fine and this loss is no reason for concern.
8. Arizona State (7)
Arizona State also lost its undefeated season this week to Arizona. I’ll admit I wasn’t giving the Sun Devils they deserved after wins against Kansas and Xavier but even their loss impressed me. While Arizona had control of the game for almost the entire game, ASU stuck around despite playing worse. Tra Holder can absolutely ball and Arizona State might be a special team to look out for.
9. Wichita St. (13)
Wichita State just continues to handle their business with three wins against lesser opponents. Wichita State remains one of the tougher teams to judge this season has they beat who they’re supposed to but struggle against tougher teams. The Shockers have earned it with their past play, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.
10. Kansas (12)
Kansas has bounced back from their back to back losses with three straight wins over Omaha, Stanford, and Texas. The Jayhawks knocked down 17 three pointers against Texas and are averaging a program best 11.2 three-pointers made per game. Devonte Graham continues to lead the balanced attack for Kansas who is still one of the most respectable teams in the nation.
11. MIami (4)
Miami has just had an easy schedule this season. They did beat Minnesota but they’ve turned out to be less than advertised. After a loss to New Mexico State and a 3-point win against Middle Tennessee, Miami had to fall in the rankings. Don’t get me wrong, Miami is still dangerous but just haven’t had a chance to really show it. ACC conference play will be sure to change that.
12. North Carolina (5)
UNC suffered a bad loss to Wofford and beat Wake Forest by a slim 4 points. Luke Maye has begun to cool down a bit and as a result so is UNC. Joel Berry is beginning to look like a star again but UNC has shown many reason for concern this year as their strengths from seasons pasts are becoming weaknesses.
13. Kentucky (6)
Kentucky’s young roster had their ups and down over the past two weeks. The lost to UCLA but bounced back by pummeling Louisville. Kentucky is getting better and better as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has become a lethal weapon for Coach Calipari. The Wildcats are a project for sure, but I can assure you Calipari is more worried about getting the team ready for March than winning right now.
14. Virginia (NR)
Virginia’s sole loss on the season came to West Virginia but has played well since. Virginia has a slow pace of play that causes problems for teams that like to play up-tempo. Virginia hasn’t played many tough opponents but as ACC play kicks up we will see if Virginia is legit this season.
15.  Arkansas (NR)
Arkansas has wins over Tennessee, Minnesota, and Oklahoma this season while only losing to UNC and Houston, two respectable teams. Arkansas is battle tested and battle proven, they can hang with the best of them. Arkansas could prove to be an average team but has shown potential and promise towards a successful season.
16.  Texas A&M (9)
Texas A&M suffered a crushing loss to Alabama 79-57 dropping them to 11-2. The Aggies have had a bit of roller coaster ride this season, beating West Virginia and USC but losing to Arizona and Alabama. A&M has showed raw talent that needs to be polished. They could prove to be deadly as they work out the kinks.

First Five Out

TCU, Purdue, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, Seton Hall


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