Coming off of the craziest week of the basketball season, it’s only right that were followed up by one of the least exciting. With many schools being in finals week for classes, there were a limited number of games on the lineup this week. UNC vs Tennessee was the only game where AP ranked opponents faced off against each other.

This week saw Wichita State suffer a loss to Oklahoma, Notre Dame struggles continued, and Florida dropped yet another game to an unranked team. Gonzaga went to OT against a very weak opponent and Seton Hall lost to Rutgers. There aren’t too many shake-ups in this week’s rankings, but there is a handful of subtle changes.

Rank (Last week’s rank)
1. Villanova (1)
Led by Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, Villanova improved to 11-0 with a 20-point win over Temple. The Wildcats continue to look like one of the best teams in the nation night in and night out. With essentially 6 starters, many at interchangeable positions, Villanova is looking like a dangerous team that nobody will want to face.
2. Michigan St. (2)
Although Michigan State has had a more balanced attack, not just the Miles Bridges show this season, the Spartans have looked very impressive. Nick Ward has been incredibly efficient on the year posting 14 points and 7 rebounds a game, both good for second on the team, in just 18 minutes per game. The Spartans are a solid team in all aspects and will be relevant all season.
3. Duke (3)
The Blue Devils haven’t played a game since their loss to Boston College last week giving them a lot of time to think about what went wrong. I’m sure Coach K is using this week of rest to smooth over the weaknesses of this Duke team. Regardless, Duke is one of the most talented teams in the nation and will look to replicate their 2014 season where a group of freshmen led them to a national championship.
4. MIami (5)
Undefeated but relatively untested is the reputation for Miami thus far. Although they did beat Minnesota, that win is looking worse and worse as Minnesota continues to struggle. Miami moves up again this week due to Wichita State’s loss. The Hurricanes will be justified as legit once conference play starts up and they face tough competition on a weekly basis.
5. North Carolina (7)
North Carolina secured their first quality win of the year over Tennessee. UNC has had yet another successful year led by the surprising performances of Luke Maye. The Tar Heels should use this win as a foundation to continue their push and gain the respect they deserve as the defending national champions.
6. Kentucky (6)
Although not the prettiest win, Kentucky fought hard late and held off Virginia Tech this week. Coach Calipari continues to see his team improve week by week. The young Kentucky roster is gaining experience and confidence as the year moves on. Led by Kevin Knox, the Wildcats will try to continue their development and peak right as tournament time rolls around.
7. Arizona State (8)
Arizona State took care of business against Vanderbilt to continue their undefeated season. The Sun Devils move up a spot from last week as a beneficiary of Wichita State’s loss. Arizona State in gaining tons of national respect, getting some votes to be number one in the nation this week in the AP Poll.
8. Oklahoma (NR)
Oklahoma got their signature win this season with a win over Wichita State. Freshman sensation Trae Young continues to light up the NCAA averaging over 28 points per game. Oklahoma could prove to be a very dangerous team in the long run because of Young’s ability to score in bunches.
9. Texas A&M (9)
Texas A&M included a 47-point win this week against Savannah State. The Aggies faced tough opponents early on in the season but has seen their schedule mellow out a bit. Nonetheless, Texas A&M is one of the more intriguing teams in the NCAA with more talent that most people think.
10. Xavier (10)
Xavier beat ETSU by 2 points this week in a game where there are a lot of concerns but also some positives. Xavier was down by 22 points in the second half. To their credit, they were able to rally late and pull off a win showing they can fight in crunch time.
11. West Virginia (11)
West Virginia pummeled Wheeling Jesuit this week in a glorified exhibition. The Mountaineers are rolling this season with 10 straight wins led by Jevon Carter. Carter is likely to repeat as Big 12 DPOY by averaging nearly 4 steals per game. Bob Huggins continues to pump out elite defensive units.
12. Kansas (12)
Kansas was able to pull out a win against a stingy Nebraska team by 1 point thanks to a late corner three-pointer from Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Udoka Azubuike had his best game of the season with 26 points and 10 rebounds as he continues to solidify himself as a legit weapon on this Jayhawks roster. Kansas needs to figure some things out, but will a contender for the duration of the season.
13. Wichita St. (4)
The Shockers suffered a loss to Oklahoma this week dropping them out of the Top 5. Wichita State has shown reasons for concern this year by losing 2 of their 3 toughest games this year. The Mid-Major powerhouse will need to polish off their game if they want to make their usual deep postseason run.
14. Arizona (14)
With the return of Rawle Alkins, Arizona might have one of the best Big 3’s in the nation. Freshman big man Deandre Ayton, scoring machine Allonzo Trier, and Alkins are a formidable trio who can lead their team past many tough opponents. Arizona was ranked as a top team at the beginning of the year for a reason and they should start to show it.
15. Gonzaga (15)
Gonzaga had to go into overtime to beat a North Dakota team who, to be honest, is a terrible team. The Zags have looked sloppy in a few games this year which is a reason to concern however, this could be a case of just playing down to your opponent. Mark Few will need to clean up his team’s mistakes.
16.  TCU (NR)
TCU did not have a game this week, but still deserve respect as a team. TCU is riding a nation’s best 15 game win streak and has a lot of talent. Kenrich Williams and Vladimir Brodziansky are a legit duo in the Big 12 and have serious potential to lead their team on a deep run.

First Five Out

Syracuse, Creighton, Virginia, Baylor, Texas Tech


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