BOZICH | Time for (another) new Number One in AP College Basketball Top 25
Villanova lost. Kansas lost. Kentucky, UCLA, Florida State and North Carolina lost, too. Which team will ascend to Number One in the new AP college basketball Top 25 poll?
LOUISVILLE, (Ky.) – Like you, I didn’t think there was anything special about the Tennessee basketball team
But the Vols toppled Kentucky last week in Knoxville.
Keep that in mind. I did.
With Villanova, Kansas, Kentucky, Florida State, UCLA, North Carolina and a cast of thousands losing last week, it was time to reassess the team at the top of my Top 25 ballot for the Associated Press college basketball poll
I was not inclined to vote for Gonzaga, the nation’s final unbeaten team, even though the Zags have won their last 14 games by double figures.
That stretch includes a 10-point win over Tennessee.
Gonzaga has also taken down Arizona, Iowa State and Florida. It’s not the Warriors, Cavaliers and Spurs. But those are NCAA Tournament teams.
You don’t agree that Gonzaga should be Number One? I don’t blame you.
Mark Few’s team has played its last four games against teams that aren’t ranked in the Top 200. But they keep winning – big.
On to my ballot.
1. Gonzaga (22-0) – I started with Villanova on top, but I switched to the Zags because of that win over Arizona.
2. Villanova (20-2) – It didn’t help the Wildcats that Marquette followed its win over Jay Wright’s team by losing to Providence in Milwaukee.
3. Kansas (19-2) – The Jayhawks showed they could take a punch in Rupp Arena.
4. Arizona (20-2) – If the Wildcats win at Oregon this Saturday, I’m bumping them up at least another slot.
5. Baylor (20-1) – If the Bears win at Kansas Wednesday, I’m bumping them up more than one more slot.
6. Louisville (18-4) – The Cards are the only team in the ACC with three wins by 25 points in league play.
7. West Virginia (17-4) – The Mountaineers handled Kansas at home. Kentucky did not. They also won at Charlottesville.
8. Virginia (16-4) – Some will argue that the Cavaliers deserve to be ranked higher because they won at Louisville. Those people have forgotten that Virginia lost to Pittsburgh and to WVU.
9. Kentucky (17-4) – I question the degree of difficulty in the Southeastern Conference as much as anybody but the Wildcats' next three road games (Florida, Alabama and Georgia) are not gimmes.
10. Wisconsin (18-3) – Should have lost to Rutgers Saturday. Didn’t. That’s what good teams do – win when they shouldn’t.
11. Maryland (19-2) – How come nobody realizes this team is tied for first in the Big Ten with Wisconsin?
12. North Carolina (19-4) – When the Tar Heels play poorly, they play really, really poorly.
13. Oregon (19-3) – I thought the Ducks would lose to Utah and beat Colorado, but like George Costanza, they did the opposite.
14. Cincinnati (19-2) – In case you haven’t noticed, Mick Cronin’s team has won all eight of its games in the American Athletic Conference.
15. Florida State (18-4) – The Seminoles are terrific in Tallahassee, but 1-3 on the road in the ACC.
16. UCLA (19-3) – The Bruins need a big weekend on the road in Washington.
17. Notre Dame (17-5) – Mike Brey said that his team is “unpanicked.” Fighting Irish fans hope he’s right after three losses in four games.
18. Duke (16-5) – If you’re a one-seed, are the Blue Devils the four- or five-seed you want to play in the Sweet Sixteen?
19. Northwestern (18-4) – I can’t help it if the rest of the country hasn’t noticed that the Wildcats are a lock to the make the NCAA Tournament.
20. Purdue (17-5) – Road losses to Iowa and Nebraska are not the profile of the Big Ten champion.
21. Butler (18-4) – If you can lose to Indiana State, Georgetown and St. John’s, you can lose to anybody.
22. Saint Mary’s (19-2) – Nothing the Gaels do will matter until their rematch with Gonzaga Feb. 11.
23. South Carolina (17-4) – Several weeks ago Pomeroy had the Gamecocks finishing three games behind UK in the SEC. Now the projected gap is only one game.
24. Florida (16-5) – The Gators will tune up for Kentucky Saturday by hosting Missouri Thursday.
25. SMU (18-4) – Welcome to the Top 25, Mustangs. Unlike Virginia, at least you beat Pittsburgh.
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