AP Top 25 College Basketball Rankings: Week 11 Takeaways

    AP Top 25 college basketball rankings, reactions and takeaways from Week 11.

    January 18, 2016

    Raise your hand if you had the Clemson Tigers going 5-1 to start ACC play and upsetting three of the nation’s best teams in a row.

    (crickets)

    That sounds about right.

    Clemson has pulled off consecutive wins over Florida State, Syracuse, No. 16 Louisville, No. 9 Duke and No. 8 Miami. A combination of clutch shooting and suffocating defense has brought the Tigers into the national conversation.

    Against the Cardinals, Clemson had eight steals, seven blocks, and forced 17 turnovers. And it was no fluke. Duke and Miami each had 13 turnovers against the Tigers as well.

    Despite this impressive string of victories, the AP poll excluded the Tigers from this week’s rankings because of the team’s six losses on the year, which is more than fair, although the Tigers are receiving votes. Don’t be shocked to see the Tigers jump into the polls if these performances continue.

    Below is the AP Top 25 rankings for Week 11.

    1. Oklahoma (15-1)
    2. North Carolina (16-2)
    3. Kansas (15-2)
    4. Villanova (16-2)
    5. Xavier (16-1)
    6. West Virginia (15-2)
    7. Maryland (16-2)
    8. SMU (17-0)
    9. Iowa (14-3)
    10. Texas A&M (15-2)
    11. Michigan State (16-3)
    12. Arizona (15-3)
    13. Virginia (13-4)
    14. Baylor (14-3)
    15. Miami (13-3)
    16. Providence (15-3)
    17. Louisville (14-3)
    18. Butler (13-4)
    19. Iowa State (13-4)

    20. Duke (14-4)
    21. USC (15-3)
    22. Purdue (15-3)
    23. Kentucky (13-4)
    24. South Carolina (16-1)
    25. Indiana (15-3)

    As expected, we have our fifth newcomer this year to take over that top slot. The Oklahoma Sooners, who picked up a victory over West Virginia this past week, are No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1990. Between Baker Mayfield and now Buddy Hield, Sooner Nation is truly living the best of both worlds.

    Sticking to the Big 12, let’s talk about the Mountaineers. West Virginia jumped up six spots after nearly making history last week. Once they defeated former No. 1 Kansas, the Mountaineers came within inches of upsetting former No. 2 Oklahoma – this would’ve marked the first time anyone has picked up back-to-back wins over the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country during the regular season since Kansas did so in the 1989-90 season.

    But WVU came up just short, falling to the Sooners, 70-68. Regardless, the Mountaineers have proven that they’re a legitimate threat and can compete with anyone in college hoops.

    The newest teams to the pack here are the Indiana Hoosiers and USC Trojans. Indiana catapulted into that final spot by remaining perfect in Big Ten conference play and looking very impressive while doing so. USC, on the other hand, has joined the AP rankings for the first time since 2008 after the thrilling quadruple overtime victory over Arizona and beat down of rival UCLA.

    It was a wild week of college basketball with a large amount of fluctuation in the rankings, and this upcoming week is sure to have just as much excitement and uncertainty.

    With that said, it’s time to pull out the red marker and color up those calendars.


    Clemson vs Virginia, Tuesday

    Clemson’s three consecutive wins over ranked opponents has set a new school record, but can the Tigers keep it going against their fourth ranked opponent in a row?

    They’re absolutely capable of keeping the momentum going, but can they do it outside of Greenville, S.C.? Those three wins over ranked foes have all come on the Tigers’ home floor. They were able to squeeze out a one-point victory over Syracuse in a raucous Carrier Dome environment, but will they buckle under some intense pressure from the Hoo Crew? We’ll have to wait and see.

    Regardless, it’s refreshing to see a basketball program on the rise for a school that is regularly regarded as a football-heavy institution.


    Butler vs Providence, Tuesday

    Two of the country’s top offenses square off for the second time this season. In their previous matchup, which opened up Big East conference play, Providence used a huge second-half rally to overtake Butler after facing an 11-point halftime deficit.

    Rodney Bullock had a career night for the Friars in their previous matchup, while Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil performed at their usual high-octane levels. But the key for Providence’s victory was the defense behind the arc. The Friars held Butler, one of the nation’s most dynamic offensive teams, to 17.6 percent from downtown — an accomplishment not boasted by many.

    The Bulldogs, clearly, cannot allow that to happen again. Don’t anticipate another slow performance from the floor for Butler. They’re going to be hungry for revenge after that showing in Hinkle Fieldhouse.


    Maryland vs Michigan State, Saturday

    This game has certainly lost some luster after the Spartans lost back-to-back contests against Iowa and Wisconsin — even with Denzel Valentine in the lineup. But that doesn’t mean Maryland is the clear favorite.

    Remember, the Terrapins’ loss to Michigan proved that this team is, indeed, still human. But it’s Maryland’s rebound performance over Ohio State that has opponents shaking in their boots. The Terps defeated the Buckeyes, 100-65, handing Ohio State its worst loss in the Thad Matta era.

    What’s even scarier is Melo Trimble, the Terps’ best player, was held scoreless in the second half. Maryland dropped 52 points in that 20-minute span without a single basket from its star guard. If that doesn’t scream versatility and a deadly offense, what does?

    Maryland looks strong heading into Saturday. Michigan State, meanwhile, is angry and starving to regain some ground after a rough week. Expect a closely fought shootout between two of the best teams college basketball has to offer.


    MORE: NCAA Basketball Rankings, Week 11: Power 32

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