AP Top 25 College Basketball Rankings: Week 14 Takeaways

    AP Top 25 college basketball rankings takeaways from week 14.

    February 8, 2016

    Takeaways from Week 14’s AP Top 25 college basketball rankings.

    The absurd has officially become the norm in college basketball.

    Saturday marked just the seventh time in college basketball history that both the AP No. 1 and No. 2 teams each lost to an unranked opponent on the same day, and no one was even slightly flabbergasted.

    Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Wichita State, Indiana, Providence, Kentucky, South Carolina, SMU and Baylor all fell victim to upsets this past week. Thus, the AP’s Week 14 rankings are as follows:

    1. Villanova (20-3)
    2. Maryland (21-3)
    3. Oklahoma (19-3)
    4. Iowa (19-4)
    5. Xavier (21-2)
    6. Kansas (19-4)
    7. Virginia (19-4)
    8. Michigan State (20-4)
    9. North Carolina (19-4) 
    10. West Virginia (19-4)
    11. Oregon (20-4)
    12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
    13. Louisville (19-4)
    14. Iowa State (17-6)
    15. Texas A&M (18-5)
    16. SMU (20-2)
    17. Arizona (19-5)
    18. Purdue (19-5)
    19. Dayton (19-3)
    20. Providence (18-6)
    21. Baylor (17-6)
    22. Kentucky (17-6)
    23. USC (18-5)
    24. Texas (17-6)
    25. Wichita State (17-6)

    Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats on receiving their first AP No. 1 ranking in school history! That’s a remarkable accomplishment for the Cats, and it’s well deserved.

    There was some heavy debate revolving around the nation’s top spot for Week 14. While Villanova is a fitting recipient, the cases for Maryland and Iowa can be made as well. 

    The Hawkeyes have won 11 of their last 12 games, and all four of their losses have come to RPI Top-30 teams. Neither Villanova, Maryland, nor Oklahoma can boast that statistic. Iowa is also undefeated on their home floor and have four wins over RPI Top-25 teams.

    The one loss the Hawkeyes had in their last 12 games, coincidentally, came at the hands of the team two spots above them: Maryland. The Terrapins are another team that would’ve looked good propped up at the top of the rankings. The Terps are coming off a nice win over Purdue and seem to have it clicking on all cylinders.

    There are some new faces that have jumped up into the AP’s line of sight.

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see Texas crack the Top 25. The Longhorns are more of a menace than most people realize with wins over North Carolina, Iowa State, West Virginia and Baylor. Shaka Smart’s squad still has kinks to smooth out, given the Longhorns’ losses to teams like TCU and Texas Tech, but make no mistake: Texas will be tough to overcome by March.

    USC has also pulled itself back into the polls thanks to two impressive victories over UCLA and an underrated Washington Huskies team. But the problem for the Trojans lies in their trip to the state of Oregon from two weeks ago, where they were handed consecutive losses to the Ducks and the Beavers.

    The Trojans face a similar challenge this week in their venture to the desert, where they battle the Arizona State Sun Devils and No. 17 Arizona Wildcats. Will they endure the same fate as their road trip to the Beaver State, or can USC prove this new ranking isn’t a fluke?

    After an expected heavy shift in the rankings, it’s safe to once again expect no less this week with a full slate of top-notch college basketball ahead. Break out the calendars and pull the red sharpie out of the couch cushions.

    West Virginia vs Kansas, Tuesday

    Rock Chalk is going to be alive and well come Tuesday night.

    Back on January 13th, West Virginia took down the then-No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks in Morgantown, W. Va.. And you better believe that the sting of an upset is still fresh in the minds of the Jayhawk faithful.

    Kansas is hungry for revenge, and Allen Fieldhouse is going to be ready to explode in what should be one of the best games this month. The key for the Jayhawks this time around will come at the charity stripe. In its last matchup, West Virginia outscored Kansas, 33-13, at the free throw line.

    It doesn’t need to be overtly stated to know this free throw differential is colossal and was key in leading the Mountaineers to the upset. Don’t expect Perry Ellis and Kansas to stumble that badly this time around.

    Kansas vs Oklahoma, Saturday

    Yikes, what a week for Kansas. Consecutive games against two of the nation’s best teams is a daunting assignment for anyone to handle.

    But if there’s a team capable of doing it, it’s the Jayhawks.

    This is the third time this year Kansas will face two ranked teams in a row. The Jayhawks no stranger to these types of challenges, so don’t expect them to fold in Norman, Okla.

    That being said, the Sooners are still the favorite in this matchup, given they have home-court advantage and have yet to lose a game in the Lloyd Noble Center. Combine that with the possibility of fatigue from Kansas’ wild schedule, and the Sooners are looking pretty good.

    Gonzaga vs SMU, Saturday

    Yes, SMU is not eligible to participate in March Madness. Yes, Gonzaga has not come close to living up to its preseason hype and is sitting outside the Top 25. However, this is one of the best games of the week.

    Think about what’s on the line here.

    The Mustangs have made it clear they won’t let the March Madness ban negate their desire to dominate their competition. The Zags, meanwhile, are in serious danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 17 years and are sitting firmly on the bubble.

    Mark Few’s squad is in desperate need of a signature victory to stamp at the top of its resume. The WCC auto-bid is far from a guarantee for the Bulldogs, who have already fallen victim to BYU and Saint Mary’s this season.

    This is one of the final opportunities for Gonzaga to send a message. A road win over a highly-ranked SMU team would work wonders for the Zags’ tourney odds and may just save them in case things don’t swing their way in the WCC Tournament.

    MORE: AP Top 25 Look Ahead: What Each Team Faces In Week 14


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