Reactions to the Week 4 College Basketball AP Top 25 Poll

    Only six teams maintained their AP Top 25 ranking from last week after the dust settled following a wild Feast Week. There's a new No. 1 team in the

    November 26, 2018

    Only six teams maintained their AP Top 25 ranking from last week after the dust settled following a wild Feast Week. There’s a new No. 1 team in the country, but the top spot in the poll was as contested as you’ll ever see – the No. 2-ranked team only received one fewer first-place vote and just six fewer points in the voting than the No. 1 team.

    Four teams entered this week’s AP Top 25 poll after being unranked last week, including two from the Big 12 and the defending national champions.

    Here are our reactions to the Week 4 college basketball AP Top 25 poll.


    Gonzaga is your new No. 1

    Gonzaga beat then-No. 1 Duke on a neutral court in the Maui Invitational championship game and the Bulldogs took over the top spot in the latest AP Top 25 poll as a result. The Bulldogs’ run to the national championship game in 2017 should’ve ended any national doubt about Gonzaga’s legitimacy as a potential powerbroker in college basketball, but this year’s team reaffirms that notion.

    Gonzaga has been ranked No. 1 in the country in three of the last seven seasons. It entered the 2013 NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed and ranked No. 1 in the AP poll. Four years later (with almost 100 percent roster turnover), the Zags earned another No. 1 seed and held the No. 1 ranking from January 30 to February 26.

    The Bulldogs’ leading scorer this season, forward Rui Hachimura, was the team’s ninth-leading scorer when they made the national championship game and six of the top seven scorers from Gonzaga’s 2017 team have since graduated or jumped to the NBA.

    Through player development, international recruiting, transfers and making use of redshirt years, Gonzaga has arguably entered new territory as a program, even by its own standards as an NCAA tournament staple that plays outside the power structure in college basketball. In the last six seasons, Gonzaga has won at least 32 games, lost fewer than two regular season conference games and earned a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament more times than not.

    Kansas is ranked No. 2, barely missing the No. 1 spot. The Jayhawks received 31 first-place votes to Gonzaga’s 32 and they received 1,584 points to the Bulldogs’ 1,590.


    The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is loaded

    Almost half of the teams in the latest AP Top 25 poll are from the ACC or Big Ten. The ACC can claim No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Virginia, No. 11 North Carolina, No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 15 Florida State. The Big Ten can counter with No. 7 Michigan, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 14 Iowa, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 19 Purdue, No. 22 Wisconsin and No. 24 Maryland.

    The top of the ACC is probably better than the top of the Big Ten, but we’ll learn more about each conference’s potential national title contenders and level of depth after No. 11 North Carolina plays at No. 7 Michigan, No. 4 Virginia hosts No. 24 Maryland, and No. 19 Purdue visits No. 15 Florida State.

    Fourteen ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups featuring 12 ranked teams, including four schools in the top 10, is about as good of an encore to Feast Week as is possible in the college basketball calendar.


    Villanova is back already

    Last week, we wrote how you shouldn’t be surprised to see Villanova back in the AP Top 25 poll, but it only took the Wildcats one week to climb to No. 23 after beating Oklahoma State and No. 14 Florida State.

    Villanova’s next four games are against the other Big 5 schools in Philadelphia – La Salle, Temple, Saint Joseph’s and Penn – so there’s a good chance the Wildcats will enter Allen Fieldhouse on a seven-game winning streak when they face No. 2 Kansas on December 15. At that point, their back-to-back losses to Michigan and Furman might seem like a distant memory.


    The Big 12’s rotating door to the poll continues

    Kansas and Kansas State have been the only two constants for the Big 12 in the AP Top 25 poll through the first month of the season. West Virginia debuted at No. 13 in the preseason but lost at home to Buffalo and promptly dropped out of the polls. TCU started at No. 20, slowly climbed to No. 18 and has since been left out of the latest AP poll after suffering a home loss to Lipscomb.

    However, Texas and Texas Tech have entered the fray. The Longhorns are No. 17 and Red Raiders are No. 20 as both schools are ranked for the first time this season. Texas is 5-1 with a win over North Carolina and Texas Tech is 6-0 with victories against USC and Nebraska.

    The Big 12 is Kansas’ to lose, especially with the uber-talented roster it has this season, given the Jayhawks’ 14 consecutive seasons in which they’ve won at least a share of the regular season title, but the conference’s hierarchy for teams No. 2 through No. 10 is murky.


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