This week's AP Top 25 ballot
While the teams at the very top of men’s college basketball made things easy on us AP Top 25 voters this week, the rest of the ballot fell into a beautiful flux.
Why do I say beautiful? Because that’s the game and that’s what makes it great. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on a team, the situation changes. These are kids, ages 18-21, not robots.
So that’s why Wisconsin and Ohio State can fall from the top five to out of the polls and are now worthy of inclusion once again (see below at No. 21 and No. 22).
Duke suffered those inexplicable losses at Notre Dame and Clemson a month ago. I dropped the Blue Devils off my ballot one week.
But since then, Duke has played like a top-10 team by winning seven of eight games – with three of the wins on the road. So that’s where I have the Blue Devils once again.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is the victim of a break in tradition. I don’t normally drop teams out when they win. But the Panthers are not playing good basketball now. Anyone who watched their double-overtime win at home against last-place Virginia Tech can see that.
Bottom line: I gave Pitt the benefit of the doubt on last week’s ballot, keeping them in despite losing to Duke and Virginia. Call this week a market correction.
Also at the bottom of the ballot, I didn’t pound Gonzaga and UConn for suffering losses last week. Both were to teams ranked above them in the poll (UConn lost to Cincinnati, the Zags dropped a tough one at Memphis).
Speaking of Cincinnati, the Bearcats are out of my top 10 after SMU drubbed them on Saturday in Dallas. That impressive performance, along with a season full of solid play, earned Larry Brown’s SMU team a spot at No. 25.
Here is the full ballot that I turned into the Associated Press last night:
4. Wichita State
5. San Diego State
9. Michigan State
10. Iowa State
11. Saint Louis
22. Ohio State