It was a big week for sports fans, as we had a week full of exciting games. Not just in college basketball, but the NBA, NFL and College Football.
What sport did you focus on this week? I hope you were able to get a little bit of all of them. If not the Men’s College Basketball, then how about the Women’s? Thursday night’s breaking news was that the UConn women lost their first game in the regular season in 162 games. This doesn’t often happen, if at all. To read more about it, click here.
We’ve also seen a lot of losses by top 25 teams, which will result in significant changes to the rankings, as you can see in yesterday’s power rankings — teams like Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Marquette.
There were a few other teams who lost this week and have dropped down in the rankings as well. Those teams are Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan/Indiana. Most of them still have a chance to stay in. Let’s see what games are in store this week and how important the games are for some teams. Will St. John’s be given a chance to join the top 25 after winning big against Marquette? Can Iowa State after beating Kansas? Maybe they’ll need to prove themselves one more week? How about Minnesota’s win over Wisconsin? How does that impact those teams?
Monday, Jan. 7th
There were no games of importance scheduled yesterday. It made sense because all the college fans will be setting their eyes on the National Championship in college football between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers. Don’t worry, all basketball games will resume today, and we have a handful of exciting ones!
Tuesday, Jan. 8th
Maryland (12-3) versus Minnesota (12-2):
This is a game that could help the winner land themselves into the top 25, if they haven’t been placed there already. When you read the rankings, you’ll see that I have put Minnesota in the top 25 after their win over Wisconsin. Maryland was once in the top 25, but they fell out after losing pivotal games earlier in the season. This is another crucial game for Maryland, as they look to make their way back into the rankings.
Tennessee (12-1) versus Missouri (9-3):
Although Missouri isn’t ranked, they are still having a good season. They have won six out of their last seven games and want to prove they can be a force in the SEC. There is no better way to show that than by taking out the top team in the SEC. It would also give them the attention of the committee and might provide them with a chance to be ranked.
Toledo (12-2) versus Buffalo (13-1):
Both of these teams are looking to be the best team in the MAC. Buffalo has proven they can compete with some of the best competition. But Toledo is out to show they can too. They will need a nice win after losing Ball State Friday. Toledo needs this win if they want to be recognized in the MAC as one of the teams who could make the tourney. If Buffalo were to lose, they’d probably be out of the top 25. They wouldn’t want that, so you know they’ll be working hard.
St. John’s (14-1) versus Villanova (11-4)
St. John’s has earned their spot into the top 25 this week after beating Marquette. St. John’s has played really well all season thus far. Their only loss came from Seton Hall two weeks ago, which is why it’s taken them longer to get in the top 25. Villanova has continued to struggle and could really use a conference game like this to help give them their confidence back. If Villanova wins, St. John’s appearance on the top 25 will be short-lived, but let’s hope they could both get what they want.
North Carolina (11-3) versus North Carolina State (13-1)
NC State has been a surprise this season. I didn’t expect them to have been this good so early in the season, but they have earned their way into the top 25 and plan to stay there. I think that whether NC State wins or losses, they will still be ranked, but that’s not what they want. They want to prove to themselves they can hang with the best in the ACC. What better way to do that than taking down their in-state rival, UNC?
For UNC, it’s about continuing to climb up the rankings after struggling earlier this season. If the Tar Heels were to a lose against NC State, they would fall down again.
Oklahoma (12-2) versus Texas Tech (13-1)
Oklahoma lost to conference rival Kansas last week, but they are still in the top 25 for now. If they want to stay there, they will need to beat Texas Tech. This is going to be a tough week for the Sooners, because not only are they facing Texas Tech, but they also have another big game on Saturday. So how will they fare against the top teams in their conference? Let’s see what happens! Texas Tech wants to continue proving their loss to Duke was just an off day for the team as they look ahead for a higher spot in the rankings!
Wednesday, Jan. 9th
Auburn (11-2) versus Mississippi (10-2)
Mississippi is another team you might see ranked this week, or they might have to use this game against Auburn as the reason why they should be. It’s going to be an interesting game for these two SEC teams who are looking to take advantage of the conference before having to face Kentucky and Tennessee. Auburn is still looking to rebound from their loss to NC State that has dropped them in the rankings. A big win like this could be the fuel to the roar of the Tigers.
Marquette (11-3) versus Creighton (10-5)
Marquette was looking hot over the past few weeks, as they beat some stiff opponents like Buffalo and Wisconsin, which has helped earn their way into the top 25. The loss to St. John’s last week might have hurt them a little bit, but we could expect to see them fight for the right to be in the top. However, Creighton is no joke, despite their five loss record. They have been able to maintain a chance at the top in their conference. But let’s see if Marquette can rebound and start a new run.
Houston (14-0) versus Temple (10-3)
How long can Houston stay undefeated? Could this be the week they get their first loss? It is very possible with their opponent being Temple. Temple has also been one of those teams many of us don’t pay close attention too, but maybe we should. Don’t let the three losses fool you. This Temple team could give Houston a hard time.
TCU (12-1) versus Kansas (12-2)
Kansas is trying to rebound from the loss to Iowa State. A win over a one-loss TCU team, it could happen. Kansas wants to be back at the top of the rankings. They would need help from the other teams in front of them, like Duke, Virginia and Tennessee if they even want that chance. TCU is also out to prove they belong in the top 25. With a win over Kansas, they will prove that. They also have another big conference game against Oklahoma on Saturday. That may be a knockout game, so let’s see if TCU can win and earn a top 25 spot.
Virginia (13-0) versus Boston College (9-4)
Virginia is still undefeated and still in the top five of the rankings. I have left them at No. 1 spot because of their schedule. With their next opponent being a good Boston College team, this game might be tougher than you think. Boston College is looking for a chance to be in the top 25, and this win will do just that! Or will it? Boston College has four losses on the season. It might be hard to want to put them in the top 25 with that, but nonetheless, this will be a big win for Boston College when it comes time to pick teams for the tourney.
Thursday, Jan. 10th
There are no games of interest on Thursday, besides maybe Nebraska taking on Penn State, but it is not a game that we’d focus too much time on. Neither one of the teams are even being ranked this week.
Friday, Jan. 11th
Indiana (12-3) versus Maryland (12-3)
This is the only game of importance on Friday, regardless of Wisconsin playing Purdue. Again, Wisconsin and their four losses are no longer ranked. Purdue hasn’t been since week three, so no need to spend time on that game.
Instead, Indiana will look to continue making an impact in the Big 12 despite their loss to Michigan this past Sunday. For me, it was easy to keep Indiana ranked because two of their three losses were against two of the top teams in the nation, Duke and Michigan. A win against Maryland will give them another week to be ranked, but if Maryland can beat them, they could switch places.
Saturday, Jan. 12th
Louisville (9-4) versus North Carolina (11-3)
After a tough game with NC State, North Carolina will look to remain in the top 15. Whether the Tar Heels beat NC State or not, this game will still be important for them in terms of the ACC. It is also important for Louisville, who is still trying to prove they are one of the teams that others should be worried about on their schedule.
North Carolina State (13-1) versus Pittsburgh (10-4)
Like UNC, NC State will be looking climb up the rankings. If they were to lose against the Tar Heels, they would still be ranked, but losing to Pittsburgh as well would knock them out of the rankings altogether. Pittsburgh is looking to be a spoiler for NC State and help hold them back this season.
Kansas State (10-4) versus Iowa State (12-2)
The Cyclones had an impressive win over the Kansas Jay Hawks, which has earned them a spot into the top 25. They are looking to take care of the other team from the State of Kansas, as they climb up the rankings and prove they are one of the better teams in the Big 12. There are plenty of games left, but now that they are ranked in the top 25, they are looking to continue climbing upward.
TCU (12-1) versus Oklahoma (12-2)
After a tested battle game with Kansas, TCU gets to face another top 25 team in Oklahoma. This is the primary reason why I left TCU off the rankings this week despite their one loss. While that and their schedule has been easier than others, so this is a prove it to me week for TCU. If they win one of these two games, I’ll give them the chance to be a top 25 team. The thing that sucks the most, is that if Oklahoma were to lose, they’d be out too.
Texas Tech (13-1) versus Texas (9-4)
Texas Tech has proven they belong in the top 25 week by week. Their only loss was against Duke, who doesn’t look like they are going to slow down. Tech doesn’t look like they want to slow down either. They are hoping to be the best team in the Big 12. A game against a struggling in-state rival like Texas could be a great way to continue their streak.
Duke (12-1) versus Florida State (12-2)
This is one of the few top 25 versus top 25 games we have this week. In fact, it’s actually going to be a top 15 game. Duke is aiming to be the best team in the nation, and they have the resume to do so. The only loss on the season for Duke thus far is Gonzaga. For Florida State, their losses were Villanova and Virginia. Both of these teams deserve to be in the top. They are both seeking to be the top teams in the ACC as well. Unfortunately, Florida State has already lost a conference game and wouldn’t want to fall down even more.
Ohio State (12-2) versus Iowa (12-3)
Both of these teams lost last week and have dropped in the rankings. Iowa’s loss has knocked them out of the top 25, while Ohio State’s loss just knocked them down. If Ohio State were to lose, they might knock themselves out of the top 25. Iowa will be looking for their own way to get back into the top 25 as things get closer and closer to tournament time.
Tennessee (12-1) versus Florida (8-4)
With Tennessee remaining top three in the nation, they have a huge target on their back. They also have two games against SEC conference opponents. Without knowing the results for their game against Missouri, we’ll assume that Tennessee will come prepared for Florida.
Nevada (14-1) versus Fresno State (10-3)
Nevada took a big drop in the standings after losing to New Mexico by 27 points this past Saturday night. I knew that was going to a tough game for Nevada, but I was not expecting them to lose that bad. That loss pushed them out of the top 15, and they will need to rebound from that game. A win over Fresno State should help them stay in the top 25, but if they were to lose this game, we’d likely see them fall out. It would be a big win for Fresno State, but they won’t be getting ranked from it.
Sunday, Jan. 13th
Villanova (11-4) versus Creighton (10-5)
Sunday is like Friday in the sense that there aren’t any games of importance. You could say this Villanova and Creighton game is the best game on Sunday, but neither team will be in the mix for the rankings just yet. Villanova has lost twice to teams they had no business losing to in the first place. Creighton hasn’t been able to find a way to win games against the big teams yet, so maybe this game against Villanova will help them with that.
Other games going on are between teams with more than four losses. We’ve got Butler/Xavier, Michigan/Northwestern and Michigan State/Penn State. Besides Michigan and Michigan State, who are both ranked in the top eight, these games aren’t that appealing.
So let’s see where we end up this week. Will we see a new No. 1 team in the rankings, or will it be much of the same? Comment on which games you think are important and who might be on upset alert!