Fourth Quarter Sports’ College Basketball power rankings: Week 11
After we got to see several new teams make it into the top 25 last week, we also saw them lose and knock themselves out again. If you missed last week’s rankings, you can see them here.
You will notice I placed St. John’s, Iowa State and Minnesota in my top 25. The top 25 that was released had TCU instead of Minnesota, and I only left them off this week because I wanted to see what they would have done against some stiff Big XII opponents like Oklahoma and Kansas. You can read more about that here.
How did TCU do? Well, they lost both games and will not be making an appearance on this week’s rankings either. But they aren’t the only ones to have lost their last two games. Iowa State, St. John’s, Indiana, Ohio State and Mississippi State have all lost two or more games over the past few weeks.
Let me also tell you that North Carolina, Houston and Florida State have also lost this week. North Carolina lost to an unranked Louisville team who’s been struggling. Houston took their first loss of the season to Temple on Wednesday and struggled against Wichita State in another loss… Florida State lost a nail-biter with the Duke Blue Devils after they were able to hold down R.J. Barrett and cause an injury to Zion Williamson.
But let’s see how all these losses will affect the rankings this week. Who’s in and who’s out?
- Duke (14-1)
- Michigan (17-0)
- Virginia (15-0)
- Tennessee (14-1)
- Virginia Tech (14-1)
- Michigan State (15-2)
- Gonzaga (16-2)
- Kansas (14-2)
- Texas Tech (15-1)
- North Carolina State (14-2)
- Mississippi State (12-3)
- Florida State (13-3)
- Kentucky (12-3)
- Nevada (16-1)
- Oklahoma (13-3)
- Mississippi (13-2)
- North Carolina (12-4)
- Marquette (14-3)
- Houston (16-1)
- Buffalo (15-1)
- Maryland (14-3)
- Minnesota (13-3)
- Auburn (12-3)
- Iowa (13-3)
- Temple (13-3)
On the Bubble
UCF, Cincinnati, South Florida, Louisville, Kansas State, Villanova, Nebraska, Arizona and LSU
Dropped from the Rankings
Iowa State, St. John’s, Ohio State and Indiana
Top 25 Breakdown
Numbers One through Five
After having a great comeback win over Florida State, I think it’s only fitting we put Duke in the No. 1 spot this week. I haven’t fallen for the big names like R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson on the Duke squad to give them the top spot weeks ago. However, with Williamson leaving the game with an apparent eye injury and Barrett being played extra tight, the game came down to the rest of the team to keep the streak alive. I’ll talk more about that in the weekly preview when we get to see Duke play No. 3 ranked Virginia this week.
Now that will be something to keep an eye on. Virginia has only fallen because of the strength of schedule, but this week they put their undefeated record on the line against two top five opponents, Duke and Virginia Tech. After watching Louisville beat North Carolina with ease, all eyes are on the ACC as we finally get into conference play.
Michigan and Tennessee also earned their right to remain in the top five. They both lead their conference and don’t look to give it up so soon. This week will be another good week for both teams, as they continue to prove they are one of the best teams in the nation. Can Michigan and Virginia remain undefeated?
Numbers Six through 10
All these teams won important games last week to keep themselves ranked. Both Kansas and North Carolina State have benefited from losses by previously ranked top 10 teams.
Despite NC State’s loss to in-state rival North Carolina, they managed to rebound against a pretty decent Pittsburgh team. That’s why I put them in the top 10.
Michigan State, Gonzaga and Texas Tech are also continuing to win games that are important to their season. Most of which are conference games, which we know are very important.
Both Michigan State and Texas Tech will look to have another conference opponent who has once been ranked and would love to knock them down.
Kansas and NC State will also be looking to add another win over a conference opponent.
Numbers 11 through 15
This is where things start to get interesting. If you take a look back at last week’s rankings, you’ll notice that I had both Florida State and Mississippi State in the top 10. That was until they both lost their last two games, which gives them both three losses on the season.
But I’m not going to drop them completely down in rankings because they have been strong teams. Florida State has lost to both Virginia and Duke, who are two of the top three teams in the nation. Mississippi State lost to in-state rival Mississippi, who has beaten No. 23 Auburn as well.
Kentucky and Oklahoma have both lost a game, but quickly rebounded. If it wasn’t for Kentucky’s win over North Carolina, I might have left them off the rankings, but even UNC remains in the rankings for another week. But until then, let’s watch some of the teams on the bubble.
Oklahoma proved they are still a team to be taken seriously. They beat TCU last week, who was ranked by the committee, but should’ve never been there.
The question also raises whether or not Nevada has proven themselves. They did manage to beat conference rival Fresno State and rebound from their loss to New Mexico the week prior. We will continue to watch them as the season progresses to see how well they play. Could they make their way back into the top 10?
Numbers 16 through 20
Mississippi has picked up wins over both Auburn and Mississippi in their last two games, which has landed them a spot in the top 25. I personally think they are worthy of a top 20 ranking with the way they have been playing. It’s actually quite surprising as to how they and so many other SEC teams are playing so well. Over the years it’s been all about Kentucky and the rest of the SEC, but this year could be anybody. It’s a field right now, and yes the ACC and Big Ten are favored early on, but we could see a lot more surprises.
Another surprise is North Carolina and their four losses. They still haven’t been able to beat the better opponents, besides Gonzaga, who let one split after a loss earlier. If you have been following along, you should know who the Tar Heels have lost too. If not, let me tell again. They lost to Texas, Michigan, Kentucky and Louisville. Texas was ranked at the time, but you see all the big name teams they have lost too.
It’s a bit of a shocker that UNC has struggled like this, but they still have half a season left and important conference games against Virginia, Duke, Florida State and Virginia Tech. Those could be pivotal games to their season, so let’s see how they finish.
Marquette and Buffalo have continued to rebound from their losses a few weeks ago, but are looking for more help to get back into the top 15. They have both been pushed up in the rankings with the consecutive losses by Ohio State and Iowa State that took them out of the rankings.
Though Marquette and Buffalo got help from other teams, Houston should’ve helped themselves. However, they got their first loss of the season this week against Temple, which is why they have fallen. Houston does look to continue their great season and finish in the top 25, but their schedule is getting tougher, so don’t be surprised if we see them fall out.
Numbers 21 through 25
Three of these last five spots in the top 25 belong to the Big Ten. We have seen both Maryland and Iowa here before, but with bad losses, they have dropped out.
Honestly, it was a tough decision to take Iowa out of the top 25 last week, because they had been playing well. Their losses came against top 25 opponents; that’s why I put them back in the rankings.
Maryland and Minnesota have continued to prove they are ready for the Big Ten. They look to keep it going as they face the tougher opponents in the conference.
Speaking of tough conferences, let’s take a look at Auburn and what has happened to them lately! Auburn has lost two of their last five games, which has dropped them in the rankings each time. Their last loss against Mississippi is their worst of the season so far. They will need to prove they are still worthy of being in the top 25 in this week’s pair of games against Texas A&M and Kentucky.
Temple is another surprise team in the top 25. With them being the only team to beat the Houston Cougars thus far, it was a simple decision. Temple has been one of those teams on the bubble for the past few weeks, but we should expect Temple to stay in the top 25 for a while, or at least until they get their chance to beat conference opponents like Cincinnati and Houston again.
Until then, we will be looking forward to see if the same teams are in the top 25 next week. Who will rise? Who will fall? Can one of the bubble teams make their case for a top 25 spot? Stay tuned next week and see who’s in and out of the top 25. Also, share who you believe should be in the top 25 based on what you’ve seen this season!