A huge week in college basketball headlined by upsets, young teams starting to hit stride, and ranked matchups made for a difficult job ranking the top 25. Another week, however, gives us a larger sample size of games, allowing for us to sort out some of those hot takes we had from the first week. Still, a lot of uncertainty remains. "Is this team really not good, or did they just run into a tough matchup?" "Is this team for real, or did they just have a good shooting night?" "Does this team still have room to grow, or is this close to what the final product is going to look like?" Let's begin.
#1 - UCLA (Previously 1)
UCLA began the season as my number 1 team based off of roster alone. Nothing they have done to this point has given me any reason to take them away from this spot. They beat and impressive Villanova team and dominated the other low major teams they played against. The #1 spot will be up for the taking this week as UCLA takes on...
#2 - Gonzaga (2)
The UCLA-Gonzaga matchup winner will be given the Sak Top 25 #1 crown the following week. These two teams have both played themselves into the top 2 slots this season, and are more of a 1a and 1b rather than a 1 and 2. You could honestly rank them in either order, but I think UCLA's guard play is better, and I believe that is a bigger factor than bigs in today's college basketball, sot the Bruins get the nod over the Bulldogs.
#3 - Purdue (7)
The Boilermakers are legit. Matt Painter has his team playing easily like the best team in the Big 10 right now. Jadey Ivey and Zach Edey are showing why they have both been hyped up all off season as they are playing like 2 of the best players in the entire country. Trevion Williams is also showing why he is one of the best teammates in all of college basketball, as the preseason All American candidate has accepted and is thriving in a 6th man role off of the bench.
#4 - Duke (6)
Paolo Banchero, Trevor Keels, and Wendell Moore Jr are showing that their breakout games against Kentucky were not a fluke as they continued to play well in their 4 victories following the UK matchup. They will have another difficult contest this week as they take on Gonzaga in a neutral site matchup in Las Vegas.
#5 - Memphis (9)
This may be "too high, too soon" for the Tigers, as they have not played in a ranked match up yet this year. But they have absolutely passed the Sak eye test so far. Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren have looked like two of the best freshmen in the country, and all of their veterans have done a great job complimenting their young stars. I think St Louis is a reasonably solid opponent and they handles them pretty easily. We will find out much more about Penny's team once they play some tougher competition, or even road games, but they get a top 5 spot off of eye test and potential alone right now.
#6 - Illinois (3)
Regardless of circumstance, an unranked loss always warrants a deduction of couple ranking spots. But a 1 point loss on the road where your best player is wrongly suspended and your second best player has the worst game of his career which he will not repeat is not terrible. I expect the Illini to start looking like the team I projected them to be now that Kofi Cockburn is back.
#7 - Kansas (5)
I don't really have much to say about Kansas at this point. I had them around here to start, and they only played 3 games, none of which against good competition, so I can't really move them in either direction yet. Some of the other teams who actually impressed me this week took a leap over them, dropping them a couple slots.
#8 - Villanova (4)
I didn't want to drop Villanova at all because I still believe they are a final four caliber team. Plus, their only 2 losses came to top teams in UCLA and Purdue. But it wasn't fair to put a two loss team above a bunch of other deserving no loss teams.
#9 - Kentucky (12)
Kentucky beat a tournament team in Ohio by 18 in which they had 2 backcourt players out to injury and 2 more get into very questionable foul trouble. Facing adversity and overcoming it to dominate a legitimate opponent shows a very positive characteristic in this year's Kentucky team. Freshman TyTy Washington is starting to hit his stride, while veteran transfers Oscar Tshiebwe and Sahvir Wheeler are continuing to play like some of the best players in the country.
#10 - BYU (Unranked)
It was wrong for me to have this BYU team unranked. Admittedly, they should have been in the 13-18ish range the past couple weeks. A 32 point road victory over a ranked Oregon team shows just how legitimate of a threat Mark Pope's team is this year.
#11 - Texas (10)
#12 - Baylor (11)
#13 - Alabama (15)
#14 - Seton Hall (Unranked)
#15 - St Bonaventure (Unranked)
#16 - Michigan (8)
#17 - Arkansas (16)
#18 - Tennessee (17)
#19 - Texas Tech (20)
#20 - Auburn (18)
#21 - Houston (21)
#22 - Oregon (13)
#23 - Arizona (Unranked)
#24 - UConn (24)
#25 - Florida (25)