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1. Syracuse (51)
Do they really feel like the best team in the country to you? I would take a handful of teams against them on a neutral court.
This No. 1 ranking is more a product of the schedule and other team’s losses than anything. The Orange are a Top 10 team, not a No. 1 team. Expect them to fall into the pack before too long.
2. Ohio State (7)
Kansas beat Ohio State in what was last week’s biggest Top 25 matchup, and there was almost no effect on the polls. The Buckeyes remained No. 2, while the Jayhawks only moved up one spot to No. 12.
Are voters already that sure of where those two teams deserve to be ranked? I can understand Ohio State not losing too much ground, because they lost to a good team. It’s strange they didn’t lose any, but that has something to do with Kentucky losing as well.
It makes considerably less sense that Kansas gained so little. Surely it is a bigger win than anything Missouri or Marquette has done this season.
3. Kentucky (4)
There’s no shame in the loss to Indiana. They will have plenty of chances to rebound (a basketball pun! I’m so clever!), especially with a massive game against interstate rival Louisville rapidly approaching.
4. Louisville (2)
They beat IUPUI and Fairleigh Dickinson (who’s only been a little Dickinson this year) last week, while UNC beat Evansville and Long Beach State. Inexplicably, they swapped spots in the rankings. Why? No idea.
5. North Carolina (1)
More strangely, this came a week after UNC lost to Kentucky and moved from No. 5 to No. 4. Voters, what are your intentions with the Tar Heels? Why must you keep toying with them? Their fans will worry about these things.
Connecticut played a nationally televised game last week in which people tuned in to see Harvard. How many times will I ever get to write that? (As many as I want, there’s no writing police)
The Gators went to Syracuse and came away with a close loss. The Carrier Dome is a tough place to play (sightlines, etc…), but I have to think it’s a more difficult trip for the Gators than it is for most. You can’t have two areas of the country that are much more diametrically opposed than upstate New York and Gainesville.
17. Mississippi State
When I saw last week that Indiana was undefeated and unranked, I was shocked. Regardless of whom they’ve played, a program with that kind of pedigree is almost always going to be ranked if they are undefeated in the middle of December.
There is a tendency to overvalue programs that have been historically good (see: Notre Dame football for my entire lifetime), and I would expect that to happen for the Hoosiers.
That does not matter though, they earned their way into the rankings with a path that can get just about any decent team into the Top 25 – beating the No. 1 team in the land.
21. Michigan State
22. Texas A&M
24. Murray State
A tie! Looks like it’s the Top 26 this week. How often does that happen? Also, everyone say hi to Murray State. The Racers haven’t been ranked since the ’90s, but expect to see them here for a while. They’re undefeated and the OVC is abysmal this year.