Week 4 of the 2013-14 college basketball campaign was yet another good one, with top teams falling, upsets galore and plenty of reason to tune in during the various upcoming holiday tournaments.
The latest edition of the Associated Press Top 25 poll is out and should help fans make some sense of how the college basketball landscape looks after such a hectic holiday weekend.
Let’s take a peek at the latest rankings and recap how the voters came to a consensus below.
|Week 5 Associated Press Top 25 Poll|
|1||Michigan State (63)||7-0||1623||1|
|24||San Diego State||5-1||150||NR|
Michigan State retains the top spot after an easy week. The Spartans knocked out Mount St. Mary’s ahead of their Dec. 4 showdown with UNC, although the Tar Heels disappointingly fell out of the rankings after a loss to unheralded UAB on Sunday night.
Kansas plummeted from the No. 2 spot in the polls all the way down to No. 6. The Jayhawks simply couldn’t get it done against Villanova, even with superstar Andrew Wiggins leading the way.
Taking KU’s place behind MSU is Arizona. The Wildcats proved themselves in Week 4, picking up yet another quality win—this time over Duke—and moved to No. 2 in the rankings. The Blue Devils dropped down the polls after the loss, finally coming to a halt at No. 10.
Arizona credits its success to versatility and depth, as point guard T.J. McConnell told ESPN's Andy Katz. "We're a complete team," McConnell said. "We can guard at every position. Not just one player is trying to score for us."
Katz says those qualities make Arizona one of the early national championship favorites.
Kentucky continued to rebound from its early-season loss in the Champions Classic. The No. 3 Wildcats saw an easy slate of opponents but handled their business over the past seven days, as their narrowest margin of victory was seven points.
Sophomore big man Willie Cauley-Stein had a big night against Providence, nearly putting up a triple-double (15 points, eight rebounds, nine blocks) in the contest. He told reporters after the game that his team has been playing quite well as of late and his ability to block shots is improving, per the Associated Press (via UKAthletics.com).
"The last couple games it's been pretty good. I think I'm just more aware," Cauley-Stein said. "Before I was hesitant on going after the ball. Now I'm going. Coach said, 'Don't worry about it, just go block every ball.'"
Ohio State's ascension up the Top 25 was not to be stopped. The Buckeyes obliterated Wyoming and North Florida this past week and should be able to remain undefeated through Week 5. They come in at No. 5 this week.
Oklahoma State and Memphis met for a rematch of a blowout contest that took place on Nov. 19. The Tigers took their revenge on the Pokes for that 101-80 thrashing and managed to put together a 73-68 victory in the Old Spice Classic title game.
Rounding out the Top 10 this week are No. 4 Syracuse, No. 7 Louisville and No. 8 Wisconsin, all of whom had quiet, undefeated weeks against subpar opponents, with the notable exception of the Orange's win over Baylor.
Creighton had a tough holiday weekend, as the former No. 20 team lost to San Diego State on Friday and George Washington on Sunday night.
Aside from Creighton and North Carolina, Marquette also slipped out of the Top 25. The Golden Eagles, Tar Heels and Bluejays have been replaced by No. 14 Villanova, the No. 24 Aztecs and No. 25 Dayton.
It was a wild week for college basketball, filled with plenty of upset, intrigue and more. That should only ramp up as the 2013-14 season rolls along and inches closer to what should be an epic March Madness.