Sunday, November 16, 2014

My first AP Top 25 poll of the season

A win is a win is a win ...

Only one change from my preseason Top 25 ballot to this week's: Harvard, obviously. The Crimson, who at least one national college hoops expert picked to reach the Final Four, got popped by Holy Cross on Sunday. I was leery of the Crimson as Top 25, anyway (they lost some key players from last year's team), but had them at No. 21 preseason. No more.

In their place is Oklahoma, who I didn't have ranked in my preseason poll. A lot of other people did, however, and the Sooners really intrigue me now that Houston transfer Ta'Shawn Thomas, one of the best players in the AAC last year, has been cleared as fully eligible to play this entire season. Great news for Oklahoma. Had Thomas (and Danuel House, who's now at Texas A&M) stayed at Houston under Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars would have NCAA tournament hopes this season.

Otherwise, nothing changes, even if some ranked teams weren't overly impressive in their opening-weekend wins. Like UConn. I fully expect the Huskies to have some early-season struggles, probably lose a game or two that we didn't expect them to lose. It's Kevin Ollie's job to meld the considerable talent he has here into a cohesive unit by the time February and March roll around. Here's betting he gets the job done.

Are the Huskies the 12th-best team in the nation right now? Probably not. But no sense moving them down based solely on a relatively lackluster opening-night win over Bryant. UConn's not alone. Did you see where Kentucky trailed Buffalo at halftime on Sunday, at Rupp Arena? Did you see where Villanova struggled to get by Lehigh? Some good teams are going to struggle early. No sense shuffling things around just yet.

1. Wisconsin
2. Kentucky
3. Arizona
4. Duke
5. Kansas
6. North Carolina
7. Louisville
8. Texas
9. Wichita State
10. Iowa State
11. Villanova
12. UConn
13. Florida
14. Gonzaga
15. Virginia
16. SMU
17. San Diego State
18. Michigan State
19. Virginia Commonwealth
20. Michigan
21. Oklahoma
22. Ohio State
23. Stanford
24. Syracuse
25. Memphis

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