#1 – Villanova (12-0) — No Change
Villanova’s unblemished resume features wins over Gonzaga and Tennessee, and they’ve won every game the past month by double digits.
#2 – Michigan State (12-1) — No Change
Because yes, head to head doesn’t mean everything, Michigan State is ranked ahead of Duke. The Spartans own wins over North Carolina and Notre Dame.
#3 – Duke (12-1) — Up 2
Duke might have the most talented team in the country, but they also own the worst loss of any team in the top eight.
#4 – Texas A&M (11-1) — Up 2
Texas A&M’s opening day victory over the Mountaineers keeps them ranked ahead of West Virginia. The Aggies also hold wins over Oklahoma State, Penn State, and USC (on the road).
#5 – West Virginia (11-1) — Up 2
West Virginia fell off the national radar after getting killed by Texas A&M on the first day of the season, but since, they won the AdvoCare Invitational and beat Virginia.
#6 – Virginia (11-1) — Up 2
Virginia is probably the least talked about elite team in the country this year. They’re ranked #3 in KenPom, and the ‘Cavs only loss is by single digits on the road to West Virginia.
#7 – Arizona State (12-0) — Up 2
Arizona State keeps slowly creeping up. I’m still not fully bought into the Sun Devils and their #122 ranked defense as national title contenders, but you can’t doubt their resume to this point.
#8 – Oklahoma (10-1) — Up 7
Trae Young has received a crazy amount of press, but unlike Ben Simmons or Markelle Fultz, the team he plays for isn’t bad. The Sooners own perhaps the best trio of road wins in the country: @ Oregon, @ Wichita State, and @ USC.
#9 – Purdue (12-2) — Up 5
The Boilermakers are ranked top five in both KenPom and Sagarin, with wins over Marquette, Arizona, Maryland, and Butler, they deserve to be the highest ranked two-loss team.
#10 – Kansas (10-2) — Up 7
I’m a little skeptical of Kansas. The loss to KenPom #131 Washington scares me, and their only top-notch win is to a Kentucky team I think is a little overrated.
#11 – Xavier (12-1) — No Change
Wins against Baylor, Cincinnati, and @ Wisconsin make up for a loss to Arizona State that looks much better now than it did back in November.
#12 – TCU (12-0) — Up 4
The Horned Frogs are undefeated, but with a strength of schedule of #220, I can’t justify moving them into the top ten.
#13 – North Carolina (11-2) — Down 10
You can’t lose to Wofford and expect not to drop ten spots. With a game against Virginia upcoming on January 6th, they can earn some credibility back.
#14 – Creighton (10-2) — Up 7
Creighton’s only losses are to top-25 teams, and the Bluejays led both of those at halftime. With Seton Hall on Thursday, maybe these guys will start getting the national respect they deserve.
#15 – Florida State (11-1) — Up 4
This might be the pick I’m least confident in. The ‘Noles are 11-1, but they’ve faced one of the 50 easiest schedules in the country.
#16 – Wichita State (10-2) — Down 4
Wichita State gets jumped by a few teams this week. The Shockers played Arkansas State and Florida Gulf Coast this week, and both games were close until the end, and you know how much I care about game control.
#17 – Arizona (10-3) — Up 2
The highest ranked three loss team remains my preseason national title pick. The Wildcats have won seven straight since that awful weekend in the Bahamas.
#18 – Miami (11-1) — Down 13
The loss to New Mexico State drops Miami thirteen spots. Their only KenPom A or B level win is against Minnesota.
#19 – Arkansas (9-2) — Up 4
Arkansas is still unranked in the AP Top 25, but as Oklahoma claims a spot in the top ten, the only team to beat the Sooners climbs into the top 20.
#20 – Kentucky (9-2) — Down 10
Kentucky lost to UCLA on Saturday, and their only KenPom A or B level win is against Virginia Tech.
#21 – Gonzaga (10-3) — Down 6
Gonzaga has lost three games, including San Diego State, but their wins against Ohio State and Texas during the PK 80 keep the ‘Zags ranked.
#22 – Cincinnati (11-2) — Down 2
Arkansas and Creighton jump Cincinnati. That Florida loss for the Bearcats is only looking worse.
#23 – Seton Hall (11-2) — Up 1
Seton Hall’s victories over Texas Tech and Louisville (My #26 and #27 teams) are what gets them ranked, but a win over Creighton would thrust the Pirates even higher.
#24 – Tennessee (9-2) — Up 1
Tennessee’s win over Purdue is looking better and better, and their only losses are to two top-15 teams.
#25 – Baylor (10-2) — Down 2
Baylor’s only losses are to Wichita State and Xavier, and the Bears’ win over Creighton is looking better and better.
First Five Out: Texas Tech, Louisville, Clemson, SMU, Notre Dame