A Week of Upsets Leads to a Shake Up in the Top 10: Who is Rising, Who is Falling?
Over the past week, we saw many upsets which led to a complete shake up of the Top 10 in the latest rankings. Here’s my take on what happened, if there are any sleepers we should be aware of, and my Top 10 Rankings.
Notre Dame, Florida, Kansas
Coming off a tough loss to Michigan State on the road in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and cruising to an easy win over St. Francis (NY), the Fighting Irish suffered a bad loss to the Ball State Cardinals at home last week. Although they have two stars in Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, Mike Brey has a very short bench to work with. Notre Dame will struggle in games where TJ Gibbs does not perform and provide a go-to third option for the Irish.
After they gave away the game to Duke in the PK80, Florida got blown out on their home court by instate rival Florida State (who is still undefeated) and upset by Loyola-Chicago. Florida was a potent offensive team in their first five games, but have averaged just 63 points per game in their last 3 outings. The Gators did rebound in an early season must-win matchup against Cincinnati on a neural court this weekend. If the Gators can’t shoot the ball like they did in the early part of the season, they will need to play better defensively if they want to stay afloat in the top-heavy SEC.
Following a dominating performance by Devonte’ Graham against Syracuse, the Jayhawks were exposed by Washington in Kansas City and taken down by an upstart Arizona State team at home this past week. The Jayhawks need to be prepared for games where Graham doesn’t score 30 points. Legerald Vick played well in both loses, but the Jayhawks, who play a four guard lineup have struggled on the offensive glass when their shooters are not on target.
Many will be quick to criticize the Blue Devils after their loss to Boston College this weekend, but they are clearly the most talented team in the country and they will be fine. It is always tough to win on the road in conference and Duke’s freshman learned that right away in Chestnut Hill. Duke plays just once before they resume conference play in 19 days against Florida State. Coach K will have his team refocused and ready for the second half of their schedule… Don’t worry.
ON THE RISE
Arizona State, Miami, Arizona
Arizona State has taken the nation by storm this year and have raced to a 9-0 start including wins over San Diego State, Kansas State, Xavier, St. John’s, and, most recently, Kansas. Led by Coach Bobby Hurley, the Sun Devils are poised to be a major player both in the PAC-12 and nationally this season. Senior guard Tra Holder leads the Sun Devils attack averaging 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists so far this year. The Sun Devils host Vanderbilt, Longwood, and Pacific before opening PAC-12 play against in-state rival Arizona on Saturday, December 30.
After beating Minnesota on the road in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Miami avoided trap games at home against Princeton and Boston University. The Hurricanes will put their undefeated record on the line in the coming weeks as they close out the nonconference slate with games at George Washington and Hawaii and begin conference play at Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes have four players averaging double figures including sophomores Dewan Huell, Dejan Vasiljevic, and Bruce Brown Jr. and senior Ja’Quan Newton.
Don’t call it a comeback, but Arizona seems to have rebounded from their disastrous trip to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis where they lost all three games they played. Since returning to the United States, the Wildcats are 4-0 including wins over UNLV, Texas A&M, and Alabama in their last three tilts. Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton are the best duo in the country, both averaging better than 20 points per contest. Arizona will look to close out nonconference play strong as they face New Mexico on the road and North Dakota State and Connecticut at home before they open conference play against their aforementioned in-state rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils.
My Top 10
2.) Michigan State
4.) Wichita State
5.) North Carolina
7.) Arizona State
9.) Texas A&M