Monday, November 17, 2014

Poll Dancing: TBI's College Basketball Top 25 (Nov. 17 Edition)

We're only three days into the 2014-15 college basketball season, so why the hell not throw together a brand new Top 25 full of snap judgments and overreactions?

None of my Top 25 lost on the opening weekend, thank Buddha, but one did look very shaky against a motivated opponent at home on national TV. Of course, that team was ranked No. 25, so it's been replaced for now, but expect it to be back.

All in all, there's not much change, and I won't bother explaining the ones that stayed stable. After all, most of these teams were gobbling cupcakes over the weekend. However, I will share the rationale behind the few moves that were made, starting with our inaugural Faceplant of the new season.

All that after the jump.

Hey, Coach, please don't stab me with that drumstick.
Faceplant: No. 25 Michigan State
--On Navy's home court, Sparty struggled until the final minute, even though the Midshipmen lost star forward Worth Smith to injury early. Props to MSU for playing a game in such a setting, but there are other teams waiting for their turn on the stage.

Bubbling Under: Stanford, Kansas State, Iowa, Miami
--None of these four beat any major opponents, but all have very interesting tests in the next week. Stanford takes on UNLV and potentially Duke in Brooklyn. K-State heads to Long Beach State en route to Maui, where Purdue awaits to start. Iowa faces Texas at MSG Thursday and the Canes visit in-state rival Florida tonight. Wins in any of those games will surely punch someone's ticket next week.

25. SMU (1-0, LW NR)
--The 'Stangs were supposed to crush Lamar, and they did. Therefore, they get to join the rankings that they would have figured in prominently if not for Markus Kennedy's suspension.

24. Illinois (2-0, LW 24)
23. Arkansas (1-0, LW 23)
22. Utah (1-0, LW 21)
21. San Diego State (1-0, LW 22)
--SDSU gets the benefit of a little transitive property. The Aztecs stopped Cal State Northridge, which would go on to play a decent game against Arizona. Utah beat Ball State, named after the canning jar people. So it has that going for it, which is nice.

20. UConn (1-0, LW 20)
19. Michigan (1-0, LW 18)
18. VCU (1-0, LW 19)
--Michigan drops a spot because it didn't even play a D-I school in its opener. VCU beat a power-conference foe--albeit a bad one--decisively. Much more impressive.

"I never spanked you as a kid, so I'm doing it now."
17. Colorado (1-0, LW 17)
16. Florida (1-0, LW 16)
15. Ohio State (1-0, LW 15)
14. Villanova (1-0, LW 14)
13. Texas (2-0, LW 13)
12. Oklahoma (1-0, LW 12)
11. Iowa State (1-0, LW 11)
10. Gonzaga (1-0, LW 8)
9. Wichita State (1-0, LW 9)
8. Louisville (1-0, LW 10)

--Make no mistake, Gonzaga absolutely smote Sacramento State, which could be a major contender in the Big Sky. However, Louisville played a solid game against a very likely tournament team in Minnesota. Wichita State, likewise, stifled a New Mexico State team that's expected to roll the WAC. This area will be in constant flux, especially considering that Louisville doesn't play a very potent non-conference schedule. Even if it keeps winning, it might drop behind other teams that are actually trying to test themselves.

7. Virginia (2-0, LW 7)
6. Kansas (1-0, LW 6)
5. Wisconsin (2-0, LW 5)
4. Arizona (2-0, LW 3)
3. North Carolina (2-0, LW 4)
--UNC's first two opponents, NC Central and Robert Morris, could both be in the tournament in March. Arizona beat Mount St. Mary's and Cal State Northridge, which probably won't unless they sweep three or four games in mid-March and earn a fake bid.

2. Duke (2-0, LW 2)
1. Kentucky (2-0, LW 1)
--Duke put its boot to the throats of Presbyterian and Fairfield immediately and never let up, winning on back-to-back days, no less. Kentucky showed signs of lethargy and overconfidence against Buffalo. (See that video up there? Yeah, nobody even thought about doing that to Jahlil Okafor.) The margin between these two teams is razor-thin in my mind, and we'll get a lot of answers after the Champions Classic tomorrow.

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