Wichita State lost its first game of the season, costing the Shockers their spot in the top 25. But all is not lost for the mid-majors. Bucknell earned a single vote and could begin a steady climb toward having a number next to its name.
There is no mysterious missing voter this week. All 65 AP votes were tallied, and the new No. 1 is no surprise: Duke.
After former mid-major darling Butler took out Indiana, it was more a matter of fact movement than anything revolutionary when the Blue Devils took over the top spot. The only other team picking up votes for No. 1 was Michigan, and that was contained to three voters (including John Feinstein, who must have a little guilt about putting his alma mater No. 1, and went with the Wolverines instead).
Because of the upset win, Butler went from getting just five votes in the poll to what looks like a major overcorrection at No. 19. If the Bulldogs were barely the No. 33 team in the country last week, how did they manage to move that much in the eyes of the voters with a single win?
Upsets happen. That doesn't mean you have to automatically put the Bulldogs into the Top 25. There is a difference between having that be the thing that finally gets you over the top and into the elite teams, and just making up some of the ground between you and that group.
The Butler win should have just closed the gap, and not been a coronation.
The mid-majors took a hit this week as Wichita State dropped out of the rankings following its first loss of the season. Had it come to any one of the major teams other than Tennessee, maybe the results wouldn't have been so severe. But losing to the Volunteers isn't what it used to be. The Shockers still managed six votes in the final tally.
Gonzaga held tight at No. 14, the top mid-major in the poll. Creighton came in at No. 17, down a spot from last week thanks to New Mexico.
Otherwise, the cupboard continues to be a little bare, which should be no surprise given the struggles we have seen in the computer numbers for the mid-majors this season. Murray State is still grabbing its 4 votes, consistent with last week.
The only bright spot might be that Bucknell finally grabbed a single vote in the poll. The Bison are now 8-1 against Division 1 opponents, and are slowly creeping up in the computer rankings also.
At least someone -- oh wait, it was John Feinstein -- acknowledged what the Bison have accomplished this year so far. The win over La Salle this weekend added another feather in their cap, a possible third top 100 win (with Purdue and George Mason) when all is said and done this year. The big contest will be when they travel to Missouri in early January.
If the Bison win that one, there should be nothing keeping them from a spot in the 20s.
Here are the full rankings from the AP:
|18||San Diego State||8-1||493||18|
|25||North Carolina State||7-2||198||25|
Others Receiving Votes: Oregon 176, Pittsburgh 158, Kentucky 41, Wyoming 14, Marquette 8, Virginia Commonwealth 7, Wichita State 6, Murray State 4, Connecticut 4, Miami 3, Maryland 2, Bucknell 1