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The Other Top 25: Bowling Green, UTEP enter the fray after big weeks

A pair of undefeated teams make debuts as well, and New Mexico State’s plummet continues.

NCAA Basketball: Bowling Green at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Bowling Green is back, baby.

After appearing in our preseason poll at No. 25, the Falcons briefly dropped off the radar following an opening week loss to LSU. But they’ve made a return, and boy have they done so in a big way. BGSU leaps all the way to 13th in this week’s edition of the Other Top 25, after taking down Western Kentucky and Cincinnati — in comeback fashion no less! — at the Paradise Jam.

They get Nevada in the final today, and here’s a shameless plug for a feature we wrote on the Falcons before the season.

Similarly, UTEP made a high-arcing jump from unranked all the way up to No. 15 after a pair of big regional wins over New Mexico and New Mexico State to start the year. The latter of the Miners’ victims fell to No. 21, but our voters saw enough in the still-shorthanded Aggies’ close loss to the Lobos on Nov. 23 to keep them in the field. Another shameless plug for how Chris Jans is dealing with the underwhelming start.

Elsewhere, the voters didn’t ding Vermont that heavily following a loss to a talented Rider team. The same goes with BYU, which fell at Boise State following last week’s big win at Houston.

Three other debutants make their way into the mix, with undefeated Duquesne at No. 20, undefeated San Francisco at No. 24 and Buffalo at No. 25. The Bulls weren’t a team many expected to grace these rankings this year, but Jim Whitesell has us believing after wins over Towson and Missouri State in Charleston. Jayvon Graves (16.7 PPG, 39.0 3P%) has been exceptional in an expanded role as the beat goes on without Nate Oats.

Richmond was the biggest riser, as the Spiders banged in 16 three’s in a 30-point win over McNeese State. That high-octane offense gets its biggest test of the season against Wisconsin at the Legends Classic this evening.

Note: These rankings were made considering results through Sunday, Nov. 24. So, use your inside voices when yelling about stuff that’s happened today.

The Other Top 25

Rank School Record Change Our reasoning This week's games
Rank School Record Change Our reasoning This week's games
1 Gonzaga 6-0 - Only beating UT Arlington by 6 is slightly concerning, but the Zags are still firing on all cylinders. They boast the No. 4 offense in Kenpom's AdjO metrics and cracked the top 5 in overall AdjEM. Ho hum. 11/27 v. Southern Miss (Battle 4 Atlantis), 11/28 v. Seton Hall/Oregon (Battle 4 Atlantis), 11/29 v. TBD (Battle 4 Atlantis)
2 VCU 5-0 - VCU blew out Dunk City in the Rams' only game of the week. In the win, VCU forced 27 turnovers and now have a defensive turnover rate of 30.2% that ranks No. 4 in the country. 11/25 v. Alabama State, 11/29 v. Purdue (Emerald Coast Classic), 11/30 v. Florida State/Tennessee (Emerald Coast Classic)
3 Utah State 7-0 - The Aggies picked up a pair of neutral court wins against LSU and North Texas in the Jamaica Classic. A monster Other Top 25 matchup looms as they'll travel to take on Saint Mary's on Friday. 11/29 at Saint Mary's
4 Dayton 3-0 1 Dayton crushed Charleston Southern in its only game of the week. The Flyers have a chance to really build up their resume this week at the Maui Invitational. 11/25 v. Georgia (Maui Inv.), 11/26 v. Michigan State/Virginia Tech (Maui Inv.), 11/27 v. BYU/Chaminade/Kansas/UCLA (Maui Inv.)
5 Saint Mary's 5-1 1 Saint Mary's is torching the nets from deep. The Gaels are hitting 42.5% from behind the arc, which has helped propel their offense to No. 12 on Kenpom. Hosting Utah State provides another resume building opporunity. 11/29 v. Utah State, 12/1 v. Nebraska Omaha
6 San Diego State 5-0 1 It has been a while since SDSU has faced a challenging opponent, but their lack of hiccoughs in the meantime has propelled them into the top 10 of our rankings, especially as their offense is beginning to return to efficiency levels not seen since the Steve Fisher era. 11/25 v. Tennessee State, 11/28 v. Creighton (Las Vegas Invitational)
7 Vermont 5-2 -3 Vermont looked tough earlier this week in a battle against top-10 Virginia, but an upset loss to Rider on Sunday night left many scratching their heads, especially as Lamb went 4-19 from the field in that matchup. 11/27 v. Gallaudet, 12/1 at Yale
8 ETSU 5-1 - Steve Forbes has one of the most balanced rosters around. There are six players averaging at least eight points per game and only one player (Bo Hodges) is taking more than 10 shots per game. 11/26 v. Appalachian State, 11/30 at Little Rock
9 Western Kentucky 5-1 - Western Kentucky's loss to Bowling Green earlier in the week initially seemed worrisome, but the Falcons' takedown of Cincinnati eased the nerves of Hilltopper fans. WKU bounced back from that loss to torch Illinois State thanks to their characteristically hot perimeter shooting, which is in the top 30 in the country. 11/25 v. Fordham (Paradise Jam), 11/29 v. Louisville (Nashville, TN)
10 New Mexico 5-1 3 A 1-1 week in road rivalry games is nothing to scoff at if you're Paul Weir. JaQuan Lyle looks healthy and spry so far this season by putting up nearly 20 points per game to go with five assists and four rebounds per game. 11/25 v. Auburn (Legends Classic), 11/26 v. Wisconsin/Richmond (Legends Classic), 12/1 v. Montana
11 Furman 5-1 -1 Jordan Lyons' 33 points weren't enough to topple Alabama, but the Paladins rebounded with a dominant win over a non-Division I Columbia International. A busy week awaits at the Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland. 11/26 at Elon (Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland), 11/27 UT Arlington (Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland)
12 Rhode Island 4-2 - The Rams couldn't overcome LSU at the Jamaica Classic despite 26 points from Fatts Russell. They get a midweek home game with Manhattan before their final two high major opportunities (Providence, West Virginia), which will be critical for a team that still has realistic at-large aspirations. 11/27 v. Manhattan, 12/1 at West Virginia
13 Bowling Green 5-1 NR A good way to go from unranked to No. 13 is to beat a pair of top-100 teams in back-to-back games. The Falcons topped Western Kentucky and Cincinnati over the weekend. 11/25 v. Nevada (Paradise Jam), 11/30 v. Dartmouth
14 BYU 3-2 -3 The Cougars are still without Yoeli Childs and a loaded Maui field awaits. They'll need to take advantage against cupcake UCLA in the first round. 11/25 v. UCLA (Maui Inv.), 11/26 v. Chaminade/Kansas (Maui Inv.), 11/27 v. TBD (Maui Inv.)
15 UTEP 4-0 NR UTEP made a seismic jump into the rankings this week after taking down both New Mexico and New Mexico State. Their stellar defense has been where they've made their impact this season, while Bryson Williams is on a path to becoming one of the big names to remember, as this offense essentially flows through him. 11/27 v. East Central
16 Richmond 4-0 7 Richmond's biggest tests will come this week, but they've managed to demolish their two most recent opponents, thanks largely to their three-point shooting, which currently ranks second in the nation. Accounting for that offensive boon is the play of both Nick Sherod and Jacob Gilyard, who are shooting 55.6% and 58.3% from behind the arc, respectively. 11/25 v. Wisconsin (Legends Classic), 11/26 v. Auburn/New Mexico (Legends Classic), 11/30 v. Boston College
17 Liberty 8-0 3 The Flames won the Bahamas Showcase and, as of this writing, are the only eight-win team in the country. They get a pair of non-Division I games up next before the schedule ramps up with four games away from Lynchburg to end the non-conference season. 11/29 v. Kentucky Christian
18 Northern Iowa 6-0 1 Is Northern Iowa the best team nobody is talking about? We'll know on Tuesday when the Panthers play at West Virginia. 11/26 v. West Virginia (Cancun Challenge), 11/27 v. TBD (Cancun Challenge)
19 Belmont 4-2 -4 Belmont managed to snag a win over crosstown rival Lipscomb earlier in the week, but they fell victim to a tough Saint Louis team that shut down star center Nick Muszynski and limited their typically electric offense to only 55 points. 11/26 at Eastern Washington, 11/30 at Middle Tennessee
20 Duquesne 6-0 NR KenPom does not project Duquesne to lose until Jan. 22. Have you talked to your kids about an undefeated Duquesne Dukes team yet? None
21 New Mexico St 2-3 -7 UTEP, Arizona, and New Mexico are all excusable losses, but Chris Jans had to be hoping for better than a 1-3 start against Division I competition. 11/25 v. Colorado State (Cayman Island Classic), 11/26 v. South Florida (Cayman Islands Challenge), 11/27 v. TBD (Cayman Islands Classic)
22 Harvard 4-2 -4 The Crimson have not looked good this year. At all. A near-loss to a Holy Cross team that Northeastern beat by 57 was a bad look, but ultimately one in the win column. 11/28 v. Texas A&M (Orlando Inv.), 11/29 v. Maryland/Temple (Orlando Inv.), Dec. 1 v. TBD (Orlando Inv.)
23 Louisiana Tech 4-1 2 The Bulldogs' only blemish is a 10-point defeat at Creighton. We'll know more about them when they visit Assembly Hall tonight. 11/25 at Indiana, 11/30 v. Samford
24 San Francisco 6-0 NR San Francisco cracks the rankings with a borderline top-50 offense, a 6-0 record, and at least 82 points in five games this season. Frankie Ferrari may be gone, but the Dons are still running at full speed. 11/26 v. Hampton, 11/29 at Hawaii
25 Buffalo 4-2 NR Buffalo played UConn tough in Charleston, then beat Towson and Missouri State. Jim Whitesell appears to be picking up right where Nate Oates left off. 11/30 v. William & Mary