For the third week in a row, we have a new No. 1 team as the Gonzaga Bulldogs have taken over the top spot in The Other Top 25. And it’s well deserved!
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll, No. 6 in KenPom and No. 6 in the newly released NET rankings. That’ll happen when you pick off two of the best teams in the Pac-12 on the road in a single week like Gonzaga did against Washington and Arizona.
Sticking with the WCC, BYU continues to look like a force to be reckoned with now that Yoeli Childs is back in the lineup. The Cougars took down another top 10 team in The Other Top 25 over the weekend as they bested Utah State in a battle for Beehive State supremacy.
Northern Iowa cracked the top 10 thanks to an upset of a talented Colorado team and is now up to No. 76 in KenPom. If it weren’t for a late collapse against West Virginia, the Panthers would be undefeated and possibly ranked in the AP Poll.
Overall, there wasn’t much movement in the poll this week. Part of that can be attributed to a lighter schedule of games due to finals, and part of it can be attributed to the ranked teams simply winning their games. Only two teams (BYU and Northern Iowa) moved more than two spots in either direction, and only two new teams entered the rankings (San Francisco and Harvard).
Here’s how things shook out this week:
The Other Top 25
|This week's games
|This week's games
|The No. 2 team in the AP Poll picked up a pair monster road wins against Washington and Arizona last week. The Bulldogs are also one of three teams (Baylor and Duke) with at least three wins that qualify as Quadrant 1 wins in the newly released NET rankings. The Gonzaga machine is fully operational once again.
|12/18 vs. North Carolina, 12/21 vs. Eastern Washington
|Dayton's lone game of the week was a dominant defensive performance from start to finish against Drake that resulted in a 30-point win. With a neutral court game against Colorado looming, the Flyers have yet another chance to pick up a quality win before A-10 play starts.
|12/17 vs. North Texas, 12/21 vs. Colorado (Chicago)
|San Diego State
|What's the easiest way to stay undefeated? Don't play any games! The Aztecs still rose up five spots in the AP Poll to No. 20 and debuted at No. 3 in the NET rankings.
|12/18 vs. San Diego Christian, 12/21 vs. Utah (Los Angeles)
|Getting a combined 60 points from Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts is a surefire way to beat a mediocre Cal team. The Gaels currently lead the nation in 3-point percentage at a staggering 43.8%, and they'll have a pair of noteworthy games on the docket this week that could help bolster the resume.
|12/18 at Arizona State (Phoenix), 12/21 vs. Nevada (San Francisco)
|VCU is getting back to its bread and butter on the defensive end so far this year. The Rams rank second in the country in turnover rate (28.7%) and forced Missouri State into 26 turnovers over the weekend. That'll do the trick on nights when the offense isn't quite flowing.
|12/18 at Charleston, 12/21 at Wichita State
|If it weren't for blowing a late lead against Utah, BYU would be looked at as one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Cougers picked up another quality win over the weekend against Utah State, and they've risen to No. 41 in KenPom in recent weeks.
|12/21 vs. Weber State
|The Spiders continue to put up points in bunches as #EXTENDMOONEY picks up steam with every win. Richmond is ranked No. 69 (nice) in KenPom, making them one of seven teams from the A-10 in the top 100.
|12/18 at Old Dominion, 12/22 vs. Radford (Washington DC)
|A close loss to BYU over the weekend is another missed chance for the Aggies, who are beginning to look increasingly dependent on the strength of their LSU win to hold up their resume. Neemias Queta is back, but it's going to take a while for him to work himself into a rhythm. They'll need him to be great against Florida.
|12/18 vs. South Florida (Houston), 12/21 vs. Florida (Sunrise, FL)
|Carlton Bragg has been dominant over the last couple weeks, and his 17-point, 17-rebound performance in Saturday's win over NMSU might be his best of the season. The Lobos seem to have hit their stride as they've won five straight and are projected to be the favorite in every game until late January.
|12/17 vs. Grand Canyon, 12/22 vs. Houston Baptist
|They may be flying a bit under the radar, but the Panthers are now 10-1, which includes last week upset of Colorado in Boulder. Sophomore guard AJ Green has stepped as a go-to scorer and has hit double figures in all but two games this season, including three 20+ point performances in his last four games.
|12/22 vs. Marshall
|The Hilltoppers got a crushing blow with the news that Charles Bassey would be out for the season due to a tibial plateau fracture (ouch). WKU is still talented, but look for Rick Stansbury to utilize a smaller lineup to take advantage of the perimeter skillsets of his roster.
|12/21 at Rhode Island
|The Fatts Russell bandwagon has left the station and we're the ones in the drivers seat. The junior guard has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games, and he's averaging career highs in points, assists and steals while also shooting above 40% from deep. In Fatts we trust.
|12/21 vs. Western Kentucky
|The Bucs bounced back from a loss to NDSU by throttling NAIA Milligan, which also served as a tune up for their final marquee opportunity of the year: a trip to LSU.
|12/18 at LSU
|The Dukes just don't lose, and their stingy defense helped them pick up arguably their best win over the year against Radford. The schedule has been soft, but our voters believe in Keith Dambrot's team.
|12/21 vs. Austin Peay (St. Petersburg, FL), 12/22 vs. UAB (St. Petersburg, FL)
|Winthrop put up a fight at the end, but it was always clear Furman would win that game, thanks largely to the talents of senior guard Jordan Lyons. Now, the Paladins turn their eyes towards SoCon play, where they'll have two easier opponents before bringing ETSU to Greenville in early January.
|12/20 at Mercer
|The Flames got their best win to date by controlling Vanderbilt in a low-scoring game. They now get another sneaky-tough test against a Towson team that's won three of its last four.
|12/20 vs. Towson (in DC)
|It's been awhile since we've seen the Catamounts, but they get a chance to climb back up the rankings with a quality mid-on-mid game this week at home against UNC Greensboro.
|12/18 v. UNC Greensboro
|The Billikens fought valiantly against undefeated Auburn last week, cementing their status as one of the best teams in the A10's second tier. While the duo of French and Goodwin continue to impress, this team's glaring weakness is their performance at the free throw line, which killed them against the Tigers. Right now, their free throw percentage is 353rd in D-1. That's last.
|12/17 vs. Maryville (D-II), 12/21 vs. Kansas State (Kansas City)
|Daeqwon Plowden equalled his career-high with 23 points in a win over Cleveland State. The junior forward is having a breakout season for a Falcons team that has won three straight games.
|12/20 vs. Norfolk State (in Atlantic City)
|The Bulldogs got past UMass in overtime to lock up their third consecutive road win. They now get a nice opportunity against a beatable Clemson team at the end of the week.
|12/22 at Clemson
|The Patriots rise despite a week off. They get UMBC on Saturday before a pair of games (TCU, VCU) that could really make them rise.
|12/21 vs. UMBC
|The Spartans were on the verge of overtime against NC State when they fell victim to another halfcourt buzzer beater. They weren't dropped too much because of the manner of the loss and the quality of the opposition, but in a week with minimal games, any slip-up matters.
|12/18 at Vermont, 12/21 vs. Northern Kentucky
|The Miners didn't play any games last week, so their rise can mostly be attributed to the mistakes made by surrounding teams. Nevertheless, their top-50 defense is still looking stout, and it'll need to be considering their matchup with Houston this Thursday.
|12/16 vs. NC A&T, 12/19 at Houston
|The WCC might have three at-large candidates at the top of the standings, but San Francisco continues to quietly rack up wins, thanks largely to the contributions of 7'0" big man Jimbo Lull, who embarrassed Cal and CSUF in the Dons' previous two outings.
|12/17 at Stanford, 12/21 vs. UC Davis
|The Crimson will have gone two whole weeks between games when they face off against George Washington on Saturday, but they left fans with a good taste in their mouth after their 34-point drubbing of UMass on 12/7 (an overwhelmingly positive result, considering that Bryce Aiken only scored 4 points all game).
|12/21 at George Washington, 12/22 at Howard
Also receiving votes: Louisiana Tech 11, Kent State 5, Toledo 4, Bradley 2