We’ve done it, folks.
We’ve reached not only the end of a decade but, more importantly, the final Other Top 25 of 2019-20’s non-conference slate. After a one-week holiday hiatus, your favorite mid-major poll is back, and it still finds the AP’s No. 1 — Gonzaga — holding the top spot. Talk about something that makes sense.
The rest of the top 10 saw little movement with light schedules over the past two weeks, though San Diego State, one of only two remaining undefeated teams, moved to No. 2 after the Dayton’s loss to Colorado on Dec. 21.
The biggest risers were Yale, UNC Greensboro and San Francisco, all of which jumped eight spots after some nice wins and teams stumbling elsewhere. The Bulldogs got a big win at Clemson on Dec. 22, and have won fought straight road games heading into a seemingly winnable game at North Carolina on Monday night.
Meanwhile, the Spartans picked off Vermont and Northern Kentucky since the last poll, while the Dons downed Fresno State. Both looked primed to factors, to some degree or another, in their respective leagues.
The two biggest falls belong to the A-10, with Richmond (10 spots) and Duquesne (11 spots) plummeting after respective two-game losing streaks. The voters have seen enough to keep them in for now, but that could change as both teams enter a tough A-10 with momentum going the wrong way.
Here’s how things shook out this week:
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||13-1||—||Now the question becomes: How long will Gonzaga remain No. 1 in the nation? It could be a while. The Bulldogs have at least an 80% chance of winning their next 11 games, according to KenPom.||vs. Detroit Mercy (12/30), @ Portland (1/2)|
|2||San Diego State||13-0||1||One of two undefeateds left in the country, but they get two toughies to open 2020.||vs. Fresno State (1/1), @ Utah State (1/4)|
|3||Dayton||10-2||-1||With a top-five offense in college basketball, Dayton should be 14-2 headed into a showdown with VCU on Jan. 14.||vs. North Florida (12/30), @ La Salle (1/2), @ Saint Joseph's (1/5)|
|4||Saint Mary's||13-2||—||The WCC's schedule gods did not favor the Gaels: For the second straight year, Saint Mary's kicks off conference play at San Francisco, which is the one non-Gonzaga foe the Gaels have had difficulty beating on the road. Jordan Ford was a freshman the last time Saint Mary's won at The Hilltop.||@ San Francisco (1/2), @ Pacific (1/4)|
|5||BYU||11-4||1||When BYU started 6-4, some may have written them off too early. Since then, the Cougars have wins over Nevada and Utah State, and are one of the best shooting teams in the nation.||vs. Loyola Marymount (1/4)|
|6||Utah State||13-2||2||Like most teams, Utah State now has a win over Florida. The Aggies are getting plenty from Sam Merrill, who is starting to look like the best player in the Mountain West.||@ UNLV (1/1), vs. San Diego State (1/4)|
|7||VCU||10-3||-2||VCU missed a big opportunity against Wichita State and can't let that LSU win earlier in the year do all their at-large heavy lifting. The Rams need to beat Fordham, then they get a huge three-game stretch against George Mason, Rhode Island, and Dayton.||vs. Fordham (1/2), @ George Mason (1/5)|
|8||Northern Iowa||11-1||2||If the Panthers beat Illinois State and Bradley this week, they should be ranked in the AP Poll next week. Who woulda thunk?||@ Illinois State (12/31), vs. Bradley (1/4)|
|9||New Mexico||13-2||—||Ignore that near stumble against UC Davis and those suspensions. The Lobos have won eight straight.||@ San Jose State (1/1)|
|10||ETSU||12-2||3||New Year's Day. Wofford vs. ETSU. SoCon play is back. It's good again. Awouuuuuuuu!||vs. Wofford (1/1), @ Furman (1/4)|
|11||Rhode Island||8-3||1||Think Rhode Island will stumble this week against in-state foe Brown? Fatts chance!||@ Brown (1/2), vs. Richmond (1/5)|
|12||Yale||10-3||8||Yale has been the best team in the Ivy League this season and will go into the Dean Dome with a real shot at pulling an upset.||@ North Carolina (12/30)|
|13||Furman||11-3||2||Jordan Lyons came up huge (what else is new?) in the Paladine close win over Mercer. A showdown with ETSU looms.||@ VMI (1/1), vs. East Tennessee State (1/4)|
|14||UNC Greensboro||11-3||8||That loss to Montana State is looking like more and more of an abberation. The Spartans have now won three straight and their only loss since mid-November was that miracle against NC State.||vs. Mercer (1/1), @ Wofford (1/4)|
|15||Saint Louis||11-2||3||One of two things is going to happen this week: Either the Billikens win at Duquesne, sending a message to the rest of the A-10, or the Dukes get back on track in a major way.||@ Duquesne (1/2), vs. Massachusetts (1/5)|
|16||San Francisco||11-3||8||San Francisco has done exactly what it needed to do in its mediocre non-conference schedule. This week will certainly be the Dons' hardest of the season, as they'll host Harvard and Saint Mary's in the span of three days.||vs. Harvard (12/30), vs. Saint Mary's (1/2)|
|17||Richmond||10-3||-10||The Spiders fall in the rankings after closing 2019 with back-to-back losses against Alabama (understandable) and Radford (less so). The most alarming part about those losses is that RIchmond might be regressing to the mean; they were a combined 13-48 (27%) from three.||vs. Saint Joseph's (1/2), @ Rhode Island (1/5)|
|18||Liberty||14-1||-2||In a vacuum, a loss at LSU is perfectly respectable. But that was also Liberty's only shot at a quality win this season. The Flames will have to be near-perfect the rest of the way to be near the at-large conversation.||@ Florida Gulf Coast (1/2), @ NJIT (1/4)|
|19||Vermont||8-5||-2||The Catamounts have lost three out of five, and even though none is a particularly bad loss, they need to start winning to stay in the rankings.||vs. George Washington (12/31), @ Dartmouth (1/2)|
|20||Louisiana Tech||9-3||NR||Louisiana Tech has hovered near the back end of the rankings all year. Now, with Western Kentucky in free fall, the Bulldogs look like the best team in CUSA.||@ Southern Miss (12/30), vs. Southern Miss (1/4)|
|21||George Mason||11-1||—||The Patriots are 11-1, which is all you could have asked of them so far against a weak schedule. They'll need at least one win this week to enter the tournament discussion.||@ TCU (12/30), vs. VCU (1/5)|
|22||Harvard||9-4||3||Bryce Aiken is done for the year, again, leaving the Crimson short-handed. After dispatching a dreadful Cal team the other day, they get a real test at San Francisco tonight.||@ San Francisco (12/30), vs. UC Irvine (1/4)|
|23||Wright State||11-3||NR||The Raiders have put up at least 70 points in every game this season and have eclipsed 80 points seven times.||vs. Milwaukee (12/30), @ Oakland (1/3)|
|24||Kent State||10-2||NR||Is Danny Pippen the best player in the history of basketball with his last name? The jury is still out.||@ Mississippi State (12/30), @ Bowling Green (1/3)|
|25||Duquesne||10-2||-11||Think Richmond's two-game regression was bad? Duquesne dropped two in a row to UAB and Marshall while shooting 8-43 (18.6%) from the field. One of the Atlantic 10's middle-of-the-pack teams needs to step up and pull a leage with three- (or four-)bid aspirations out of its nosedive; right now, it looks like A10 entropy has already happened.||vs. Saint Louis (1/2), vs. Davidson (1/5)|