The way the season has progressed, it should come as no surprise that another No. 1 team has fallen and a new No. 1 takes its place. Granted, it’s essentially been Purdue and Houston that have jumped up to take the mantle with short stints from North Carolina and, now, Alabama.
The Crimson Tide lost at Tennessee 68-59, dropping their first Southeastern Conference game of the season and being held to a season-low in points in doing so. They were No. 1 last week for the first time in 20 years, but couldn’t keep that title longer than a week.
That means the Cougars, who have won 16 of their last 17 including seven straight games, are back at No. 1 for the third time this season. It’s ironic because Bama was the first team to knock them out of the top spot with a 71-65 loss back on Dec. 10.
N.C. State’s loss at Syracuse was enough to get it dropped two spots on my ballot down to No. 24. The Wolfpack bounced back with a dominating finish to their 77-69 win over UNC on Sunday.
Duke looked arguably the best it has in a road game all season with its 77-55 win at Syracuse. The Blue Devils didn’t receive any votes in last week’s AP poll, but don’t be surprised to see them back on voter’s ballots — if not back in the rankings — this week. They just aren’t on my ballot yet.
I only moved UCLA up two spots to No. 2, but it is the best ranking I’ve had the Bruins all season.
I dropped Texas four places after its loss to unranked Texas Tech. The Red Raiders were struggling to stay above .500 a week ago. And after narrowly losing in Austin 72-70, they won convincingly at home in handing the Longhorns a 74-67 defeat.
I thought long about dropping Tennessee for its loss at Kentucky, which marked a sweep by UK. But the Volunteers did knock off No. 1 Alabama to begin the week, so I actually just kept them at No. 10.
Welcome to the Top 25
It’s pretty remarkable what coach Chris Collins has done in turning Northwestern into a Big Ten title contender. The former Duke guard has his Wildcats currently trail Purdue by one game in the loss column in league standings. Their current streak of five wins includes victories over the then-No. 1 Boilermakers and No. 14 Indiana. Northwestern made its debut at No. 15 on my ballot.
No. 24 Florida Atlantic plummeted out after a 74-70 loss to Middle Tennessee. And No. 25 Illinois evaporated from my ballot after consecutive road losses at Penn State and Indiana.
C.L. Brown’s ballot
14. Kansas State
|16. Iowa State|
|22. St. Mary’s|
23. San Diego St
|24. N.C. State|