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College basketball rankings: A shakeup after Xavier's anger at UConn

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A new year has begun, and with it a new season. College hoops have officially transitioned from non-conference play — filled with easy-to-buy games, exciting challenges, and tournaments played in casinos and tropical locations — to conference play, in which teams must navigate freezing temperatures and trying to win matches in hostile cauldrons. This means no more hiding and no more smooth browsing for anyone. There’s nothing but frigid, choppy waters ahead of us.

So this may be the last time all season that I can say there hasn’t been much movement on my ballot. Here, then, for the first time in 2023, I present the correct order of the top 25 men’s college basketball teams, as submitted to The Associated Press on Sunday night:

Seth Davis’ Top 25 for Monday, January 1. 2

Abandoned: North Carolina (16), Kentucky (19), Memphis (21)

Almost known: Auburn, Florida Atlantic, Illinois, Missouri, Providence, Saint Mary’s, State of Utah

Voting Notes

• Those of you who follow my rankings closely (and you know who you are) understand that I consider more than just the fact that a team won or lost matches in the previous week. I put extra weight on who it was played, how it was played, and most importantly, where it was played. We all know how hard it is to win on the road. Conversely, this means that a top 25 team should win at home, especially if it’s against a lower-ranked team or not at all.

I had three results in my top five last Saturday that I had to take into account: UConns 83-73 defeat at xavierKansas 69-67 home win Oklahoma Stateand Arizona69-60 win at Arizona State. I almost left UConn at No. 2, because there’s no shame in losing to a good team on the road, and the Huskies have arguably been the best team in the country this season. However, I was forced to move Arizona up a few places because his victory was decisive, and it happened against a good team on the road. Arizona also picked up a win on neutral ground Indiana and a home win Tennessee In December, who fended off an 81-66 loss at Utah on Dec. 21. 1 deeper in the rear view mirror. Most teams will have a bad game once in a while, and this loss was inflicted on a conference opponent on the road.

As for KansasI don’t usually believe in punishing teams after wins, but the Jayhawks were playing at home against an unranked team in Oklahoma State that lost this season to Southern Illinois and UCF, and they were nearly lost. I don’t consider dropping a team a spot a punishment anyway, but the Jayhawks went down because of my decision to skip Arizona.

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• I guess there is still some confusion as to why I have Houston to No. 8 when the Cougars were No. 3 in the AP poll last week and are No. 1 in NET, KenPom and BartTorvik. The answer is in their resume. Houston’s best win was at Virginia. A fabulous road win, no doubt, but Virginia He also lost his next game in Miami. Other than that, Houston’s best win came in Fort Worth against unranked Saint Mary’s. He also had several wins against unranked teams that were uncomfortably close, including Saturday’s 71-65 home win over UCF. It should be noted that Houston is No. 7 in Kevin Pauga’s KPI ranking, which is based solely on results, while the other measures are intended to be predictive. There are also some head-to-head results to consider. Houston lost at home to Alabama, so shouldn’t the Cougars be ranked behind the Crimson Tide? And Alabama lost to Gonzaga in Birmingham later in the week, so shouldn’t the Tide be behind the Zags? Given that Houston is by far the best team in its conference, I expect this team to continue to win and move up the standings accordingly, but that’s why I have the Cougars where they are. Metrics are useful, but they are not the gospel.

• To expand on my point on metrics, let’s look at a few teams where the rankings seem to be way off, for better and for worse. Is there anyone who would say Miami doesn’t deserve to be ranked? Well, the Hurricanes are 33rd in the NET, 37th on KenPom and 50th on BartTorvik. Still, KPI has them at #1.9. They shouldn’t be ranked that high, but in this case, the KPI is much closer to accurate.

Then there are the two teams that metrics love to hate: Wisconsin (44 NET, 42 KenPom, 49 BartTorvik) and Providence (57 NET, 44 KenPom, 58 Bart Torvik). KPI is split on this one – it has Wisconsin at 12 and Providence at 64. All because the metrics don’t like teams that win a lot of close games. Still, when they calculate Quad standings and records, a win counts the same whether it’s one or 100. By the way, Providence has a big game Wednesday night at home against UConn. the Huskies won’t be in a good mood, but it’s not often you face a top five team on your home turf. The Brothers would do well to at least pass the eyesight test.

On the other hand, metrics are hit by West Virginia (13 NET, 20 KenPom, 13 BartTorvik, 25 KPI), even though the Mountaineers’ best win was in Pittsburgh and they just lost to Kansas State in their Big 12 opener. Auburn also has strong metrics and continues to be ranked in the top 25 AP even though the tigers Resume is very meh. Their best win was on neutral ground North Westand they have losses in December against Memphis (neutral) and USC (road).

• The big winner this week, of course, is Xavier. It was an incredible victory which the Musketeers secured on Saturday under immense pressure. The two things that stood out to me were Jack NungeHis 15 points, three rebounds and three assists while battling a virus. Most people don’t want to get out of bed when they’re so sick, let alone play a high-profile basketball game, but Nunge pulled through like a champ. The other was the contributions off the bench by the senior striker 6-7 Jerome Hunter, a Glue Guy who played for Sean Miller’s brother, Archie, in Indiana. Xavier is a very good offensive team but only moderately defensive. Hunter gives this team the toughness they need at this end of the field. It will become an extremely valuable piece during the February heat waves.

• I was more favorable to North Carolina and Kentucky than my fellow voters, but these teams made it easy for me to drop them after losing to Pitt and Missouri, respectively. Speaking of Missouri, I gave the tigers a hard look, not only for their victory over Kentucky but also for their gutting of Illinois in the game Braggin’ Rights. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure of the quality of these teams, and the Tigers had a very suspect non-conference schedule, so I decided to wait a little longer before putting a number next to their name . But if they keep playing like this, it’s only a matter of time.

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• Defeat of Memphis at Tulane on Sunday, he opened another place. I have been working since Creighton over the past two weeks – I even gave the Jays a coveted Buy-Plus rating in my Hoop Thoughts annual stock report – so I gave them last place even if it doesn’t take much to beat Butler and DePaul at home. My take was that the reason Creighton fell so badly was because Ryan Kalkbrenner was out, but now that it’s back, I expect them to reappear. They have Seton Hall at home and UConn on the road this week, followed by Xavier (road) and Providence (home) next week. We will know soon enough if my faith in this team is justified.

(Photo from the top of Xavier’s colby jones(: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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