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College Basketball Talk’s Latest Top 25

Jan 13, 2014, 9:17 AM EST

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I can already tell what’s going to happen so I figure I’ll just address it now before I’m ripped on twitter and in the comments section: Yes, I have Iowa ranked above Iowa State despite the fact Iowa State beat Iowa. And no, it has nothing to do with the ankle injury that Deandre Kane is dealing with right now.

I wrote this about the Cyclones on Tuesday after they beat Baylor at home and I still believe it now. I’m not sure there is anyone in the country that I would pick to beat Iowa State in their own building, but until this team proves that they can win a game against a good team away from Hilton Coliseum, they are just another talented team with a strong home-court advantage.

Iowa, on the other hand, just went into Columbus and put up 84 points on the nation’s best defense in a win over Ohio State. Their three losses this season? To 15-1 Villanova in overtime in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game in which Iowa blew a nine-point halftime lead; to Wisconsin in Madison in a game where a Fran McCaffery-ejection spurred on a run by the Badges that resulted in the Hawkeyes blowing an 11-point halftime lead; and at Iowa State, where Iowa gave the game away down the stretch by missing free throws and wide-open threes (ahem, Zach McCabe).

If you’re going to lose three games, it may as well be three heartbreakers to top 15 teams with a combined two losses.

The bottom line is this: I am not just ranking the resumes of the top 25 teams. This isn’t bracketology. There’s more to a win or a loss than it being just a win or a loss. It’s subjective. There’s room for interpretation and opinion, and, in my opinion, these are the nation’s top 25 basketball teams.

Disagree?

Call me on it. Leave a note in the comments. Tweet at me. I promise there’s at least some logic behind it.

THE TOP 25

source: Getty Images1. Arizona (17-0, LW: No. 1): The Wildcats just keep rolling along. This week, they went to LA and knocked off both UCLA and USC. Nick Johnson and T.J. McConnell both had big games this week. It’s weird: the No. 1 team in the country has one of the nation’s least-appreciated back courts. Those dudes are good!

2. Michigan State (15-1, LW: No. 2): The Spartans survived a pair of overtime games this week, both of which took place in East Lansing. They still aren’t healthy, however. Adreian Payne spent this past week battling a sprained foot. He sat out against Minnesota.

3. Syracuse (16-0, LW: No. 3): The Orange weren’t pushed in games against Virginia Tech and, surprisingly enough, North Carolina. In ACC play, Cooney is shooting 10-for-39 (25.6%) from the floor and 7-for-32 (21.9%) from three.

4. Wisconsin (16-0, LW: No. 4): The Badgers weren’t properly challenged this week, as they whipped up on Illinois in the only game they played. It may not happened this week, either, as a trip to Indiana and a visit from Michigan await the Badgers.

5. Florida (13-2, LW: No. 6): Florida beat down South Carolina at home before notching an impressive win at Arkansas in overtime despite playing without Casey Prather and with a banged up Scottie Wilbekin.

6. Villanova (15-1, LW: No. 7): The Wildcats won at Seton Hall and St. John’s this week, neither of which are all that notable.

7. Wichita State (17-0, LW: No. 7): The Shockers needed overtime to complete a comeback from 19 points down in the second half in their visit to Missouri State on Saturday night. The Bears are a better team than you think and one of the three toughest road trips the Shockers will be taking this season.

8. San Diego State (14-1, LW: No. 9): The Aztecs followed up their win at Kansas by knocking off Boise State and Air Force in Mountain West play. SDSU is awesome defensively. Finding consistency scoring the ball — hi Winston Shepard! — will be the key.

9. Kansas (11-4, LW: No. 15): Kansas followed up their loss to SDSU at home by beating a good Oklahoma team on the road and smacking around Kansas State by 26 points at home. Wayne Selden averaged 22.0 points in the two wins.

10. Iowa (14-3, LW: No. 19): The Hawkeyes finally landed the big win that had escaped them this season, going into Columbus and knocking off Ohio State. They also beat Northwestern in a game that Fran McCaffery was suspended.

11. Ohio State (15-2, LW: No. 5)
12. Kentucky (12-3, LW: No. 12)
13. Oklahoma State (13-2, LW: No. 17)
14. Iowa State (14-1, LW: No. 18)
15. Baylor (13-2, LW: No. 15)
16. Creighton (14-2, LW: No. 22)
17. Cincinnati (15-2, LW: No. 23)
18. Memphis (12-3, LW: No. 24)
19. UMass (14-1, LW: No. 25)
20. Pitt (15-1, LW: UR)
21. Colorado (14-3, LW: No. 10)
22. Louisville (14-3, LW: No. 14)
23. Duke (12-4, LW: No. 13)
24. Saint Louis (15-2, LW: UR)
25. UCLA (13-3, LW: UR)

  1. shockertalk - Jan 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Rob,
    You describe Iowa’s losses against ranked teams as games they would have won, BUT THEY BLEW A LEAD and lost (with help from their coach once).

    Here’s the thing. A major quality of a team in the rankings is their ABILITY TO HOLD A LEAD! AND the poise of a coach is part of the formula too!

    Lots of teams get leads, but they lose them to better teams. Iowa State, with Kane, is better than Iowa (or should be considered so at this point).

    Your system of ranking seems to reflect not their PLAY IN THE MOMENT, but reflects your opinion of WHERE THEY WILL END UP IN MARCH. Thats fine, but it robs the teams performing NOW of their glory and smacks of some elitist “I know better” snobbery.

    When you deny new power teams and mid-major teams their glory moments, you steer recruits back to the same old programs and perpetuate the elitist system. Yeah, it works, but its not as much fun.

    • stlcardstl - Jan 13, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      shockertalk:

      Rob’s thoughts are not “elitist” and do not reflect “snobbery.” Iowa State people often throw those terms around. In any event, just use the simple eyeball test. Did anyone watching the Iowa St.-Iowa game think that Iowa St. was the better team? Maybe you, but the rest of the world saw the game and determined otherwise. Also, who would you pick between Iowa St. and Iowa on a neutral floor. Most everyone would pick Iowa to win at least 6-7 out of 10. Iowa St. has a good team, but no one is exactly scared of them away from Ames.

  2. stewieggriffin - Jan 13, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    If you don’t look at resume’s you end up picking bums.

    Not sure why all the love of Ohio State, granted you can only play who is in front of you, but their list of wins thus far is pretty unimpressive, North Dakota State their best win based on RPI?

    Purdue and Nebraska while competitive probably a year or 2 away from being called quality wins.

  3. chukychez1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Really, 4 loss KU ranked over unbeaten Wichita State? Every other poll of any importance has them at #5.

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