- The fifth week of the 2019-2020 basketball season has come and gone, and the AP Top 25 Poll looks pretty similar to how it did last week.
- Jordan Nwora and the Louisville Cardinals remain at the top of the AP Poll for the second consecutive week after downing the red-hot Michigan Wolverines at the KFC Yum! Centre Tuesday.
- Along with the No. 5 Wolverines, the Kansas Jayhawks, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Maryland Terrapins round out the top five.
- The ACC leads all conferences with five teams in the AP Top 25 Poll, while the Big Ten and Bieg East follow close behind with four apiece in the rankings.
- Here are the five biggest winners and losers of Week 5 of the college basketball season.
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▲ No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes — Up 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Ohio State marched into the Dean Smith Centre with a tall task on its hands: taking down a top-10 Blue Blood squad on its home floor. The then-No. 6 Buckeyes managed to live up to the moment and then some, toppling the No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels by 25 points and asserting themselves as a force to be reckoned with not only in the Big Ten but also in the college basketball landscape at large. They followed up that monumental effort with a decisive 32-point win against the Penn State Nittany Lions. They should cruise to more victories before facing a tough test in the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats at a neutral site on December 21.
▲ No. 11 Baylor Bears — Up 7 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
The Baylor Bears had the best week of all the teams in the AP Poll. After taking down the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks by a whopping 32 points, the then-No. 18 Bears hosted the undefeated Arizona Wildcats. Guard MaCio Teague poured in a game-high 19 points while forward Freddie Gillespie notched a crucial 17-point, 13-rebound double-double in the impressive upset. Baylor has yet another top-20 showdown right around the corner with a matchup against the No. 18 Butler Bulldogs Tuesday night.
▲ No. 6 Gonzaga Bulldogs — Up 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
An 18-point loss to the then-unranked Michigan Wolverines left a bitter taste in Gonzaga’s mouth. The Bulldogs bounced back from their Maui Invitational woes with a 39-point win against the Texas Southern Tigers and a hard-fought victory over the Washington Huskies. Mark Few’s squad faces a tough stretch ahead, though, with back-to-back contests at the No. 15 Arizona Wildcats and against the No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels on the horizon.
▲ No. 7 Duke Blue Devils — Up 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Last week, the Duke Blue Devils suffered the worst upset of the college basketball season thus far, but Mike Krzyzewski’s squad rebounded on Tuesday with a stunning 12-point win against the then-No. 11 Michigan State Spartans out in East Lansing at a hostile Breslin Centre. The Blue Devils tacked on their first ACC win of the season against the Virginia Tech Hokies three days later. Still, their schedule will be relatively light until mid-January when they host the top-ranked Louisville Cardinals.
▶︎ No. 1 Louisville Cardinals — Same spot in the AP Top 25 Poll as last week
Even though they were ranked atop the AP Poll last week, the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals proved that they are the real deal this week when they stifled the soaring Michigan Wolverine offence en route to beating the nation’s No. 4 team by 15 points. Junior star Jordan Nwora has made an early case to be player of the year with an ACC-best 21.6 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per contest to boot, and his supporting cast has complimented him beautifully. It’s no wonder, then, that Chris Mack’s Cardinals are undefeated on the year.
▼ No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels — Down 10 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
The North Carolina Tar Heels looked to be one of the best teams in the country to start the season, but North Carolina’s most recent stretch has not reflected that of a top-tier squad. The Tar Heels dropped back-to-back games this week and three of its past four contests. While all three of those losses came against teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll, North Carolina’s 25-point home loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes constitutes a major stain on its resume. Now, the Tar Heels have three losses on the season and have to gear up to face the No. 6 Gonzaga Bulldogs on the road Wednesday night.
▼ No. 16 Michigan State Spartans — Down 5 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The preseason No. 1 Michigan State Spartans already have three losses on the season – well before conference play in a jam-packed Big Ten tips off. Tom Izzo’s squad opened the year with a loss to the Kentucky Wildcats before losing to the unranked Virginia Tech Hokies 20 days later. The Spartans had a chance to climb back up the rankings when they hosted the recently-humbled Duke Blue Devils in East Lansing Tuesday night. However, Mike Krzyzewski’s young squad took down Cassius Winston and Michigan State by double digits. Now the Spartans will have to wait until 2020 to face another ranked opponent and climb their way back up the rankings.
▼ No. 15 Arizona Wildcats — Down 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Led by freshman point guard Nico Mannion, the Arizona Wildcats started off the season with a perfect 9-0 record, but no wins against a top-25 opponent. Arizona squared off with the then-No. 18 Baylor Bears on the road in its first true test of the year and struggled to contain their duo of MaCio Teague and Freddie Gillespie. The Wildcats lost their first of the season by five but will have a chance to redeem themselves in a major way against the No. 6 Gonzaga Bulldogs Saturday night.
▼ No. 9 Virginia Cavaliers — Down 4 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
The reigning champion Virginia Cavaliers were cruising at the beginning of the 2019-2020 season, holding opponents to fewer than 50 points in all but one game en route to a perfect 7-0 start. But then Tony Bennett’s squad took on the unranked Purdue Boilermakers Wednesday night and gave up 69 points in the Cavaliers’ worst loss since Bennett’s second season at the helm. Though Virginia rebounded with a 56-47 win over Cole Anthony and the then-No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels, the team still slipped four spots in this week’s AP Poll.
▼ No. 5 Michigan Wolverines — Down 1 spot in the AP Top 25 Poll
Juwan Howard’s Michigan Wolverines enjoyed the most spectacular stretch of any team this season during Week 4. They took down two top-10 squads in succession and launched from unranked status into the AP Poll’s top five. But when they were matched up with the top-ranked Louisville Cardinals on the road Tuesday night, the Blue and Maize looked like an entirely different squad from the one that shocked the college basketball world the week prior. Michigan’s high-octane offence disappeared, and the defence had no answers for Louisville standout Jordan Nwora, who dropped a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double on the Wolverines. Still, Howard’s team bounced back Friday with a double-digit win against the Iowa Hawkeyes, so it’s not too surprising that Michigan still finds itself in the top five.
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