- The seventh week of the 2019-2020 basketball season has come and gone, and, once again, the AP Top 25 Poll has had quite a shakeup at the top.
- The previously top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks suffered their first loss since their season opener at the hands of the Villanova Wildcats.
- The Gonzaga Bulldogs now sit atop the college basketball rankings, while the Ohio State Buckeyes, Louisville Cardinals, Duke Blue Devils, and Jayhawks round out the top five.
- The Big Ten leads all conferences with six teams in the AP Top 25 Poll, while the ACC and Big 12 follow close behind with four apiece in the rankings.
- Here are the five biggest winners and losers from Week 7 of the college basketball season.
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▲ No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes — Up 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Just two days removed from losing their first game of the season to the unranked Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Ohio State Buckeyes bounced back with a 32-point win against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks before taking down the then-No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats 71-65 at a neutral site Saturday evening. The Buckeyes still have another top-25 showdown standing between them and 2020, as they will take on the No. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers in Cleveland Sunday afternoon before opening Big Ten play three days into the New Year.
▲ No. 10 Villanova Wildcats — Up 8 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Villanova’s endured a rocky start to its 2019-2020 season. Still, the Wildcats’ early losses to the Ohio State Buckeyes and Baylor Bears have aged particularly well as a tumultuous few weeks left nearly every top team with a loss to an unranked opponent. This week, Jay Wright’s squad took down the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in a thriller at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Centre. Villanova’s Jermaine Samuels knocked down a clutch three to put the Wildcats up by one with 20.5 seconds left in the game, and Devon Dotson couldn’t answer on the other end. Now, Villanova will look to carry this success into 2020 as it opens up Big East play against the Xavier Musketeers December 30.
▲ No. 15 San Diego State Aztecs — Up 5 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
It’s time to put some respect on San Diego State’s name. The Aztecs are one of just three teams that remain undefeated on the season, and they’re quickly climbing up the AP rankings as a result. This week, San Diego State crushed the San Diego Christian College Hawks by 44 points before walloping the Utah Utes 80-52 at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles Saturday. With notable wins against the Iowa Hawkeyes and Creighton Bluejays under their belt, the Aztecs are almost certainly en route to a strong finish in Mountain West play and an eventual NCAA tournament bid.
▲ No. 9 Memphis Tigers — Up 2 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
This past week, head coach Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers lost the vast majority of their starpower when presumed 2020 No. 1 NBA draft pick James Wiseman left the program this week. But Memphis has played without Wiseman since the NCAA ruled its star freshman inelligible in mid November, and the Tigers haven’t lost since. They have taken down Ole Miss, NC State, and – most notably – the then-No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers on the road. On Saturday, Memphis took down the Jackson State Tigers 77-49 despite having just received news of Wiseman’s departure. The Tigers still have two more games prior to 2020, but the future is looking surprisingly bright for Hardaway’s squad.
▲ No. 8 Auburn Tigers — Up 4 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Bruce Pearl’s squad has quietly gotten off to a perfect 11-0 start to the season, and even though the Auburn Tigers have yet to face a ranked opponent, it’s time to start taking them seriously. This week, Auburn beat the NC State Wolfpack by six before dealing the Lehigh Mountain Hawks a 23-point blow. With just a home game against the Lipscomb Bisons standing between them and the New Year, the Tigers are primed to head into SEC play with a perfect record and a chance to sit atop a league that presently features just one other ranked opponent.
▼ No. 16 Virginia Cavaliers — Down 7 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
The Virginia Cavaliers had been bouncing back well after losing to the Purdue Boilermakers at the beginning of December thanks to wins against their ACC foe North Carolina Tar Heels and the Stony Brook Seawolves. But this week, the Cavaliers suffered another setback courtesy of the unranked South Carolina Gamecocks. Virginia gave up a season-high 70 points to the Gamecocks and lost by 11 to slide X spots in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll rankings. The Cavaliers will look to get back on course as they lost the Navy Midshipmen before kicking off ACC play the first week of the new year.
▼ No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks — Down 4 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks were sitting pretty at the top of the AP Top 25 Poll rankings. But, like every other top-ranked team this season, the Jayhawks couldn’t hang onto their No. 1 ranking for very long. Kansas lost a thriller to the then-No. 18 Villanova Wildcats Saturday night. Devon Dotson couldn’t knock down a game-tying floater to answer Villanova’s Jermaine Samuels’ clutch three-pointer that put the Wildcats up by one with 20.5 seconds left in the game, leaving the Jayhawks with their first loss since their season-opening loss to the Duke Blue Devils. Kansas will head to Stanford to take on the Cardinal Sunday before opening Big 12 play the following week.
▼ No. 24 Arizona Wildcats — Down 8 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
After suffering a hard-fought and, honestly, expected loss to a top-10 Gonzaga Bulldogs squad December 14, the Arizona Wildcats had a two-game stretch to recover before facing the Oregon Ducks January 9. Instead, Arizona lost what should have been a gimme against the unranked St John’s Red Storm. Now the Wildcats head into conference play with three losses under their belt and a date with the Arizona State Sun Devils to start 2020.
▼ No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats — Down 13 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Back-to-back losses for the Wildcats have been relatively rare in the John Calipari era of Kentucky basketball, but this season has been full of surprising revelations. After dropping a three-point decision to the unranked Utah Utes on Wednesday, Kentucky took on the then-No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes at a neutral site and lost 71-65. The Wildcats will have to recover and recover quickly as they host their in-state rival – the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals – Saturday afternoon.
▼ No. 13 Maryland Terrapins — Down 6 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Like Kentucky, the Maryland Terrapins have dropped two straight after spending a good part of the season in the top five of the AP Top 25 Poll rankings. After losing 76-69 to the Penn State Nittany Lions on the road, December 10, Maryland again took to the road to face the unranked and depleted Seton Hall Pirates. And even though they played without their two leading scorers, the Pirates held on for the four-point victory. As a result, the Terrapins will head into their final game of 2019 nursing a six-point slide in the rankings before kicking off Big Ten play in the New Year.
Now check out the biggest plays across sports from this past year:
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