- The AP Top 25 Poll saw no movement at the top heading into the new year, but with conference play beginning next week, don’t expect the consistency at the top of the poll to last much longer.
- The Big Ten led all conferences with seven teams in the rankings while the Pac-12 fell out of the AP Top 25 Poll entirely for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
- Here are the four biggest winners and losers of Week 9 of the college basketball season.
▲ No. 1 Duke Blue Devils — Top spot in the AP Top 25 Poll for second consecutive week
Freshman sensation Zion Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils haven’t stepped on the hardwood in 11 days, but that hasn’t stopped Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his band of ultra-talented freshmen from maintaining the top spot in the AP Top 25 Poll for the second consecutive week. All credit goes to the second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-ranked teams in the poll, who have collectively taken on the likes of Eastern Michigan, Binghamton, and Tennessee Tech throughout the past week.
▲ No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats — Up 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
A week after picking up a signature win against the North Carolina Tar Heels, John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats continued their success against ACC opponents with a 71-58 win against their in-state rival Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats now enter SEC play with a three-game win streak under their belts and a good shot at dominating a conference filled with talented rosters.
▲ No. 24 Nebraska Cornhuskers — Enter the AP Top 25 Poll after dropping out last week
The Nebraska Cornhuskers dropped out of the AP Top 25 Poll last week due to no fault of their own, but they have returned to the rankings at No. 24 in the country thanks to a win against the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs Saturday. The Cornhuskers have won four straight contests, including December wins against the Creighton Bluejays and Oklahoma State Cowboys. Nebraska now faces an uphill climb in conference play, as seven of the top 25 teams in the nation reside in the Big Ten.
▲ Seton Hall Pirates — Received 24 votes in the AP Top 25 Poll
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 30, 2018
The Seton Hall Pirates are the latest team to take down a previously unranked opponent, and they did so in glorious fashion. Former walk-on Shavar Reynolds knocked down the buzzer-beating three through contact and hepled secure yet another impressive win for Seton Hall’s resume. The Pirates have taken down the Miami Hurricanes, Kentucky Wildcats, and Maryland Terrapins this season and dropped a very close decision against the Louisville Cardinals. With conference play starting soon, expect Seton Hall to make waves in the Big East.
▼ No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers — Down 7 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll
Up until this week, the Wisconsin Badgers’ two losses on the season came at the hands of the Virginia Cavaliers and the Marquette Golden Eagles, both of whom are ranked amongst the top 20 teams in the country. On Saturday, however, Wisconsin suffered a stunning loss to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and subsequently dropped seven spots in the AP Top 25 Poll. The Badgers will need to right the ship quickly as a gruelling Big 10 schedule – complete with six ranked opponents – rapidly approaches.
▼ Arizona Sun Devils — Dropped out of AP Top 25 Poll
One week after coming out on the right end of one of the biggest upsets of the young season – AKA taking down the top-ranked and previously undefeated Kansas Jayhawks – the Arizona State Sun Devils dropped a brutal one-point decision to the unranked Princeton Tigers. Now, the Sun Devils have fallen out of the AP Top 25 Poll rankings and taken the Pac-12’s seven-year streak in the Poll along with them. They may very well be the best team in the conference, but that isn’t saying much this season.
▼ St. John’s Red Storm — Unranked
The Chris Mullin-led St. John’s Red Storm was one of the last remaining undefeated squads in the nation but had not been ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll. Now that they have sustained their first loss of the season thanks to the Seton Hall Pirates’ last-second buzzer beater, the Red Storm are unlikely to make their way into the rankings this season. At least St. John’s will have a shot at revenge when they host the Pirates February 23.
▼ UCLA Bruins — Unranked
Once the kings of the college basketball world, the UCLA Bruins have experienced one of the most stunning falls from grace of any program in the NCAA. That decline came to a head this week as the Bruins capped a three-game losing streak with a stunning 15-point home loss to the Liberty Flames Saturday. The university parted ways with head coach Steve Alford – who has boasted a 124-63 record in his five and a half years at the helm – after a brutal 7-6 start to the season put him on the hot seat. With rumours swirling about how the team deliberately quit on Alford because “they hate him,” UCLA heads into conference play without a head coach and with a serious morale issue to boot.
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