At this early stage of the season, one or two losses can mean a huge skid down the AP top 25 college basketball rankings.
A couple of former top-5 teams learned that the hard way this past week. The Week 6 national rankings saw some massive plunges for some formerly top-ranked squads.
From Week 5 to Week 6, the top three teams have remained constant.
Gonzaga continues to look far and away the best team in the country. With a decisive 98-75 win over No. 16 Virginia, the Bulldogs proved they have the ability to dominate teams at any level. This impressive victory was the Zags’ fourth top-25 win this season already. Mark Few and his seemingly unstoppable squad received 62 of 64 possible No. 1 votes.
The other two votes went to No. 2 Baylor. The Bears have looked solid all year, blowing out every opponent they’ve faced so far. But, with only one top-25 win over Illinois, they haven’t been tested nearly as much. Due to COVID-19 concerns, Baylor has been forced to cancel matchups against No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 13 Texas.
Kansas slowly crept its way into the No. 3 position last week with some solid AP top-25 wins. The Jayhawks maintained their top-5 spot after notching a win against No. 7 West Virginia on Tuesday.
After earning a preseason top-3 ranking, Villanova dropped out of the top 10 with a disappointing Week 1 loss to Virginia Tech. The Wildcats have now worked their way all the way back up to the No. 4 spot, claiming the position vacated by Iowa.
Still undefeated with a top-25 win against No. 14 Texas Tech under their belt, Houston snuck into the final spot at No. 5.
Here’s the full AP top 25 list:
13. Texas Tech
17. Michigan State
18. Florida State
24. Virginia Tech
25. Ohio State
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 28, 2020
Wisconsin continues to make big strides forward in the polls, claiming the No. 6 spot this week. With wins over No. 23 Louisville and No. 12 Michigan State, the Badgers have now jumped six spots in the past two weeks.
No. 8 Texas and No. 7 Tennessee remain in the top 10 with little upward mobility after notching some wins against unranked opponents.
West Virginia dropped only two spots to No. 9 after suffering a loss to No. 3 Kansas.
A wild overtime loss to Minnesota saw Iowa take a significant dip in the polls. After now losing two of its last three games, the Hawkeyes dropped all the way from No. 4 to No. 10.
Middle of the Pack
The most notable shifts in the bottom half of the rankings came from a couple former top-5 teams.
After receiving a preseason top-5 ranking, Virginia has now dropped all the way to No. 23. The Cavaliers slid seven spots down the rankings after suffering a blowout loss to Gonzaga, marking their second loss of the season.
The past two weeks have been even rougher on Michigan State. In Week 4, the Spartans were ranked No. 4. Now with two straight losses to Northwestern and No. 9 Wisconsin, Tom Izzo and his squad have fallen all the way to No. 17.
On a more positive note, Michigan continues its rise in the ranks this week. After not even receiving an AP top 25 ranking in Week 4, the undefeated Wolverines have now jumped nine spots in just two weeks to No. 16.
Kicked Out, Moving In
Two teams got the boot and two others saw their first taste of the top 25 in Week 6.
North Carolina suffered its third loss of the season, falling to in-state rival North Carolina State 79-76 on Tuesday night. The disappointing loss saw the Tar Heels drop all the way from No. 17 and out of the rankings.
Xaviers’ first AP top 25 ranking of the season in Week 5 was short lived. The previously undefeated No. 22 Musketeers suffered their first loss of the year to No. 13 Creighton with a score of 66-61.
These two vacated spots were claimed by Northwestern and Minnesota.
After starting the season at 2-1 with a one-point loss to Pittsburg, the now No. 19 Wildcats have gone on an incredible hot streak. The past two weeks have seen Northwestern notch three wins over solid Big Ten opponents, including No. 4 Michigan State and No. 23 Ohio State.
The Golden Gophers improbable 102-95 overtime upset over Iowa propelled them from unranked to No. 21 in the polls.