AUBURN, Ala. — The conference season is just around the corner, so the big nonconference showdowns in the AP Top 25 are starting to wind down across college basketball.
A few of those marquee games happened in Week 5 of the college basketball season, causing a few more shakeups in the polls. Two of the hottest teams in the country came back from early deficits, while others suffered their first losses of the season.
In the SEC, Kentucky and South Carolina stayed put, while another league program found itself falling out of my Top 25 after a rough week.
First off, here are my notes on the vote this week:
- I moved UCLA up from No. 5 to No. 3 in my ballot this week after the Bruins hung 102 points on a solid Michigan team. This is clearly the best offense in college basketball, but I’m still more impressed with Villanova and 1-loss Kansas as all-around teams. The Bruins are rolling now, though, and they could easily be undefeated heading into the new year.
- Kentucky stays put at No. 6 for me this week after taking care of Valparaiso and Hofstra. The Wildcats get North Carolina and Louisville before SEC play starts. If they can win there, they would be in line for a solid jump back into the top 5. I still think John Calipari has the most talented team in the country and the one that will play the best when it matters most.
- Saint Mary’s and Butler don’t fall too far this week after losing their first games of the season. UT Arlington is no slouch, and Butler bounced back immediately from losing to Indiana State with a solid win against a Cincinnati team that I still would rank in the Top 25.
- South Carolina stays put at No. 18 after an idle week. The Gamecocks have a chance for another strong resume win Monday night against Seton Hall, and Clemson is coming up next week. I think most of the country still is sleeping on Frank Martin’s team and that fantastic defense.
- Florida dropped out of my Top 25 this week after back-to-back losses to Duke and Florida State. KenPom still loves the Gators, but they need to sort out some things before hitting the SEC season. Florida State, which only has a 3-point loss to Temple on its slate, makes the big jump this week to No. 21.
Justin Ferguson’s AP Top 25 vote
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- Saint Mary’s
- South Carolina
- Florida State
- Notre Dame