Welcome to the debut of Fo, Fo, Fo — RIP, Moses Malone — a new weekly column to catch you up on college basketball with my four No. 1 seeds as of this moment, four mid-majors no one wants to meet and four games I can’t wait to watch. Let’s get to it.
Fo No. 1 seeds
Duke — The Blue Devils are 10-0 with wins over Michigan State (currently No. 3), No. 5 Florida, Texas and Indiana, all away from home. Can’t start much better than that. They have the best player in America, freshman forward Marvin Bagley, and senior sharpshooter Grayson Allen, plus a whole mess of talent in between. This young team is for real.
Michigan State — The Spartans staged a terrific battle with Duke in the second game of the season, their only loss, and have since demolished Connecticut, North Carolina and Notre Dame. The addition of 5-star freshman Jaren Jackson to the super sophomore quartet of Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Nick Ward and Joshua Langford has been a winning mix.
Kansas — The Jayhawks are 7-0 and they’ve already beaten Kentucky and blown out Syracuse, but are they really elite? It’s hard to know, because the Wildcats had a starting five fresh out of high school and the Orange are ranked 58th nationally by Ken Pomeroy. Kansas has a talented and veteran backcourt, led by Devonte’ Graham, but there isn’t much depth in the frontcourt (or in general).
Texas A&M — I’m tempted to put Florida here, because I think the Gators are better, but their SEC counterparts have a better resume right now. Florida beat Gonzaga but its best game of the season was a loss (and blown lead) against Duke. The Aggies, meanwhile, just keep racking up wins. Those already include No. 18 West Virginia, at No. 25 Southern California, Oklahoma State and Penn State.
Fo mid-major threats
Wichita State (American Athletic) — The Shockers already beat California, Marquette and No. 23 Baylor (on the road) and had No. 9 Notre Dame down 16 before losing by a point. Games at Oklahoma State and home against Oklahoma the next two Saturdays offer big opportunities. Shaq Morris and Landry Shamet would play a major role on just about any team in America.
Gonzaga (West Coast) — Like Wichita State, which played in the 2013 Final Four and had an undefeated regular season in 2014, it now feels a bit silly to call the Zags a “mid-major” program. They gave a very good Florida team hell in a double-overtime thriller at the PK80 Invitational and bounced back with an OT win over Texas. They’ve blown out Ohio State and Creighton and now get a shot at No. 4 Villanova on Tuesday night.
SMU (American Athletic) — What a weird resume so far. The Mustangs lost by 3 to Northern Iowa and two to Western Kentucky, but they’ve also beaten Arizona and pounded No. 25 Southern California. So who is this team? Perhaps a Tuesday night trip to No. 20 TCU will tell us.
Nevada (Mountain West) — Eric Musselman’s Wolf Pack is 8-0 and ranked 22nd in the AP poll this week. But its best wins so far are against Rhode Island and Davidson. The next two games — at Texas Tech on Tuesday and against TCU on Friday, both top 25 teams in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings — offer a shot at validating the hot start.
RELATED: Kentucky’s 1-2 punch in the paint
Fo games to watch
No. 4 Villanova (8-0) vs. No. 12 Gonzaga (7-1) at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. These programs have reminded us the last two years that you don’t have to be a traditional power to cut down the nets. The Wildcats won the national championship in 2016 and the Bulldogs played for it in 2017. Perhaps this game will tell us which one of them can make a run at it again in 2018.
No. 15 Virginia (8-0) at No. 18 West Virginia (7-1) on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. First to 50 wins! Doesn’t that sound fun? If you like defense, this one will be a blast. The Cavaliers, who just held Wisconsin to 37 points, rank No. 1 nationally in defensive efficiency and have allowed just one opponent to score more than 55. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, rank third in turnovers forced per game (22.3), fifth in steals (11.4) and 18th in blocks (6.1).
No. 7 Texas A&M (7-0) at Arizona (5-3) on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Aggies are rolling and the Wildcats are struggling — Sean Miller’s team fell from No. 2 to completely out of the AP poll in the span of a week (a new record) thanks to three consecutive losses — but this is still an exciting matchup. Arizona’s 7-foot-1 freshman Deandre Ayton vs. A&M’s 6-10 sophomore Robert Williams, two future top-10 NBA draft picks, is must-see TV.
No. 16 Arizona State (7-0) at No. 2 Kansas (7-0) on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Sun Devils already have knocked off Kansas State and 13th-ranked Xavier, and Bobby Hurley’s team has one of the most dangerous offenses in the country. They rank top 20 in adjusted offensive efficiency, effective field-goal percentage, 2-point and 3-point percentage. The Jayhawks haven’t faced anything like that yet.
Just missed the cut: No. 22 Nevada vs. No. 20 TCU on Friday, Dec. 8 at 11:59 p.m. ET on ESPNU; No. 6 Wichita State at Oklahoma State on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2; No. 5 Florida vs. No. 17 Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.