College Basketball Winners and Losers from the AP Top 25 Rankings

Ryan Curi@rcuri1Featured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2013

College Basketball Winners and Losers from the AP Top 25 Rankings

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    For the second straight week, the top two dogs among the college basketball ranks fell, vaulting Duke back to the highest seat in college hoops.

    The Big Ten showed that it's the best and deepest conference in the nation, as Wisconsin won at Indiana, only to lose at Iowa four days later. Northwestern was a 14-point winner over rival Illinois, before nearly knocking off IU Sunday afternoon.

    Florida proved its dominance in the SEC, but who's the next best? Ole Miss, Missouri and Kentucky could all certainly make a case for that.

    Butler vs. Gonzaga proved to be the best game of the week between the best two mid-majors, each of which rank among the top 10. ESPN's College GameDay certainly did a job well done in picking that game to cover.

    If this past week is any indication of the remainder of the season, or March Madness for that matter, then we're all in for a fun and exciting end to the college basketball season.

Winner: Michigan State Spartans

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    This Week: 13; Last Week: 18

    On Wednesday, it was reported that two of Michigan State's top players had been involved in an altercation in their Happy Valley, Penn., hotel room.

    Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne each sat the entirety of the first half of the Penn State game, before changing the complexion of the game in their second-half returns. Payne led the way with 20 points and seven rebounds as Tom Izzo's bunch left Penn State a winner.

    MSU then returned home on Saturday afternoon with a win over Ohio State. Though Deshaun Thomas was able to score 28 points, no other Buckeye scored over six points. There's no doubt that was part of Coach Izzo's game plan.

Loser: Indiana Hoosiers

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    This Week: 7; Last Week: 2

    This season's top-ranked preseason team fell for the second time this season. After a non-conference defeat to Butler, the Indiana Hoosiers most recently fell to Wisconsin last Tuesday.

    Losing to the Badgers is nothing new to Tom Crean and IU, as Wisconsin has knocked off the Hoosiers in 11 straight matchups. However, it came as a surprise that the double-digit home favorite Hoosiers lost control of a game to the unranked Badgers, who lost at Iowa on Saturday.

    Cody Zeller's double-double paced the Hoosiers in Sunday's game at Northwestern, where IU won 67-59. IU did allow the Wildcats to claw back from a 17-point deficit to only five points, before holding off NU late.

Winner: Syracuse Orange

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    This Week: 3; Last Week: 6

    Winning on the road against the top-ranked team in the nation is never an easy thing. It becomes much tougher when arguably the top reserve in the country, James Southerland, is ruled ineligible earlier in the week and must sit out indefinitely.

    For the second straight year, a member of the Syracuse Orange has been deemed ineligible at an inconvenient time, as Fab Melo was just before March Madness last season.

    Syracuse wasted no time basking in its upset road win, as it took on Cincinnati Monday afternoon at home. Despite trailing very late in the second half, the Orange once again found themselves on the winning end by a final score of 57-55. 'Cuse's hope of a second straight Big East title is looking good at the moment.

Loser: Louisville Cardinals

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    This Week: 5; Last Week: 1

    In a battle of the two Big East powerhouses with two top point guards, Syracuse won on both accounts Saturday afternoon.

    Louisville faltered down the stretch in a home game where the Cardinals' Peyton Siva was owned by Michael Carter-Williams all game. Siva finished with only three points on 1-of-9 shooting, as well as a costly late turnover that led to Carter-Williams' game-winning dunk.

    Russ Smith was the only double-figure scorer in the game for Rick Pitino's group, who only were atop the national polls for one week before moving back down. The Cards' next two games will take place at Villanova and Georgetown, both very winnable road games if Louisville has Big East champion aspirations.

Winner: Butler Bulldogs

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    This Week: 9; Last Week: 13 

    Saturday Night's version of College GameDay lived up to all the hype and then some, as Butler knocked off Gonzaga on a buzzer-beating shot that warranted a court storming.

    Butler was without star sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke but continued its magic, as a late-game steal led to Roosevelt Jones' floater as time expired. Jones and Kellen Dunham were the two Bulldog scorers that reached double figures in only the second loss for Gonzaga all year.

    Earlier in the week, Butler defeated Richmond. The win over Gonzaga, who now ranks one spot below Butler to fill out the top 10, should help Brad Stevens' decision to not rush Clarke back from his current injury.

Loser: Missouri Tigers

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    This Week: 22; Last Week: 17 

    No one saw the beatdown that occurred in Gainesville on Saturday coming, even as the Tigers were without star forward Laurence Bowers.

    Mizzou lost, 83-52, against the Gators, behind a struggling Flip Pressey. Pressey only scored two points, but what was more alarming was his 10 turnovers. Pressey's counterpart opposite him, Scottie Wilbekin, scored 13 points and dished out 10 assists.

    The week got even worse for Missouri head coach Frank Haith, with the recent announcement surrounding Nevin Shapiro and the improper benefits the booster was involved in while at Miami.

    The Tigers need Bowers back, who was playing the best ball of his collegiate career before the knee injury. This loss was the second in three games for the Tigers in their welcoming to the SEC.