Winners and Losers from the AP College Basketball Top 25 Rankings in Week 7

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystDecember 16, 2013

Winners and Losers from the AP College Basketball Top 25 Rankings in Week 7

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    If you like your Top 25 rankings with a side of chaos, it was a pretty disappointing Monday for you.

    Each of the Top 8 teams is exactly where we left them a week ago, there were no new additions to the Top 25 and only four teams moved more than two spots.

    Considering there were only three losses by ranked teams in the past seven days and they each came on the road against another ranked team, that isn't much of a surprise.

    Still, there were a handful of winners and losers in this week's poll.

    Wisconsin's spot in the pecking order didn't change, but the Badgers did gain some serious ground on the teams ahead of them. North Carolina and Florida jumped a few spots each after defeating Kentucky and Kansas, respectively.

    But if the Tar Heels and Gators moved up by beating a ranked opponent, where's the love for Iowa State's win over Iowa? And why is it so hard for Saint Mary's to get any respect for remaining undefeated?

    Here are this week's five winners and five losers of the Top 25 rankings.


Winner: North Carolina

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    In the past 25 days, North Carolina is 5-1 with wins over Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State.

    The victory against the Wildcats propelled it from No. 18 to No. 14.

    Forget about the shocking losses to Belmont and UABteams who have a combined record of 16-5 right now, for what it's worthbecause one could make a powerful argument that North Carolina is the best team in the country.

    The crazy thing about that is the Tar Heels are still without one of their best players.

    Team chemistry is a mysterious beast, but it's hard to imagine they would get worse if and when P.J. Hairston's 40 percent three-point stroke is eligible to return from suspension.

Loser: Iowa State

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    With a little help from that Hilton Magic, Iowa State should have been one of the biggest winners in this week's poll.

    The Cyclones trailed their in-state rival by five points with 90 seconds remaining when an invisible lid was suddenly placed over the Hawkeyes basket. They missed their final seven shotsfour of which were free throwswhile Iowa State proceeded to make its last seven baskets.

    In conjunction with losses by two of the six teams ranked directly ahead of them, you would think the memorable win over a ranked opponent would have been good enough to vault the Cyclones up to five spots this week.

    Instead, they stayed put at No. 17. Kansas and Kentucky dropped behind them, Florida and North Carolina jumped in front of them, but they didn't move an inch.

    Sure, they got 92 more votes than they did last week, but it still doesn't seem fair.

Winner: Wisconsin

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    With no losses among them, there was almost no change whatsoever to last week's Top 8.

    Aside from Wisconsin, the biggest mover was Michigan State dropping 14 votes from 1,311 to 1,297.

    The Badgers, however, gained 63 votes this week after beating the pants off of Milwaukee and Eastern Kentucky by a combined total of 51 points.

    Despite having the highest RPI in the country, there's still a pretty sizable gap between Wisconsin and the Top 3. Unless Ohio State loses to Notre Dame on Saturday, that's unlikely to change any time soon. Still, it was nice to see the AP Poll literally instill a vote of added confidence in the Badgers' impressive start to the season.

Loser: Voting Logic

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    In the past seven days, Kentucky lost by five points on the road against a surging North Carolina and won by 15 points at home against Boise Statea team that was ranked 29th in last week's AP Poll.

    Also in the past seven days, Kansas fell by six points on the road over a hot Florida team and won by 17 points at home against New Mexico, which was ranked 27th in last week's AP Poll.

    So, how exactly did Kentucky's vote count go from 926 to 414 while Kansas' dropped from 862 to 482? Why did Kentucky drop from No. 11 to No. 19 while Kansas merely fell No. 13 to No. 18?

    Kentucky's loss is probably fresher in the voters' minds, but those teams had practically identical weeks. If anything, the Jayhawks came out looking worse by committing 24 turnovers in their loss.

Winner: Pittsburgh

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    The Panthers are still on the outside looking in, but just barely.

    Iowa remained in the Top 25 by the skin of its teeth, checking in at No. 25 with 72 votes. UCLA is next in line with 69 votes, and then there's undefeated Pittsburgh with 66 votes.

    Say what you will about the strength of the schedule, but Pitt has breezed to a 10-0 record and might not really be challenged in a game for at least another month.

    With a couple of wins over Cincinnati and Cal Poly this week, next Monday would almost certainly mark the Panthers' debut in the Top 25.

Loser: Saint Mary's

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    It's time to give the Gaels their due.

    Saint Mary's beat Boise State in Boise, which is something only New Mexico was capable of accomplishing last seasonand the Lobos needed overtime to do so.

    Lest you think they're merely beating up on a bunch of teams no one has ever heard of, six of the Gaels' eight wins have come against teams that are currently above .500.

    It's still way too early in the year to pay any mind to RPI rankings, but the fact remains that they're tied with Ohio State for 13th in the country. Every other team in the RPI Top 18 was ranked in this week's AP Top 25, so why did Saint Mary's just barely make it onto the back end of a couple of ballots?

    It didn't help the Gaels' case case that hardly anyone in last week's poll lost a game. People don't typically go digging through the standings to find teams that had been previously overlooked until someone else deserves to be dropped out of the rankings.

Winner: Villanova

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    With some voters apparently desperate to change something about their Top 10 this week, Villanova's 21-point win over La Salle on Sunday was enough for the Wildcats to jump from No. 10 into a tie with Duke for No. 8.

    They received 115 more votes than last weekby far the biggest jump among teams currently ranked in the Top 13.

    Two of the AP voters, Jon Wilner and Scott Wolf, had Villanova right behind Arizona and Syracuse as the third-best team in the country.

    They must be pretty excited about that upcoming game between the Wildcats and Orange on December 28.

Loser: Louisville

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    What exactly does Louisville need to do in order to get back into the Top 5?

    Playing without their second-leading scorer, the Cardinals beat Western Kentucky by 16 points on Saturday. They have won their last four games by an average of 28.5 points per game, yet their vote total only increased from 1,262 to 1,264 in the past week.

    While Louisville's domination is taking place, Michigan State is injured and falling apart at the seams, losing at home to North Carolina and nearly losing on the road to Oakland.

    Give Oakland credit, because the Golden Grizzlies are the best 2-9 basketball team in the history of wins and losses. But with or without Gary Harris, the fifth-best team in the country should have been able to take care of business against them.

    If Louisville and Michigan State played each other on a neutral court today, would the Spartans really be favored in that game? Assuming we all agree the answer is no, then why are they still ranked ahead of the Cardinals?

Winner: Florida

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    Remember when Kentucky was supposed to go 40-0 this season?

    Florida might now be the unanimous favorite to win the SEC.

    The Gators are still working on getting fully healthy, but they climbed three spots to No. 16 in this week's poll after knocking off Kansas last Tuesday.

    There's no rest for the wicked, as Florida will face its third consecutive opponent ranked in the Top 15 in the form of Memphis as part of the Jimmy V Classic.

    Tuesday's showdown in New York City is one of just two games in the next seven days between ranked opponentsthe other being Oklahoma State at Colorado on Saturday night.

Loser: Ivy League

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    No one has, or ever will, feel sorry for kids receiving an Ivy League education, but what do they need to do in order to earn some respect in the basketball realm?

    Harvard is 9-1 with a narrow loss at Colorado, but the Crimson only received four votes in this week's poll.

    Princeton is 8-1 with a three-point loss at Butler and a pair of road wins over power conference teams in the past seven days, and the Tigers still haven't received a single vote.

    Meanwhile, Michigan has four losses and nothing better than an overtime win over Florida State on its resume, and the Wolverines still got three votes this week.

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