The newest edition of the college basketball AP Top 25 rankings was released Monday. Here are some instant takeaways from the Week 3 poll.
There’s a new No. 1 in the AP Top 25 rankings, and it’s safe to say most saw it coming.
Kentucky replaced Duke in the top spot with 42 first-place votes after improving to 4-0 with dominant wins over then-No. 13 Michigan State and Duquesne. The Wildcats, behind Isaiah Briscoe and freshmen De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo, have won their four games by an average of 25.5 points.
The Blue Devils dropped to No. 6 after losing to Kansas despite victories over Penn State and then-No. 21 Rhode Island in Connecticut. They’re going to be back competing for that top slot once freshmen Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden shake off injuries and get into the lineup. None of them have played a single minute this season, so we likely haven’t seen the last of Duke as the No. 1 team in the nation.
One of the bigger surprises was Indiana’s rise to No. 3 behind Kentucky and Villanova, which received 21 first-place votes. The Hoosiers received two No. 1 votes and have moved up eight spots since the preseason rankings.
Here’s a look at some other takeaways from the newest edition of AP Top 25.
Welcome to Paradise
The Maui Invitational tips off Monday followed by the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament beginning Wednesday, and both beautiful destinations will be packed with ranked teams.
One semifinal in Maui could pit No. 13 Oregon vs. No. 16 Wisconsin in a matchup of two teams who suffered significant drops in this week’s poll. The Ducks, who lost at Baylor, fell from No. 4, and the Badgers’ loss at Creighton caused it to dip from No. 9. Oregon takes on Georgetown and Wisconsin battles Tennessee in the first round.
North Carolina, which moved up one spot to No. 4 this week, looks to have an easy path to the title game. After facing Division II host Chaminade in the first round, the Tar Heels get the winner of Oklahoma State vs. UConn, which has suffered losses to Wagern and Northeastern after being ranked in the preseason poll. The Cowboys are 3-0, but they haven’t been tested at all.
In the Bahamas, No. 10 Louisville – up two spots this week – is positioned in the bracket to set up a potential championship game with No. 24 Michigan State, which fell 11 spots after a blowout loss to Kentucky and one-point win over Florida Gulf Coast at home.
Baylor debuted in this week’s poll at No. 20, and it will have something to say about that matchup actually happening. The Bears face VCU in the first round, and it would face the Spartans in the semis should they get past St. John’s.
Movin’ On Up
Creighton made the biggest move in this week’s poll, jumping to No. 12 from No. 22. The Bluejays beat Wisconsin at home, then won the Paradise Jam tournament by crushing Washington State, 103-77, and beating N.C. State, 112-94.
A pair of West Coast Conference teams jumped as well, with Gonzaga going from No. 14 to No. 11 and St. Mary’s moving up two spots to No. 15. The Zags haven’t faced much quality competition, but the Gaels had to survive a trip to Dayton and won, 61-57, in a matchup of dark horse Final Four teams.
There’s actually 26 teams in this week’s poll, as Michigan and Florida State debuted in the poll by sharing the No. 25 spot.
There are no previously scheduled ranked-vs.-ranked matchups this week, although there is the potential that some do face each other, as outlined above. However, one matchup that’s intriguing is No. 7 Virginia facing Iowa in the Emerald Coast Classic on Friday in Florida.
The Cavaliers dismissed Memphis transfer Austin Nichols after “failing to meet team standards.” Nichols was supposed to be a major contributor and part of the reason Virginia has been ranked so high to start the season.