Apparently no team is overly keen on retaining the nation's No. 1 ranking for more than a week or two at a time.
It's a pain for voters, but an exciting turn of events for college basketball.
Oklahoma turned out to be a unanimous choice for the top spot this week, but I confess this voter initially was hesitant to go that route. After all, the Sooners just lost to Kansas two weeks ago. In the end, though, I figured that epic, four-overtime slugfest at Kansas was as close to a draw as a basketball game can get. And given the rough week across the board for ranked teams, there really wasn't another viable candidate for the No. 1 spot.
Here's how I voted this week (week of Jan. 18), with each team's actual ranking in parenthesis.
1. Oklahoma (1): Sooners collected all 65 first-place votes after two-point wins against Oklahoma State and West Virginia.
2. Kansas (3): Jayhawks' 13-game win streak ended at West Virginia.
3. North Carolina (2): Tar Heels remained unbeaten in the ACC after topping rival N.C. State.
4. Villanova (4): Wildcats kept rolling with solid wins against Marquette and Georgetown.
5. West Virginia (6): If Oklahoma and Kansas are the top two teams in the nation, how good are the Mountaineers? West Virginia knocked off Kansas last week and nearly did the same to
6. Xavier (5): Musketeers' No. 5 ranking is the best in school history.
7. SMU (8): A quick story on Mustangs point guard Nic Moore. Prior to Colorado's game against SMU in Las Vegas before Christmas I was contacted by an old friend and former high school teacher of Moore's, asking if I could relay to Moore that all his fans from Warsaw, Ind., were watching and cheering on his big season. I made no promises, not knowing how my deadline situation would look, but I did indeed have time to duck my head in the SMU locker room. I was struck by how gracious and seemingly genuinely touched Moore was to hear indirectly from his old teacher. Moore leads the undefeated Mustangs with 15.2 points per game to go with 5.1 assists per game.
8. Maryland (7): Terrapins took out the frustrations from a three-point loss at Michigan by rolling Ohio State 100-65.
9. Iowa (9): Hawkeyes were on no one's radar in the preseason. After twice defeating Michigan State, Iowa making a claim as the team to beat in the Big Ten.
10. Arizona (12): The Wildcats held serve in the wild Pac-12 by routing Washington and Washington State at home.
11. Michigan State (11): Denzel Valentine finally looked like his pre-injury self against Wisconsin (23 points, seven rebounds, five assists), but it wasn't enough to stop the Spartans from suffering their second straight loss.
12. Duke (20): Rough week for Blue Devils included losses against two teams making a charge among the others receiving votes, Clemson and Notre Dame.
13. Virginia (13): Cavaliers were impressive in a win against Miami but stumbled on the road at Florida State. Virginia is 0-3 on the road in the ACC.
14. Miami (Fla.) (15): Hurricanes went 0-2 against Clemson and Virginia.
15. Kentucky (23): Wildcats' continuing tumble must feel good to long-suffering rivals. Auburn ended an 18-game losing streak against Kentucky while aiding CU's RPI in the process.
16. Texas A&M (10): Aggies quietly moving up the charts, adding wins last week against Florida and Georgia.
17. Butler (18): Mourning the death of former center Andrew Smith, Bulldogs routed St. John's.
18. Providence (16): Friars' hot streak was derailed by Seton Hall.
19. Louisville (17): Cardinals picked up an impressive win against Pitt.
20. Baylor (13): Bears enjoyed a highlight-reel win with Lester Medford's buzzer-beater that stunned Texas Tech.
21. Iowa State (19): Injuries and shortcomings in close games have led to a 2-3 mark in the Big 12. Cyclones can change their momentum in a hurry when they host Oklahoma on Monday night.
22. Purdue (22): Boilermakers will try to maintain momentum this week against Rutgers and Ohio State before visiting Iowa next week.
23. South Carolina (24): Gamecocks were routed by 23 points on the road at Alabama.
24. Southern Cal (21): High-scoring Trojans are making waves in the Pac-12 and are coming off an impressive win at rival UCLA.
25. Pittsburgh (NR): After losing Louisville, Panthers were edged by Indiana for the final spot. Hoosiers have won 10 in a row but are still adjusting to live without second-leading scorer James Blackmon, Jr., who is out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
OUT (my poll): Gonzaga
IN: Southern Cal
ON THE RISE: Indiana, Clemson, Notre Dame