While the top 10 remained largely intact, a wild week led to an almost complete overhaul of the second 10. How I voted in this week’s AP men’s basketball poll, with each team’s actual ranking in parenthesis.
1. Kentucky (1): Wildcats seemingly avoided the worst with injury scare to guard Tyler Ulis.
2. Maryland (2): Other than a win against Georgetown, Terrapins haven’t really been tested. That changes Tuesday night against North Carolina.
3. North Carolina (9): Tar Heels welcome back point guard Marcus Paige (broken hand) in time for the showdown against Maryland and likely one-on-one matchup against Melo Trimble.
4. Michigan State (3): Denzel Valentine has been brilliant in Spartans’ 7-0 start, averaging 19.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 8.6 assists.
5. Oklahoma (6): Sooners have outscored first four opponents by an average of more than 21 points but will be tested next Monday against Villanova.
6. Iowa State (5): No team has been within 10 points of the 5-0 Cyclones except the CU Buffaloes.
7. Duke (7): Blue Devils get Indiana in annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday night at home.
8. Kansas (4): Big week for Jayhawks included wins against UCLA and Vanderbilt.
9. Virginia (10): Cavaliers have cruised since early lost to George Washington.
10. Villanova (8): Undefeated Wildcats kept rolling with wins against Stanford and Georgia Tech.
11. Gonzaga (13): Bounced back from one-point loss against now-No. 18 Texas A&M to top a then-No. 18 UConn by three.
12. Arizona (19): Ryan Anderson was a steady force in a week that saw the Wildcats top Santa Clara in OT, lose to Providence, and bounce back to defeat a solid Boise State club.
13. Vanderbilt (16): Despite loss to Kansas the Commodores move up after thorough victories against St. John’s and Wake Forest.
14. Purdue (11): Boilermakers survived the shakeup in the poll’s second 10 and moved up five spots after routing Lehigh.
15. Syracuse (14): Overlooked in the preseason, a week that saw embattled Orangemen program get four scholarships back from previous sanctions also included breakout wins against UConn and Texas A&M.
16. Xavier (12): Musketeers improved to 7-0 after rolling through AdvoCare Invitational, picking up double-digit wins against Alabama, USC, and Dayton.
17. Oregon (15): Five players averaging at least 10 points for high-scoring Ducks.
18. UConn (NR): Huskies fell to the top of the others receiving votes, despite losing by a total of just six points to Gonzaga and upstart Syracuse.
19. Cincinnati (17): Bearcats picked up key early win against George Washington.
20. West Virginia (20): Mountaineers’ soft early slate picks up next week with a showdown against Virginia.
21. SMU (22): Mustangs get their first big test next week at home against Michigan.
22. Providence (23): Kris Dunn made 15-of-28 shots in impressive showings against Arizona and Michigan State.
23. Baylor (25): After failing early test at Oregon, Bears have a chance to impress this week when Vanderbilt comes to Waco.
24. Texas A&M (18): Aggies edged Gonzaga by one point before falling to Syracuse in final of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.
25. Cal (NR): Despite losses to San Diego State and Richmond, I still believe Golden Bears are second-best team in Pac-12.
OUT (my ballot): Wichita State, Notre Dame, Indiana, LSU, Utah
IN: Syracuse, Xavier, Providence, Cincinnati, SMU
ON THE RADAR: Miami (Fla.), Butler, George Washington.