For once, the No. 1 team retained its ranking. However, with losses from seven of the top 10 teams and 14 of the top 20, there still was a significant amount of movement. Here’s how I voted in this week’s (Feb. 15) men’s basketball top 25 poll, with each team’s actual ranking in parenthesis.
1. Villanova (1): Wildcats reversed the season’s general trend by retaining their No. 1 ranking. It’s a light week for Villanova with a lone home date against Butler before a showdown at Xavier on Feb. 24.
2. Kansas (2): Jayhawks have swept the regular-season series against Oklahoma. It’s a pretty safe bet the powerhouses will meet again.
3. Oklahoma (3): Overshadowed by the four-point loss against Kansas was a solid victory against Texas.
4. Virginia (7): I didn’t penalize the Cavaliers for their last-second, one-point loss at Duke. In my world, that was traveling. And just as I’m posting this, Cavaliers are routing North Carolina State on Big Monday.
5. North Carolina (5): Tar Heels recovered from the previous week’s losses against Louisville and Notre Dame by topping Boston College and Pitt. Another tough week looms with a Wednesday date against rival Duke and a Saturday showdown against No. 11 Miami.
6. Xavier (8): Musketeers recovered from a loss at Creighton to defeat Butler. Xavier gets another tough test Wednesday at home against Providence.
7. Maryland (6): Terrapins went 12-for-22 in a home loss against Wisconsin.
8. Michigan State (8): Spartans rebounded from a one-point overtime loss at Purdue to run away from Indiana in the second half on Sunday.
9. Iowa (4): Hawkeyes were stunned by Indiana. Iowa has just a lone game this week at Penn State before facing Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan over the final four regular season games.
10. Miami (Fla.) (11): Hurricanes have won seven of their past eight and have only to get by Virginia Tech before taking on North Carolina on Saturday.
11. West Virginia (10): How’s this for a tough run — Mountaineers about to take on Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa State in a six-day span.
12. Arizona (12): Wildcats have won five consecutive games since the tongue-lashing coach Sean Miller delivered following consecutive losses against Cal and Oregon in late January.
13. Kentucky (14): Coach John Calipari’s early ejection from Saturday’s win against South Carolina did little to keep the Wildcats from continuing recent surge. Kentucky has decimated its past three opponents by an average of 26.7 points.
14. Louisville (18): Emotional strain from self-imposed postseason ban might be catching up with Cardinals following losses last week against Duke and Notre Dame.
15. SMU (21): Talk of the Mustangs running the table undefeated went away in a hurry. Last week SMU lost against Tulsa.
16. Purdue (17): Boilermakers couldn’t continue the momentum from an overtime win against Michigan State, turning around and stumbling against Michigan.
17. Oregon (16): The Ducks are the latest Pac-12 team to show signs of pulling away from the pack, only to suffer through a rough week. Oregon was swept in its NoCal trip to Cal and Stanford.
18. Dayton (15): First place in the Atlantic 10 will be on the line Wednesday night when the Flyers visit Saint Joseph’s.
19. Iowa State (13): Cyclones bounced back from an overtime loss against Texas Tech to defeat Texas.
20. Texas A&M (NR): Aggies’ freefall continued with losses against Alabama and LSU. Texas A&M has gone from No. 5 to unranked in just three weeks.
21. Indiana (22): Hoosiers picked up a huge win against Iowa but couldn’t finish another upset bid at Michigan State.
22. Notre Dame (19): An Elite Eight team last year, the Fighting Irish fell off the national radar after early losses to Monmouth and Alabama. But they’ve won eight of their past 10, and if they survive an upcoming stretch of winnable road games against Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and Florida State, ND again will be among the top seeds in the ACC tourney.
23. Baylor (25): Rugged Big 12 is catching up with Bears, who have lost three of their past four. For their troubles, Baylor gets five ranked teams among its final six regular-season games.
24. Providence (23): Friars saw a losing streak reach three games after a double-OT setback against Marquette before ending the drought against Georgetown. Providence at Xavier on Wednesday among the marquee matchups of the week.
25. Duke (25): Blue Devils return to the rankings after topping Louisville and Virginia (no matter how tenuously). Duke can show it truly is on the upswing Wednesday night against rival North Carolina.
Pat Rooney: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/prooney07