Fourth Quarter Sports’ College Basketball power rankings: Week 12

The rankings changed as soon as we tipped off on Monday, as we saw the No. 1 team lose to an unranked conference opponent.

That team was the Duke Blue Devils and their loss was against Syracuse. That loss helped prove why Duke shouldn’t have been ranked No. 1 overall. That’s why I was always harsh on them. They did manage to beat Virginia on Saturday and hand them their first loss, but it’s still hard to pick Duke at No. 1.

Iowa Hawkeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions men’s basketball players warm up before a game at en:Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, en:Iowa.” by Nkedan is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Honestly, this is the hardest week to determine who the No. 1 team should be, especially since three of the top five lost. In fact, this week is the first of which there are no undefeated teams in college basketball, as Virginia and Michigan lost.

There were also losses by other teams like Oklahoma and Florida State, who have continued to struggle to put together more than three wins at a time. Florida State has actually lost three games in a row. Their most recent loss against Boston College on Sunday doesn’t help their case of being in the top 25. Oklahoma’s loss to Texas on Saturday has the Sooners now sitting out of the rankings. But let’s see who takes their place and where everyone else will be positioned in the rankings this week.

  1. Tennessee (16-1)
  2. Michigan (17-1)
  3. Virginia (16-1)
  4. Gonzaga (18-2)
  5. Duke (15-2)
  6. Michigan State (16-2)
  7. Virginia Tech (15-2)
  8. Nevada (18-1) 
  9. Kentucky (14-3)
  10. Kansas (15-3)
  11. Texas Tech (15-3)
  12. North Carolina (14-4)
  13. North Carolina State (15-3)
  14. Mississippi State (14-3)
  15. Mississippi (16-3)
  16. Marquette (16-3)
  17. Houston (18-1) 
  18. Buffalo (17-1)
  19. Maryland (16-3)
  20. Iowa (16-3)
  21. Villanova (14-4)
  22. Minnesota (14-4)
  23. Auburn (13-4)
  24. LSU (14-3)
  25. Kansas State (14-4)

On the Bubble

UCF, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Louisville, Nebraska, TCU, St. John’s, Washington and Syracuse

Dropped from the Rankings

Florida State, Oklahoma and Temple


Top 25 Breakdown

Numbers One through Five

After watching how last week played out with losses by Duke, Virginia and Michigan, it was only fair to give Tennessee the top spot, even though they almost blew that chance with a close win against Alabama on Saturday. But they have won 12 straight games and look to continue to be the top team in the nation.

For Duke and Virginia, it’s all about continuing to dominate the ACC. I have placed Virginia ahead of Duke despite their recent losses, because Duke lost to Syracuse before beating Virginia. I know that was a game that Zion Williamson had missed, but it was still a loss.

Michigan got rocked by Wisconsin for their first loss and they have now been brought back down to reality. This week they have two more important conference games that will prove whether or not they are for real as they bounce back.

Gonzaga has bounced back nicely from their earlier losses to Tennessee and North Carolina and clawed their way back into the top five. They should have been here last week, but I gave the edge to Virginia Tech, who has now dropped a few spots.

Numbers Six through 10

Michigan State remains at six for now. With an impressive week this week, they might be able to move into the top five. Of course, they would need some help with two more big wins against conference opponents, Maryland and Iowa. You can read more about that here.

With Virginia Tech’s loss to Virginia last week, they have dropped two spots from five to seven. They still have a chance to get back into the top five, but their schedule isn’t favorable. They could fall down just as easy as it is for them to jump up. A big win over North Carolina will be a big plus.

Nevada and Kentucky have used losses by Florida State, Kansas and Texas Tech to jump back into the top 10. Nevada may be able to stay there as they continue to win.

But Kentucky has a big matchup with Kansas this week. With both teams being in the top 10, this is one of the games to watch for this week. Can Kentucky continue to stay hot, or will Kansas rebound from another conference loss?

Kansas will first look to revenge their earlier loss to Iowa State on Monday,  but that might give them the motivation they need to beat the Wildcats.

Numbers 11 through 15

Speaking of Iowa State, they have managed to beat Texas Tech as well. Unfortunately, they haven’t done enough to get back into the top 25. Their loss against Kansas State might have stopped that from happening.

But Texas Tech is still in the top 25 despite back to back conference losses. They have another conference game against Kansas State and they could use a big win.

North Carolina looks to also make the jump into the top 10. The Tar Heels have struggled to get wins over top 25 opponents this season. They have a record of 2-3 with the two wins coming from Gonzaga and North Carolina State, but Virginia Tech looks to knock UNC out all together.

North Carolina State has proven they belong in the top 25 with some big wins. They don’t have any big games this week, which might hurt their chances of being able to move up in the standings.

Mississippi has beaten Mississippi State and Auburn once already this season, but now they have a big non-conference game this week. Can Mississippi continue to win games and jump higher?

How about Mississippi State? This is going to be another tough week for them. They have to face both Kentucky and Auburn this week if they want to stay alive in the top 25. If they lose one they may be safe,  but losing both will definitely knock them out. How will they do?

Numbers 16 through 20

All of these teams continue to show us why they deserve to be ranked in the top 25. They all have big conference games this week that might change things a bit, except for Buffalo.

If you have read the weekly preview for this week, then you’ll see that Marquette and Houston have conference games that could actually go either way, depending on how they play despite their opponents being weaker.

You could say the same about Maryland and Iowa as well. But for them, it’s about proving they can beat opponents who are in the top 25. Maryland’s biggest game of the season is on Monday against the Michigan State Spartans. They look to knock them down as they get closer to the end of the season.

Iowa has another tough week to prove why they have been in the top 25 again despite having struggled. They have been able to win games recently, but this week is another big challenge, as they too get to face Michigan State and then Minnesota. How will Iowa do this week?

Numbers 21 through 25

Okay, so maybe I should’ve put Villanova in the top 25 over Temple, but I do like what Temple has done and they do deserve a chance to be ranked again. Until then, we will watch how Villanova takes care of both Butler and Seton Hall. Both these teams are capable of beating Villanova, and they both should get a berth into the madness of the tourney. But where will they all be placed is the question?

Minnesota hasn’t gotten the chance to prove they belong in the top 25 in the original rankings, but I have given them a chance. And if they can play good games against Michigan and Iowa, maybe they can actually be ranked. If they lose both games, they would likely get knocked out.

Auburn and LSU are two SEC teams going in two different directions. This week could be a week where they both turn it out around and continue to jump up in my rankings. But Auburn will have to win against Mississippi State if they want that to happen.

How about Kansas State finally clawing their way back into the top 25 after a rough first month of the season? They got the final spot over Iowa State because of their win a few weeks ago, but this week they have the tough task of Texas Tech. Can Kansas State hand Texas Tech their third straight loss? Or will Kansas State’s top 25 spot be short lived? Let’s find out!


Until then, we will be looking forward to seeing if the same teams are in the top 25 next week. Who will rise? Who will fall? Can one of the bubble teams make their case for a top 25 spot? Stay tuned next week and see who’s in and out of the top 25. Also, share who you believe should be in the top 25 based on what you’ve seen this season!

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