(NCAA.com) – Eleven teams from last week’s AP Top 25 lost over the weekend, so here we are: just one team — No. 16 TCU — has the same ranking as it did last week.
Villanova is back at No. 1, which was expected. Of the top-ranked teams to fall this season – the Wildcats, Duke and Michigan State – Villanova’s loss is the most easily justified. Its defeat to Butler came on the road, and the Bulldogs shot 15-for-22 from 3; the Wildcats still only lost by eight. The Blue Devils lost to Boston College, and the Spartans weren’t competitive against Ohio State. To be clear, there are no juggernauts in college basketball this season. But right now, Villanova is the best of the bunch.
No. 2 West Virginia and No. 3 Virginia aren’t far behind. The Mountaineers are the hottest team in America, having won their last 14 games after a season-opening loss to Texas A&M. Teams they’ve beaten since: Oklahoma, Virginia, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Missouri. Jevon Carter is the only guy who’s given Trae Young serious fits this season; he’s West Virginia’s best player, and a true two-way beast.
But the reason this Mountaineer squad is better than Bob Huggins’ past teams? The offense isn’t lagging too far behind the defense – West Virginia ranks 24th on O and 12th on D. This would be the Mountaineers’ best offense since 2013-14 (but they finished 135th on defense that year – it was before the Press Virginia days).
Here’s the thing, though: West Virginia plays in the Big 12, the best league in the country. It’s probably going to lose a tough road game soon. So don’t freak out when that happens. This is the most well-rounded group we’ve seen in the Huggins era, and a setback against a worthy foe shouldn’t cause panic. There’s so much parity this year that it’s inevitable.