Three questions regarding the latest AP Men’s Basketball Rankings
How far can the Seminoles go?
Florida State has shown the past two weeks that they are right there with the best basketball teams in the ACC. After trouncing North Carolina at home by 33 points, the Seminoles came into Cameron Indoor Stadium and shocked the Blue Devils by snapping Duke’s 45 game win streak at home. Thanks to their convincing win in Durham, Florida State went from receiving just one point in the voting Week 11, to receiving 244 votes this week, good for the No. 23 ranking in the nation. With Wake Forest and Georgia Tech on tap, there is no reason to believe that FSU can’t continue their surge up the rankings. The real test will come when No. 19 Virginia comes into town February 4th. A win over Virginia should secure the Seminoles a spot in the rankings for the foreseeable future.
How far can Connecticut fall?
The preseason rankings had reigning champs UConn ranked No. 4 in the nation. Now, after losses to Cincinnati and Tennessee, the Huskies have dropped to 14-5 on the season and are all the way at No. 24 in the polls. When Connecticut hosts Notre Dame on Sunday, with the Irish fresh off a win over then No. 1 Syracuse, UConn will be losers four of the last six games. Should the Huskies remain ranked, they will have to go into Georgetown and take out the No. 10 team in the nation next Wednesday. With road games at Louisville and Syracuse on the 6th and 11th of February, UConn may well fall the way of Vanderbilt, Louisville, and Pittsburgh by falling out of the Top 25 completely after starting the season in the Top 10.
Which one-loss team will emerge as No. 1?
Now that Syracuse has fallen, Kentucky and Missouri have an opportunity to vie for that top spot in the rankings. As it stands, Kentucky garnered 61-of-65 first place votes, putting them on top of the College Basketball world, followed by the Tigers (2-of-65) and then the Orange (2-of-65). Syracuse has a quite formidable schedule this week, going into Cincinnati (32nd in AP poll) then hosting West Virginia (26th in AP Poll). Kentucky has to deal with both Georgia and LSU on the road. Missouri has the easiest slate this week, taking on a pair of sub-.500 teams in Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. If no team breaks from the pack this week, the long-term schedules for all three schools are challenging. Looking long term, Syracuse has dates with five ranked teams before the end of the season compared to just four for Missouri, and only three for the current No. 1 Wildcats. By the time conference tournaments come around, Kentucky could still be comfortably atop the AP’s rankings.
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