Apologies for the late posting of this, folks, but for the sake of posterity and public examination here it is: my latest AP top 25 men’s college basketball ballot. (And here's the actual poll, released yesterday).
First my rankings, then some thoughts:
11. N.C. State
13. Ohio State
17. San Diego State
18. Notre Dame
19. Michigan State
20. Kansas State
23. New Mexico
--What do with No. 1? Voters ranked four different teams No. 1 this week: Louisville, Indiana, Duke and Kansas. Louisville won the vote, and is now the top-ranked team. But I went with Indiana. The Hooisers don’t have as strong of a resume as Duke or Louisville, and maybe their loss to Butler was more surprising than Louisville’s loss against Duke and Duke’s loss against N.C. State. But it comes down to this, for me: I just think Indiana is the best team.
--Speaking of N.C. State, the Wolfpack made a significant jump on my ballot, going from 21st last week to 11th this week. I think that’s appropriate, given the victory against the Blue Devils. Even if Duke had Ryan Kelly, I’m not sure it would have mattered much last weekend. The Wolfpack played their best game of the season, and more than lived up to its preseason billing. Now the question becomes whether N.C. State can play like that all the time.
--UCLA is back on my ballot after nine straight victories, including one against Missouri, which was ranked in the top 10 at the time of that game. A national college basketball writer called me out for having the Bruins ranked earlier this season after a loss against Cal Poly, and maybe they shouldn’t have been ranked. But then, like now, I believed in the Bruins. Big game against Oregon later this week.
--And speaking of Oregon, it made a significant jump into my top 25, too – from unranked to 15th. The Ducks’ victory against previously-unbeaten Arizona made an impression on me. Oregon also has a nice victory against UNLV on its resume, and its only losses came against Cincinnati and UTEP.
The teams that exited my poll this week: Maryland, UNLV, Georgetown, Cincinnati
The teams that arrived in my poll this week: Oregon, New Mexico, UCLA, Marquette
Until next week …