North Carolina coach Roy Williams was frustrated during a good portion of the Tar Heels' nonconference schedule.
As I wrote in this space a while back, I’m one of the 65 voters for the Associated Press men’s basketball poll. I posted my preseason ballot back in October, and wrote then that I’d be posting my ballot each week. But I haven’t been doing that, mainly because games in November and December are basically tune-ups for the start of conference play.
But as North Carolina coach Roy Williams put it recently, “big-time basketball” is here. In other words, the start of conference play is upon us. And so for the rest of the season, starting now, I’ll post my top 25 each week. Look for it either late Sunday night or sometime on Monday.
So here goes … the top 25 teams in the nation, as I see them right now, followed by some thoughts:
9. Ohio State
19. Michigan State
20. New Mexico
21. San Diego State
22. Oklahoma State
23. Notre Dame
24. N.C. State
--If you’ll remember, I had Duke ranked 14th in my preseason poll. I had Florida State ranked 13th. Somehow, they’ve allowed me to retain my voting privileges. You can argue whether you think Duke is the best team in the nation, but you can’t argue the fact that the Blue Devils’ have the best resume of any team in the nation, with wins against Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Minnesota. So Duke is the clear choice at No. 1 right now.
--Indiana remains high in my poll because its only loss came against another good team, Butler, in overtime. And because outside of that loss, the Hoosiers have been impressive. And because I still think the Hoosiers are the best team in the country (though, of course, Duke has accomplished more on the court to this point). So that’s why I have Indiana ranked third.
--No North Carolina on my ballot, despite the Tar Heels’ victory against UNLV on Saturday. UNLV remains ranked, barely, because of its overall body of work, which includes a couple solid victories (Iowa State, California) and no real bad losses. The Heels, meanwhile, looked awful during stretches of all three of their losses, and they didn’t have a significant victory until Saturday.
So there you have it.