We knew Indiana would rise up the college basketball rankings after its impressive Armed Forces Classic win against Kansas; it was just a matter of how high.
RANKINGS: AP Top 25
The Hoosiers come in at No. 6 in this week’s AP Top 25, which feels about right. The Jayhawks sit one spot behind them at No. 7. Indiana even received a first-place vote, and while it’s way too early for definitive judgments, everyone came away impressed after watching the Hoosiers in Hawaii. Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby seem to have improved immensely in the offseason, and Indiana’s new pieces look quite formidable.
On the other side of the coin, Kansas fell four spots to No. 7, but the Jayhawks can easily redeem themselves with a win over Duke in the Champions Classic. The Blue Devils will be without three key freshmen in Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden, and KU has a prime opportunity to notch a signature win. A loss wouldn’t be all that damaging either; Bill Self’s squad has to travel from Honolulu to New York City, and Duke is still plenty talented. Regardless, the Jayhawks can gain some ground with a win, but a loss would be understandable in the minds of voters.Looking down the first regular season AP Top 25, it looks like style points matter. Xavier is 1-0, but the Musketeers just barely escaped Lehigh on Friday night despite huge games from Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner. Xavier dropped four spots to No. 11, and while that doesn’t particularly matter right now, it’s interesting to see voters drop a team four spots after a win. That tells you there’s not a whole lot of separation between the teams in the middle of rankings.
Also, it’s mildly surprising to see Arizona stand pat after its thrilling win over Michigan State. In terms of quality, nobody is confusing Wildcats-Spartans on opening night with last year’s national championship game, but that was a gritty win from Sean Miller’s shorthanded squad over a talented (albeit young) Michigan State team. Teams eight and nine, Virginia and Wisconsin, didn’t do anything to drop in the rankings, so the logic is clear. But it’s fair to wonder whether or not the Wildcats deserve to have gained some ground.
Lastly, two new schools joined the AP Top 25 this week in Cincinnati and California. The Golden Bears smoked a 2016 NCAA tournament team in South Dakota State in their opener, and Ivan Rabb didn’t even play. That’s a heck of a start for Cal.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, is fresh off a 29-point win over Brown, and the Bearcats look forward to a matchup with No. 21 Rhode Island on Saturday.
It’s great that college basketball is back, but this week is when the fun really kicks in. Chances are, this poll will look very, very different in seven days.