College basketball rankings: Top 11 teams remain the same; USC, Florida State join AP Top 25
We have a new set of college basketball rankings to digest, but the first 11 teams in the AP Poll are exactly the same as they were last week.
Simply put, none of those teams did anything to deserve to drop, so they’ll stand pat for another week. With that said, two new schools find themselves in this edition of the AP Poll — No. 23 Florida State and No. 24 Southern California.
The Seminoles boast one of the best one-two punches in the country in Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac, but Florida State’s depth is vastly underrated. All nine FSU players that have suited up for every contest average at least 10 minutes per game; Bacon and Isaac are fantastic, but Leonard Hamilton isn’t overusing them. The talented forwards combine to average 31.7 points per game, but Bacon leads the team in minutes with only 26.5 per outing. The Noles picked up a statement win against Florida on Sunday, and in a loaded ACC, they could be good enough to make some noise.
On the other side of the map, USC is off to a 9-0 start. The Trojans haven’t played a particularly difficult non-conference schedule, but their early-season win over SMU was impressive, and Andy Enfield’s squad has a plus starter at every position. Elijah Stewart was a complementary player in his first two seasons as a Trojan, but now he’s a legitimate go-to guy; Stewart is averaging 17.1 points while launching 7.2 3-pointers per game. Enfield instills confidence into his players, and USC’s talent is taking over. The Trojans are likely to take an undefeated record into conference play.
Outside of the two new teams, not a whole lot changed in this week’s poll. But West Virginia is the new No. 12 squad, and the Mountaineers continue to chug along despite implementing several new pieces this season.
West Virginia’s defense is, for a lack of a better term, ridiculous. The Mountaineers have surrendered a total of 92 points in their last two games; seven players average more than a steal per night on the year, and Press Virginia seems to be more and more difficult to solve every season. Jevon Carter leads the way with 3.2 thefts per game, and on the offensive end, it’s a group effort. Esa Ahmad leads the team in scoring, but beyond him, it’s en equal-opportunity offense. To handle the Mountaineers, you need at least two poised, competent ball-handlers. That’s hard to come by in college basketball.
The top teams in the poll may not have budged this week, but this coming Saturday could cause a shakeup in next week’s rankings. No. 2 UCLA takes on Ohio State. No. 18 Butler and No. 9 Indiana will do battle in Indianapolis. No. 15 Purdue squares off against No. 21 Notre Dame, which came extremely close to upsetting Villanova on Saturday. And last but not least, No. 6 Kentucky faces No. 7 North Carolina in what is one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season.
It’s not often that everything goes as planned in college basketball. This past week was rare. But in seven days from now, some new faces are likely to find their way into the top 10. We have much to learn about these teams, and this weekend should teach us some important lessons.