For the past three weeks, the top six teams in college basketball remained unchanged. With the conference play getting underway throughout the Nation; and the season ending injury to the man known as “Dok”, that was bound to change sooner rather than later.
Duke, Michigan, Tennessee, and Virginia all went undefeated in the first week of 2019 to keep the top-four intact. As for the rest of the top-25, chaos.
NO MORE ROCK CHALK
Kansas easily suffered the biggest loss in the country this week and it had nothing to do with their 77-60 loss to previously unranked Iowa State in Ames. The Cyclones win did enough to move them up from the land of un-ranked to number 20 on the AP list.
As for the Jayhawks, they dropped from fifth to seventh in the rankings; but more importantly they may have gone from national title contenders to a first weekend exit with the season ending injury of junior center Udoka Azubuike.
The 7-foot big man could have left school for the NBA after last season and would have gone as a first round pick; however the biggest knock on his game was the inability to hit foul shots, forcing coach Bill Self to keep him on the bench in crucial moments down the stretch.
Azubuike chose to return to Kansas to polish his game before taking the next step and was well on his way before suffering an early season ankle sprain. After returning from the ankle injury, the big man known as “Dok” was on a tear leading into the beginning of conference play. However, after tearing multiple ligaments in his right hand during a January 4th practice; the junior is set to have surgery this week and while doctors expect a full recovery, he won’t be set to resume basketball activities until this summer.
THE PARITY BEGINS
As for the rest of the top-25, you have to go all the way down to Oklahoma at 23 to find the next team that didn’t move up or down in the rankings. Ironically, Oklahoma lost to Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse in the Big 12 conference opener last Wednesday night. This is the time of year when the best teams in the country start to stand out from the rest and the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders.
With schools like TCU and St. John’s making their entry into the top-25; the one thing that remains obvious about this college basketball season is that outside of the top four teams; anyone is bound to lose to anyone before March.
THE WEEK AHEAD
As always, here are the week’s top games to watch:
Tuesday January 8th 7:00pm: (24) St John’s at Villanova
9:00pm: (12) North Carolina at (15) NC State
(23) Oklahoma at (6) Texas Tech
Wednesday January 9th 9:00pm: (25) TCU at (7) Kansas
Friday January 11th 7:00pm: (11) Indiana at Maryland
Saturday January 12th 12:00pm: Louisville at (12) North Carolina
2:00pm: (1) Duke at (13) Florida State
(8) Texas Tech at Texas
(25) TCU at (23) Oklahoma
4:00pm: (7) Kansas at Baylor
6:00pm: (3) Tennessee at Florida