Time to send my first regular-season Top 25 ballot off to The Associated Press.
South Alabama winning at Florida State did not affect my ballot because, although FSU was in the AP preseason Top 25 poll, I was wise enough to leave FSU off my preseason ballot. So I did not have to kick FSU out of my ballot because they weren’t in it to begin with.
I did evict Michigan State after its loss to UConn. I’ll wait to see what MSU does this week before I put them back on my ballot.
I also kicked out Lehigh after its loss to Baylor.
Here is my ballot:
1. Indiana stays here after beating Bryant. This week: North Dakota St. and Sam Houston St.
2. Louisville stays here after beating Manhattan. Next: Samford on Thursday and Miami of Ohio on Sunday
3. Ohio State stays here after beating Albany. This week: Albany and URI.
4. N.C. State stays here after beating Miami of Ohio. Next: Penn St. in Puerto Rico tournament on Thurs.
5. Kentucky stays here after beating Maryland. Next: big game with Duke on Tuesday in Atlanta, plus Friday vs. Lafayette
6. Syracuse moves up four spots after beating San Diego State. Quality win there. Next: Wagner on Sunday.
7. Michigan drops a spot despite beating Slippery Rock, just so I can reward Syracuse. Next: Monday vs. IUPUI in the Preseason NIT.
8. Duke drops a spot after beating Ga. State, again because I want to move SU up to No. 6. Next: the big game with Kentucky on Tuesday, plus Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday.
9. Kansas drops a spot after beating Southeast Missouri St. because of my SU jump. Next: big game Tuesday with Michigan St. in Atlanta, plus Chattanooga on Thurs.
10. Florida drops a spot after beating Ala. State because of my SU jump. Next: big game Wed. vs. Wisconsin, plus Sunday at Middle Tenn.
11. Baylor cracks my ballot here after beating Lehigh and Jackson St. That is a good Lehigh team. Baylor barely missed out on being on my preseason ballot. This was a good team last year, and now that they have beaten Lehigh, it looks like a good team again this year. Baylor was in the AP preseason poll, and now I am convinced as well. Next: BC on Thursday in Charleston Classic.
12. Wisconsin stays here after beating Southeastern Louisiana. Next: big game at Florida on Wed., plus Cornell on Sun.
13. Notre Dame stays here after beating Evansville. Next: Monmouth on Monday and St. Joe’s on Friday in Brooklyn.
14. Gonzaga stays here after beating Southern Utah. Next: good test Monday vs. WVU, plus Sun. vs. South Dakota.
15. Creighton stays here after beating North Texas. Next: Wed. vs. UAB and Sunday vs. Presbyterian.
16. Arizona moves up a spot after beating Charleston Southern. No. 16 is where I had Mich. State iin my preseason poll. Next for Arizona: Thurs. vs. UTEP.
17. Missouri moves up a spot after beating SIU-Edwardsville. Next: Tues. vs. Alcorn St. and Friday vs. Nicholls St.
18. Cincinnati moves up a spot after beating Tenn.-Martin. Next: Tues. vs. Miss. Valley St. and Sunday vs. N.C. A&T.
19. UConn cracks my ballot here after beating Mich. State in Germany. Good win. Next: Tues. vs. Vermont, then Friday vs. Wake Forest in the Virgin Islands.
20. Memphis, which has yet to play, stays here. Next: Mon. vs. North Florida and Friday vs. Samford.
21. Ohio U. moves up a spot after beating Portland. Next: Fri. vs. UNC Wilmington and Sun. vs. Wofford.
22. St. Louis moves up a spot after beating South Carolina Upstate. Next: Wed. vs. Santa Clara.
23. VCU moves up a spot after beating Florida Gulf Coast. Next: Gregg Marshall’s Wichita State team on Tuesday, then a visit to his old team, Winthrop, on Sat.
24. San Diego State falls 13 spots after losing by double digits to Syracuse on the aircraft carrier. Next: Tues. vs. San Diego Christian and Sat.vs. Missouri State.
25. First, a shout out to teams from lower-profile leagues that upset foes from power conferences in their openers: South Alabama (over FSU), Bucknell (over Purdue), St. Peter’s (over Rutgers) and Troy (over Miss. St.). Also, a shout-out to Kent State, which got a good win vs CAA preseason favorite Drexel.
Now back to the ballot. My 25th spot goes to UCLA, which drops 4 spots on my ballot despite beating Ind. St. I put UCLA on my preseason ballot because I thought star freshman Shabazz Muhammad would be eligible. That did not turn out to be the case, so I highly doubt UCLA is one of the best 25 teams in the land. I thought about replacing them with UNLV or Saint Mary’s or Murray State. But the Bruins have not lost yet, so I won’t drop them from my ballot just yet. Next for UCLA: Tuesday vs. Russell Turner’s UC Irvine team and Thurs. vs. JMU. Nice trip for the Dukes.