Time to send in a new ballot to The Associated Press.
I kicked out Memphis after its losses to VCU and Minnesota.
I evicted UCLA after its losses to Georgetown and Cal Poly. I had UCLA at No. 23 last week, but I was wrong to believe the preseason hype.
I booted North Carolina after its loss to Butler. I did not have UNC in my first two ballots, but I put them in last week at No. 24 because I was looking for a few teams at the bottom of my ballot. Putting UNC on there was premature. We’ll see how they do this week in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
I also kicked out UNLV after its loss to Oregon at home. I also left out UNLV off my first two ballots but put them in last week at No. 25 because I was looking for a few teams to fill out my ballot. Putting UNLV on was premature as well.
Here is my ballot:
1. Duke moves up three spots to No. 1 after beating Minnesota, VCU and Louisville to win the Battle 4 Atlantis tourney. My previous No. 1, Indiana, has not lost yet. But Duke, which beat Kentucky earlier in the season, has a batter body of work to this point than Indiana. So Duke gets the top spot, at least for now. Next: big home game with Ohio State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Wed., and a home game Saturday against Jamelle Hagins and Delaware.
2. Indiana falls one spot after beating Georgia and Georgia (in OT) to win the Legends Classic, plus beating Ball State. Next: big home game with UNC on Tuesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, and a Sat. game with Coppin St.
3. Ohio State stays here after beating Missouri-Kansas City. Next: the big game Wed. at Duke, and a Sat. game with Northern Kentucky.
4. Louisville drops two spots after beating Northern Iowa and Missouri and losing to Duke in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Cardinals did not have center Gorgui Dieng in the Duke game because of a broken wrist, so we don’t know how they would have fared if they had been healthy. And we don’t know how Louisville will do while Dieng is sidelined. Next: Sat. vs. Ill. State.
5. Syracuse stays here after beating Princeton and Colgate. Next: a Friday game at Arkansas in the Big East-SEC Challenge.
6. Michigan stays here after beating Pitt and Kansas State to win the Preseason NIT. Next: Tuesday vs. uneven N.C. State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, and a Sat. visit to Bradley.
7. Florida stays here after beating Savannah State and Central Florida. Next: Marquette on Thursday in the Big East-SEC Challenge.
8. Gonzaga stays here after beating Clemson, Oklahoma and Davidson to win the Old Spice Classic. I think Gonzaga is ranked too low in the AP poll, we’ll see if they move up this week. Next: Thursday vs. Lewis Clark and Sat. vs. a decent Pacific team.
9. Creighton stays here after beating Longwood and then defeating Wisconsin and Arizona St. to win the Las Vegas Invitational. I also think Creighton is too low in the AP poll; maybe they move up this week. Next: Wed. vs. Boise Staet in the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge and a good test Sat. against St. Joe’s.
10. Arizona stays here after beating Long Beach St. Next: Northern Arizona on Wed. and a Sat. visit to Texas Tech.
11. Cincinnati moves up a spot after beating Campbell and defeating Iowa State and Oregon in the Global Sports Classic. Next: another good test Sat. vs. Alabama in the SEC-Big East Challenge.
12. Missouri falls one spot after beating Stanford, losing to Louisville and beating VCU in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Next: Sat. vs. Appalachian State.
13. Colorado stays here after beating Air Force. Next: Texas Southern on Tuesday and a Sat. visit to Wyoming.
14. Oklahoma State stays here after beating Portland St. Next: a visit to Blacksburg on Saturday.
15. Kentucky moves up three spots after beating Morehead State and Long Island. Next: good test Thursday at Notre Dame in the SEC-Big East Challenge and a Sat. game against sputtering Baylor.
16. New Mexico cracks my ballot here after beating UConn to win the Paradise Jam, and defeating Idaho and Portland. Next: Mercer on Wed. and Indiana State on Sat.
17. UConn falls two spots after beating Quinnipiac in two overtimes and losing to New Mexico in the Paradise Jam, and beating Stony Brook. Should I have dropped UConn more? I don’t think so. They still have a win over Mich. State on their November resume. Next: Thursday vs. New Hampshire.
18. Michigan State falls two spots after beating Boise State, Oakland and (in a 3-point squeaker) Louisiana-Lafayette. Moving them down to make room for New Mexico. And it’s not like their latest victory was impressive. Next: Wed. at Miami in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, and a Sat. game with Nicholls St.
19. Kansas stays here after beating Wash. State and St. Louis to win the CBE Classic. Next: San Jose State on Monday and Friday against Oregon State.
20. Ohio University stays here after beating Hampton and Richmond. Why isn’t Ohio getting more love in the poll? This team should be ranked. Next: St. Bonaventure on Wed. and a visit to Robert Morris on Sat.
21. Wichita State stays here after beating DePaul and Iowa to win the Cancun Challenge. This is another team that deserves to be ranked. Next: Tulsa on Wed. and a Sat. visit to Air Force.
22. Georgetown cracks my ballot after beating UCLA and taking Indiana to OT before losing in the Legends Classic, and beating Mount St. Mary’s. Next: a visit from Tenn. on Friday in the SEC-Big East Challenge.
23. San Diego State falls one spot after beating Arkansas Pine Bluff and Southern Cal. They move down a spot because I think Georgetown deserves to be above them.
24. For these last two spots, I looked at Florida State, Alabama, Santa Clara, Temple and VCU. But I figured I would wait one more week on FSU and Alabama to see how they do this week vs. Minn. and Cincinnati, respectively. And I think VCU will be back on my ballot soon, because they are going to be a factor in the A-10 race.
But I decided to put Oregon at No. 24 after its impressive road win at UNLV. Yes, Oregon followed that up by losing to Cincinnati, but there is no shame in that. Next: Texas San Antonio on Thurs. and Arkansas Pine Bluff on Sat.
25. And at No. 25, I went with Illinois after the Illini beat Southern Cal, Chaminade and Butler to win the Maui Invitational. Yes, the Illini followed that up by barely beating Gardner-Webb, but I felt the Illini deserved the final spot for their Maui showing. Next: Ga. Tech on Wed. in the ACC-BIg Ten Challenge.