12 Feb, 2018
Top-ranked Villanova suffered a surprising loss to unranked St. John's. No. 2 Virginia unexpectedly fell at home to unranked Virginia Tech. No. 3 Purdue lost not just once, but twice.
The top three teams, seven of the top 10 and 16 of the AP Top 25 lost at least once in a wild week of college basketball- and it's not even March.
Now the question is: Who should be No. 1?
Virginia could get the top spot despite its 61-60 overtime loss to the Hokies. The Cavaliers (23-2, 12-1 ACC) were the top overall seed in the NCAA's preliminary rankings on Sunday, remaining ahead of fellow top seeds Villanova, Xavier and Purdue.
No. 4 Michigan State could be the pick. The Spartans (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) were No. 1 once before, have won eight straight after knocking off Purdue and are the highest-ranked team in the poll to not lose last week. They were picked as a third seed in the South Region.
''I do think we have a higher ceiling, but whether we get there is a big key,'' Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
Maybe it will be No. 5 Xavier . The Musketeers (23-3, 11-2 Big East) have a half-game lead on Villanova for the Big East lead after beating Butler and Creighton this week. Xavier also has Trevon Blueitt, one of the top contenders for national player of the year, and were picked as the top seed in the Midwest Region by the NCAA Division I Basketball Committee.
Perhaps No. 6 Cincinnati will leapfrog the current top 5 and earn its first No. 1 ranking since Kenyon Martin led them to the top in 1999-00. The Bearcats (22-2) are 11-0 in the American Athletic Conference and have the nation's longest active home winning streak at 39 straight games after blowing out Central Florida.
Cincinnati was slated as the second seed in the South Region behind Virginia in the preliminary rankings.
''This home win streak started before we got here,'' Cincinnati junior point guard Justin Jenifer said. ''Us being here and continuing it is real special. It's what we're looking for the rest of the way, being undefeated at home.''
Then again, voters could leave Villanova at No. 1. The Wildcats have been a decisive No. 1 since re-taking the top spot in the AP Top 25 five weeks ago and ran into a hot team in St. John's, which took down No. 9 Duke in its previous game.
Villanova (23-2, 10-2 Big East) bounced back from the St. John's loss by beating Butler despite missing two starters. The Wildcats were the top seed in the East Region.
Whichever team gets to No. 1, it's sure to spark debate.
Purdue had steadily climbed the polls while putting together the nation's longest winning streak, reaching 19 straight games.
A rough week will surely send the Boilermakers (23-3, 12-1 Big Ten) plummeting.
Purdue opened the week by blowing a 14-point, second-half lead and lost 64-63 to Ohio State after Keita Bates-Diop scored on a putback with 2.8 seconds left. The Boilermakers lost on another last-second shot to Michigan State on Saturday, when Miles Bridges hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left.
Despite the rough week, Purdue was slotted as the No. 1 seed in the West Region.
Oklahoma was one of the nation's most talked-about teams during the nonconference, in large part because of Trae Young, the nation's leader in scoring and assists as a freshman.
Since the Big 12 season started, teams have figured out ways to slow Young and the Sooners.
No. 17 Oklahoma (16-8) lost to No. 19 West Virginia and Iowa this week and has lost six of eight to go from tied for the Big 12 lead to a mediocre 6-6.
''Right now, we've got guys who are little short on confidence,'' Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. ''We need to find people that can make a shot a feel better about what they're doing.''
Oklahoma was slotted as the fourth seed in the Midwest Region in the NCAA's initial rankings.
More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org/fanteractive
By JOHN MARSHALL