What in the world happened to VCU on Thursday down in Puerto Rico?
"I thought, for us, this was a wakeup call and realization that we just can't be who we want to be; we have to make it happen," VCU coach Shaka Smart told reporters after his Rams' surprising loss to Florida State. "It was a classic case of allowing our offense to affect our defense. ... There's going to be nights like that, but the good teams stick to the process."
VCU, quite clearly, did not stick to the process.
The result was an 85-67 loss in which the Rams trailed by 30. The byproduct of that is a significant drop in the Top 25 (and one) -- a fall from 10th to 26th. That's a 16-spot difference and, at least theoretically, a bigger drop than Memphis suffered in the Top 25 (and one) when I dropped the Tigers from 13th to unranked after trailing Oklahoma State by 34 and losing by 21. But, still, I know what some Memphis fans are thinking this morning.
"If you dropped Memphis out of the Top 25 (and one) after a blowout loss at Oklahoma State, why not drop VCU out of the Top 25 (and one) after a blowout loss to Florida State?"
In fairness, it's a reasonable question.
Or, at least, it's a question I expected to be asked.
So here's my answer: As I've subsequently explained in many places -- including the most recent Eye on College Basketball podcast -- my decision to unrank Memphis was rooted in two things, really. The first was the loss in which the Tigers trailed, at one point, by 34 points. But the second and, I think, the more important thing was me essentially drawing a line in the so-called sand and deciding that I'm going to stop labeling the Tigers as a Top 25 outfit at least until they snap Josh Pastner's 0-13 record against AP Top 25 schools. There is neither another Top 25 program nor team, far as I know, with 13 straight losses to AP Top 25 teams under its current head coach. And if you can't ever beat AP Top 25 teams, for whatever reason, why should anybody keep considering you a Top 25 team?
I think that's a reasonable question.
Either way, it's been my argument over the years against ranking Belmont, which went from 2003 to last Sunday without beating a ranked opponent. It's now also my argument against ranking Memphis, meaning the Tigers next chance to reenter the Top 25 (and one) will come in the Old Spice Classic, where they could face OSU for a second time on Dec. 1.
I hope that makes sense to everybody.
Regardless, VCU is a totally different deal.
What happened to the Rams on Thursday was bad, I admit. But VCU has topped seven AP Top 25 teams under Smart since the last time Memphis beat one, meaning the Rams have credibility where Memphis does not. In other words, what happened to Memphis on Tuesday was merely the latest installment in a troublesome trend while what happened to VCU on Thursday was more of an anomaly. So I'll give the Rams the benefit of the doubt for now and put them at No. 26, which is to say four spots behind Florida State. And congrats to Florida State! I'll be honest, I never expected to have the Seminoles in the Top 25 (and one) this season. But here they are ... although their addition combined with VCU maintaining a spot in the rankings pushed Boise State out, and that's too bad. But what can you do? There's only so much real estate to occupy around here. Still, let the record show, that Boise State would be 27th in a Top 25 (and two), if that matters to anybody.
The Top 25 (and one) updates every morning and also on Sunday nights.
Here's the latest version:
(Click this link to view each team's previous ranking, recent results, future schedule, etc.)
- Michigan State (4-0)
- Louisville (4-0)
- Kansas (3-0)
- Kentucky (4-1)
- Duke (4-1)
- Arizona (5-0)
- Oklahoma State (4-0)
- Ohio State (4-0)
- Syracuse (4-0)
- Wisconsin (5-0)
- Florida (4-1)
- Oregon (3-0)
- Iowa State (4-0)
- Michigan (3-1)
- Virginia (3-1)
- UCLA (3-0)
- Connecticut (5-0)
- Gonzaga (4-0)
- Wichita State (5-0)
- Baylor (4-0)
- Creighton (3-0)
- Florida State (4-0)
- New Mexico (3-0)
- Marquette (3-1)
- Indiana (5-0)
- VCU (3-1)