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Updated Top 25 (and one)

Let me start by acknowledging that there's no perfect way to do this.

Not after the results Sunday provided.

Not this early in the season.

North Carolina's win over Louisville -- combined with Charlotte's win over Michigan -- really made Sunday's update of the Top 25 (and one) more difficult than it would've otherwise been. But I've made my decisions, and you'll see them below. But first let me explain why I decided to jump UNC all the way back to No. 11 -- one spot ahead of Louisville.

Why UNC ahead of Louisville?

Well, for starters, I did just spend my afternoon watching the Tar Heels handle the Cardinals pretty easily. And though I don't always believe in the Team-A-beat-Team-B-so-Team-A-must-be-ranked-ahead-of-Team-B theory (because that theory is both silly and impossible to stick with), I do generally think that when two teams with similar preseason expectations play this early in the season on a neutral court, the winner should be ranked ahead of the loser, if possible. So when I considered that Louisville and North Carolina had similar preseason expectations, and that UNC now has at least one more quality win than Louisville, it become reasonable, I think, to put the Tar Heels ahead of the Cardinals.

But why UNC at No. 11?

I had North Carolina 11th in the preseason and, after Sunday's win, the Tar Heels have the exact record that I would've predicted for them at this point in the season. They've been favored in four games and the underdog in one, and they are 4-1. Obviously, they didn't get this record the way anybody expected considering they've lost one game they should've won (against Belmont) and won one game they should've lost (against Louisville). But, still, 4-1 after five games is 4-1 after five games. So why not just put the Tar Heels back where I had them in the preseason, then throw Louisville right behind them?

So where's Belmont?

You know, I swear, if Belmont were undefeated I'd probably put the Bruins ahead of both UNC and Louisville, and I'd defend that decision forever. But Rick Byrd's team lost its second game to Richmond, and I'm not crazy about ranking a team with a loss to Richmond. That said, I'm paying attention, sincerely. And, I promise, I won't Poll Attack any AP voter who ranks Belmont on Monday. It's a reasonable thing to do even if I'm not doing it.

And what about Charlotte?

I don't know what to make of Charlotte. The 49ers are a team that I didn't expect to be good, and I'm still not sure that they are good. But they are 5-1 with a win over Michigan. So I understand why some AP voters will rank them Monday, and I won't mock anybody for doing it. But I guess I'd justify not ranking them this way: Charlotte's only good win is a win that came at the buzzer over Michigan, and there's still a loss to Charleston on the resume. Beyond that, again, as I've explained before, I do believe that presesaon expectations should be weighed heavily this early in the season, meaning teams that were supposed to be good (in theory) should mostly have to lose their way out of the rankings, and teams that were supposed to not be that good (in theory) should mostly have to win their way into the rankings. That's why I'll give Michigan the benefit of the doubt for now, and why I'll wait a little longer to see what Charlotte's all about despite Sunday's result. Regardless, Alan Major deserves a tip of the hat. He went 10-20 in his first season, 13-17 in his second, 21-12 in his third and is off to a 5-1 start in his fourth. That's an undeniable upward trend, and something for which the former Ohio State assistant deserves credit.

Anyway ...

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.)

  1. Michigan State (6-0)
  2. Kansas (4-0)
  3. Kentucky (4-1)
  4. Duke (5-1)
  5. Arizona (5-0)
  6. Oklahoma State (4-0)
  7. Ohio State (4-0)
  8. Syracuse (4-0)
  9. Wisconsin (6-0)
  10. Florida (4-1)
  11. North Carolina (4-1)
  12. Louisville (5-1)
  13. Oregon (4-0)
  14. Iowa State (4-0)
  15. Virginia (4-1)
  16. UCLA (5-0)
  17. Connecticut (6-0)
  18. Gonzaga (4-0)
  19. Wichita State (5-0)
  20. Baylor (4-0)
  21. Creighton (4-0)
  22. Michigan (4-2)
  23. Florida State (5-1)
  24. UMass (6-0)
  25. Marquette (3-1)
  26. Indiana (5-1)

In: North Carolina
Out: VCU


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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