College basketball rankings: Don't kill Trae Young or Oklahoma for tough Big 12 slate
Texas Tech did what should have been expected of it in shutting down the NPOY favorite
I didn't punish Oklahoma for losing 88-78 at Texas Tech on Tuesday because that's pretty much what Oklahoma was supposed to do. So the Sooners are still 22nd in Wednesday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 (and one). But there's no denying this season has flipped on OU and Trae Young in a way most didn't anticipate.
The Sooners have now lost seven of their past nine games. Obviously, that's not good. But it should be noted that five of those seven losses are road losses to possible NCAA Tournament teams -- point being it's probably also not as bad as it seems to some. Either way, more than anything, it's just life in the Big 12 -- where 70 percent of the league's members are ranked in the top 45 at KenPom. It's why a 13-5 conference record could absolutely allow a school to win the league outright.
As for Young, yeah, he's definitely struggling -- evidence being that he's somehow missed 18 of his past 19 3-point attempts dating back to the second half of a loss to West Virginia. The freshman point guard missed his final two 3-point attempts in that game, then went 1-of-8 from beyond the arc in a loss at Iowa State, then went 0-9 from beyond the arc in Tuesday's loss to Texas Tech. His 3-point percentage has dipped to 38.5. His field goal percentage has dropped to 44.3.
Is Young still the favorite for National Player of the Year?
I think so, sure.
He is, after all, still leading the nation in points per game (29.5) and assists per game (9.4), and he's doing it while playing for a team that's still heading to the NCAA Tournament despite these recent struggles. In other words, the big picture still matters, and the big picture remains good. But, that said, those who insisted Young "wrapped the award up" weeks ago were clearly premature. I'd still bet on him. But Young, and his team, would be wise to close strongly.
Wednesday's Top 25 (and one)
|1||Virginia||The Cavaliers' resume features 10 top-50 KenPom wins -- among them victories over Duke, North Carolina, Clemson and Rhode Island. They own a two-game lead in the ACC standings.||--||31-3|
|2||Villanova||The Wildcats' resume features eight top-50 KenPom wins - among them victories over Xavier, Gonzaga, Tennessee and Butler. Villanova is tied in the loss column with Xavier atop the Big East standings.||--||36-4|
|3||Michigan St.||The Spartans' resume features six top-50 KenPom wins and zero sub-30 losses. They'll take a nine-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Northwestern.||--||30-5|
|4||Xavier||The Musketeers' resume features nine top-50 KenPom wins and one sub-70 loss. They've won eight straight games since losing at Villanova.||--||29-6|
|5||Purdue||The Boilermakers' resume features eight top-50 KenPom wins and one sub-60 loss. They've lost two straight games since starting 12-0 in the Big Ten.||--||30-7|
|6||Cincinnati||The Bearcats will take a 16-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Houston. They're 12-0 in the AAC and at least three games ahead of everybody in the league standings.||--||31-5|
|7||Texas Tech||The Red Raiders' resume features seven top-50 KenPom wins and just one sub-45 loss. They own a one-game lead over Kansas in the Big 12 standings.||--||27-10|
|8||Duke||The Blue Devils' resume features six top-50 KenPom wins and just three sub-10 losses. Their best win is a victory over Michigan State.||--||29-8|
|9||Auburn||The Tigers' resume features four top-50 KenPom wins and only one sub-45 loss. They own a two-game lead over Tennessee and Florida in the SEC standings.||--||26-8|
|10||Gonzaga||The Zags' resume features four top-50 KenPom wins and just one sub-30 loss. They'll take a seven-game winning streak into Thursday's game with Loyola Marymount.||--||32-5|
|11||Clemson||The Tigers' resume includes six top-50 KenPom wins and just two sub-50 losses. They're 13-0 at home and 3-1 in neutral-court games.||--||25-10|
|12||Ohio St.||The Buckeyes' resume features four top-50 KenPom wins and zero sub-50 losses. They're 13-1 in the Big Ten and alone atop the league standings.||--||25-9|
|13||Kansas||The Jayhawks' resume features eight top-50 KenPom wins and just two sub-35 losses. Three of their six losses have come inside Allen Fieldhouse.||--||31-8|
|14||N. Carolina||The Tar Heels' resume features eight top-50 KenPom wins and only two sub-40 losses. They've won four straight games since losing at Clemson.||--||26-11|
|15||Saint Mary's||Gonzaga snapped Saint Mary's 19-game winning streak late Saturday. The Gaels' own four top-65 KenPom wins.||--||30-6|
|16||Tennessee||The Vols' resume includes four top-50 KenPom wins and zero sub-45 losses. They've won seven of their past eight games.||--||26-9|
|17||Wichita St.||The Shockers' resume includes three top-50 KenPom wins and only one sub-55 loss. They've won four of their five games since losing at Houston.||--||25-8|
|18||Rhode Island||The Rams have won 16 straight games since losing at Alabama. They own a four-game lead in the Atlantic 10 standings with only five games to play.||--||26-8|
|19||W. Virginia||The Mountaineers' resume includes seven top-50 KenPom wins and just two sub-35 losses. They've beaten Virginia once and Oklahoma twice - and won three of their past four games.||1||26-11|
|20||Michigan||Four of the Wolverines' seven losses are to schools ranked ahead of them in the Top 25 (and one). Michigan's resume is highlighted by a double-digit victory at Michigan State.||1||33-8|
|21||Arizona||The Wildcats' resume features four top-50 KenPom wins and four sub-50 losses. They're 10-3 in the Pac-12 and at least two games ahead of everybody in the league standings.||3||27-8|
|22||Oklahoma||The Sooners' resume features seven top-50 KenPom wins and three sub-50 losses. Only one of their nine losses came at home.||--||18-14|
|23||Texas A&M||The Aggies' resume includes seven top-50 KenPom wins and only two sub-45 losses. They've won four of their past five games.||4||22-13|
|24||Kentucky||The Wildcats' resume features four top-50 KenPom wins -- among them a victory at West Virginia. They'll take a three-game losing streak into Wednesday's game at Auburn.||1||26-11|
|25||Nevada||The Wolf Pack's resume features five top-75 KenPom wins and just three sub-25 losses. Their only home loss came when their leading scorer (Caleb Martin) was sidelined.||1||29-8|
|26||Florida||The Gators' resume features seven top-50 KenPom wins -- among them victories over Cincinnati and Gonzaga. Four of their eight losses are losses at home.||1||21-13|
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