Kansas had already been to overtime twice and trailed two other times in the final seven minutes of regulation. So even though the Jayhawks entered the weekend undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the Top 25 And 1, they'd regularly put themselves at risk -- which suggested they were, especially without starting center Udoka Azubuike, who has been injured since early December, susceptible to an upset.
That upset came Saturday night.
The Jayhawks, as 3-point favorites, Arizona State. Consequently, Bill Self's team that was No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press poll is no longer a clearcut No. 1 -- which means there is no clearcut No. 1. In fact, right now, I believe there are six schools that could reasonably be ranked No. 1. In alphabetical order, those six schools are:and lost 80-76 at
I'll be honest, I went back and forth on what to do at the top. But I ultimately decided to just respect Saturday morning's Top 25 And 1 and move Tennessee -- which has been No. 2 in the Top 25 And 1 since beating Gonzaga on Dec. 9 -- to No. 1 in Sunday morning's Top 25 And 1. So the Vols are the new No. 1. And it's not hard to justify because Tennessee's resume consists of that neutral-court win over Gonzaga with the lone loss coming to a full-strength Kansas team on a neutral-court in overtime. The Vols' nine other games have all been against unranked schools, and they've beaten each by double-digits -- which makes UT the nation's only team that can check all four of these boxes:
- Has a win over a school in the top 10 of Sunday's Top 25 And 1.
- Has zero losses to teams ranked outside of the top 10.
- Has zero losses in regulation.
- Has nothing but double-digit victories over unranked opponents.
Nobody else has a resume like Tennessee's.
To be clear, I'll have no issue with somebody else ranking Duke, Michigan, Nevada, Virginia or even Kansas No. 1 on an AP ballot this week. I could make a case for any of them just as easily as I made a case for Tennessee because -- even though Duke is obviously the nation's most talented team -- it seems pretty clear that there's very little difference, heading into Christmas, between the schools at the top of the sport. But, yeah, I went with Rick Barnes' Vols. The reigning SEC champs are a worthy No 1.
Arizona State upsetting Kansas, and Kentucky upsetting North Carolina, launched the Sun Devils and Wildcats back into the Top 25 And 1. ASU is now No. 16; UK is now No. 18. And those developments caused everybody ranked 19th-or-lower Saturday morning -- specifically Iowa, Houston, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Nebraska, Indiana, Marquette and Buffalo -- to move down a spot, no fault of their own.
|Grant Williams finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's win over Wake Forest. The Vols' resume features a win over Gonzaga and a lone loss coming in overtime to Kansas.||1||18-9|
|The Blue Devils' resume features wins over Texas Tech, Auburn, Indiana and Kentucky. RJ Barrett is averaging 23.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 31.1 minutes per game.||1||13-11|
|Six of Nevada's 12 wins have come away from home -- among them road victories at Loyola-Chicago and USC. Their best win is a neutral-court win over the Arizona State team that subsequently beat Kansas.||1||16-10|
|The Cavaliers' perfect record features wins over Wisconsin and Maryland. Their final non-league contest is a New Year's Eve game with Marshall.||1||18-7|
|Ignas Brazdeikis finished with 19 points and five rebounds in Saturday's win over Air Force. Michigan's perfect record features wins over North Carolina, Villanova, Purdue and Northwestern.||1||23-5|
|The Jayhawks own victories over three other schools in the Top 25 And 1 -- specifically Tennessee, Michigan State and Marquette. Their 10-game winning streak was snapped Saturday at Arizona State.||5||21-9|
|Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke combined for 46 points in Friday's win over Denver. The Zags are the only team to beat Duke this season.||--||31-1|
|Cassius Winston finished with 26 points in Friday's win over Oakland. The Spartans have won five straight games since losing at Louisville in overtime.||--||15-13|
|The Red Raiders' lone loss is a neutral-court loss to Duke. They appear to be the biggest threat to Kansas' streak of Big 12 regular-season titles.||1||18-11|
|Terance Mann finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's win over Saint Louis. FSU has won six straight games since losing to Villanova.||1||18-7|
|The Hokies' lone loss is a one-point loss at Penn State. They'll open the ACC portion of their schedule with home games against Notre Dame and Boston College.||1||15-7|
|Kaleb Wesson finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's win over UCLA. The Buckeyes will take a five-game winning streak into Saturday's game with High Point.||1||21-10|
|Ethan Happ finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Saturday's win over Grambling. The Badgers' resume features wins over NC State, Iowa and Oklahoma.||1||18-13|
|Eric Lockett came off the bench and got 15 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's win over South Carolina Upstate. NC State has won five straight games since losing at Wisconsin.||1||14-11|
|The Tigers' two losses are single-digit losses to Duke and NC State. Jared Harper is averaging 15.4 points and 6.6 assists in 33.8 minutes per game.||1||13-14|
|The Sun Devils have beaten three top-50 KenPom opponents -- namely Kansas, Mississippi State and Utah State. Their losses are to Nevada on a neutral-court and on the road at Vanderbilt.||NR||11-14|
|The Bulldogs' lone loss is a single-digit loss on a neutral-court to Arizona State. They'll take an eight-game winning streak in Saturday's game with BYU.||1||18-15|
|The Wildcats secured their first quality win of the season Saturday by beating North Carolina in Chicago. Next up is Saturday's showdown with Louisville that'll double as UK's first road game.||NR||9-16|
|UNC's resume features a win over Gonzaga and losses to Michigan, Kentucky and Texas. Cameron Johnson is averaging 16.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game.||10||18-11|
|Joe Wieskamp got 24 points on just 10 field-goal attempts in Saturday's win over Savannah State. The Hawkeyes' two losses are to Michigan State and Wisconsin.||1||22-9|
|The Cougars overcame a double-digit halftime deficit Thursday to beat Utah State and remain undefeated. Armoni Brooks made five 3-pointers in 32 minutes.||1||28-4|
|The Sooners won at Northwestern on Friday despite missing 16 of the 21 3-pointers they attempted. Oklahoma's lone loss is a loss to Wisconsin.||1||16-11|
|Nysier Brooks finished with a career-high 17 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's win over South Carolina State. The Bearcats' two losses are to Ohio State and Mississippi State.||1||12-11|
|James Palmer Jr. scored 23 points in Saturday's win over Cal State Fullerton. The Huskers have won 18 straight home games.||1||7-20|
|The Hoosiers own five wins over top-50 KenPom teams -- most notably victories over Marquette, Butler and Louisville. Romeo Langford has scored at least 12 points in all 13 games.||1||12-15|
|The Golden Eagles made 18 of the 29 3-pointers they took in Friday's win over Buffalo. Markus Howard finished with 45 points on 25 field-goal attempts.||1||13-14|
IN: Arizona State, Kentucky
OUT: Maryland, Buffalo