MEMPHIS, Tenn. — AP TOP 25 BALLOT FOR WEEK 8—
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
- Ohio State
- Virginia Tech
- Saint Louis
DROPPED OUT— Rutgers (13), Northwestern (19), Florida State (21)
JUST OUTSIDE— USC, UCLA, Stanford, Boise State, Drake
THE RANKING— No. 12 through No. 17 all lost at least one game this week, making this my most challenging Top 25 ballot to date. There is no question the Big Ten is best conference in college basketball, cannibalistic as it may be. This week, it consumed Rutgers, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota and Michigan State; who all appeared on last week's AP Top 25. I already dropped the Spartans last week. This time, the Scarlet Knights and Wildcats join them. I did not take dropping Rutgers lightly, but they are losers of 4 of their last 5, and do not have a high-enough caliber resume to cushion that blow. Illinois and Minnesota do, and remain in my Top 25 despite tough weeks.
Clemson, Louisville and Alabama are my biggest winners of the week. The Crimson Tide followed up their statement-making win over Tennessee with victories over RV Florida and Auburn. Louisville picked up their signature win at the right time. Their 73-71 victory over Virginia Tech, coupled with the down week for the middle of my Top 25 has the Cardinals at No. 14 this week. With Tuesday's win over NC State, Clemson now has seven quality victories this season, against one loss to the Hokies.