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AP Top 25 Poll - Week 7: A gutsy win lands UNC back in the top 5

A big win against Rocky Top has the Heels near the mountain top.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

This past week was a rather quiet week of college basketball up until the weekend started. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that there was a lack of really interesting games to witness and moves to be made at the top of the polls. UNC fans were treated to a huge win against a ranked team on the road, and for that the Heels were rewarded with a little help from a top-five team loss.

Let’s take a look at how things turned out in this week’s AP polls:

  1. Villanova (45)
  2. Michigan State (15)
  3. Arizona State (5)
  4. Duke
  5. North Carolina
  6. Miami
  7. Kentucky
  8. Texas A&M
  9. Xavier
  10. West Virginia
  11. Wichita State
  12. Gonzaga
  13. Virginia
  14. Kansas
  15. TCU
  16. Purdue
  17. Oklahoma
  18. Baylor (tied for 18th)
  19. Arizona (tied for 18th)
  20. Cincinnati
  21. Texas Tech (tied for 21st)
  22. Tennessee (tied for 21st)
  23. Seton Hall
  24. Florida State
  25. Creighton

Where is UNC?

The Heels traveled to Knoxville after an extended break from action due to finals to take on Tennessee. This game was set up perfectly for UNC to be upset on the road — a sold out, hostile arena, against a ranked non-ACC team that almost beat them in the Dean Dome last year. For 99% of the game it looked like the Vols would finish what they started last year, but in the end UNC taught them that they aren’t ready to play all 40 minutes of great defense and it ultimately was their demise. Joel Berry II in particular had a solid game finishing with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block.

A UNC win against a ranked team and a Wichita State loss was good enough to move the Heels up to the No. 5 spot. It is quite an interesting position for them to be in, and yet so far they have exceeded many people’s expectations to this point only suffering one loss with just a two non-conference games left. This Wednesday UNC will take on Wofford at home, followed by a visit to New Orleans Saturday to face off against Ohio State.

Biggest Losers

Notre Dame started the season in the middle of the top 25 pack before their win against Wichita State. Once getting close to the top of the college basketball mountain, they were punched in the mouth by Michigan State, followed by a kick by Ball State, and this past weekend continued to take punishment in their loss against Indiana. One guy that the Irish cannot blame for their struggles is Bonzie Colson, who finished the game with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 1 assist. If he doesn’t get help soon, things may get ugly during ACC play.

Going back to Wichita State, they are continually being used this year as a springboard for opposing teams to leap up the rankings. This past week, it was previously unranked Oklahoma who proved that maybe the Shockers aren’t quite the team that many people thought they would be. Then again, it seems like Wichita State has frequently found themselves in such a position over the past few years. It’d be a surprise to see them move up before conference play without any help from the teams above them, but with the Associated Press anything is possible.

Biggest Winners

Oklahoma may be one of the biggest winners for more than just this week. Freshman guard Trae Young is one of the best players in the country so far, and it is behind his strong play that the Sooners now find themselves in the No. 17 spot in the AP rankings. No. 3 Wichita State couldn’t find an answer for Young, resulting in him finishing with 29 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds. He will be a fun player to follow throughout the season to see if he can continue to produce at such a high level once conference play starts.

Speaking of the Big 12, this week they have the most teams that made it into the top 25. Perhaps what’s even more important for any non-Kansas team is that the Jayhawks look relatively vulnerable this year compared to previous years. They certainly aren’t a bad team, but after a long stretch of regular season dominance we just may see another team take the crown this year. This is also a win for casual college basketball fans everywhere, because let’s face it: the NCAA is a lot more fun when an AFC East-type conference doesn’t exist.

Top 25 Conference Breakdown

ACC: 5

Big 12: 6

Big Ten: 2

Big East: 4

SEC: 3

AAC: 2

Pac-12: 2

WCC: 1