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NCAA Rankings: Duke, Ohio State, Kansas – Is Texas next?

The Kansas Jayhawks' stay at #1 might be shortlived The Kansas Jayhawks' stay at #1 might be shortlived

It’s been a wild year in NCAA basketball. The Duke Blue Devils started out at the top of both the AP and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, but a couple of setbacks left them down the list. Then it was the Ohio State Buckeyes’ turn. But the season’s last undefeated team was taken down by Wisconsin last week, leaving the Kansas Jayhawks to step up into the #1 spot. But this week, Kansas State stunned Kansas with an upset loss, which leaves the question of a #1 team up in the air. OSU could head back to the top, but Texas has been making a case for itself lately, too.

The fluctuations in rankings are constant. Of course, that’s part of college ball. But for Michigan State to start the year at #2 and drop all the way out of the top 25 was a bit of a shock. Now they’re battling for an at large bid that may never come.

Syracuse is a similar hard luck school. Last year, injury spoiled their #1 seed status during March Madness. This year, they were ascendant for the better part of the season, moving from #10 to as high as #3 on both polls. But four straight losses leave them around #20 for now.

Meanwhile, Texas, Brigham Young, and Notre Dame are all on the rise, peaking heading into the end of the season. In fact, Texas barely missed being ranked #1 this week in spite of three losses compared to Ohio State and Kansas each having only one. But the Buckeyes were exposed by the Badgers, and that Jayhawks' loss was to Texas on home court. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see the next poll.

Personally, I still think Ohio State is the team to beat. They had an incredible run this year, and a loss was inevitable. But watch out for BYU. Jimmer Fredette is the real deal, as he showed by single-handedly dropping a beating on then undefeated San Diego State. And Notre Dame is putting it all together at the right time, too. Being able to start five seniors is invaluable. That experience is going to count for even more come tournament time. And then, you can’t leave Pittsburgh out of the conversation. They’ve been hanging around the top five all year.

This is what makes NCAA basketball so fun. There are so many arguments to have, and ultimately, the top 25 college rankings are of less consequence to a program than getting into the tournament. Debating the merits of at-large bids is when things really get heated. So whether it’s Ohio State, Texas, or Kansas who comes out atop the poll this week, remember the debate is part of the fun. Besides, come tournament time, there’s bound to be another Butler-esque darkhorse throwing a monkey wrench into March Madness. In the end, determined teams like BYU and Notre Dame are going to make some noise no matter what the rankings say.

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Jacob Pullen and Kansas State shocked their in-state rivals the Kansas Jayhawks with a huge upset loss.
Last modified on Thursday, 20 September 2012 19:00

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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