Siler’s Selections (21-22) Week 2


Matthew Siler, College Basketball Reporter

As the new season begins to settle down and teams start to understand their identity, it’s important to see how the rankings change from week to week. I have a pretty consistent way of ranking teams, and it’s if I think a team would beat every other team on a neutral court. There really isn’t a simpler way for me to put it. Now that that’s out of the way, here are my rankings for week 2 of the college basketball season:

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Alcorn State 84-57; Win vs. Bellarmine 92-50


Gonzaga didn’t do a whole lot this week, but that’s what makes them so good. There are no games where anyone doubts Gonzaga. It feels like almost every team in this list has struggled with one team or another in which they should have blown said team out. Not Gonzaga. Every time there is an inferior opponent, they make sure the opponent knows just how inferior they are.


Up next for Gonzaga: (Neutral) vs. Central Michigan; (N) vs. #2 UCLA; (N) vs. #7 Duke

2. UCLA Bruins (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Long Beach State 100-79; Win vs. North Florida 98-63


Much like Gonzaga, not much else to say about UCLA except that they have one of the biggest games of the season coming up this week. In what is probably the most anticipated matchup since the National Championship, #1 Gonzaga takes on #2 UCLA in a neutral court. This time last year, most would have considered this to be an easy win for Gonzaga, but with the true potential of UCLA realized, there is no knowing who will finish on top. A rematch between two teams who muscled it out in March Madness usually happens years and years after the original game, but this rematch isn’t even eight months removed from the original game. If there is any game of the regular season that you watch this year, make it this one. You will not regret it.


Up next for UCLA: (N) vs. Bellarmine; (N) vs. #1 Gonzaga, @ UNLV

3. Purdue Boilermakers

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Wright State 96-52; Win (N) vs. #18 North Carolina 93-84; Win (N) vs. #5 Villanova 80-74


I’ve never been a huge fan of poll inertia. A team winning does not always mean they deserve to go up, and a team with a more impressive resume should be higher than those without a good resume. I genuinely believe that Purdue could beat everyone I put them ahead of this week. They could beat Michigan, they could beat Kansas, they could go to the Final Four with the amount of talent and the extremely balanced style of play that Matt Painter has created for this team. Could Purdue break the curse of Big 10 teams losing in March Madness? It’s possible. It really is.


Up next for Purdue: vs. Omaha


4. Kansas Jayhawks (3-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Stony Brook 88-59


Like I said earlier, Kansas didn’t move down because they didn’t play well, they moved down because I believe that Purdue is the better team at the moment. Anyone can beat Stony Brook by 29, so their performance this week didn’t do anything except meet expectations.


Up next for Kansas: (N) vs. North Texas


5. Michigan Wolverines (3-1)

THIS WEEK: Loss vs. Seton Hall 65-67; Win (N) vs. UNLV 74-61


It might be a little controversial to have Michigan at 5 after their loss to Seton Hall, but it’s hard to win games when the opposing team shoots season highs in three-point percent and field goal percent. They got their act together against UNLV in a “neutral game” which was really just an away game because they played in Las Vegas. Michigan is destined for greatness this season, and Hunter Dickenson will be leading the charge (these rankings are completed before the finish of the Arizona game).


Up next for Michigan: (N) vs. Arizona; vs. Tarleton State

6. Baylor Bears (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Nicholls State 89-60; Win vs. Central Arkansas 92-47; Win vs. Stanford 86-48


The Baylor defense this season is stifling. They aren’t as good as they were last year, but they certainly haven’t skipped a beat in terms of their defensive ability. Scott Drew has done an incredible job maintaining the culture and the skillset of his players. Baylor really has one special coach.


Up next for Baylor: (N) vs. Arizona State


7. Memphis Tigers (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Saint Louis 90-74; Win vs. Western Kentucky 74-62


Not a whole lot to say about this Memphis team except for they’ve been getting the job done. They had a good win against an above-average Western Kentucky squad, so I moved them up amid some of the crazy top-10 movement this week.


Up next for Memphis: (N) vs. Virginia Tech


8. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. South Alabama 73-68; Win vs. Oakland 86-59


What’s interesting about Alabama is their pace. They score lots of points on every team because of how fast they get up and down the court, which isn’t unusual, but with how perfectly they perform the “layup and three point only” style offense, it makes their pace that much more dangerous. South Alabama almost caught a huge lucky break, as the only real way to stop Alabama is to hope that they go cold from three, and that’s exactly what happened. Alabama shot a measly 26% from three but still scored 73 points. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now, but Alabama is still a solid, top 10 team.


Up next for Alabama: (N) vs. Iona


9. Duke Blue Devils (5-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Gardner-Webb 92-52; Win vs. Lafayette 88-55


Duke is slowly but surely chipping away at my skepticism for their team this year. They’ve had five solid wins against opponents with varying degrees of difficulty, and there isn’t anywhere else for them except here at number 9.


Up next for Duke: vs. The Citadel; (N) vs. #1 Gonzaga

10. Villanova Wildcats (3-2)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Howard 100-81; Win vs. #17 Tennessee 71-53; Loss vs. #6 Purdue 74-80

Villanova might be 3-2, but that does not mean they aren’t in the top 10. This team is elite and I stand by that. Purdue and UCLA (their two losses) are just better teams which is why Villanova is ranked below both of them. Both of their losses were by 6 points or less so it’s not like Villanova isn’t keeping it close with their losses either. Keep an eye out for this team because they are going to make a big impact in the Big East this season.


Up next for Villanova: vs. Lasalle


11. UConn Huskies (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Long Island University 93-40; Win vs.Binghamton 87-63


Connecticut hasn’t played too many quality opponents yet, but much like Gonzaga, they haven’t shown any weaknesses yet. They’ve scored more than 85 in all of their games thus far and haven’t allowed more than 63 points in any of their games. Right now, UConn is on fire. We’ll see how they look against their first quality opponent this week.


Up next for UConn: (N) vs. Auburn


12. Houston Cougars (3-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Virginia 67-47


Houston hasn’t played a whole lot yet, so I can’t really speak for how well they’re going to play in the future, but beating Virginia by 20 is a lot, even if Virginia doesn’t know what an offense is this season. Houston is trending in the right direction as of right now.


Up next for Houston: (N) vs. Butler


13. Kentucky Wildcats (3-1) 

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Mount St. Mary’s 80-55; Win vs. Ohio 77-59


Kentucky looked great against MSM, but I watched the Ohio game almost in its entirety, and if Kentucky was playing an opponent with any kind of depth, they would have lost. Calipari is great at wearing teams down, but if Kentucky plays a team with a deep bench and good shooting, then it’ll be a very steep uphill battle for the Wildcats.


Up next for Kentucky: vs. Albany; vs. North Florida

14. Texas Longhorns (3-1)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Northern Colorado 62-49; Win vs. San Jose State 79-45


Texas seems to be bouncing back from their obliteration by Gonzaga a week and a half ago. There is time to recover and have a good showing when conference season hits, so Texas fans prepare yourselves.


Up next for Texas: vs. California Baptist


15. BYU Cougars (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. #12 Oregon 81-49


After I published last week’s rankings, I realized that I forgot to rank Oregon. Fortunately, BYU made it very easy for me to justify not having them ranked, as their absolute domination of the Ducks made for a very easy 15th ranking this week. The other opponents that BYU has played are all very good, giving BYU a great resume.


Up next for BYU: vs. Texas Southern; @ Utah


16. Florida Gators (3-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Milwaukee 81-45


Not much happened this week for the Gators, but their win against Milwaukee looks really nice, especially because Milwaukee got a five star recruit in Patrick Baldwin Jr. this year (his dad is the coach of Milwaukee), so the Gators could be moving up further depending on how well they do in the next few weeks.


Up next for Florida: (N) vs. California; vs. Troy


17. Xavier Musketeers (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. #19 Ohio State 71-65; Win vs. Norfolk State 88-44


I’ve been on my own when it comes to ranking Xavier. Nobody else seems to want to give them credit or give them any hype for this year, but it doesn’t matter if I’m the only one cheering for them: Xavier will exceed expectations this season. They could even win the Big East! Although with how competitive it will be, I’m still not sure who could win that conference.


Up next for Xavier: (N) vs. Iowa State


18. Tennessee Volunteers

THIS WEEK: Loss (N) vs. #5 Villanova 53-71; Win vs. #18 North Carolina 89-72


This week was very up and down for the Vols, as a devastating loss was followed up by a very impressive win (even though North Carolina is very overrated). Tennessee has one of the fastest tempos in the nation, giving them the athletic advantage over teams who are used to slower tempos. I think Tennessee is recovering just fine from that loss a few days ago.


Up next for Tennessee: vs. Tennessee Tech


19. Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Northern Iowa 93-80


For those who watched this game (which I assumed is next to none) Arkansas really should not have won the game. Northern Iowa is known for their good three point shooting abilities and their upset potential, but Arkansas should have been better than they were in that game. I’m sure they’ll get it together but for now they’re a little worrying.


Up next for Arkansas: (N) vs. Kansas State; vs. Penn


20. Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Prairie View A&M 84-49; Win vs. Incarnate Word 84-62


Texas Tech is the definition of consistent. They’ve scored between 84-89 in all of their games and have allowed more than 70 points only once so far. They are a very fun team to watch right now, and although they haven’t had much of a challenging schedule, these first few weeks are meant to get the players ready to play against a very intense Big 12 conference.


Up next for Texas Tech: vs. Omaha; vs. Lamar University


21. St. Bonaventure Bonnies (5-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Boise State 67-61; Win vs. Clemson 68-65; Win vs. Marquette 70-54


After complaining about St. Bonaventure for a week, telling all of my friends how overrated they were and to “just wait, Marquette will blow them out,” my smug self was proved dead wrong. St. Bonaventure proved they deserve a ranking and proved the haters that just because they’ve had a few close calls doesn’t make them any less of a contender than other teams.


Up next for St. Bonaventure: vs. Northern Iowa


22. Michigan State Spartans (3-1)

THIS WEEK: Win @ Butler 73-52; Win vs. Eastern Michigan 83-79


This ranking will probably end up being a little controversial because of how inexperienced Michigan State is and how they haven’t really played anyone, but given that FOUR Big Ten teams lost to their Big East opponent, I’ll say that Michigan State’s win over Butler is a very good one, especially because it was at Butler.


Up next for Michigan State: (N) vs. Loyola-Chicago


23. Seton Hall Pirates (3-0)

THIS WEEK: Win @ #4 Michigan 67-65


I’m still not entirely sure how Seton Hall ended up beating Michigan, but they looked like a really complete and solid team. Seton Hall’s victory was just one of four straight losses by the ranked Big Ten teams against unranked teams, which is the first time that has happened in the history of the Big Ten, so Seton Hall helped to make history! The Pirates have a tough schedule until their even tougher conference schedule begins, so even if they drop a few more, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.


Up next for Seton Hall: (N) vs. #19 Ohio State


24. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Radford 65-39; Win vs. St. Francis (PA) 85-55


Virginia Tech is doing great so far this season, and well enough for them to be ranked. There really isn’t much to say about this team other than they’ve beaten everyone they’ve needed to beat so far.


Up next for Virginia Tech: (N) vs. #11 Memphis


25. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. High Point 70-61


Not entirely sure why Notre Dame doesn’t play more games early, but that’s a question for the people who schedule the games. Right now Notre Dame’s biggest issue seems to be that they rely on the three pointer too much even though they have two guys who can play post very easily. The perimeter isn’t too difficult to guard, so if Notre Dame has an off-night, any team could beat them. With the amount of talent present within the team, the number 15 recruiting class in their senior year, it would make sense that ND would see at least SOME success, right? I sure hope so.


Up next for Notre Dame: (N) vs. Saint Mary’s (CA)