Siler’s Selections (21-22) Week 4


Matthew Siler, College Basketball Reporter

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and happy feast week to all you college basketball fans! This week there was loads of chaos and so much basketball to watch it was hard to keep up. During “Feast Week” is the multitude of in-season tournaments such as the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, the Bad Boys Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, the Empire Classic, and the Basketball Hall of Fame tip-off event. There were over 100 teams total participating in these events, meaning lots of teams played 3 or even 4 games in the span of as many days. As the week went on, I focused more heavily on how tired teams were and gave certain teams a break for losing or for having close games because it’s hard enough playing one basketball game, but more than one in consecutive games can lead to some major tiredness. With that said, here are my top 25 teams for Week 4 of the 2021-22 college basketball season:

1. Purdue Boilermakers (6-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Omaha 97-40


I’ve wanted to make Purdue my number one team for a while, but like last year with Baylor, Gonzaga was just too good to put anyone else above them. But now, finally, Purdue stands alone on top. While the rest of the Big Ten is floundering with their inferior opponents, Purdue has stood strong and never let any opponent get in their way. They’ve score more than 90 points in every game except for their 80-74 win over then-#5 Villanova. Purdue hasn’t been playing scrubs either, two ranked wins and Omaha is their worst opponent thus far. I can’t say enough about this Purdue team, they’ve really outperformed every expectation set for them at the beginning of the year.


Up next for Purdue: vs. Florida State

2. Duke Blue Devils (7-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. The Citadel 107-81; Win (Neutral) vs. #1 Gonzaga 84-81


Duke did it. They beat Gonzaga. In a game that started far too late (10:00PM!) and ended past most people’s bedtime, Duke upset the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in one of the best games of the year. The first half was pretty much flawless by Duke, and even though the second half wasn’t as pretty, Duke stuck it out. Freshman Paolo Banchero has erased all of my doubts about his ability to play. In my mind he’s the reason that Duke won the game. There was a point where he was out with cramps and all of the sudden Gonzaga got back in the game. If Banchero doesn’t come back in, I don’t think Duke wins the game. What an amazing player on an amazing team.


Up next for Duke: @ Ohio State

3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (6-1)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. Central Michigan 107-54; Win (N) vs. #2 UCLA 83-63; Loss (N) vs. #5 Duke 81-84


I believe that this is the first time I’ve ever had Gonzaga at a spot anywhere other than number 1 since I’ve been doing these write-ups. Gonzaga had everything going for them up until their game on Friday against Duke: Number 1 in the AP Poll, a 20 point win over the number 2 team in the country, and the best recruit in the nation playing for them. All I can say is that now people have strategies for how to beat the Bulldogs: foul trouble. Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme got into foul trouble early, so they never got to play the amount of minutes they could if they didn’t have foul trouble. If teams could stand their ground in the paint and hope that the dynamic duo of big guys for Gonzaga can mess up once or twice during the first half, they can make scoring a bit easier.


Up next for Gonzaga: vs. Tarleton State


4. Baylor Bears (7-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Arizona State 75-63; Win vs. VCU 69-61; Win vs. Michigan State 75-58


Baylor has looked seriously good this past week. All three games they played were against top-100 opponents and none of them were very close. Matthew Meyer has gone from a deep bench player who is a fan favorite to a potential first round draft pick, and every team he plays against should be scared of him. If it wasn’t for how gosh darn good the top three teams are, Baylor would be ranked much higher than fourth. However, this is probably their ceiling until one of the top three loses another game or Baylor just performs so well that they have to be put in over another team.


Up next for Baylor: vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff


5. Florida Gators (5-0)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. California 80-60; Win (N) vs. Ohio State 71-68; Win vs. Troy 84-45


In probably my most controversial ranking this week, I have the Florida Gators at number 5. I jumped them over a lot of teams this week simply because I believe that Colin Castleton will lead them to greatness. Right now Castleson is one of the best players in college basketball. His rebounding percentage and his block percentage is one of the best in the country, and his energy will be the driving force behind Florida’s success this season. Stay tuned for how the Gators finish this exciting start to the season.


Up next for Florida: @ Oklahoma


6. UCLA Bruins (6-1)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. Bellarmine 75-62; Loss (N) vs. #1 Gonzaga 63-83; Win @ UNLV 73-51


Certain sports shows like to hype up Gonzaga and say how absolutely outmatched UCLA was, and I simply disagree. For the first 10 minutes of the game, Gonzaga hit just about every shot they put up and UCLA couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Shooting 8-10 from the field and 4-4 from three to start the game will put a team up 20 on any team, especially when the other team starts out shooting 4-13 from the floor. After that insane first 10 minutes, Gonzaga never really extended their lead and UCLA never really got the lead back. To me this game felt a lot closer than the final score, but sometimes that’s all people look at.


Up next for UCLA: vs. Colorado


7. Villanova Wildcats (4-2)



Not a whole lot to say about Villanova after an entire week off. The Wildcats need to start winning if they want to even be considered a top ten team.


Up next for Villanova: @ Pennsylvania


8. Kansas Jayhawks (5-1)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. North Texas 71-59; Loss (N) vs. Dayton 73-74; Win (N) vs. Iona 96-83


Ladies and Gentlemen here is the first big upset of the season: Dayton, who was 2-3 with losses to Lipscomb and Austin Peay, defeated Kansas on a buzzer-beater. Not much to say about the Jayhawks other than they need to get it together if they don’t want this loss to bit them when March comes around.


Up next for Kansas: @ St. John’s


9. Texas Longhorns (4-1)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Cal Baptist 68-44


Not a whole lot to be said about the Longhorns this week as they did what they were supposed to in a very chaotic feast week. They more or less moved up out of default.


Up next for Texas: vs. Sam Houston State

10. UConn Huskies (6-1)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. #19 Auburn 115-109 (2OT); Loss (N) vs. Michigan State 60-64; Win (N) vs. VCU 70-63 (OT)


A very very long week for the Huskies led to a 2-1 record in the Battle 4 Atlantis. I did not drop UConn for their loss to Michigan State, I in fact raised them to number ten because of how amazing their game against Auburn was. A double overtime game with an NBA score creates lots of exhaustion for a team, and then to come out against a well-coached Izzo team is very hard to do. If UConn had won all three games they might have been the number five team instead of Florida. This UConn team has a lot of fight and they are going to thrive in the Big East this season.


Up next for UConn: Maryland-Eastern Shore


11. Kentucky Wildcats (5-1)

THIS WEEK: Win vs Albany 86-61; Win vs. North Florida 86-52


Not a whole lot of excitement for the Wildcats this week. They got the job done and have looked very convincing while doing so. Right now their only blemish is also to the only good team they’ve faced, so if they want more respect they need to start playing more quality opponents.


Up next for Kentucky: vs. Central Michigan


12. BYU Cougars (6-0) 

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Texas Southern 81-64; Win @ Utah 75-64


BYU has looked solid in all their games this season. Unfortunately for them, a lot of their opponents that seemed to be quality heading into the season are falling off hard (thanks, Oregon) making their strength of schedule look a lot worse than it really is. BYU’s schedule won’t get extremely tough until conference play.


Up next for BYU: @ Utah Valley


13. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Omaha 96-40; Win vs. Lamar 89-57


Texas Tech didn’t participate in feast week this week, so there wasn’t a whole lot of action for the Red Raiders aside from a few mid-majors. Texas Tech’s defense is still doing really well even though they had a coaching change. I think Texas Tech will be a real contender in the big 12 from the results they’ve been getting so far.


Up next for Texas Tech: @ Providence

14. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1)

THIS WEEK: Loss (N) vs. Iona 68-72; Win (N) vs. Drake 80-71; Win (N) vs. Miami (FL) 96-64


I said earlier that I would be forgiving of teams’ losses because of the whole feast week thing, but Alabama lost to Iona in the first game. There’s really no excuse to lose to a team in the MAAC (even if they ARE coached by Rick Pitino) when you’re a top-10 team. Congratulations to Iona and their record-breaking win, they deserve it. Alabama tried to make up for their loss by obliterating Miami FL, but it was too little too late. Alabama needs more quality wins to recover from this loss.


Up next for Alabama: (N) vs. #1 Gonzaga


15. Tennessee Volunteers (4-1)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Tennessee Tech 80-69


Much like Texas, Tennessee moved up mostly by default. Their game over Tennessee Tech was a decent win, but with all that happened this week, it’s mostly lost in the chaos.


Up next for Tennessee: vs. Presbyterian


16. Houston Cougars (5-1)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. Butler 70-52; Loss (N) vs. Wisconsin 63-65; Win (N) vs. Oregon 78-49


I’m pretty low on Houston right now, as whenever they are challenged in the slightest, they seem to falter. Unless they blow a team out by 10+, Houston never really seems to be comfortable with a close game. When Hofstra kept it close Houston panicked and shot way more threes than was necessary, and in the Wisconsin game, it was close and they became way more aggressive than they needed to be and it cost them the game.


Up next for Houston: vs. Northwestern State


17. Iowa State Cyclones (6-0)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. #25 Xavier 82-70; Win (N) vs. #9 Memphis 78-59


What a turnaround for Iowa State. Last year they only won two games TOTAL, and this week they beat two top 25 teams by double-digits. I honestly have no idea how the Cyclones did it or what they changed from last year, but they look so much more feisty and have a much better attitude about the game than at any point in the season last year. This might be a bit of a reactionary ranking from me, but right now the Iowa State Cyclones are on fire and nothing is going to stop them until they lose again.


Up next for Iowa State: vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff


18. Arkansas Razorbacks (6-0)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. Kansas State 72-64; Win (N) vs. Cincinnati 73-67; Win vs. Penn 76-60


Some pretty solid wins for Arkansas this week, as a win over Cincinnati probably prevented the Bearcats from being ranked. Arkansas’ defense has been a concern for them since the beginning of the year, but I think they’ll figure it out by the time March rolls around.


Up next for Arkansas: vs. Central Arkansas


19. Memphis Tigers (5-1)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. Virginia Tech 69-61; Loss (N) vs. Iowa State 59-78


A close win and a big loss by the Tigers dropped them a long way down these rankings. Memphis showed lots of promise at the beginning of the season, and they have one of the best recruits in the nation in Emoni Bates, but unfortunately their inability to shoot the ball when it matters will hurt them, and it cost them the game against Iowa State.


Up next for Memphis: @ Georgia


20. Arizona Wildcats (6-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Sacramento State 107-59


I didn’t rank Arizona last week because I finished my write-up before the conclusion of their game against Michigan. Well, Arizona blew out Michigan and they blew out Sacramento State which is enough for a ranking in my eyes. The Wildcats are really doing well so far this season.


Up next for Arizona: vs. Washington


21. LSU Tigers (7-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Belmont 83-53; Win (N) vs. Penn State 68-63; Win (N) vs. Wake Forest 75-61


LSU is playing as well as anyone in the country right now. Their metrics are through the roof, and they probably have one of the best resumes in the league right now, but I can’t put them too high yet because while they’ve consistently played good teams, they haven’t played anyone great yet. They’ve done what they are supposed to (and frankly outdone themselves with the quality of performance) and now it’s really just waiting until conference play starts up in order to get a good idea of how LSU is this season.


Up next for LSU: vs. Ohio


22. USC Trojans (6-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Dixie State 98-71; Win (N) vs. St. Joseph’s 70-55; Win (N) vs. San Diego State 58-43


Overall a great week for the Trojans. With only two true home games on the year so far but remaining undefeated is a very hard task to accomplish. San Diego State was their first challenge of the year so far and they handled it pretty well especially given SDSU’s outstanding defense, but the rest of the season is still up in the air for USC. They are in control of their own fate.


Up next for USC: vs. Utah


23. Wisconsin Badgers (5-1)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. Texas A&M 69-58; Win (N) vs. #12 Houston 65-63; Win (N) vs. Saint Mary’s (CA) 61-55


Wisconsin, otherwise known as the second-slowest team in division one, has really impressed me so far this season. They dropped one early to Providence but I believe they’re deserving of a ranking after winning the Maui invitational. Teams usually have a tough time against slow teams like Wisconsin, and it showed against teams like Texas A&M and Houston.


Up next for Wisconsin: @ Georgia Tech


24. Michigan State Spartans (5-2)

THIS WEEK: Win (N) vs. Loyola-Chicago 63-61; Win (N) vs. #22 UConn 64-60; Loss (N) vs. #6 Baylor 58-75


The three teams Michigan State played this week probably gave them the toughest strength of schedule among all ranked teams.  The Spartans had three games in three days against three top-50 opponents and stayed decently close in all of them. It’s hard to expect Michigan State to beat a top-5 Baylor team after playing (and beating) two very quality opponents in two consecutive days. I’m not punishing Michigan State very harshly for their loss.


Up next for Michigan State: vs. Louisville


25. Indiana Hoosiers (6-0)

THIS WEEK: Win vs. Jackson State 70-35; Win vs. Marshall 90-79


The Hoosiers make their first appearance of the season this week with pretty basic wins over Jackson State and Marshall. They haven’t really done a whole lot except do what they are supposed to do in their six(!) home games to start the season. Indiana is led by Trayce-Jackson Davis, who hasn’t been talked about much because Indiana hasn’t really played anyone of note yet. When they do, however, get ready for the acronym TJD to get thrown around all day every day.


Up next for Indiana: @ Syracuse