What an absolute wild week in college basketball. Something newsworthy happened every single day of the week. Literally.
Monday: No. 15 TCU upset by Northwestern State
Tuesday: No. 4 Kentucky upset by Michigan State and No. 7 Duke upset by No. 6 Kansas in the Champions Classic, No. 21 Dayton upset by UNLV
Wednesday: No. 11 Texas slams No. 2 Gonzaga 93-74
Thursday: No. 20 Michigan crushed by Arizona State 87-62
Friday: Top 10 teams No. 5 Baylor and No. 8 UCLA are upset by No. 16 Virginia and No. 19 Illinois at Main Event
Saturday: Top 25 caliber team Saint Louis squashed by Maryland 95-67
Sunday: Gonzaga easily handles Kentucky 88-72
Due to all of this activity, there was a MAJOR shakeup in my Elam 15 rankings. Houston is my new number one. The Cougars have looked amazing in all five of their games, and got a solid 10 point road-win over previously ranked Oregon. Big 12 teams Kansas and Texas round out my top three. Three new additions were added to the list: Virginia, Michigan State and Illinois.
Virginia is without a doubt the biggest story of the week. Due to the tragic events last week, Virginia cancelled their game on Monday against Northern Iowa. Over the next four days, Tony Bennett got his team ready to beat a top five team in Baylor on Friday and then beat Illinois as well on Sunday to win Main Event. The courage and strength shown from this Cavaliers squad is remarkable, and they are showing why some people picked them to win the ACC.
The second biggest story of the week is Kentucky. The Wildcats started off their week knowing what was ahead of them: a Champions Classic matchup against an unranked Michigan State who is coming off a loss, an easy home game against SC State, and then the marquee matchup of the week in Spokane against Gonzaga. Realistically I think 2-1 in those three games was the most likely outcome, even a perfect 3-0. However, the Wildcats went just 1-2 on the week with a disappointing 2OT loss to the Spartans, and a blowout loss to the Bulldogs.
Offensive woes haunted the Wildcats in the two losses, having really no identity. In the Gonzaga game, a lack of energy and hunger haunted Kentucky in the first half, being down 41-25 at half time. The Wildcats still have one of the best rosters in terms of talent in the country, but John Calipari’s team has a lot of work that needs to be done if they want to compete for a national title like how so many predicted them too. The Wildcats have dropped to No. 15 in my rankings.
Elam 15 Version 3.0
1. Houston (5-0) | Previous: 3
Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars continue to roll. The freshman Jarace Walker looks great. Him and Marcus Sasser are one of the best guard-big duos in the nation.
2. Kansas (4-0) | Previous: 8
Jalen Wilson is an early All-American, averaging 24.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Gradey Dick has some of the biggest confidence I have ever seen in a college basketball freshman.
3. Texas (3-0) | Previous: 9
Texas makes a huge jump after blasting Gonzaga. Tyrese Hunter has solidified himself as one of the best transfers in the country scoring 26 points in their win over the Bulldogs, shooting 5/8 from three.
4. North Carolina (4-0) | Previous: 5
North Carolina got a good win Sunday over high-scoring James Madison. Armando Bacot averaging 18.2 points and 11.8 rebounds a game. Caleb Love and RJ Davis each averaging over 15.0 points a game.
5. Gonzaga (3-1) | Previous: 1
Gonzaga could have been the biggest loser of the week just as easily as Kentucky was. But Mark Few got his team ready to bounce back from the smashing in Austin. Julian Strawther and Drew Timme are terrific.
6. Virginia (4-0) | Previous: NR
Best story in college hoops right now. The Cavaliers have somewhat smooth sailing until ACC play. They will face Michigan on Nov. 29 and Houston on Dec. 17.
7. Michigan State (3-1) | Previous: NR
Tom Izzo is a genius and used his coaching talent to secure the 2OT win against Kentucky in the Champions Classic. Three days later, the Spartans got another good win over Villanova.
8. Duke (3-1) | Previous: 7
The Gradey Dick experience was a little too much for Duke in the final minutes of the Champions Classic matchup, but the Blue Devils got back to business Friday, beating Delaware by 34 points. Duke will be fine, the freshmen are too talented for them not to be.
9. Arkansas (3-0) | Previous: 10
Even without five-star freshmen Nick Smith (knee), Arkansas is looking like one of the best teams in the country. Trevon Brazile had the dunk of the year on Friday. Razorbacks will compete in the Maui Invitational this week.
10. Creighton (4-0) | Previous: 11
Bluejays are good and look the part as the Big East favorite. They will compete in Maui like Arkansas for their first real tests of the season.
11. Indiana (4-0) | Previous: 12
Indiana is still one of the favorites in the Big Ten, competing with MSU. The Hoosiers got a great road-win against Xavier on Friday. Trayce Jackson-Davis has been stellar.
12. Baylor (4-1) | Previous: 4
Baylor had a nice comeback attempt against Virginia Friday night, but Virginia’s 22-point lead in the second half was too much to overcome. They got a nice bounce back win against UCLA on Sunday.
13. Illinois (4-1) | Previous: NR
Terrence Shannon Jr. is making a case to be an All-American, averaging 21.2 points per game. Illinois is looking to compete with Indiana and MSU for the Big Ten title this season.
14. Arizona (3-0) | Previous: 13
Arizona did nothing wrong for them to drop a spot, it just so happens enough teams did something right and got above them. Tommy Lloyd’s Wildcats are the highest scoring team in the nation. They will compete in Maui as well this week.
15. Kentucky (3-2) | Previous: 2
The Wildcats have a couple of games to figure out some things before going to London to face Michigan in December. They will face UCLA later in the month in the CBS Sports Classic. Oscar Tshiebwe is still a double-double machine after coming back from injury.
New additions: Virginia, Michigan State, Illinois
Dropped out: UCLA (8), Auburn (14), TCU (15)
“From Our Haus to Yours!”