Around the Top 25: College Basketball (Week 2)

Story posted November 18, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

Heading into the second week of the college basketball season, movement has been made in the polls, especially in the bottom half.

Most teams have remained neutral in their standing in the newest edition of the AP Top 25. But the storylines behind the movements are reasons to pay close attention to who is a contender and who is a pretender.

No. 1 and No. 2 Shine Bright on National Television

Before the inaugural tipoff for the 2021-2022 season, two immediate non-conference games stood out amongst the rest: Gonzaga Bulldogs versus Texas Longhorns and Villanova Wildcats versus UCLA Bruins.

Once the first weekend of November came around, those games became more than what the fans expected.

Starting in Westwood, No. 2 UCLA defeated No. 4 Villanova 86-77in overtime on Nov. 12. The game started close, but intentional fouling by the Wildcats gave UCLA the ground they needed to secure the win.

Four players for the Bruins led the offensive charge as they all cashed in double-digit points, especially guards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang, with 21 and 25 points respectively.

For Villanova, Jermaine Samuels and Collin Gillespie led the team in scoring with 20 and 18 points.

As a result, Villanova drops down one spot to No. 5, but UCLA remains the No. 2 team because No. 1 had a true test as well.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the Texas Longhorns 86-74 in Spokane, Was. From the get-go, Mark Few’s squad put the pedal to the metal and took full control of this game early on.

It was all Drew Timme as he put up 37 points with seven rebounds and three assists, followed up by guard Rasir Bolton with 18 points on 6-11 shooting.

Texas looked stagnant as three Longhorns only put up double-digit points, with forward Timmy Allen leading the way with 18.

Gonzaga retains its No. 1 ranking while Texas falls to No. 8 in the new poll. The top two teams looked great against ranked opponents, which will be great resume builders come March.

Big East > Big Ten

The Gavitt Games have commenced, and looking at the slate, the Big Ten looked like it was going to run away with the win for the conference. But the Big East had other plans in mind.

After three days into the four-day event, the Big East leads the Gavitt Games 4-2, with two more matchups remaining on Nov. 18.

Two of those wins come off of huge upsets in the top ten of the AP poll.

On Nov. 15, the Marquette Golden Eagles upset the No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini 67-66 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis. Brad Underwood’s team had a tough time on offense as the Illini committed 26 turnovers, with guard Andre Curbelo contributing seven.

The Golden Eagles shot 40.7% from the court, yet 29.4% from three. The charity stripe did aid in their victory as the team went 18-31, landing the Illini into major foul trouble.

Crossing Lake Michigan, the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines hosted the Seton Hall Pirates in Crisler Arena. After signing a six-year extension earlier in the day, coach Juwan Howard had his team fall through.

Looking at the stat sheet, two players off the bench came in and dropped double-digit points, which is second behind leading scorer Jared Rhoden, who had 16 points on the night. For the Wolverines, their bench only produced 9 points total.

Veteran players Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks led the offensive charge with 18 and 17 points. Other than those two players, the roster faltered in front of their home crowd, making the Big Ten pick up right where they left off at the NCAA Tournament: undermining everyone’s expectations.

Jonathan Draeger is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.