Around the Top 25: Week 5

Story posted December 8, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

After another week of college basketball, major shake ups in the standings occurred once more.

With upsets left and right, top-ranked teams dropping down the list, and rising teams, Week 5 shows more variety and parity between teams.

Here are the biggest storylines from the newly released polls.

A New No. 1

After recently being crowned the No. 1 team in the nation, The Duke Blue Devils went out to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. However, their second-half drought caused Chirs Holtmann and company to comeback and upset Duke.

With the upset, a new No. 1 team rises — the Purdue Boilermakers. Head coach Matt Painter and his squad are the first Purdue team to be ranked No. 1 overall in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in program history.

Purdue only rose one spot in the process, but the Boilermakers have had their way on opponents.

With early marquee wins against the North Carolina Tar Heels, Villanova Wildcats and a Big Ten foe in the Iowa Hawkeyes, Purdue is shaping up to be a tournament-ready team early on, but if it can keep its consistency down the stretch of a tough conference like the Big Ten will be the question.

Tide Rolling

After a humiliating loss to Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels in the ESPN Invitational, Nate Oats’ squad regrouped to not let an upset like that happen again. The team made sure of its promise over the next three games.

After the Crimson Tide fell to No. 16 in the Week 4 poll, Alabama managed to rally the troops with a big road test ahead of them. The team traveled to Seattle to face off against the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs.

From the moment the ball tipped, Alabama took control of the game. After one half of basketball, the Crimson Tide were rolling, leading the Bulldogs 51-35. The rest of the stretch was more favorable to Gonzaga, but Oats’ team did enough to keep the lead.

Alabama shot at a less-efficient rate than Gonzaga, but the free throws helped win them that game. The Crimson Tide hit 72.7% of shots from the charity stripe compared to the 52% clip from the Bulldogs.

Their next test comes against Marcus Sasser and the No. 14 Houston Cougars. Expect a fight between these two teams.

Replacements

The new rankings saw two title favorites drop out in the Michigan Wolverines and the Memphis Tigers. However, two more teams sprung into the polls after resume-building wins.

Replacing the Memphis Tigers are the LSU Tigers. Will Wade and company find themselves 8-0 to start their season.

The Tigers are led by forward Darius Days, who averages 16 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and hits at a 46.9% clip from the floor. Two more players find themselves averaging double-digit points, but the bench runs deep in Baton Rouge.

However, LSU has not played a lot of notable opponents. The only two Power 5 teams the Tigers faced were the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, which both came in the Emerald Coast Classic.

The Ohio State Buckeyes replaced its bitter rival in the Michigan Wolverines. The Buckeyes find themselves ranked after taking down the previous No. 1-ranked team in the Duke Blue Devils.

With the upset under their belt, the Buckeyes headed into Happy Valley and took down Penn State in dominating fashion. With one more tune-up game in the Towson Tigers, Ohio State prepares for a tough two-game stretch when No. 22 Wisconsin and No. 10 Kentucky roll into Columbus.

 

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