5 biggest winners and losers in college basketball this week


Winners


▲ No. 8 Oregon Ducks — Up 2 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

The Oregon Ducks continued their ascent this week with a massive overtime victory against the then-No. 5 Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor. The Ducks have a bit of a lull in their schedule heading into the new year, but Dana Altman and company will open Pac-12 play just two days into 2020 with a top-25 matchup against the No. 16 Arizona Wildcats waiting for them on January 9.


▲ No. 11 Memphis Tigers — Up 2 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

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Memphis’ Damion Baugh.
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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Even without freshman sensation and expected 2020 No. 1 NBA draft pick James Wiseman on the floor, the Memphis Tigers are showing out in the early goings of the season. This week, Penny Hardaway’s squad traveled to Knoxville and took down the No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers in a hard-fought, low-scoring affair against an in-state rival. As the rankings currently stand, the Tigers are not scheduled to face another opponent in the AP Top 25 Poll for the remainder of the regular season. Still, Wiseman’s return and reintegration into the rotation will certainly be something to watch for in Memphis.


▲ No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs — Up 4 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

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Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert.
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Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are flying high. After losing to the Michigan Wolverines during their miraculous Maui Invitational tournament run over Thanksgiving week, Gonzaga pummeled the Texas Southern Tigers and took down the No. 22 Washington Huskies. This week, Mark Few’s squad continued its dominance with a huge road win against freshman star Nico Mannion and the then-No. 15 Arizona Wildcats. The Bulldogs will have another tough test on their hands this week, as the North Carolina Tar Heels – who just fell out of the rankings thanks to a three-game losing streak – will visit them in Spokane on Wednesday.


▲ No. 13 Dayton Flyers — Up one spot in the AP Top 25 Poll

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Dayton’s Obi Toppin.
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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Dayton Flyers only have one loss on the season, and it came at the hands of the now top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in an overtime affair. Since then, the Flyers have been absolutely cruising, beating all of their opponents by double-digits and steadily climbing up the rankings. They’re set to take on the Colorado Buffaloes – who fell out of the AP Poll rankings this week – this Saturday in their first true test since losing to the Jayhawks last month.


▲ No. 10 Baylor Bears — Up one spot in the AP Top 25 Poll

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Baylor’s MaCio Teague.
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Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor shined during a week in which many of the top teams in the nation faltered. The Bears were rewarded as a result. Baylor jumped a spot in the AP Top 25 Poll thanks to a hard-fought, one-point win against the previously undefeated and 18th-ranked Butler Bulldogs. MaCio Teague and company should cruise through the final weeks of 2019, but games against the Texas Longhorns, Texas Tech Red Raiders, and top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks could spell trouble for a Bears squad that has been rolling as of late.


Losers


▼ No. 3 Louisville Cardinals — Down 2 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

The Louisville Cardinals had managed to hang onto the top spot in the AP Top 25 Poll for two consecutive weeks – a long stretch considering the tumult of the college basketball season thus far – but they finally got tripped up this week. The Cardinals lost a 13-point decision to the Texas Tech Red Raiders – who entered the game nursing a three-game losing streak – at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night for their first loss of the season. And even though Louisville bounced back with a 99-67 win against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Saturday, Chris Mack’s squad still understandably dropped out of the top spot in the AP Poll. A grudge match against the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats December 28 could undoubtedly help the Cardinals right the ship.


▼ No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes — Down 2 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

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Ohio State’s CJ Walker.
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Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

After the Louisville Cardinals’ big loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Ohio State Buckeyes looked primed to take over the top spot in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll. But a loss to the unranked Minnesota Golden Gophers – who sported a meager 4-5 record heading into Sunday night’s contest – gave the Buckeyes their first loss of the season and ruined their chances of taking over as No. 1. Now, Ohio State will host the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks before traveling to Nevada to take on John Calipari’s No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats Saturday night.


▼ North Carolina Tar Heels — Dropped out of the AP Top 25 Poll

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North Carolina head coach Roy Williams.
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Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels are experiencing quite a slide early in the season. Roy Williams’ squad dropped games against the Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Virginia Cavaliers in the past few weeks. Still, Sunday’s loss to the unranked Wofford Terriers is a massive blow to a team that was widely expected to vie for a top spot in the ACC this season. With star freshman Cole Anthony and sophomore Leaky Black sidelined with injuries, the Tar Heels looked lost. Now they’ll travel to Spokane, Washington, to take on the No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs in what will surely be an uphill climb.


▼ No. 7 Maryland Terrapins — Down 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

After nearly blowing their perfect record against the unranked Illinois Fighting Illini last week, the Maryland Terrapins finally saw their first loss against a different unranked opponent. The Penn State Nittany Lions picked up a signature 76-69 win against the former No. 4 team in the nation on their home floor and left Maryland with very little time to pick up the pieces. The Terps will face Myles Powell and the Seton Hall Pirates on the road Thursday for a chance to climb back up the rankings.


▼ No. 14 Michigan Wolverines — Down 9 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

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Michigan’s Jon Teske and head coach Juwan Howard.
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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In one week, the Michigan Wolverines went from unranked to top-5 in the AP Top 25 Poll thanks to back-to-back wins against the then-No. 6 North Carolina and the then No. 8 Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Maui Invitational tournament. But since then, things have gone steadily downhill for Juwan Howard’s squad. After losing to the top-ranked Louisville Cardinals on the road last week, Michigan bounced back to take down the Iowa Hawkeyes. But this week, the Wolverines dropped two more games – first to the unranked Illinois Fighting Illini on Wednesday and then to the top-10 Oregon Ducks in overtime on Saturday. Michigan will have a chance to jump back up in the rankings when it faces its next Power Five opponent; the Wolverines will travel to East Lansing to take on the No. 15 Michigan State Spartans after the New Year.


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