CBS Sports updates Top 25 and 1 after 5 ranked teams fell on Wednesday night

On3 imageby:Alex Weber02/22/24

The 2023-24 college basketball season continues to churn out one crazy result and one chaotic weeknight after another here in the thick of conference play. After more havoc on Wednesday, Gary Parish has updated his Top 25 And 1 for CBS Sports.

A slew of ranked teams fell on the road last night. Illinois dropped first, blowing a late lead to Penn State the day after the Nittany Lions announced the dismissal of their leading scorer. Then, Florida held on to a lead late into the second half vs. Alabama but also succumbed to a comeback from the home team. Elsewhere, Kentucky experienced more heartbreak, this time thanks to a wild tip-in buzzer-beater from LSU while Colorado State fell on the road against New Mexico and Dayton lost to George Mason.

Whew, that’s a lot of carnage. Read about some of it below as well as Parish’s full current Top 25 And 1 rankings.

1. Purdue

Braden Smith Purdue Basketball
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue fell in their most recent game at Ohio State as the Buckeyes rallied to score the massive win following the ouster of head coach Chris Holtmann. But coming up next is a game against a Rutgers program that beat the Boilermakers at least once in each of the last four years.

Purdue has beat Rutgers once this season already but they’ll go for the sweep Thursday evening before hitting the road to face Michigan on Sunday. For now, though, the Boilermakers have reclaimed No. 1 with UConn’s loss, but Houston could have an argument to take it come next Monday’s AP Poll.

2. UConn

Tristen Newton UConn basketball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskies arguably gave their worst performance of the season in Tuesday’s blowout loss at Creighton. But really, it was a matter of a massive advantage behind the 3-point stripe for the Blue Jays. Creighton knocked down half of their 3-point attempts, 14 of 28, compared to UConn’s three total 3s for the evening. It’s just tough to win like that.

Prior to that off night, UConn had rolled off 14 straight wins to take a commanding lead in the Big East. Now, they’ve still got the inside track but if they slip between now and their game at Marquette, then the Huskies could be playing for the one-seed in that contest.

3. Houston

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Monday’s revenge victory over Iowa State marked a fourth straight win and the ninth of the last 10 for Houston, who has now officially separated itself from the rest of the pack to join the likes of Purdue and UConn as the contenders who are head-and-shoulders above the rest.

Like the Huskies and Boilermakers, the Cougars are merely a three-loss team and in the best conference in the country, making a seamless transition from the AAC to whooping up on the Big 12, currently sitting as the odds-on favorites to take the conference crown in their very first season.

4. Arizona

Caleb Love-Arizona
Zachary BonDurant | USA TODAY Sports

Arizona experienced some confusing slip-ups in January but hit February at a full sprint, having now rolled off six straight victories, including at Colorado and at Utah for a nice pair of quad one additions to the resume. Of course, they were also named a No. 1 seed at the mid-February top-16 reveal from the committee this past weekend.

A friendly run and straightforward path to the Pac-12 title stares the Wildcats in the face. Thursday evening, they. begin their Evergreen State home stand this weekend vs. Washington State and then Washington, before seeing Oregon, UCLA and USC to end the regular season. 

5. Tennessee

Rick Barnes
(Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

The consistency of Rick Barnes is something to behold. His predictable exits in March may be frustrating, but his success overall is admirable as Barnes is heading towards a sixth straight NCAA Tournament where Tennessee is a five-seed or higher.

Sure, the Volunteers are yet to break through for a Final Four, but they’ve won at least one game in four of the five previous tourney appearances and made the Sweet 16 twice, including last season by way of beating Duke. Also in that span, Barnes has coached five top-10 defenses and four in a row in the top-five according to Bart Torvik’s metrics.

6. Iowa State

Hunter Dickinson Kansas
Reese Strickland | USA TODAY Sports

The Cyclones could have grabbed a stranglehold on the Big 12 regular season crown by upsetting Houston on the road this week. But that’s a mammoth task and the Cougars were able to hang on, thus re-taking first place all by themselves.

However, ISU is still right there all alone in second place and with a friendly schedule to go. Iowa State plays Oklahoma and West Virginia at home plus Kansas State and UCF on the road in games they ought to win. A home game against BYU is the toughest test and the Cyclones will certainly be favored there. Again, a Big 12 title is not out of the picture.

7. Marquette

Marquette G Tyler Kolek
Benny Sieu | USA TODAY Sports

All is well for then Golden Eagles as they had the perfect bounce-back opportunity from a rotten blowout loss to UConn playing against DePaul. Tyler Kolek certainly took advantage of a poor Blue Demon squad and broke Marquette’s single-game assist record with 18 of them in a 105-71 victory.

That was just the latest in a string of terrific offensive performances (UConn not withstanding). That’s not a surprise considering how strong Marquette has been on offense under Shaka Smart, but they did struggle to get going this season compared to last year’s club, and have actually been superior on the defensive end this season.

8. North Carolina

North Carolina Florida State basketball
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

North Carolina team has now taken its lumps in ACC play, following a 9-0 start with a 3-3 mark the last couple of weeks. The key for that run was great defense, and digging into the numbers, it appears the 3-point defense has been the catalyst for success vs. failure. In the nine-game streak, UNC foes shot more than 20 3-pointers per game but made just 20.1% of them. But in the last six games, opponents shot even more 3s and made a much higher 33.8% of them.

The likely conclusion is that Carolina isn’t as great a defense as they looked during the winning streak, but they’ve also caught some hot hands of late. Either way, a Saturday game at Virginia looms large for NCAA and ACC Tournament seeding.

9. Creighton

Creighton Blue Jays
© Steven Branscombe | USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned in the UConn section, the Blue Jays caught fire from behind the arc against the Huskies to knock down 14 of 28. But the shot-makers weren’t your usual suspects. Instead, bench players like Francisco Farabello and Jasen Green knocked down two each, as did starter Mason Miller, while point guard Steven Ashworth banged in five of them.

All while Creighton’s three leading scorers, who average over 17 points per game apiece, made just three of the team’s 14 triples. If Greg McDermott gets even close to that level of contribution from his ancillary players on a nightly basis, then perhaps these Blue Jays will threaten to advance one round further than the ’23 group.

10. Kansas

Bill Self, Kansas
© William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

This very shallow Kansas team is really taking some shots on the chin in Big 12 play and they’re now just 7-5 in their last 12 games. That’s partially thanks to a minor injuries to point guard Dajuan Harris and star wing Kevin McCullar, and then again, that complete lack of depth behind them.

But never count out a Bill Self group in conference play, because these embattled Jayhawks rallied to hold Oklahoma to 57 points in a 10-point road win vs. the Sooners, just KU’s second road win of the entire season. Now, an opportunity to build momentum presents itself with consecutive home games against Texas and BYU.

CBS Sports 11-26 rankings

11. Baylor
12. Duke
13. Alabama
14. Auburn
15. Dayton
16. Washington State
17. Utah State
18. San Diego State
19. Illinois
20. Colorado State
21. BYU
22. South Carolina
23. Florida
24. Wisconsin
25. Saint Mary’s
26. Texas Tech

Texas Tech is the lone new addition to hop back into the rankings after besting TCU this week and getting some help from Kentucky’s loss to LSU. Otherwise, the top 12 remained pretty much intact with the 13-20 positions flip-flopping quite a bit with Alabama ultimately getting a big boost following their thriller against a ranked Florida team on Wednesday.