Wildcats remain in top 10 despite loss to Oregon State
A wild week for college basketball’s top 10 meant the Arizona Wildcats weren’t alone in taking a hit in the rankings following Sunday night’s loss at Oregon State.
Sean Miller’s squad has lost two of its last four dating back to before the holiday break, yet finds itself No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll and ninth in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Top-ranked Kentucky (15-0) remains unbeaten but, after overtime wins against Ole Miss and Texas A&M, lost two of 65 first-place votes in the AP poll.
Virginia (15-0) moved to the second spot in the AP rankings following Duke’s first loss of the year, an 87-75 defeat at the hands of N.C. State that dropped the Blue Devils (14-1) to fourth.
Gonzaga (16-1), which Arizona beat earlier in the season, jumped to No. 3 in both polls.
Sixth-ranked Louisville (14-2) fell one spot after a one-point loss to North Carolina, and Wisconsin — without starters Traevon Jackson and Frank Kaminsky — stumbled from fourth to seventh after losing to Rutgers.
Texas had the biggest fall in the rankings, from 10th to 20th in both polls, after dropping games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The string of losses by top-10 teams could reflect parity in college basketball.
For Arizona, the weekend allowed for plenty of concerns to crop up beyond the rankings after the Wildcats struggling against the Beavers’ zone defense while failing to guard one-on-one. The relevance of the poll at this point might be most powerful in terms of bulletin board material for Miller.
Utah (13-2) moved ahead of Arizona and ranks No. 8 in both polls, and that adds more intrigue to the Utes’ game in McKale Center on Saturday — though the Wildcats had best focus on a matchup against Colorado on Thursday.
Washington lost its fourth straight, most recently falling to Washington State. This week, it became somewhat meaningful that the Cougars and Beavers each recorded significant upsets despite being picked 11th and 12th, respectively, in the preseason media poll.
The Pac-12 looks more and more like a two-team race, but the depth from the third to 12th spots appears to be surprisingly strong as well.