College Hoops

We have a new top 2 in Alabama and Purdue

We have a new top 2 in Alabama and Purdue

Just when it seemed like the top four or five men’s college basketball teams in the country were separating themselves in the rankings, chaos ensued. Kansas lost two games, including Saturday’s home blowout to TCU, and then Houston lost at home to Temple on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it was the first time in AP poll history that the No. 1 and No. 2 teams lost at home on back-to-back days. It’s also quite likely the first time in Power Rankings history, too.

So what happens now? Is it Purdue or Alabama at No. 1?

Let’s look at the rΓ©sumΓ©s.

Alabama has the edge in the metrics. The Crimson Tide are slightly ahead in KenPom, Sagarin and the Basketball Power Index, while also ranking No. 1 in ESPN’s strength of record. They were ahead by one spot in the NET, as well.

In terms of quality wins, Purdue has one more Quadrant 1 win and is 9-1 against Quadrants 1 and 2, while Alabama is 10-2. Purdue has wins over Marquette, Gonzaga and Duke, while Alabama counters with a victory over Houston. It’s also worth noting Purdue beat Gonzaga by 18 while the Crimson Tide lost to the Zags by 10.

The tiebreaker for me is simply how well Alabama has been playing. The Crimson Tide have won all seven SEC games by an average of 21 points a night. Meanwhile, Purdue has had five one-possession games in the Big Ten, and hasn’t looked as overwhelming.

Alabama could find itself at No. 1 for a few weeks, too. It doesn’t play another surefire NCAA tournament team until it heads to Auburn on Feb. 11 and Tennessee on Feb. 15.

Onto this week’s awards and rankings.

Stan Johnson and the Lions played just one game this past week, but it was as impressive a one-game week as we’ll get all season. All Loyola Marymount did was go into Spokane and knock off Gonzaga 68-67, ending the Bulldogs’ 76-game home winning streak in the process. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, this was LMU’s first win over a top-10 team since beating USC in the 1961 NCAA tournament. More importantly, perhaps, it was the Lions’ first win over the Zags since 2010, and their first road win against them since 1991. Cam Shelton was fantastic, scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds, while Jalin Anderson came off the bench to score 15. After an underwhelming campaign a year ago, the Lions have already surpassed their WCC win total from 2021-22 and have also beaten Wake Forest, Nevada and BYU.



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