Alabama Crimson Tide (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
Bama struggled this week barely fighting off Louisiana Tech — who is actually a good team — and then losing at home to another good team Central Florida. Collin Sexton was not good in the loss to UCF and John Petty was just slightly better as the two combined for 19 points on 4-16 shooting and 2-10 from 3-point range. Sexton’s poor performance won’t be something that happens consistently, but when it does, Avery Johnson needs to get his other guys going. There is too much talent on this team for it to rely solely on one player offensively. The Tide get a tough Rhode Island team at home and then head out to Arizona on Saturday night. Statement week if they come back 2-0.
Butler Bulldogs (AP: NR Coaches: RV)
Butler had just one game in the past week and it was a blowout over a team that was impressive early this season, St. Louis. The Bulldogs locked down defensively holding the Billikens to just 45 points (Javon Bess had 22) and forced 17 turnovers. Kelan Martin continues to impress this season adding another double-double to his total. A couple of big games coming up for Butler, but they first have to point their attention to Utah who comes to Indianapolis this week.
Creighton Blue Jays (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
When the Jays don’t score 90+ they seem to lose, hmm. Creighton took a trip to Spokane — sidebar: huge props to Greg McDermott, not many people have ever gone up to Spokane voluntarily, especially from a Power 6 conference — and left empty-handed as they got thrashed in the 2nd half by the Zags. The good news is it was only one game. Creighton still looks like a very dangerous team, especially on the offensive end with Foster, Thomas and a host of other scorers to compliment them. Defensively they really need to up their game. The Jays will take on North Dakota and then have a date with Nebraska on Saturday.
Dayton Flyers (AP: NR Coaches: NR)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, injuries are causing issues for Dayton. The Flyers have some injuries to key players, yet again, that have caused first-year coach Anthony Grant to shake up the lineups a bit. Dayton dropped both contests this week to Mississippi State (undefeated Mississippi State*) and the FBI’s favorite man, Bruce Pearl’s Auburn squad. Darrell Davis and Josh Cunningham continue to get theirs, but until the team is healthy, they aren’t winning many games. They need to regroup and refocus to win some games and build some confidence leading up to conference play.
Illinois Fighting Illini (AP: NR Coaches: NR)
Man oh man did the Illini have a chance to knock off Northwestern. Illinois forced multiple turnovers in the final few minutes of regulation at All-State Arena but failed to convert on those attempts as the game was pushed into OT where the Cats were able to outlast U of I. Tejon Lucas tried to play hero ball late and got stuffed on a layup to close out the game. Illinois also dropped games against Maryland and Wake Forest since we last checked in, putting them on a 3-game skid. Mark Smith is really struggling recently and needs to find his game otherwise it is going to be a long Big Ten season for the Illini. They have a trip to Las Vegas coming up this weekend.
Illinois State Redbirds (AP: NR Coaches: NR)
A trip to Reno was the first game on the docket for the Birds and boy did they get thumped. Nevada dropped in 98 points en route to a 30-point victory. No shame there, Nevada is a now ranked team and is going to be a threat in the NCAA Tournament. ISU came back to take on Tulsa for the 2nd time this season on Saturday and left Redbird Arena with a win. Milik Yarbrough looked good coming back from injury dropping in 22 points, Phil Fayne added 17 points and 8 rebounds in the winning effort. Dan Mueller looks to have found his starting 5, I still think Fayne is the key to the team, but Yarbrough has proven how good he can be on a nightly basis. Consistency on both ends of the floor is crucial for ISU.
Indiana Hoosiers (AP: NR Coaches: NR)
IU really hung tough with Duke at Assembly Hall before the Devils size put the game away, De’Ron Davis was limited with foul trouble in the first half for the Hoosiers, but when he got minutes, he was effective. Indiana then dropped their conference opener at Michigan scoring a meager 55 points and came back nicely with a double-digit win over Iowa. Lack of depth in the frontcourt is going to be an issue this season for IU. If De’Ron Davis can stay on the floor, this team will be competitive, once he gets into foul trouble, it gets tough for Archie. Indiana has the talent and if they can put it together, can make a nice run in the Big Ten as the conference does not look great outside of Michigan State (and maybe Purdue and Minnesota).
Marquette Golden Eagles (AP: NR Coaches: NR)
Marquette barely survived at home against Eastern Illinois in overtime, the Panthers had the last shot and instead of going to the rim took a 30-footer. They followed that win up with a blowout of Chicago State where Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey combined for 59 points on 21-33 shooting. Howard was solid again in their loss Saturday against Georgia scoring 29 points, but Marquette really struggles when they don’t get Andrew Rowsey going. I really am not sure what to think of Wojo’s team thus far, they have the talent but can’t seem to put it all together. Tough game at home against Vermont and then a rivalry matchup in Madison against the Badgers on Saturday.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (AP: 9 Coaches: 8)
Mike Brey’s team went into East Lansing and found out exactly why Michigan State is a National Title contender. Sparty rocked Notre Dame with efficient and balanced scoring and a tough-nosed, in your face defense. The Irish responded nicely with a win over St. Francis (NY), a game in which Brey was ejected. Notre Dame is positioned to be one of the top teams in the ACC and despite that tough loss to MSU, I still think they’re a Top 10 team in the country. TJ Gibbs has struggled over the last week. He is an important piece to that starting 5 and when he is playing well, the Irish are a tough team to beat.
Seton Hall Pirates (AP: 19 Coaches: 19)
The Pirates one of the most impressive weeks of any team in College Basketball collecting a neutral site win against #22 Texas Tech and then heading to Louisville and knocking off the 17th ranked Cardinals for a marquee win early in the season. Desi Rodriguez has proven to be an absolute nightmare for opposing teams, the senior wing dropped in 29 points, including the game-winning drive and finish on Sunday to cap off a monster game. Kevin Willard’s team is starting to click and it all starts on the defensive end, the Pirates get in passing lanes and force turnovers as well as any team in America, if they can get stronger play from the bench and improve at the stripe, this is going to be a very dangerous team.
St. John’s Johnnies
The Johnnies looking to work their way back into the top 25 with a pair of wins last week including a 110-point outburst against Minnesota-Morris. They also picked up their first conference win at home against Bethel 79-63, Tyler Weiss led the team with 15 points as the Johnnies showed a balanced offensive attack. David Stokman hasn’t really gotten going in the last few games and St. John’s is still winning, great news for their chances in conference play.
Washington University Bears
There hasn’t been an update to the D3 rankings in a week so no number needed but the Bears are still a top 10 team. Wash U was close to giving the fans Big Macs as they dropped in 96 in a winning effort against Alma. Jake Knupp and Andrew Sanders each had 26 for WUSTL. Next up for the 5-1 Bears is Central (Iowa) at home on Saturday.
Northwestern Wildcats (AP: NR Coaches: NR)
There’s no way around it, the Cats are struggling. They fell to Georgia Tech who promptly lost to Grambling State, yes you read that correctly Grambling State. They squeaked past Illinois in a game they probably should have lost and then fell at Purdue in a hard-fought game, arguably their best of the week. I’ve harped on the NW big three so much already that it’s time to throw a different name in the mix, Dererk Pardon. He is a key on both ends of the floor. He can block shots and patrol the lane, as well as rebound the ball well. They need him to be strong on that end to help energize the offense. He needs to score to take the pressure off the other 3, but also to give them another option. Far too many possessions have Northwestern playing isolation ball.