With Duke’s loss allowing Ohio State to claim the No. 1 ranking in both polls, and Minnesota, Michigan State, and Wisconsin all moving up multiple spots, the Big Ten almost passed the Big East in this week’s ratings. In fact, the Big Ten is actually ahead in the computer component of the ratings, but the larger bonus from the human polls allowed the Big East -- with four schools in the top 8 of each poll, compared to just one in the top 12 for the Big Ten -- to maintain the top spot by a narrow margin.
The Big Ten might have moved to No. 1 if Purdue could have won a rare, midseason, out-of-conference matchup with West Virginia on Sunday, but the Mountaineers held on for a close win in Morgantown. On top of that, Villanova’s win on Saturday against Maryland gave the Big East a 6-5 record against ACC opponents this season. This means the Big East now has a winning mark against each of the five other major conferences this season, providing some justification for its ranking as the best conference in the land.
With minimal nonconference play at this point of the season, the only movement towards the top of this week’s rankings came with the Atlantic 10 jumping one spot past Conference USA into No. 8. With Temple and UCF each losing by double-digits in conference road games the past week, each of those conferences actually had their lone ranked representative fall out of the top 25 of both polls. Both conferences also saw their computer averages drop, but C-USA fell far enough for the A-10 to take over its spot (at least for now).
While Saturday’s Tennessee-UConn battle is the only nonconference game that has potential to shake up the top of the ratings this week, the Big Ten and Big East are so close that slight changes in the polls may be enough to cause weekly changes at the top spot in the rankings as we continue to push toward March.
Without further ado, here are this week’s ratings: