Virginia (14-1) — You might’ve heard this one before: The Cavaliers aren’t especially fun, but they’re effective. Their lone loss came at No. 2 West Virginia and they’re 3-0 in ACC play after a 61-49 win over North Carolina. Virginia ranks No. 1 nationally in scoring defense (52.5 ppg) and No. 2 in field-goal percentage defense (35.9). Sure, the style of play is a bit like watching paint dry, but the walls usually look pretty good once it does.
Texas Tech (14-1) — It’s time to take the Red Raiders seriously. They’ve opened Big 12 play with double-digit wins over then-ranked Baylor, No. 12 Kansas and Kansas State. They whipped the Jayhawks at The Phog, which is less impressive this season than most, but still. They beat Northwestern and Nevada, both ranked at the time, in nonconference play and took their only loss against No. 13 Seton Hall. Now for the gauntlet: at No. 9 Oklahoma on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET on U) and home against No. 2 West Virginia on Saturday (2 p.m. ET on ).
West Virginia (14-1) — The Mountaineers haven’t lost since a season-opening blowout against Texas A&M, which tells you what the Aggies look like at full strength and makes their meltdown more remarkable. WVU took out No. 3 Virginia earlier this season and in the last three games won at Oklahoma State and Kansas State and toppled red-hot Oklahoma. Jevon Carter, the nation’s leader in steals, harassed Sooners superstar Trae Young into arguably his worst game.
It was another reminder that home-court advantage is powerful, as Michigan State, Duke, Arizona, Xavier, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky, Arkansas and Florida State all took losses on the road. The Spartans, Blue Devils, Sun Devils and Musketeers all fell to unranked opponents.
Michigan State (15-2) — The Spartans had won 14 straight and looked like the clear No. 1 after winning their Big Ten opener by 30 over Maryland. Then they lost by 16 at Ohio State on Sunday to complete the wacky weekend in hoops. Still, in a year where everyone has at least one oddball loss, MSU feels like the most complete team — one of only two that ranks top-10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency — with blowout wins over North Carolina and Notre Dame on the resume.