Teams in second half of AP poll have bad week
RALEIGH, N.C. — The teams leading the AP Top 25 spent the week piling up victories or surviving close calls, most notably when top-ranked Duke posted a last-second win at No. 13 Florida State. Things didn’t go nearly so well for teams in the second half of the poll.
In the latest sign of what could be another unpredictable March, 12 of the 15 teams outside the top 10 lost at least once and combined for 17 losses. That included five teams losing twice: No. 14 Mississippi State, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 20 Iowa State, No. 24 St. John’s and No. 25 TCU.
The only ranked teams outside the top 10 to avoid losses were No. 18 Kentucky, No. 19 Buffalo and No. 21 Marquette, setting the stage for some significant changes.
Some of the losses, at least, came in matchups against higher-ranked league opponents, headlined by the Seminoles falling on Cam Reddish’s 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left despite Duke playing the second half without star freshman Zion Williamson (poked in the eye).
The others were No. 15 North Carolina State losing to No. 12 North Carolina, No. 23 Oklahoma falling to eighth-ranked Texas Tech and the Horned Frogs losing to both the Sooners and No. 7 Kansas in the Big 12.
Road success One reason for thirdranked Tennessee’s success has been its ability to handle playing on the road.
The Volunteers won at Florida on Saturday, earning their first 10-game winning streak since the 2007-08 season. It was also the program’s fifth straight win in true road games dating to last season, with this year’s wins coming at Memphis and then Missouri in Southeastern Conference play.
It was Tennessee’s first win at Florida since February 2012 after three straight losses there, according to Sports Reference LLC’s college basketball site.
Cavs’ outside reach
Fourth-ranked Virginia had little trouble in Atlantic Coast Conference wins at Boston College and Clemson, giving the Cavaliers a 12-game road winning streak in league play.
Among the highlights: the Cavaliers’ ability to connect from 3-point range to go with that traditionally strong defense. Virginia made nearly 43 percent of its 3-pointers in the two games, first by making 8 of 19 against the Eagles followed by hitting 10 of 23 against the Tigers. Virginia is 16th nationally in 3-point percentage on the season (39.5 percent), which has helped the Cavaliers rank sixth in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rankings (117.5 points per 100 possessions). There could be a lot of 3s in their next game, too. Ninth-ranked Virginia Tech visits on Tuesday ranked fourth nationally in 3-point percentage (.423) and 16th in made 3s per game (10.4).