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NCAAM Week Preview: Purdue Still the One

Kentucky, North Carolina Fall Out of the Top 25

There were a few upsets as the final games of 2022 wrapped up and when the dust cleared, the number of undefeated teams dropped from five to two. Meanwhile, powerhouse programs Kentucky and North Carolina fell out of the Top 25 when the new Associated Press poll was released.

There are five games this week between ranked teams with Arkansas and TCU involved in two each, as the Missouri-Arkansas, TCU-Baylor, Purdue-Ohio State, Iowa State-TCU and Arkansas-Auburn games highlight the schedule.

Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers reacts during the first half against the Florida A&M Rattlers
Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers / Michael Hickey - Getty Images - AFP

When looking at the Las Vegas odds, third-ranked Houston (+700) has the best odds to win the national title followed by Connecticut (+1000), UCLA (+1000), Arizona (+1400), Tennessee (+1500), Kansas (+1500) and Purdue (+1600).

Let’s check the latest NCAAB picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAB predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAB expert picks for you to consider.

Will History Repeat?

Last season, Purdue was ranked first in the national polls and rolling right along before running into the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers stunned the Boilermakers thanks to a buzzer-beating basket. Fast forward to 2023 and Purdue is once again undefeated and ranked first nationally. Who is up next? Rutgers, of course.

The 9-4 Scarlet Knights are not ranked. However, they do own a top-10 win courtesy of a 63-48 win over then 10th-ranked Indiana.

One major difference between last season’s upset and Monday’s matchup is the location. This time the game will be on Purdue’s home court and the Scarlet Knights are 0-2 in true road games this season.

The last time Purdue and Rutgers met at Mackey Arena, it was the Boilermakers atoning for the earlier loss with an 84-72 win.

Blue Bloods Take a Tumble

It was a tough week for former national champions.

Kentucky and North Carolina were 19th and 25th in the final Associated Press poll of 2022. However, both dropped out of the Top 25.

North Carolina lost at Pittsburgh 76-74 despite 22 points and 13 rebounds from Armando Bacot to fall to 9-5.

Kentucky dropped its SEC opener at Missouri and it wasn’t particularly close with Kobe Brown’s 30 points leading the Tigers to the 89-75 win. Not even a win over rival Louisville to wrap up 2022 was enough to keep Kentucky in the Top 25. Missouri made the largest jump in the AP rankings, moving into the poll at No. 20 after failing to crack the Top 25 a week ago.

Among teams still in the Top 25, the two largest drops came from 2021 champion Baylor and 1994 national champion Arkansas.

Baylor fell seven spots to No. 19 after losing 77-62 at Iowa State while Arkansas went from ninth to 13th following a 60-57 loss at LSU.

Four-time champion UConn was pushing Purdue for the No. 1 spot before falling to Xavier 83-73.

UConn did still receive a first-place vote with the other 60 going to Purdue.

Ringing In the New Year

The final day of 2022 was one to remember.

Unranked Kansas State took down No. 24 West Virginia in overtime while three other games involving ranked teams were decided by two points or less.

A pair of free throws by Marcus Carr with three seconds left put Texas up by four on Oklahoma and not even a late 3-pointer would enable to Sooners to pull off the upset as Texas returned home with a 70-69 win.

Kevin McCullar’s block of a Bryce Thompson layup attempt with one second left preserved a 69-67 win by Kansas against visiting Oklahoma State.

Wyoming had two shots in the final seconds to knock New Mexico from the ranks of the unbeaten. However, both were off the target as the Lobos held on for the 76-75 victory.

Add in Xavier’s win over UConn, Houston surviving a test from UCF, Arizona winning at Arizona State and Iowa State upsetting Baylor, and it was quite the finishing kick to a memorable 2022.

Team of the Week

Missouri Tigers

Missouri only had one game but it was one to remember as the Tigers knocked Kentucky out of the Top 25 with the 89-75 win. It was the second straight win over a ranked team for Missouri after toppling Illinois on Dec. 22.

Missouri led by as many as 21 points and committed only eight turnovers. It was the third time in the last four home games in the series that the Tigers upset the Wildcats.

Kobe Brown’s 30 points led the way. D’Moi Hodge had 15 points while Sean East and DeAndre Gholston each had 12 points off the bench.

Player of the Week

Drew Timme, Gonzaga

Nobody can accuse the national player of the year of scoring simply by being a volume shooter.

He shot at least 60% from the field in each of his last seven games. Facing Pepperdine in a West Coast Conference matchup, Timme shot 15 of 19 with one of the misses from 3-point range. He added 10 points and five assists in the 111-88 win

Game of the Week

TCU Horned Frogs at Baylor Bears

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

This is a good time to be a TCU fan. The football team will be playing for a national title and the men’s basketball squad is 12-1 and on a nine-game winning streak.

There will be a national-television audience to see TCU head to Waco to face a Baylor team eager to rebound from a humbling loss to Iowa State the last time out.

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