Behind the Ballot: Oregon and Kansas State soar in rankings


Week 13 was perhaps the most volatile week we’ve seen this year, with all but four teams making movement. Two teams made double-digit moves — Oregon for their stellar play as of late and Iowa State for their dual home losses. Texas and Baylor each made nice jumps for their wins against Iowa State, taking advantage of others’ losses… The most notable matchup of the week was Louisville vs. North Carolina State, in a contest that saw the Wolfpack outscore the Cardinals 31-8 in the fourth quarter to snag a nine- point win. With that, let’s take a look at my top 25. 

  1. South Carolina 
  1. Stanford 
  1. Tennessee 
  1. NC State 
  1. Louisville 
  1. Indiana 
  1. Michigan 
  1. Arizona 
  1. Texas 
  1. Georgia 
  1. Baylor 
  1. Oregon 
  1. UConn 
  1. LSU 
  1. Maryland 
  1. Georgia Tech 
  1. Iowa State 
  1. Kansas State 
  1. Ohio State 
  1. BYU 
  1. Duke 
  1. Notre Dame 
  1. Oklahoma 
  1. Colorado 
  1. North Carolina 

Last week we started out with Oregon, so why not do it again? The Fighting Ducks are on an absolute tear after winning their last four games, with two coming against top -10 opponents. The Ducks haven’t been fully healthy until recently, with key mid-season injuries to Endyia Rodgers, Nyara Sabally and Te-Hina Paopao, who completely torched UConn for 22 points and eight boards. Oregon is as good as any team in the country right now and is beginning to match the hype they had coming into the season in ninth. In this edition, I have the Ducks jumping from 23rd to 12th.  

Did anyone in the top 25 have a worse week than Iowa State? Probably not. The Cyclones lined up last week, with two top 20 matchups against Texas and Baylor, giving them a chance to vault into the top five for the first time this year. Instead of jumping on this opportunity, Iowa State folded, losing at home to the Longhorns by 18 and to the Bears by 26. As it turns out, the Cyclones have struggled and will likely not be sniffing the top 10 for a while. I have them dropping 10 slots, all the way down to 17th. 

One of the biggest storylines of the week is Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee. The 6-foot-6 center is second in the NCAA in scoring at 25.5 points per game, to go along with 10.9 rebounds. On this volume, she shoots a staggering 59.7%, which is good for tenth in the nation. On Sunday, in a 29-point rout against 14th ranked Oklahoma, Lee scored 61 herself, setting an NCAA record for most points scored in a game. Perhaps even more amazingly, Lee scored those 61 on just 30 attempted shots and no threes attempted — pure dominance. The win was enough to put KSU back into the top 25 after dropping out last week. 

At one point in the season, it seemed like Colorado was a real contender in the PAC 12. The Buffalos impressively whipped off thirteen straight wins to start the season despite not previously playing a ranked team. Since then, Colorado has lost four straight to current No. 2 Stanford, No. 8 Arizona, Oregon State and Arizona State. No team has skidded harder as of late, but they do continue to hang in the rankings by mere threads, thanks to unimpressive play of teams on the brink of the top 25. 

Another team that is on fire is Ohio State, UConn forward Dorka Juhasz’s previous school. The Buckeyes are in the midst of a six game winning streak, with one of those wins coming against current No. 15 Maryland. That win over the Terps is their only signature win, but OSU has a chance to really improve their resume this week against No. 7 Michigan and an Iowa team just on the outs. The one real blemish in their record is a fluke loss at Syracuse, but I’ll forgive that for now, thanks to their success in a loaded Big Ten. 

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