Behind the Ballot: Tennessee drops, Oklahoma rises in rankings

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Hello all and welcome back to my weekly column called Behind the Ballot, where I will share my Top 25 women’s basketball rankings that I submit to be included in the Student Media Poll. The SMP is a weekly basketball poll, voted on by student journalists from around the country from a variety of different college newspapers, and I am fortunate enough to serve as a women’s basketball voter. I look at previous rankings and games from the past week to determine my weekly ballot. With that being said, let’s jump into this week’s rankings! 

This week was quite the ride. All but the top two teams moved in some fashion, largely thanks to losses to current No. 8 Tennessee and No. 15 Texas. Indiana reached the top five for the first time this year despite not playing for a few weeks, while Colorado fell out of the rankings. The Buffaloes had been hanging on by mere strings for weeks now, after skidding hard following their 13-0 start. After their loss to Utah, it was finally their time to depart, although they’ll have plenty of opportunity to return in the next few weeks with losses to other teams and a matchup against No. 2 Stanford in 13 days.  

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

RISERS

No. 14 Oklahoma–The Sooners had a monster week, notching a 26 point win over unranked rival Oklahoma State, which they followed with a massive, close victory against then No. 9 Texas. The win was largely fueled by star senior guard Taylor Robertson, who scored 17 points, collected 10 boards, dished out three assists, stole the ball twice and was the only Sooner to play all forty minutes. Oklahoma can’t celebrate just yet, as they have their work cut out for them against No. 10 Baylor on Wednesday. It’s a contest that will say a lot about both teams as we enter the final stretch of the season. 

No. 21 North Carolina–How did UNC have the second biggest week in women’s college basketball and go 1-1? The answer is simple: good losses. The Tar Heels started out the week with a nice upset victory over then No. 21 Duke in Durham. This caught many people’s attention, setting the stage for their rematch at home versus No. 3 NC State, who blew UNC out by nearly 30 last time out. The Tar Heels held their ground this time, losing by just eight in a game. After a tough stretch, UNC is proving that they are for real. 

FALLERS

No. 8 Tennessee–The Volunteers played only one game this week and it was far from impressive. They traveled to Auburn to take on the Tigers, who have not been having a good season, sitting at 8-10 overall and 0-7 in conference. The Volunteers looked disengaged in the first half, letting their deficit grow to 11 points by halftime. They came back to take the lead, posting a 23-11 third quarter, but it wasn’t enough as Auburn outscored Tennessee by 11 in the fourth to grab the win. It’s only The Volunteers’ second blemish on their record, so we can’t look too hard at it, but they’re worth monitoring moving forward.

No. 15 Texas–After a few positive weeks of winning, things had been looking good in Austin. That stopped when they journeyed to Norman to take on Oklahoma, one of our risers this week. This is no time to panic for the Longhorns, as they’ve had a great season and just lost to a team that was better than most may have realized. The biggest concern though is upset-prevention. Two of their four losses are to unranked teams, something that will be important to keep an eye on.

UConn?

The No. 12 Huskies continue to tread water against mediocre Big East competition, only beating NET No. 160 Providence by eight this past weekend. Granted, they were missing Paige Bueckers and Dorka Juhasz, but they’ll need to really kick things into a higher gear if they want to make some noise in March. The win in Chicago over DePaul was gutsy, but against a team that is roughly 30th in the nation, they should be winning by more. Creighton should pose a challenge for this week, which will be the appetizer for their last big game of the season, at home versus No. 8 Tennessee.  

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