Behind the Ballot: UConn rises and Tennessee plummets following matchup 

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The UConn Women’s Basketball Team defeats Tennessee 75-56 in a major victory at the XL Center Sunday afternoon. The Huskies took an early lead and held onto the W taking their season record to 15-4. Photo by Julie Spillane. / The Daily Campus.

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!  

  1. South Carolina 
  2. Stanford 
  3. Louisville 
  4. Michigan 
  5. Indiana 
  6. Arizona 
  7. NC State 
  8. UConn 
  9. Baylor 
  10. Oklahoma 
  11. LSU 
  12. Maryland 
  13. Georgia Tech 
  14. Georgia 
  15. Iowa State 
  16. Tennessee 
  17. Oregon 
  18. Texas 
  19. Notre Dame 
  20. North Carolina 
  21. Ohio State 
  22. Kansas State 
  23. Florida 
  24. BYU 
  25. Nebraska 

MARQUEE MATCHUP

To start off, let’s take a look at one of the bigger games of the week, where the former No. 12 UConn Huskies took on the then-No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers. The Huskies and emerging freshman Azzi Fudd made easy work of the Volunteers, winning the game 75-56, leading by 25 for a chunk of the fourth quarter. The Volunteers have been on quite the skid as of late, losing three of their last four. Two of those losses came at the hands of unranked opponents, including lowly Auburn, who sits at the bottom of the SEC. This warranted an eight slot drop for Tennessee all the way to 16th, as they look to start rebuilding the positive momentum they had before this rough stretch. UConn is following an opposite trajectory, moving up four slots to No. 8 after winning both of their games last week, including a comeback victory against Creighton, who is currently second in the Big East. The Huskies have won six straight and will hope to keep the strong play moving into this week. 

RISERS 

No. 10 Oklahoma–The Sooners have been on a complete tear as of late, winning eight of their past nine games, with that one loss coming at the hands of Kansas State and Ayoka Lee’s 61 point night. This week, they visited Waco, TX and beat current No. 9 Baylor close in a statement win that demonstrates how real Oklahoma is. Madi Williams added 20 points, grabbed eight boards and collected six dimes in the victory, adding to her sensational season, where she ranks in the NCAA scoring top 50. Oklahoma jumps into my top 10 for the first time this season.  

No. 23 Florida–Where did the Gators come from? Two weeks ago, no one was looking at the Gators seriously, but now Coach Kelly Rae Finley has all the analysts marking Florida as a consensus top 25 team. Florida has played five straight games against ranked opponents. They won four of those games, going two for three against top 10 teams, with the loss coming against No. 1 South Carolina. There may not be a team with more momentum than the Gators, as they’ve moved from not even in my “Also Considered” bucket all the way into my top 25.  

FALLERS 

No. 7 NC State–The Wolfpack didn’t take a huge hit this week after their loss to No. 19 Notre Dame but did fall out of my top five for the first time this year. Losing to a top 25 team on the road is never something to be embarrassed about, but, at the same time, you’re supposed to beat the teams ranked below you. NC State now has just three losses, all to ranked teams, so there isn’t reason to panic in the short term. They do line up against a surging Georgia Tech squad this week for a critical matchup to get back to their winning ways. 

No. 24 BYU 

It finally happened. The BYU Cougars lost a game in the WCC. They had won every single game overall this season aside from a close one to No. 10 Oklahoma, breezing by their previous eight WCC conference games. They were finally upset by NET’s No. 64 Portland, dropping their first conference game of the year. They then turned around and beat NET-ranked No. 28 Gonzaga by double digits in Spokane, WA. Because of the win, I only dropped the Cougars five slots, but they will need to dominate the weaker WCC competition to maintain a slot in the poll. 

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