There was only one open spot on my AP ballot and three teams to decide between — Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
Iowa State went to No. 2 Baylor and, despite another slow start similar to but not as long as the one against Texas Tech, gave the Bears everything they could handle before falling by two.
The Cyclones responded with a strong showing in a nine-point win over Texas in Ames.
Kansas State was so close to handing No. 3 Kansas its first loss in Allen Fieldhouse in more than two years.
Dean Wade missed a 3-pointer, the offensive board slipped through the hands of Wesley Iwundu and the controversial no call on the travel by Svi Mykhailiuk helped the Jayhawks to victory.
The Wildcats answered well with a hot start at home against Oklahoma with the balanced offensive attack K-State is known for this season.
However, sloppy play and increased defensive pressure helped the Sooners creep back into the game before the Wildcats were able to close them out for the win.
Texas Tech topped the No. 7 Mountaineers by a point in overtime with only 13 turnovers against “Press” Virginia.
The Red Raiders showed poise on the road in Lawrence, but the defense didn’t take much away from the Jayhawks as Kansas took the 17-point lead.
There was a five-point swing for KU to end the first half after a technical foul was called on Anthony Livingston to give Kansas a 10-point lead at the half. And midway through the second half the Jayhawks exploded for a 12-0 run to leave the Red Raiders behind.
That double-digit loss at Kansas after defeating WVU, to me, shows that Texas Tech is on the cusp of the rankings at this point in the season.
As one of the oldest teams in college basketball, the Red Raiders have showed poise through a majority of these contests.
But letting a 14-point lead in the second half slip away at Iowa State and settling for 3-pointers instead of attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line at Kansas show that Texas Tech still has a little way to go.
And that’s OK. Teams don’t want to be playing their basketball right now. They want to reach that peak potential in another month, like Tech did last year, and ride that momentum into the NCAA Tournament.
With what Iowa State and Kansas State were able to do against two of the top three teams in the country, that gave them the edge over Tech for the final slot in this week’s poll.
Then, between those two teams, I felt that Kansas State should have kept hold of its double digit lead over an Oklahoma team playing without the injured Jordan Woodard, especially on its home floor, while Iowa State did what it needed to do in its win over the Longhorns.
The Cyclones took my final spot.
Here’s how I voted:
10. West Virginia
12. Florida State
14. North Carolina
15. Notre Dame
21. Saint Mary’s (Cal)
25. Iowa State