There’s something missing in the AP Top 25 poll for February 8th: Plenty of the programs that have sustained the sport for most of the last 60 years.
Top 25 is out: No Duke. No North Carolina. No Kentucky. No Kansas. No UCLA. The Year without a Blueblood. First since 1961.— Dana O'Neil (@DanaONeilWriter) February 8, 2021
That’s a lot of fan interest and dollars not coming home right now. And boy are these programs down. Kentucky is 5-12 and just begging for the season to be over. Kansas was a Top-3 team earlier this season, but is now 6-5 in Big 12 play and has lost five in a row on the road. North Carolina and Duke at Cameron Indoor is usually the toughest ticket in the sport, but they played a game with no fans for no rankings points last Saturday night. UCLA got throttled by USC that same night, and when all is in balance the Trojans only throttle the Bruins in football.
Kansas and USC are still likely in the NCAA Tournament, but UNC and Duke need to start winning, and Kentucky needs to start focusing on 2022. The good news is this has made room for some non-traditional powers such as Baylor and Texas Tech (yes, national championship game, we know... still not a blueblood) towards the top of the slate.
Whether this is a coincidental blip in the matrix or a long-term changing of the dynamics of the sport is yet to be determined. But there’s an awful lot of brand-name fans not enjoying their team too much during this pandemic. Let’s hope they at least enjoy the rest of the games, especially Gonzaga and Baylor which are incredibly fun to watch play basketball.
Here is the AP College Basketball Poll for February 8th:
AP Poll Week 12 College Basketball