NCAA Men’s Basketball: Butler Makes Biggest Move UP The Polls, Oakland’s Khalil Fielder Is Player Of The Week

The NCAA men’s basketball Week 7 rankings were recently released and surprisingly very little changed, in terms of which teams were ranked, as only two teams in the Associated Press‘ Poll are different than the previous week while there were no new teams in the USA Today Coaches Poll this week. The two new teams are the fewest of the season.

That does not mean there wasn’t any shakeup in the polls.

The Michigan State Spartans (12-0) are ranked No.1 in both polls for a third successive week. The Spartans, whose only game was a 78-58 victory over Northeastern, also picked up an additional first place votes in each poll. Michigan State received 64 first-place votes and 1, 623 points in the AP poll and 29 first place votes and a total of 773 votes from the Coaches poll.

Michigan State will be without star guard Denzel Valentine for two-to-three weeks as he recovers from minor arthroscopic knee surgery, according to ESPN. The Spartans’ only game this week is versus Oakland (7-3) at the Palace at Auburn Hills on Tuesday. With a victory over the Golden Grizzlies, Michigan State will start the season 13-0 for the first time in school history.

Both polls have the same teams in the top-five, but in a different order. The writers have Kansas (9-1) second, Oklahoma (8-0) third, Maryland (10-1) fourth and Virginia (9-1) fifth. Oklahoma, which received two first place votes from the coaches, and Kansas exchanged spots in the USA Today Poll while the other two teams were the same. Kansas received the remaining first place vote from the writers.

There was a tremendous amount of movement in both polls for Nos. 6-10. Xavier (11-0) and North Carolina (9-2) moved up four spots each in the Associated Press poll to No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. Arizona (11-1) climbed five paces to No. 8 while Butler (9-1) received the biggest bump from No. 17-to-No. 9. Providence (11-1) made the jump into the top-10 by moving up four pegs in the writer’s rankings.

Update: Providence improved to 12-1 on the season Monday, with its 90-66 win over Massachusetts. Sophomore Ben Bentil scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. The 6-foot-9 forward made 11-of-16 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Xavier, North Carolina and Arizona moved up four spots each to No. 6, No.7 and No. 8, respectively, in the Coaches poll. Iowa State (9-1) fell seven spots to No. 9 and Duke (9-2) dropped four spots to No. 10.

Update: North Carolina defeated Appalachian State 94-70 to improve to 10-2 on the season on Monday as junior forward Brice Johnson tallied 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. It is Johnson’s third straight game with at least 20 points.

Iowa State, Kentucky (9-2), Miami (9-1), Purdue (11-1), Duke, Louisville (9-1), Villanova (8-2), SMU (9-0), West Virginia (9-1) and George Washington (10-1) are ranked No. 11- 19 in the writer’s poll. Texas AM (9-2), Cincinnati (10-2), Baylor (8-2), Utah (9-2) and South Carolina (10-0) round out the AP poll. Utah and South Carolina are in the new teams in this week’s poll, replacing UCLA and Connecticut.

The Coaches poll has Kentucky at No. 11 followed by Butler, Purdue, Providence, Louisville, Miami, Villanova, West Virginia, Texas A&M, and George Washington. Cincinnati, Baylor, South Carolina, Gonzaga (8-3) and Vanderbilt (7-3) fill out the poll.

Team of the Week:Butler Bulldogs

The Bulldogs moved up eight spots in the Associated Press and six spots in the Coaches poll after handing Purdue its first loss of the season (74-68). Butler got big performances from Roosevelt Jones, Andrew Chrabascz and Tyler Lewis.

Butler earned the victory despite shooting 39.7 percent (27-of-68) from the floor and 25 percent (4-of-16) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs also endured a poor shooting performance from leading scorer Kellen Dunham, who finished with two points as he missed all 12 of his shots.

So how did Butler earn the win? Defense. The Bulldogs forced 18 turnovers as they came up with 11 steals and blocked six shots.

Jones scored a team-high 19 points, on 8-of-15 shooting, and grabbed 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. The 6-foot-4 senior also added five assists.

Lewis tied a season-high with 17 points while also contributing six rebounds and four assists while Chrabascz chipped in with 16 points, five boards, three assists, three steals along with two blocks.

Upset of the Week: Ohio State over Kentucky

The Ohio State Buckeyes (6-5) earned its biggest win of the season with 74-68 upset over then-fourth ranked Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic at the Barclays Center. Sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop had a team-high 14 points and eight Buckeye players had between six and 14 points.

Freshman Jamal Murray scored a career-high 33 points on 13-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-9 from beyond the arc, to lead the Wildcats.

Player of the Week: Khalil Felder, Oakland Golden Grizzlies

The 5-foot-9 junior is having a sensational season, averaging 25.9 points, 8.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. Felder just went for 38 points, nine assists and six rebounds in a win at Washington. He knocked down 14-of-his-27 shots from the floor and was 8-of-11 from the charity stripe versus the Huskies.

[AP Photo/Winslow Townson]