From the start of the 2022-23 college basketball season through the end of the 2022 calendar year, UConn rated at BartTorvik.com as the No. 2 team in the sport and entered the New Year with a 14-1 record while ranked No. 2 in the AP Top 25. But in the weeks since, the No. 6 Huskies have performed more like the unranked team it was to begin the season than the one that surged to the near-top of the polls. And with a chance to get back on track Sunday against lowly St. John's, UConn again could not get out of its own way, falling as a 15-point favorite for its fourth loss in the last five outings.
Let's just say UConn picked a bad time to reach a low point in its season. And while UConn was not unique this week in its misfortunes -- 11 ranked teams lost on Saturday alone (!) and 13 ranked teams in total lost on the weekend if you include UConn and Marquette falling on Sunday to St. John's and Xavier, respectively -- it does fall into its own special category given the way in which it has come crashing back to Earth at a time in the season when we're giving a closer examination and more scrutiny to teams. Sorry, Dan Hurley.
In this space on a weekly basis, beginning today, I will hand out grades for a bevy of teams in the sport based on recent showings and no punches will be pulled. This is not a power ranking; that duty belongs to the inimitable Matt Norlander. This is also not a season-long rankings; only Gary Parrish is crazy enough to rank 25 (and one) college basketball teams every single day during the season. Rather, this is a scan across the sport at random to assess how teams fared in a cycle that runs Monday-Sunday.
So without further ado, let's dive into the report card.
College basketball grades: This week's report card
|Alabama||A+||I wanted to give Bama a "B" for the butt-whoopings it gave to Arkansas and LSU this week just to keep things PG, but I had to upgrade to an "A" for ... well, use your imagination. The Crimson Tide smacked Arkansas on the road then demolished LSU at home by 40 on Saturday to take hold of the top of the SEC.|
|Xavier||A+||Xavier has an 11-game winning streak after beating No. 25 Marquette at home on Sunday, which capped a week in which it also held serve against a really talented Creighton team. The two wins were by a combined seven points, but it matters not. X is 7-0 in the Big East and standing alone atop the league standings after Providence's loss to Creighton on Saturday.|
|UCLA||A+||UCLA improved to 7-0 in Pac-12 play with consecutive home beatdowns of Utah and Colorado this week. The Bruins were at one point on the ropes Saturday vs. the Buffs before reeling off a 17-0 run and winning by 14.|
|Clemson||A||Home wins over Louisville and Duke this week aren't quite cause for celebration in the same way they would be in year's past, but Clemson did topple both teams this week to keep its undefeated ACC record intact. The Tigers are two games up in the league race and one of the big surprises of the season.|
|Boise State||A||With Nevada slipping up at San Diego State and the Aztecs slipping up four days later vs. New Mexico, Boise State's two road wins over UNLV and Wyoming this week were a huge momentum shift the Broncos' way in their quest to win the wide-open MWC.|
|College of Charleston||A||Charleston survived a tough road test at UNC Wilmington on Wednesday then rolled Elon -- the team, not the Tesla and Twitter CEO -- to move to 18-1 on the season. No team has more wins on the season than Charleston.|
|Purdue||A||After falling in the rankings last week following a home loss to Rutgers, Purdue this week held serve at home and blasted Nebraska. Zach Edey continues to look like the best player in college hoops. Period.|
|Iowa||A-||Iowa took Michigan down another rung in the Big Ten hierarchy with a nice OT win at home over the Wolverines to extend its winning streak to three before comfortably scooting past Maryland at home Sunday. After opening Big Ten play 0-3, the Hawkeyes have quietly won four straight.|
|Houston||B||South Florida -- winless in AAC play -- gave a tougher-than-expected fight on Houston's court on Wednesday, but the Cougars survived and advanced, so it's hard to dock the them too much. They're a perfect 5-0 in league play, 17-1 overall and likely to retain their No. 1 ranking on Monday in the polls.|
|Kansas||B||Kansas fell behind at home twice this week in tilts vs. OU and vs. Iowa State but erased double-digit deficits in both cases. The Jayhawks seem to like playing with fire like pyromaniacs, but inside Allen Fieldhouse, they are proven escape artists.|
|Marquette||B-||A home win over UConn doesn't quite get Marquette the nudge to "A" treatment given UConn's recent struggles and factoring in the loss to Xavier on Sunday, but Marquette's report card is looking great still. It has now won eight of its last ten with the lone losses coming to Providence and Xavier on the road.|
|Duke||C+||With Jeremy Roach ailing, Duke continues to lack playmakers and its offense doesn't quite have the pop to challenge for the top of the ACC. Saturday's loss to Clemson moved the Blue Devils to 4-3 in ACC action.|
|Kentucky||C-||A road win over No. 5 Tennessee keeps Kentucky from flunking the week. UK's home loss to South Carolina the game prior is still inexplicable and borderline inexcusable for a team as talented as the 'Cats.|
|Arizona||C-||Mixed bag for the Wildcats this week. After winning at Oregon State, they got blown out by Oregon 87-68 on Saturday to fall to 4-3 in Pac-12 play.|
|UConn||D+||Keep in mind these grades are a one-week sample only. That said, this week's sample for UConn was a continuation of a downward slide for the Huskies. They fell at Marquette, their third loss in four outings, then stumbled Sunday at home as 15-point favorites vs. St. John's.|
|Texas Tech||D||There are no moral victory grades in this space. Yes, Texas Tech gave Texas a fight in Austin on Saturday, but it did ultimately fall -- and just days after Iowa State handed it a 34-point beatdown. Tech is now 0-5 in league play, its worst start in Big 12 action since the penultimate Tubby Smith season of 2014-15.|
|Missouri||D||Life on the road in the SEC was not kind to the upstart Tigers this week. Mizzou fell to Texas A&M and Florida by a combined 27 points in its two outings.|
|Arkansas||D-||Arkansas' NCAA Tournament credentials suddenly look suspect after blowout losses this week to Alabama (acceptable) and Vandy (less acceptable). The Razorbacks are one game out of last place in the SEC. Yikes.|
|West Virginia||F||Bob Huggins and West Virginia finished last in the Big 12 last season and are on pace to repeat as cellar-dwellers again after close-shave losses to Baylor and OU pushed it to 0-5 in conference play. It's the worst start to league play for WVU since 2018-19.|
|Louisville||F||Things have gone from pretty bad to really bad in Louisville. The Cardinals (2-16) lost big to Clemson and North Carolina this week, and are not only winless in ACC play, but projected to lose out in the regular season according to KenPom. Does Kenny Payne know tanking in Year 1 won't net him Victor Wembanyama?|