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How we voted: Sooner or later, Trae Young was bound to push Oklahoma into Top 25

Oklahoma guard Trae Young, left, looks for a pass while Wichita State guard Landry Shamet defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Wichita, Kan. (Travis Heying / AP)
Oklahoma guard Trae Young, left, looks for a pass while Wichita State guard Landry Shamet defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Wichita, Kan. (Travis Heying / AP)

The nation’s leading scorer is a true freshman and his name isn’t Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr., DeAndre Ayton or Mo Bamba. Trae Young wasn’t supposed to be the headliner of this strong 2017 class, but it’s sure turning out that way. The Oklahoma guard is averaging 28 points per game and hasn’t scored fewer than that since the second week of the season. He’s also the reason the Sooners cracked this week’s Associated Press Top 25.

Five thoughts

1. Florida State’s loss to one of the Power Fives from Oklahoma opened the door for the other. Maybe Young and the Sooners should’ve been considered a few weeks earlier. They knocked off Oregon at the PK80 – granted, the Ducks are a shell of their Final Four selves – and recently grabbed a pair of quality wins over USC and Wichita State.

2. Young had a 29-point, 10-assist double-double over Wichita State and is single-handedly responsible for demoting the Shockers from No. 3 to No. 11 in the AP Top 25 and from No. 7 to No. 11 in our poll. Wichita State was the only top-10 loser this week, but it might be awhile before the Shockers drop another. Cincinnati looks to be the only real challenge in the AAC.

3. Texas, the football state, is faring pretty well on the hardwood this season. Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech have a combined record of 36-4 and Texas, at 7-3, won’t have to do much to slide back into the Top 25. By comparison, TCU is the Lone Star state’s lone representative in the AP football Top 25.

4. Seton Hall followed an early-season 75-74 loss to Rhode Island with a trio of wins over Vanderbilt, No. 22 Texas Tech and No. 17 Louisville. Then the Pirates lost to Rutgers 71-65 over the weekend to drop out of the Top 15. But one might argue that they’re also just seven points shy of a spot in the top five. And they probably wouldn’t be wrong.

5. Biggest pitfall over the last few weeks goes to the Florida Gators, who checked in at No. 6 two weeks ago and drop out four losses later. They’re barely hanging on in our poll, but it only feels like a matter of time now…

Perusing the Pac-12

Arizona State: Tra Holder might be the Trae Young of the west coast. He’s not quite as consistent, but he has the ability to be every bit as explosive. The Sun Devils’ senior followed a 29-point game against Kansas with 25 points versus Vanderbilt. And when he’s not on, usually Shannon Evans II is. The second piece of ASU’s prolific backcourt has scored in double digits all 10 games.

Arizona: When they’re not playing in the Bahamas, the Wildcats are team we all pegged them to be before the season started. Rawle Alkins’ return is pivotal for Sean Miller’s group, too. When he’s healthy, the sophomore has proven he can be an eliter player on both ends of the floor.

Home cooking

A good scare can be healthy sometimes, and the Zags certainly got one from North Dakota Saturday in Spokane. Before the Fighting Hawks came to town, Gonzaga was winning its home games by an average of 29 points, so maybe Mark Few suggested his players try to give the fans a different experience. I’ll bet he’s probably OK with going back to the 102-74 type wins now.

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