It was a week with few games. Even fewer games featured top 25 teams against challenging opponents. The result was an AP poll that was almost identical to the one released last week. With only three teams changing position, the Arizona Wildcats stood pat at No. 18.
The Wildcats defeated Tennessee State in their only game of the week, setting a program record by opening the season 10-0 for the first time. The problem for Arizona is that most of those 10 wins have come against less than stellar opposition. That is causing problems in the rankings that will ultimately matter more to their postseason hopes.
The first official RPI came out on Dec. 8. The Wildcats were ranked No. 38 in the index after sitting in the 60s in the unofficial RPI listings. Just a week later, they have dropped back to No. 66 in the official version, as well. Much of that is caused by drops taken by their opponents, especially North Dakota, Texas and Santa Clara.
The hot start has given the fans a lot to cheer for and has impressed the voters in the polls. But the Wildcats are going to have to pull off some good wins in conference play if they want to break through into the NCAA field for the first time since 2005.
Fortunately, they will have plenty of chances for that. The AP still has a total of five Pac-12 teams in the rankings, including Arizona. Stanford remained at No. 1. They were followed by Oregon (3), Oregon State (4) and UCLA (10). Ten of the league’s 12 teams are in the top 100 of the current RPI.