Mark Few has built Gonzaga into one of college basketball's biggest brands in part by being unafraid to challenge his team in November and December. That's why he agreed to play Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans last Friday, agreed to play John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats this Sunday, and how he ended up playing Chris Beard's Texas Longhorns on the road late Wednesday.
The Michigan State game went well; the Kentucky game might.
The trip to Texas was an absolute disaster, however. The Longhorns shot 51.5% from the field and 39.4% from 3-point range in an eventual 93-74 blowout that was 40 minutes of largely uncompetitive basketball. Turns out, the Zags might miss Andrew Nembhard and Chet Holmgren more than most expected. The Longhorns might also be bigger threats to win the 2023 NCAA Tournament than the preseason polls indicated.
"[Texas is] a really, really, really good team," Few said. "They're old. Their guards (Marcus Carr and Tyrese Hunter] are terrific. They can both handle it. It's always great when you have two point guards like that who can shoot. They're athletic enough to switch ball screens. And so, yeah, they're the real deal."
Texas' 19-point victory over a Gonzaga team that five days earlier beat a Michigan State team that subsequently beat a Kentucky team predicted to win the SEC is easily the most impressive win this early season. When you combine that with the fact that the Longhorns won their first two games by an average of 33 points and are clearly operating at an advanced level, it's totally reasonable to move them to No. 1 in Thursday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings.
So that's what I did.
Texas is the new No. 1 in the Top 25 And 1 — followed by No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Houston, No. 4 Kansas and No. 5 Gonzaga. The Longhorns' next two games are contests against sub-250 KenPom opponents, meaning they'll almost certainly enter December with a 5-0 record. After that, their sixth and seventh games -- against Creighton and Illinois, respectively -- will be interesting. Creighton is 12th in the Top 25 And 1. Illinois is 25th.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Tyrese Hunter finished with 26 points and three rebounds in Wednesday's 93-74 win over Gonzaga. The Longhorns' next game is Monday against Northern Arizona.||11||29-9|
|R.J. Davis finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday's 72-66 win over Gardner-Webb. The Tar Heels' next game is Sunday against James Madison.||--||20-13|
|Marcus Sasser finished with 20 points and six assists in Wednesday's 83-48 win over Texas Southern. The Cougars' next game is Sunday against Oregon.||--||33-4|
|Jalen Wilson finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday's 69-64 win over Duke. The Jayhawks' next game is Friday against Southern Utah.||--||28-8|
|Drew Timme finished with five of Gonzaga's 20 turnovers in Wednesday's 93-74 loss at Texas. The Zags' next game is Sunday against Kentucky.||4||31-6|
|Joey Hauser finished with 23 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday's 86-77 double-overtime win over Kentucky. The Spartans' next game is Friday against Villanova.||1||21-13|
|Antonio Reeves missed six of the seven shots he attempted in Tuesday's 86-77 loss to Michigan State. The Wildcats' next game is Thursday against South Carolina State.||1||22-12|
|Ricky Council IV finished with 19 points and two assists in Wednesday's 71-56 win over South Dakota State. The Razorbacks' next game is Monday against Louisville.||1||22-14|
|L.J. Cryer finished with 20 points and four rebounds in Monday's 95-62 win over Northern Colorado. The Bears' next game is Friday against Virginia.||1||23-11|
|Amari Bailey finished with 11 points and five assists in Monday's 86-56 win over Norfolk State. The Bruins' next game is Friday against Illinois.||1||31-6|
|Dereck Lively II was limited to just four points and five rebounds in Tuesday's 69-64 loss to Kansas. The Blue Devils' next game is Friday against Delaware.||1||27-9|
|Ryan Kalkbrenner finished with 22 points and three blocks in Monday's 94-65 win over Holy Cross. The Bluejays' next game is Thursday against UC Riverside.||1||24-13|
|Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 21 points and six rebounds in Thursday's 101-49 win over Bethune-Cookman. The Hoosiers' next game is Friday against Xavier.||--||23-12|
|Johni Broome finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds in Tuesday's 89-65 win over Winthrop. The Tigers' next game is Friday against Texas Southern.||--||21-13|
|Isaac McKneely finished with 15 points and two rebounds in Friday's 89-42 win over Monmouth. The Cavaliers' next game is Friday against Baylor.||--||25-8|
|Oumar Ballo finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in Friday's 95-78 win over Southern. The Wildcats' next game is Thursday against Utah Tech.||--||28-7|
|Henry Coleman III finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds in Friday's 77-58 win over Abilene Christian. The Aggies' next game is Thursday against Murray State.||--||25-10|
|Jett Howard finished with 17 points and two rebounds in Wednesday's 91-60 win over Pitt. The Wolverines' next game is Sunday against Ohio.||--||18-16|
|Josiah-Jordan James finished with 18 points and six rebounds in Wednesday's 81-50 win over Florida Gulf Coast. The Vols' next game is Wednesday against Butler.||--||25-11|
San Diego St.
|Jaedon LeDee finished with 14 points and four rebounds in Tuesday's 74-62 win over Stanford. The Aztecs' next game is Monday against Ohio State.||--||32-7|
|Brandon Miller finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday's 65-55 win over South Alabama. The Crimson Tide's next game is Friday against Jacksonville State.||--||31-6|
|Zach Edey finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds in Tuesday's 75-70 win over Marquette. The Boilermakers' next game is Thursday against West Virginia.||--||29-6|
|Brice Sensabaugh finished with 20 points and four rebounds in Wednesday's 65-43 win over Eastern Illinois. The Buckeyes' next game is Monday against San Diego State.||--||16-19|
|Yuri Collins finished with 22 points and nine assists in Tuesday's 90-84 win over Memphis. The Billikens' next game is Saturday against Maryland.||--||21-12|
|Terrence Shannon Jr. finished with 30 points and eight rebounds in Monday's 103-65 win over Monmouth. The Illini's next game is Friday against UCLA.||--||20-13|
|Tristen Newton finished with 22 points and 11 assists in Tuesday's 84-64 win over Buffalo. The Huskies' next game is Friday against UNC Wilmington.||--||31-8|