Eight top-25 teams lost this past weekend.
And what does all that chaos mean? Well, we're not sure yet. But the parity within college basketball is clear.
Not one major conference race has produced a definitive front-runner yet, so there is a lot of time for the landscape to undergo some significant shifts in the coming weeks.
Seems like a good time for another edition of what's real and what's fake in college basketball.
What's real? There is no consensus No. 1
The latest Associated Press poll will not stop the conversation about which team deserves the best-squad-in-America distinction. You could make a case for multiple teams. I went to Knoxville last week and watched Tennessee beat Arkansas by 30-plus on Tuesday. Kansas was the last team to beat Tennessee (Nov. 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn). Since then, the Vols have accrued wins over five top-100 teams on KenPom.com, including Gonzaga. But they also squandered a significant lead and nearly lost to Alabama on Saturday. Still, it's hard to argue against Tennessee as the top team in the country right now.
Virginia suffered its first loss of the year when it lost at Duke, sans Tre Jones, on Saturday. The expected poll adjustment was to move the Cavs down a few spots. But that's not reflective of Virginia's full résumé. Its one loss (at Duke) is better than the worst losses that Duke (vs. Syracuse), Michigan (at Wisconsin) and Tennessee (vs. Kansas on a neutral court) have suffered this season. The Cavaliers' collection of wins include a 22-point victory over Virginia Tech last week. The NET rankings, KenPom.com and ESPN's BPI all had Virginia ranked first entering the week.
And why does Michigan automatically get dismissed from the conversation following a road loss, the team's first loss of the season, at Wisconsin? The Wolverines have 15 double-digit wins this season.
Then there is Duke.
After Saturday's win over Virginia, Duke has the best series of wins in America: Kentucky, Auburn, Indiana, Texas Tech, Florida State and Virginia. But the "Duke is No. 1" folks shouldn't overlook last week's home loss to an unranked Syracuse team that had just lost to Georgia Tech by double digits.
Plus, the sea of emerging programs that can't match the aforementioned résumés but have played some terrific basketball in recent weeks -- Kentucky, Michigan State, Gonzaga -- could compete with any top-10 team on a neutral floor right now.
So where does that leave us? With a bunch of good, quality teams in college basketball and no clear No. 1. Perhaps a team will separate itself in the coming weeks. But that certainly hasn't happened yet.
What's fake? Michigan's loss at Wisconsin is proof the Big Ten is overrated
The Big Ten can't win.
When the league endures years like last season, when it sent only four teams to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade, it faces the same backlash as it does in years like this one, when it's a competitive gantlet. The national title drought -- the league hasn't won a championship since Michigan State's run in 2000 -- doesn't help its cause in the minds of detractors.
To some, Michigan's loss at Wisconsin on Saturday was proof that one of the league's powerhouses was overrated, and therefore the rest of the league is, too. To others, it's an illustration of the conference's depth. I choose the latter because the numbers support that. The Big Ten is the only league with 10 top-50 squads in ESPN's BPI. Rutgers might be the league's only "bad" team, but Steve Pikiell's team has top-100 wins over Ohio State and Miami.
This Big Ten could send 10 teams to the NCAA tournament. Expect more upsets in conference play, because the Big Ten is just that rich.
Real: Matthew McConaughey is just doing his job
When I saw the video of actor Matthew McConaughey telling Texas players to stand and support their teammates during Saturday's win over Oklahoma, I stood up in my living room. That's Rust Cohle from "True Detective" Season 1. That's the dude from the Lincoln commercials. You'd better stand up.
But this is actually what Texas wants from McConaughey, the basketball team's new "minister of culture," as it prepares for a move to a new arena in 2021. The school has not defined the actor's official duties. On Saturday, however, it was obvious he's embraced the role.
Fake: No reason to be concerned about Kansas
Kansas' road loss to West Virginia extended the program's troubles in Morgantown, where the Jayhawks have lost five of their past six games. Bill Self lamented his decision to not call a timeout before his final possession in the one-point loss, but the loss highlighted bigger challenges for the Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks have committed turnovers on one-fifth of their Big 12 possessions and made just 64.5 percent of their free throws in league play. Plus, they've made 35 percent of their 3-pointers, a mark outside the top 100 after three consecutive seasons of top-10 accuracy from beyond the arc. Two of those issues -- the Jayhawks committed 18 turnovers and finished 5-for-16 from the 3-point line -- cost them on Saturday.
This is still the team to beat in the Big 12. But here's the concern: Can a Kansas team with six more Big 12 road games still win the league if it fails to clean up some of the issues that fueled a loss on Saturday and could haunt it throughout the coming months?
Again, Kansas is still the team everyone should pick to win the league. But this Jayhawks team is not the slick offensive machine KU has produced in recent seasons.
Fake: Virginia should not be defined by its loss to UMBC and other NCAA tournament shortcomings
After Tony Bennett's team lost to Duke on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium, various folks in the Twitterverse offered their weekly reminder that Virginia's head coach should not be defined by last season's 20-point loss to UMBC in the first 16-1 upset in NCAA tournament history or other past postseason challenges.
Well, that's ridiculous. This Virginia team is fancy. De'Andre Hunter, Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome could lead Virginia to an ACC title and a national championship. The Cavaliers are that good. Their regular-season success has never been questioned. Even with the Duke loss, this is still a top-five team.
But we're all waiting to see whether Bennett can avenge last year's embarrassment by turning this impressive regular season into postseason highs. That's just the deal in college basketball.
Bennett is a great coach. But he and others like him are rightfully criticized when they can't find the same gear in the postseason that they've demonstrated throughout the regular season.
So yeah, Bennett and Virginia could win it all and put last year behind them. But if they struggle again, Bennett will have a hard time altering the perception of his program.
Real: Scott Drew and Baylor have been the biggest surprise of 2019
Since New Year's Day, Baylor has racked up wins over Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas Tech (on Saturday), which helped create the logjam at the top of the conference.
Baylor's top four scorers from last season departed. Tristan Clark, the No. 2 scorer on this season's team, has missed the past three games and will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. And yet, Baylor started the week 3-2 in league play, a record that includes two top-25 wins.
Drew has certainly coached better teams in Waco. This has been one of his most resilient coaching efforts.
Real: Kentucky-Auburn finish altered by questionable flagrant call
With 1:53 remaining in a five-point game, Kentucky's PJ Washington tried to block a dunk attempt by Auburn's Horace Spencer. Washington was going for the ball, but he got still hit with a flagrant 1, largely because Spencer landed awkwardly, cut himself and got up with blood pouring from his face. It was a call that did not fit the NCAA rulebook's description of a flagrant 1. "A flagrant 1 personal foul is a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary, but is not based solely on the severity of the act." Nothing about Washington's play was excessive.
A minute after the call, Jared Harper hit a 3-pointer to give Auburn a one-point lead with 32 seconds to play. The flagrant 1 call had shifted the momentum. Kentucky held on to win, but plays like that shouldn't affect outcomes.
Officials have difficult jobs. They won't get every call right. But that's one of those calls that they can't miss.