College basketball rankings: Wichita State moves into first place of American after upset of Houston

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Wichita State was a big story in the preseason during the weeks Gregg Marshall’s job status was in limbo — and right up until the winningest coach in school history was forced to resign. Then assistant Isaac Brown was promoted to head coach on an interim basis. Then the Shockers were picked seventh in the preseason American Athletic Conference poll. And I just figured they’d remain mostly, if not entirely, off of the national radar until a permanent head coach was hired.

But I was wrong.

Because Wichita State is now very much on the national radar, and one of the coolest stories in the sport, after Thursday’s 68-63 victory over Houston that launched the Shockers into first place in the AAC standings. They’re 13-4 overall, 9-2 in the league and on a five-game winning streak. And though they’re not in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings just yet, they do have a resume worthy of at-large consideration for the NCAA Tournament considering they’re now 4-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses.

What. A. Story.

Does any of this mean Brown will soon get the Wichita State job on a full-time basis? Not necessarily. But the idea that he’s making a compelling case for himself in the final weeks of this regular season is super interesting, and it’s not an exaggeration to suggest literally no coach has more invested in how things unfold the rest of the way. If Brown marches this team into the NCAA Tournament, he really might sign something like a five-year, $7.5 million contract with Wichita State next month. If not, he might be making just a fraction of the money as an assistant somewhere else next season.

So the stakes are high.

Stay tuned.

As for Houston, this represented the second time Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars have been upset this month after previously losing at East Carolina. They’re now 6-2 in the first two quadrants with the ECU loss qualifying as a Quadrant 3 defeat. Consequently, Houston dropped to No. 16 in Friday morning’s updated Top 25 And 1.

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Friday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings

In: Oregon
Out: Rutgers

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