Parity can explain all the losses by top-10 college hoops teams

Louisville forward Anas Mahmoud, right, drives to the basket as Virginia forward Jarred Reuter defends during the first half in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday. (AP photo)

The AP Top 25 has gone on a wild ride the past two weeks, with 16 losses by top-10 teams and programs bouncing around the poll like lotto balls.

Another loss by a top-10 team kicked off this week, with No. 4 Louisville losing 71-55 to No. 12 Virginia on Monday night.

No reason to think it will stop here in this parity-filled season.

Though the week is light on games between ranked teams, there will be two big ones out West and the first of two rivalry games on Tobacco Road.

The first game in the West is Wednesday, when No. 5 Oregon plays at No. 10 UCLA.

Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins (21) is fouled by Louisville forward Anas Mahmoud (14) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. Virginia defeated Louisville 71-55. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Ducks (21-3, 10-1 Pac-12) already passed one big test last week, when they turned a showdown with then-No. 5 Arizona into a laugher.

Coming off a surprising loss to unranked Colorado, Oregon raced to a 27-point first-half lead and rained 3-pointers on the Wildcats, making 16 in the 85-58 victory that extended their home winning streak to a nation-high 40 games.

That moved the Ducks into a tie atop the Pac-12 standings with Arizona, but the Bruins (21-3, 8-3) are not far behind.

UCLA rebounded from a loss to rival Southern California with lopsided wins over the two Washington schools.

That sets up a showdown between Oregon’s Dillon Brooks and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball in a game that should be one of the fastest and most entertaining of the season.

The other game in the West comes Saturday in Northern California.

That’s when top-ranked Gonzaga faces what will likely be the last test in the Zags’ bid for an undefeated regular season against No. 20 Saint Mary’s


Gonzaga (24-0, 12-0 WCC) turned the first meeting with the Gaels into a 79-56 rout. That game was in Spokane, Washington. This one is in Moraga, California, and Saint Mary’s (21-2, 11-1) will be looking for a little revenge against its biggest rival.

Speaking of rivalries, one of the best in all of sports resumes Thursday when No. 8 North Carolina plays at No. 18 Duke.

The Tar Heels (21-3, 9-2 ACC) had a letdown in a loss to unranked Miami on Jan. 28 but outlasted Pittsburgh and No. 20 Notre Dame last week. North Carolina also hopes to get back swingman Theo Pinson, who has missed the past three games with an ankle injury.