Wildcats back in AP Poll after wins over Utah, Colorado
After spending a week outside the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the first time this season, the Arizona Wildcats are back in the college basketball rankings.
Sean Miller’s team jumped from unranked — and a technical 33rd by points earned in the vote — to No. 22 after beating Utah and then-20th-ranked Colorado.
Both were commanding victories, with Arizona dropping the Utes 93-77 on Thursday and then rolling past the Buffaloes by a 75-54 final Saturday.
Atop the poll, Baylor and Gonzaga were the only two teams in the top five that took care of business last week.
That doesn’t mean they didn’t move around, too.
The Bears (15-1) leaped over the Bulldogs and into the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday, using wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State to give the Top 25 its seventh team on top this season. That matches the record set in 1983 for the most No. 1s in the history of the poll, which dates to the 1948-49 season.
Gonzaga (20-1) was merely a victim of its conference schedule. The Bulldogs blew out Santa Clara and BYU, but just enough voters considered those wins to be less impressive than the Bears’ perfect Big 12 start. Baylor received 33 first-place votes and had 1,591 points from the 65-member media panel while Gonzaga received 31 first-place votes for 1,588 points.
The rest of the top five looks a whole lot different after Duke, Auburn and Butler all lost both of their games last week.
Kansas (14-3) rose three spots to No. 3 after victories over Oklahoma and Texas, the latter requiring a big comeback in Austin. San Diego State (19-0) remained perfect with wins over Fresno State and Nevada, and Florida State (16-2) barged into the fifth spot after it beat reigning national champion Virginia and survived overtime to best Miami.
The Seminoles haven’t lost since playing Indiana in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge the first week of December.
Louisville, which tasted the top spot earlier this season, jumped five spots to sixth after beating Pittsburgh in overtime and handling the Blue Devils. Dayton was next, followed by Duke, Villanova and Seton Hall to round out the top 10.
Duke also lost to Clemson earlier in the week, sending coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team tumbling five spots.
Krzyzewski’s team wasn’t alone in getting a tough lesson last week. Fourth-ranked Auburn fell all the way to No. 16 after losing a pair of blowouts to Alabama and Florida, and fifth-ranked Butler was bounced all the way to 13th after the Bulldogs followed up a loss to Seton Hall by getting soundly beaten by DePaul.
Here’s a closer look at the other big news in another fresh Top 25:
RUTGERS ON THE RISE
The Scarlet Knights bounced back from a loss to Illinois by beating Indiana and Minnesota at home, running their record at the RAC to 13-0 this season — the best start in school history. That was enough to get Rutgers (14-4) into the poll at No. 24 for the first time since the final poll of the 1978-79 season. And with Seton Hall at No. 10, the state of New Jersey has two teams ranked for the first time since the Pirates were joined by Princeton in the last poll of the 1990-91 season.
Iowa, which has been in and out of the poll all season, made the biggest jump back in at No. 19 after its win over then-No. 19 Michigan. The Hawkeyes were joined by No. 22 Arizona and No. 25 Houston, the latter of which romped through SMU and then-No. 16 Wichita State last week.
ON THE WAY OUT
The Shockers dropped all the way out after losing to Houston and Temple. The Wolverines also fell out, along with Big Ten rival Ohio State and Creighton, whose one-week stay ended with a loss early last week to Georgetown.
No team has been falling as steadily as Ohio State, which was 9-0 and ranked in the top five with first-place votes just six weeks ago. The Buckeyes have lost six of their last nine games, and five of their last six, to complete their tumble from the poll. Their lone victory in the last few weeks was against lowly Nebraska.
College basketball AP Top 25
The Associated Press contributed to this story.