ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona Wildcats climb 3 spots in AP rankings after win at Illinois

Dec 13, 2021, 10:47 AM | Updated: 10:50 am

The Arizona Wildcats remained perfect and moved up three spots, from 11th to eighth, in The Associated Press college basketball rankings following a victory at Illinois on Saturday.

Coach Tommy Lloyd’s squad also defeated an 8-1 Wyoming team since the poll was last released the prior Monday.

The Wildcats (9-0) remain No. 1 in the NET ratings used to help guide NCAA Tournament seeding at the end of the year.

On Saturday, wing Bennedict Mathurin scored 30 points and added seven rebounds to lead Arizona past the Fighting Illini, 83-79. The Wildcats also got 19 points and five assists from guard Kerr Kriisa, while big men Azuolas Tubelis and Christian Koloko helped a defensive effort that limited 2021 Second Team All-American center Kofi Cockburn to 5-of-15 shooting.

Mathurin additionally led UA Wednesday with a 24-point performance in the 94-65 victory against Wyoming.

Baylor took advantage of Purdue’s last-second loss to Rutgers last week to become the fourth different team at No. 1 in the past four weeks. The Bears earned every vote from a 61-member national media panel Monday to reach the top spot in the poll for the first time since a four-week run ended on Feb. 17, 2020.

The Bears (9-0) were followed by former No. 1s Duke and Purdue along with UCLA and Gonzaga, which began the season atop the poll and spent the first two weeks there before losses to the Blue Devils and Alabama in a span of three games.

Baylor has won a nation-leading 15 consecutive games, none by fewer than eight points, including its memorable 86-70 win over Gonzaga in April for the national title. The Bears also had wins over Stanford, Arizona State and Michigan State to start this season before suffocating then-No. 6 Villanova in a 57-36 victory on Sunday.

The Crimson Tide led the second five in the AP poll Monday, climbing three spots after beating then-No. 14 Houston on Saturday. They were followed by Kansas, Arizona, Villanova and undefeated Southern California.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Others receiving votes: Wisconsin 156, North Carolina 85, Providence 57, Oklahoma 46, San Francisco 36, Illinois 31, West Virginia 24, Loyola Chicago 20, Michigan 8, St. Bonaventure 6, BYU 4, Minnesota 3, Creighton 1

Dropped from rankingsFlorida 20, Wisconsin 22, BYU 24

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