Defending national champion Baylor retains top spot in The Associated Press Men’s College Basketball Poll, though not without giving Arizona the No. 1 vote, while the remaining six unbeaten continued their lead on Monday.
The Bears ended a four-week streak of turnover atop pole last week by taking care of Oregon, taking 60 first places out of 61 from a national panel that regularly covers college basketball. The Wildcats received the only other No. 1 vote and climbed two places to sixth in a brutal stretch of games over the next three weeks.
Duke finished at No 2 after ending a two-week break with three easy wins. Purdue was third, while Gonzaga and UCLA flip-flopped their spots with the Bruins – currently in the middle of a COVID-19 pause – rounding out the top five.
The Bears (10-0) climbed to the top spot last week after dominating the then-numbers. 6 Villanova, something he never accomplished during his title-winning season. But he became the fourth straight No. 1 loser to go down four to the Ducks at halftime before rallying to a 78-70 victory in Eugene, Oregon.
“It was actually our first road game in two years. Last year everyone had a limited crowd,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew, who scored the 400th win of his career. “People want to know how important the crowd is. We’re the first No. 1 to win on the road.”
The Wildcats (11-0), who overtook Cal Baptiste, will have a chance to prove they deserve their No. 1 vote. They go to Number 19 Tennessee on Wednesday, then the Bruins on December 30, and Number 8 Southern California on January 2.
Visit Arizona State on January 8th and the Wildcats won’t play home games for 24 days.
“I didn’t even know that, to be honest,” said Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd. “I always tell you guys, Tennessee Wednesday and then on Christmas. We have a golden opportunity on Wednesday. We’ve got off to a really strong start. I played in Tennessee and it’s a monster, and it’s up to us to go out there and ourselves. It’s a great opportunity to test it out.”
The Wildcats were followed by two more unbeaten runs at Kansas and the Trojans (12–0) and Iowa State (11–0), in seventh place, both of which moved up two places. Alabama dropped four places and dropped out of the top 10 after losing to Memphis.
“It’s the best Memphis has played all year, so you have to give them a lot of credit,” said Crimson Tide coach Nate Oates, whose team faces Davidson before a showdown with volunteers. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Number 11 was Michigan State followed by Auburn, Houston, Ohio State and Seton Hall. The Buckeyes went all up one place after a game against Tennessee-Martin was over due to COVID-19 issues and the Pirates had a game against Iona that was called off.
Texas also moved up one place to 16th, followed by LSU (11-0), fast-climbers Xavier, Tennessee and Kentucky. The last five places were from Colorado State (10-0), Providence, Villanova, Wisconsin and Texas Tech.
rise and fall
Javier made the biggest jump this week, climbing four places to No. 18. The Musketeers beat Marquette over the weekend and now entered a two-game doozy against Villanova and Yukon for early dominance of the Big East.
Villanova made her biggest coup, falling from ninth to number 23 after being blown up by Creighton. The Wildcats’ 79–59 loss came after a 57–36 loss to Baylor, the first time since 1998–99 that they lost at least 20 consecutive games.
Hello and goodbye
Providence entered the ballot at number 22 following its victory over the Yukon, while Wisconsin went back to the ballot.
“We knew it would be a challenge for us to hit the road. I was proud of the preparation of my players,” said Providence coach Ed Cooley. “He did a really good job of detailing and understanding the importance of a Big East game.”
The exits were the Husky and Arkansas, who lost to Speedy Claxton’s Hofstra over the weekend.
Elder 12: 5 (Numbers 1, 7, 9, 16, 25)
SEC: 5 (numbers 10, 12, 17, 19, 20)
Big Ten: 4 (numbers 3, 11, 14, 24)
Big East: 4 (Numbers 15, 18, 22, 23)
Pac-12: 3 (Numbers 5, 6, 8)
ACC: 1 (No. 2)
West Coast: 1 (No. 4)
American: 1 (No. 13)
Mountain West: 1 (No. 21)
More AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25