LAWRENCE, Kan… Kansas dropped out of the Associated Press survey of men’s basketball on Monday for the first time in 12 years, ending its record series of 231 consecutive weeks in 25th place.
Gonzaga and Baylor took the first two spots, as they have all season. The Bulldogs received 55 of the 63 votes and the Bears got the remaining eight. Michigan benefited from Villanova’s defeat at St. John’s and moved into the top three, their rival Ohio State moved up three spots to fourth and the Wildcats completed the top five.
Illinois entered the top six of the Big Ten after beating Indiana in overtime and Wisconsin (21st) this weekend. Illinois was followed by Texas Tech, Houston, Virginia and Missouri, which beat Kentucky and No. 11 Alabama to enter the top 10 for the first time since December 24, 2012.
The real drama did not take place at the top of the ballot, but at the bottom.
The Jayhawks began their Top 25 run on February 2, 2009, when newcomer Bryce Thompson was 6 years old. Their dominance, which began the season after their national championship victory, was marked by 10 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles, five conference tournament titles, two more Final Four appearances and a second-place finish in 2012.
Their game against No. 23 Oklahoma State on Monday night would be the Jayhawks’ first unbeaten game in 434 games.
The first 25 PA polls
|1) Gonzaga (55)|
|2. baylor (8)|
|4. the state of Ohio|
|7. texas tech|
|14. West Virginia|
|17. The state of Florida|
|18. Virginia Tech|
|22 Loyola of Chicago|
|23. State of Oklahoma|
|* Votes in first place in brackets|
“This is basketball and we have to focus on the other game,” Jayhawks goalie Jalen Wilson said after Saturday’s 91-79 loss to No. 14 West Virginia, his sixth in the last 10 games. “In basketball, sometimes you have to focus on what’s in front of you instead of thinking about the past and what you couldn’t do. Another day, another game, that’s what we have to focus on.
The Jayhawks started 8-1 and moved up to third place on December 28 with one loss to Gonzaga and road victories over then Kentucky, West Virginia, Creighton and Texas Tech. But they lost early in the Big 12 game with the dismissal of Thompson due to injury and the veteran team unable to produce enough.
“We need to win a lot of games and I know this team can do that,” said Kansas guard Christian Brown. “Everyone’s head is in the right place, but we just have to make it happen on the court. We need to stop talking about it and really do something about it.
Just like the Bulldogs and Bears this season.
Gonzaga won last week’s game against Pacific 25-8 at halftime and had its game against Santa Clara cancelled this weekend. The Bulldogs were put to the test Monday night against BYU.
“It’s really hard when everyone is all over the place and everyone thinks you’ll get through it,” Bulldog coach Mark Few said after the recent win, “but that’s not the reality.
Baylor defeated Texas (then No. 6) last week in its first game against Texas Tech’s top 10 teams and then announced another break for COVID-19 on Thursday. This resulted in the postponement of games against TCU and Oklahoma No. 11, so the Bears won’t be back on the field until Saturday against Texas Tech – and not anytime soon.
The Crimson Tide and the Sooners follow in 13th place, with the Longhorns dropping seven places after defeats against Baylor and Oklahoma last week. The Mountaineers follow, with Iowa dropping seven places to 15, followed by Tennessee, Florida, Virginia Tech, Creighton and Southern California.
Wisconsin, Loyola of Chicago, Oklahoma State, Purdue and Rutgers were not in the Top 25.
INPUT AND OUTPUT
Loyola is in the survey for the first time since the last survey of the 1984-85 season. This may surprise those who remember the Ramblers’ spectacular run to the Final Four in 2018, but they were never in the Top 25 that season.
The Trojans’ victory over UCLA (21st) on Saturday night propelled them to the top spot in the rankings since December 2017, while Oklahoma State and Rutgers also finished in the top 25. It was the first time the Cowboys had been in first place since February 2015.
The Bruins lost to Kansas, Florida and Drake, whose 18-0 start was nullified by a 74-57 loss against Valparaiso.
Colorado, San Diego and Xavier formed the top three outside the Top 25, while Belmont continued to receive votes after the Bruins improved their mark to 20-1 against Eastern Illinois and Southwestern Illinois.
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