Baylor has strengthened its hold on No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.
The Bears received 49 first-place votes from the 65-member media panel in Monday’s poll to stay comfortably ahead of Gonzaga and Kansas. That was up from 44 first-place votes from the previous week, with the Bears securing a third straight week atop the rankings.
Nos. 1-4 remained unchanged a week after the top seven teams held their rankings from the previous week, continuing a stretch of stability there in what has been an unpredictable season with a record-tying seven different teams reaching No. 1.
The Zags – who earned 15 first-place votes after having 19 a week earlier – spent four weeks atop the poll and went 7-0 during their stint at No. 1 before the Bears leapfrogged them. Baylor (20-1) has won five games since reaching No. 1 and beat Kansas State on Monday night, extending their program-record winning streak to 19 games.
Before that, Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, Louisville and Kansas had all appeared at No. 1. None lasted more than two weeks or won more than twice before suffering a loss that would knock them out of the top spot.
The Jayhawks earned the other first-place vote to remain ahead of fourth-ranked San Diego State, the last unbeaten team in Division I.
The Big Ten had a national-best five teams in the poll, including No. 16 Michigan State, No. 17 Iowa, No. 20 Illinois and No. 22 Penn State.
No. 24 Colorado and No. 25 Houston were the week’s biggest sliders, each falling four spots after league losses. Florida State, No. 14 Oregon and No. 19 Butler each fell three spots, which continued a big slide for the Bulldogs after they were ranked as high as No. 5 in mid-January but have lost four of six.
Eleven teams fell in Monday’s poll.
The top five of Monday's college basketball Coaches Poll remained the same as last week, but there was plenty of action below.
Baylor is still the No. 1 team in the nation but Maryland and Auburn both jumped six spots and cracked the top-10 after victories over ranked opponents.
Maryland's rise came after an 82-72 win over ranked Iowa on Thursday, which extended the Terrapins' win streak to four games. Auburn also extended its winning streak to four with a victory over ranked Kentucky. Both teams have bounced back from two-game conference losing skids to reclaim status among the game's top teams.
Illinois checks in at No. 21 in this week's Coaches Poll. The Illini lost Sunday afternoon at Iowa, who improves to No. 17 in this week's poll.