Baylor and Kansas just keep winning, setting up a monumental showdown Saturday between the top-ranked Bears and No. 3 Jayhawks that could help decide not only the Big 12 title but the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.
The two teams were separated once again by Gonzaga in the latest college basketball poll from The Associated Press on Monday. The Bears (23-1) had 48 first-place votes from the 63-member media panel, while the Bulldogs (26-1) had 14 first-place nods and the Jayhawks (22-3) had the only remaining first-place vote.
Illinois plummeted out of the poll after losing to Michigan State and Rutgers. Texas Tech also dropped out along with LSU, which lost at Alabama during a brutal Saturday for the nation’s Top 25 teams.
San Diego State (26-0) remained the nation’s last unbeaten team and was No. 4 in the latest poll, while Dayton (23-2) climbed one spot to fifth after wins over Rhode Island and Massachusetts and a rough week for then-No. 5 Louisville.
BYU climbed into the poll at No. 23 after wins over Loyola Marymount and San Diego, and now faces Santa Clara on Thursday night before a showdown with the second-ranked Zags. The Cougars were followed by Arizona at No. 24 and Ohio State at No. 25, two teams that were in the poll earlier this season before dropping out.
Coaches Poll voters varied from AP Top 25 voters again this week and kept Michigan State in their poll after a 1-1 week for the Spartans that included a win at Illinois and a loss at Maryland.
As a result, Brigham Young was left out of the Coaches Poll after cracking the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011. Instead, the Spartans (17-9, 6-6 Big Ten) stayed in at No. 25 in a sign of respect from the coaches for how brutal the Big Ten is this season.
Michigan and Illinois were left out but received 44 and 24 votes, respectively, giving the league five teams in the top 25 and seven in the top 29 in terms of votes received. Ohio State is back in the Coaches Poll at No. 24 as well following a 2-0 week with victories over Rutgers and Purdue.
Maryland rose from No. 9 to No. 7, and Penn State from No. 13 to No. 9 to complete the solid week for the Big Ten in the Coaches Poll. Michigan State's continued place in the poll comes as the Spartans have lost four of their last five games after being ranked No. 1 in the first edition of the poll released in October.
The coaches also gave a nice bump to Arizona, ranking the Wildcats No. 19 after road wins against Cal and Stanford improved their record to 18-7 (8-4 Pac 12). Arizona's return to the polls sets up a ranked showdown on Saturday with No. 16 Oregon that could bring clarity to a six-team race for the conference's regular-season crown.