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Illinois Drops in Latest College Basketball Polls

Gonzaga and Baylor maintained their grip on the top two spots in The Associated Press men’s basketball poll Monday.

 

If third-ranked Villanova ever plays a game, perhaps it will make a run a them.

 

The Bulldogs again racked up all but the two first-place votes that went to the Bears, while the Wildcats remained firmly behind the preseason top two despite not playing a game since Dec. 23. They had a pair of COVID-19 pauses broken up by a single day, including one involving coach Jay Wright, effectively sidelining them for a month.

 

The last five in were Oregon, Illinois, Connecticut, UCLA and Saint Louis. Illinois dropped two games at home in between a mid-week postponed game against Nebraska. 

 

The same teams made up the top 5 this week, though Iowa and Texas swapped places.

 

Tennessee climbed from 10th to sixth and was followed by Michigan, which remained No. 7 after losing its first game of the season to No. 17 Minnesota. Houston climbed three spots to eighth, Kansas fell three spots to ninth and Wisconsin rounded out the top 10 after following up a lopsided loss to the Wolverines with a gritty win at Rutgers.

 

Creighton was No. 11, followed by the Red Raiders and Virginia, which rose five spots after its blowout win over No. 20 Clemson. West Virginia and Ohio State were next, with Virginia Tech climbing four spots to No. 16 on the heels of a win over Duke, which knocked the Blue Devils from the Top 25 for the first time since Feb. 8, 2016.

 

The Golden Gophers were followed by Auburn, one of this week’s poll newcomers, Missouri and Clemson.

 

Duke dropped to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the ACC after losing to the Hokies last week. Its streak of 91 consecutive weeks in the Top 25 was second only to Kansas, which extended its record to 229 weeks. Gonzaga is now No. 2 at 87 weeks.

 

This week’s AP poll is the first since Dec. 18, 1961 — when only 10 teams were included each week — in which Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina are all unranked.

 

 

 

On the strength of two quality wins in conference play this week, both Alabama and Ohio State jumped eight spots in the latest Coaches Poll released on Monday. The Crimson Tide rose from No. 24 to No. 16 after crushing Kentucky at Ruppa Arena then beating Arkansas at home in similarly dominant fashion. The Buckeyes went from unranked in the poll to No. 18 after beating Northwestern at home then claiming a signature win over Illinois.

 

Illinois, who had a postponed mid-week game with Nebraska sandwiched by two home losses to Maryland and Ohio State. Illinois goes from No. 13 last week to No. 24 this week. 

 

Ohio State was one of three teams to join the poll this week after being unranked last week.

 

Colorado and Florida State also cracked the poll, at No. 23 and No. 25, respectively. The Buffaloes extended their winning streak to four games after wins over Cal and Stanford this week, and FSU claimed wins over NC State and North Carolina in consecutive games to join the poll.

 

As for the top of the rankings, Gonzaga held steady at No. 1 once again, earning 28 of a possible 31 first-place votes, while Baylor garnered the remaining three first-place votes and stayed at No. 2.

 

Villanova also stayed at No. 3, while Iowa leapt four spots to No. 4 and Texas fell to No. 5. Rounding out the top 10 this week is No. 6 Tennessee, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 Houston, No. 9 Kansas and No. 10 Wisconsin.

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