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Gonzaga regains No. 1 ranking in Men’s Basketball Top 25 Poll; Baylor falls to number 5

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A wild week of turmoil led to major changes in the AP Top 25. Amid the chaos, a trusted team returned to the top.

Preseason #1 Gonzaga Climbed Back to Top of Associated Press Poll for Men’s College Basketball released monday, ending Baylor’s five-week run. The Bulldogs had 25 first-place votes, 11 less than No. 2 Auburn, but they overtook the Tigers in overall points to take first place.

Auburn is in his highest position since he reached second place in 1999-2000 after moving up two places. Arizona, Purdue and Baylor rounded out the top five.

Gonzaga (14-2, 3-0 West Coast) has continued his role since losing to Alabama on December 4, extending his winning streak to seven games with outbursts over BYU and Santa Clara last week.

The rest of the AP Top 25 didn’t fare so well, with 13 teams losing, including nine on Saturday. Eight teams lost to unranked opponents.

Baylor’s tenure at the top ended with losses to number 18 Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. It marked the first time in nearly six years that the Bears lost consecutive home games, ending the reigning champion’s 21-game winning streak.

No. 16 Southern California also saw its undefeated season come to a crash with losses to Stanford and Oregon, wedged around a win over Oregon State. Seton Hall dropped out of the No. 20 poll after losing to DePaul and Marquette.

“They’re not very happy,” Bears senior Matthew Mayer said when asked about the mood of Baylor’s coaches.

Neither do UCLAs. The Bruins climbed to No. 3 in last week’s poll and dropped six places this week after losing 84-81 to Oregon in overtime. The win was the 700th of Ducks coach Dana Altman’s career, dropping UCLA six spots to No. 9 in this week’s poll.

“You’re either humble and hungry as if they were trying to get rid of the so-called upset, or you’re arrogant for no reason because we didn’t win anything,” said an incensed UCLA coach Mick Cronin.

THE RISE OF ARIZONA

Arizona was not expected to be among the elite of the Pac-12 in its inaugural season under coach Tommy Lloyd, who was picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll.

The Wildcats (14-1, 4-0 Pac-12) have surpassed those expectations and are among the best teams in the country, with a free-flowing attack that can beat teams in multiple ways.

The nation’s highest-scoring team shot 51% and had 20 assists on 29 field goals in a 76-55 win over Colorado last Thursday. The Wildcats then overpowered Utah from the inside, beating the Utes 56-28 in the paint in an 82-64 win on Saturday.

Arizona climbed three spots in this week’s poll to number 3, the highest ranking since reaching number 2 in 2017-18.

“They are obviously very talented, play super connected and are super athletic,” said Utah coach Craig Smith.

INCREASING AND DECREASING

No. 17 Illinois had the biggest climb of the week, up eight places after beating Nebraska and Michigan. Number 12 Kentucky climbed six spots after beating Vanderbilt 78-66 and blowing out number 24 Tennessee 107-79.

No. 8 Wisconsin moved up five places after a 78-68 win over No. 19 Ohio State.

No. 16 USC had the biggest drop, losing 11 places, and UCLA was next at six.

IN AND OUT

No. 22 Loyola Chicago came in the polls for the first time this season after victories over Valparaiso and Indiana state. UConn came back in the poll at number 25 after beating St. John’s Red Storm 86-78.

Alabama retired number 24 with losses to Auburn and Mississippi State. Seton Hall did not get a single vote after the two losses against unranked opponents.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big Ten and Big 12 each had five ranked teams, followed by the SEC and Big East with four each. The Pac-12 had three ranked teams, with the ACC, American Athletic, West Coast, and Missouri Valley each having a notch.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/33085916/gonzaga-reclaims-no-1-ranking-men-basketball-top-25-poll-baylor-falls-no-5

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