Top of Top 25 in men’s AP poll the same, but not the bottom


Jim O’Connell

AP Basketball Writer

Thanksgiving Week usually shakes up the Top 25 and this year was no different.

Kentucky, Maryland and Michigan State held the top three spots in The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball poll, but there were plenty of changes at the bottom of the Top 25.

The Wildcats (6-0) received 59 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel Monday to stay No. 1 for a second straight week. Maryland (6-0) remained second with four first-place votes and No. 3 Michigan State (7-0) had the other two No. 1 votes.

Kansas and Iowa State switched places at fourth and fifth. They were followed by Oklahoma, Duke, Villanova, North Carolina and Virginia.

No. 14 Syracuse was the highest newcomer, with West Virginia at 20th and Providence, Louisville and Baylor filling the last three spots.

There are five newcomers to the poll and since there was a tie for 25th last week, six teams dropped out.

All the new teams were ranked as late as last season, and two of those that fell had long streaks of being in the Top 25.

Syracuse was the highest of the newcomers at 14th. The Orange, who beat ranked teams Connecticut and Texas A&M in winning the Battle 4 Atlantis, is the 14th team to enter the poll at that position or higher since the poll expanded to 25 in 1989-90.

The jump-in wasn’t even a record for Syracuse. In December 2009, the Orange went from unranked to No. 10 and went on to reach No. 1 for week before finishing fourth in the final poll.

The record for a jump-in is Kansas in November 1989. The Jayhawks moved in at No. 5 after wins over No. 1 UNLV, No. 2 LSU and No. 25 St. John’s in the Preseason NIT.

The other newcomers this week are: No. 20 West Virginia, No. 23 Providence, No. 24 Louisville and No. 25 Baylor. Baylor returned to the rankings after being out for one week.

Providence moved in after a loss. The Friars beat Arizona in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy before losing to Michigan State in the championship game.

SEE YA: Wichita State dropped to 2-4 with losses to Southern California, Alabama and Iowa in the AdvoCare Invitational. That sent the Shockers out of the Top 25 from their perch at No. 20.

The Shockers had the fourth-longest current streak of consecutive poll appearances at 42, a run that started with the preseason Top 25 of 2013-14. The Shockers were ranked was No. 2 for four weeks in that season.

Indiana, which lost to Wake Forest and UNLV at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, had the biggest drop, falling out from No. 13. California, which lost to San Diego State and Richmond in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic, was 14th, while Notre Dame, which lost to Monmouth and Alabama in the AdvoCare Invitational, was 17th.

Connecticut lost to Syracuse and Gonzaga in the Battle 4 Atlantis and fell from 18th. The other team to fall was No. 22 LSU, which lost to Marquette and North Carolina State in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

CONFERENCE CALL: A quick trip down memory lane is called for to talk about the conferences represented in the Top 25.

Of the five newcomers to the poll, four are or were a member of the “old” Big East. Providence is still a member of the basketball-centric league while Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville all are former members. Current members Villanova and Xavier are in the rankings along with former members Cincinnati and Miami. That was some conference.

In this week’s poll the Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference are tied for most members with six each and they both go heavy at the top.

The Big 12 has Kansas, Iowa State and Oklahoma at Nos. 4-5. The ACC has Duke, North Carolina and Virginia in the Top Ten.

The Big Ten and Big East both have three teams ranked. Three conferences — Southeastern, Pac-12 and American Athletic — have two teams each.

DOUBLE-RANKED: Half of the four Top 25 matchups this week will be in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

On Tuesday, No. 2 Maryland travels to No. 9 North Carolina for a game that has ACC-ACC written all over it, but the Terrapins are now in the Big Ten.

The next day No. 24 Louisville visits No. 3 Michigan State in a rematch of their game in the Sweet 16 of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals went on to win the national championship.

The other double-ranked games are No. 19 Arizona at No. 13 Gonzaga on Saturday and No. 16 Vanderbilt at No. 25 Baylor on Sunday.

Jim O’Connell

AP Basketball Writer

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