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Monday, December 27, 2021

Jayhawks jump to No. 6 in latest AP hoops poll

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson, left, drives to the basket in front of North Texas forward Thomas Bell during the first half of a NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson, left, drives to the basket in front of North Texas forward Thomas Bell during the first half of a NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.

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A combination of cancellations and the holidays made for a quiet week in college basketball.

The latest Associated Press poll reflected the light week.

The Kansas men's basketball team moved up one spot in the poll to No. 6 despite not playing a game in nine days. Baylor remained No. 1 for the third straight week in the poll released Monday, receiving all 61 first-place votes from a national media panel. The Bears (11-0) had 60 first-place votes a week ago and were a unanimous selection this week with a blowout win over Alcorn State and Arizona’s loss to Tennessee.

The top five remained the same from last week, with Duke, Purdue, Gonzaga and UCLA behind Baylor.

The Blue Devils were among several ACC teams to postpone games this week due to COVID-19 protocols, shelving games against Clemson on Wednesday and Notre Dame on Saturday.

Arizona dropped three spots to No. 9 after losing for the first time this season, 77-73 at Tennessee last Wednesday. The Wildcats had been one of the nation’s best offensive teams during their undefeated start but were smothered by the Vols, scoring 11 points below their season average.

“We weren’t able to get a lot of post touches,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “At the end of the day, there’s usually one recipe. The recipe is, toughen up.”

Tennessee (9-2) hasn’t had much trouble with toughness this season.

The Vols’ only two losses were to then-No. 5 Villanova and No. 25 Texas Tech in overtime. Tennessee is 21st nationally in scoring defense, holding teams to 59.3 points, and is forcing nearly 18 turnovers a game.

The Vols jumped on Arizona with an opening 16-2 run and withstood a late run to pull out their biggest win of the season.

“We talked about it being a heavyweight fight, which it was,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “It was a hard-fought win. We knew they would make a push to get back in it.”

The Vols have another test coming out of the Christmas break, playing at No. 19 Alabama on Wednesday.

RISING SPARTANS

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was irritated when his team wasn’t ranked in the AP preseason poll.

Look at the Spartans now.

Michigan State moved into the top 10 for the first time since Week 5 of last season, climbing a spot to No. 10 after beating Oakland 90-78 last Tuesday. The Spartans moved into the poll at No. 22 on Nov. 29 and have made a steady climb since.

Michigan State (10-2) has won five straight since a loss to top-ranked Baylor and its other loss was to No. 6 Kansas early in the season.

“I still think we have a tremendous upside,” Izzo said.

UP AND DOWN

Tennessee had the biggest rise in a week where no other team climbed more than two places.

No. 19 Alabama had the biggest fall, tumbling nine places after losing 79-78 to Davidson at home last Tuesday. No. 23 Xavier fell five places following at 13-point loss to No. 22 Villanova.

No teams dropped out of this week’s poll.

CONFERENCE WATCH

Big Ten — 5 (Nos. 3, 8, 10, 13, 24)

SEC — 5 (Nos. 11, 14, 16, 18, 19)

Big East — 4 (Nos. 15, 21, 22, 23)

Big 12 — 4 (Nos. 1, 6, 17, 25)

Pac-12 — 3 (Nos. 5, 7, 9)

ACC — 1 (No. 2)

AAC — 1 (No. 12)

Mountain West — 1 (No. 20)

WCC — 1 (No. 4)

Here's a look at this week's complete poll:

1 - Baylor, 11-0, 1,525 (61)

2 - Duke, 11-1, 1,448

3 - Purdue, 11-1, 1,371

4 - Gonzaga, 10-2, 1,335

5 - UCLA, 8-1, 1,296

6 - Kansas, 9-1, 1,233

7 - USC, 12-0, 994

8 - Iowa State, 12-0, 985

9 - Arizona, 11-1, 973

10 - Michigan State, 10-2, 901

11 - Auburn, 11-1, 826

12 - Houston, 11-2, 801

13 - Ohio State, 8-2, 787

14 - Tennessee, 9-2, 729

15 - Seton Hall, 10-2, 716

16 - LSU, 12-0, 609

17 - Texas, 9-2, 567

18 - Kentucky, 9-2, 459

19 - Alabama, 9-3, 426

20 - Colorado State, 10-0, 366

21 - Providence, 11-1, 315

22 - Villanova, 8-4, 312

23 - Xavier, 11-2, 237

24 - Wisconsin, 9-2, 207

25 - Texas Tech, 9-2, 121

Others receiving votes: Illinois 72, Oklahoma 62, West Virginia 52, Loyola Chicago 39, UConn 34, Michigan 7, Colorado 5, San Francisco 4, Wake Forest 4, Iowa 2, Davidson 2, Memphis 1, Creighton 1, Minnesota 1

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Hey Matt, no large thing, but you left ISU @ #8 out of the list of Big 12 ranked teams...

Ervin O'Neal 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Apparently the Associated Press thinks that Iowa State is in the Big Ten and not the Big 12. It was the only way they could make it appear that the Big 10 was the strongest basketball conference :)

Dirk Medema 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Half the conference ranked! (?plus a couple more getting votes?)

Toughest conference because there’s never an off night.

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