Kansas back at No. 1 in AP poll
After three weeks of not being No. 1, Kansas moved back to the top of The Associated Press’ college basketball poll.
The Jayhawks (20-1) were No. 1 in the preseason Top 25 and for the first eight weeks of the regular season. They moved back into the top spot Monday, receiving 54 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.
The other three Division I teams with just one loss—Villanova, Syracuse and Kentucky—were second through fourth.
Villanova and Syracuse both moved up one place to second and third. The Wildcats (19-1) received four first-place votes while the Orange (21-1) got six.
Kentucky was a unanimous No. 1 last week but dropped to fourth after losing to South Carolina, its first loss of the season. The Wildcats (20-1) had one first-place vote.
Kansas fell from No. 1 to third after losing at Tennessee. Since then, the Jayhawks have won six straight, including Saturday’s 81-79 overtime victory at Kansas State.
Kansas coach Bill Self said now that conference races are under way, it will be hard for any team to hold on for long at the top.
“There could be a new No. 1 next week, and the week after,” he said. “Because when you play road league games, people are going to lose. It’s not a major upset. We won the national championship (in 2008) and lost three league games in five games. But I’d rather play like a No. 1-ranked team than be ranked No. 1. Hopefully, we can do that.”
Michigan State was fifth, followed by West Virginia, Georgetown, Purdue and Texas, which dropped from sixth to ninth. The Longhorns (18-3) were No. 1 for two weeks before dropping to sixth last week. Their 80-77 overtime loss to Baylor on Saturday was their third in four games.
Duke and Kansas State tied for 10th.
BYU was 12th followed by Ohio State, Tennessee, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, Temple and Baylor.
The last five ranked teams were Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Butler, Northern Iowa and Mississippi.
Butler and Northern Iowa returned to the poll this week, replacing Connecticut and UAB.
Butler (18-4) was 11th in the preseason poll but dropped out for five weeks. The Bulldogs have won 10 straight games and are 11-0 in the Horizon League.
Northern Iowa (19-2) moved into the rankings two weeks ago at No. 20 and then dropped out after losing to Wichita State and ending a 15-game winning streak. The Panthers are 10-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Connecticut (13-8) fell out from 19th after losing to Providence and Marquette this week. The Huskies, who were 12th in the preseason Top 25 and reached as high as No. 10, are 2-2 since coach Jim Calhoun took an indefinite leave of absence for undisclosed medical reasons.
UAB (18-3) was 25th last week, but the Blazers dropped out following a 74-65 double-overtime loss at Texas-El Paso on Saturday. UAB was ranked for one week earlier in the season.
The teams that comprised last season’s Final Four are split in their poll success this season.
Villanova and Michigan State, which both returned the bulk of their teams from last season, are third and fifth, respectively. Neither defending champion North Carolina (13-8) nor Connecticut, which both saw their rosters gutted by graduation and players leaving early for the NBA, received a single vote this week.
There are five games between ranked teams this week with the highlight being Saturday’s top-10 matchup of Villanova at Georgetown. The others are Mississippi at Kentucky and Michigan State at Wisconsin on Tuesday; Pittsburgh at West Virginia on Wednesday; and Georgia Tech at Duke on Thursday.