Gonzaga, Baylor, Iowa remain atop AP Top 25; Duke tumbles

National Sports

Gonzaga coach Mark Few talks with the team during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Gonzaga and Baylor headlined an unchanged top tier of The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, even as both have been sidelined by recent coronavirus issues.

The top five teams remained in place in Monday’s latest Top 25, with Mark Few’s Bulldogs receiving 54 of 62 first-place votes to remain firmly in place at No. 1. The second-ranked Bears had seven first-place votes to remain 1-2 with Gonzaga in each of the season’s four polls so far.

Yet the Zags haven’t played since beating West Virginia on Dec. 2 due to COVID-19 protocols, with five straight games canceled or postponed, including a matchup with Baylor on Dec. 5. The Bears announced Saturday they would pause team activities as well.

Gonzaga had previously said it would pause competition through Monday and is next scheduled to face No. 3 Iowa in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Saturday. Baylor is scheduled to visit Kansas State that same day.

THE TOP TIER

The Hawkeyes received the remaining first-place vote to finish ahead of No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Kansas. Houston, Villanova, West Virginia, Creighton and Tennessee rounded out the top 10, with the Mountaineers rising three spots and the Volunteers climbing two.

RISING

No. 18 San Diego State had the biggest jump, climbing six spots after beating then-No. 23 Arizona State. No. 15 Florida State jumped five spots, while No. 14 Texas Tech matched West Virginia’s rise of three spots.

In all, 13 teams moved up from last week’s poll

SLIDING

Illinois and Duke had the two most notable slides.

The No. 13 Illini dropped seven spots to fall out of the top 10 after losing to Missouri, while the No. 21 Blue Devils took the week’s longest tumble by falling 11 spots afterlosing at home to Illinois.

No. 22 North Carolina fell six spots after losing a high-scoring game at Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, while Creighton slid one spot as the only other team to fall this week.

STATUS QUO

This week’s poll marked the first that had the top 5 remain intact. They were the only teams to remain in their same positions from last week, too.

WELCOME

Missouri cracked the poll at No. 16 after beating Illinois, the program’s AP ranking since midway through the 2013-14 season. No. 24 Clemson and No. 25 Michigan were the week’s other new additions, though the Wolverines had appeared at No. 25 in the preseason poll.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW)

Virginia Tech (No. 15), Richmond (No. 19) and Arizona State (No. 23) were the three teams that fell out of the rankings.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big Ten has a national-best seven teams in the Top 25, with No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 19 Rutgers and No. 20 Ohio State joining Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan.

The Atlantic Coast Conference was next with six, though it was a backloaded bunch. FSU and No. 17 Virginia stood as the league’s highest-ranked teams, while No. 23 Louisville joined Duke, UNC and Clemson in the poll’s final five spots.

The Big 12 had five teams, while the Big East and Southeastern Conference each had two. The West Coast, American Athletic and Mountain West conferences each had one.

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More AP college basketball: http://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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