NEW YORK – AP – Baylor has strengthened its hold on No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.
The Bears received 49 first-place votes from the 65-member media panel in Monday’s poll to stay comfortably ahead of Gonzaga and Kansas. That was up from 44 first-place votes from the previous week, with the Bears securing a third straight week atop the rankings.
Full Coverage: AP Top 25 College Basketball Poll
Nos. 1-4 remained unchanged a week after the top seven teams held their rankings from the previous week, continuing a stretch of stability there in what has been an unpredictable season with a record-tying seven different teams reaching No. 1.
The Zags – who earned 15 first-place votes after having 19 a week earlier – spent four weeks atop the poll and went 7-0 during their stint at No. 1 before the Bears leapfrogged them. Baylor has won four games since reaching No. 1 and plays at Kansas State on Monday night, when the Bears look to extend their program-record winning streak to 19 games.
Before that, Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, Louisville and Kansas had all appeared at No. 1. None lasted more than two weeks or won more than twice before suffering a loss that would knock them out of the top spot.
The Jayhawks earned the other first-place vote to remain ahead of fourth-ranked San Diego State, the last unbeaten team in Division I.
THE TOP TIER
Atlantic Coast Conference leader Louisville climbed a spot to No. 5, followed by Dayton, Duke, Florida State and Maryland – which jumped six spots to No. 9 after beating Iowa last week for its fourth straight win.
Villanova rounded out the top 10.
No. 11 Auburn joined the Terrapins as the week’s biggest riser, jumping six spots after beating Kentucky over the weekend for the Tigers’ fourth consecutive victory.
No. 18 LSU also had a significant bump, rising four spots after pushing its winning streak to 10 games.
In all, eight teams moved up in Monday’s poll.
No. 24 Colorado and No. 25 Houston were the week’s biggest sliders, each falling four spots after league losses. Florida State, No. 14 Oregon and 19 Butler each fell three spots, which continued a big slide for the Bulldogs after they were ranked as high as No. 5 in mid-January but have lost four of six.
Eleven teams fell in Monday’s poll.
The top four teams were the only ones to hold their positions from last week.
No. 21 Creighton and No. 23 Arizona were this week’s new additions to the poll, though both had been ranked previously.
The Bluejays, who were ranked 25th for a week last month, moved back into the poll after beating Villanova in the Big East. The Wildcats have twice fallen out after appearing in each of the first 10 polls.