UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky breaks back into AP Top 25. See where it landed

Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo (3) dunked to finish a breakaway against Missouri on Saturday in Rupp Arena. The victory gave the Cats their third win in a row and put them back in the AP Top 25 poll this week.
Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo (3) dunked to finish a breakaway against Missouri on Saturday in Rupp Arena. The victory gave the Cats their third win in a row and put them back in the AP Top 25 poll this week. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Coming off one of its best performances of the season, Kentucky vaulted back into The Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 23 in the latest survey of media members released Monday.

Kentucky (20-9, 9-7) routed Missouri 87-66 in Rupp Arena on Saturday, marking its third straight win since an early-February four-game skid. UK has dropped out of the poll twice this season.

Saturday’s victory put the Cats into a four-way tie for third place in the Southeastern Conference as teams vie for one of four bye slots in next week’s SEC Tournament in St. Louis. UK holds the edge in the tie-breakers for the bye, but must face last-place Mississippi at home on Wednesday and then travel to face a resurgent Florida team on Saturday. Florida is among the four teams tied for third place in the SEC and is coming off a win over first-place Auburn on Saturday.

Kentucky has also maintained its projected standing as a potential No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament in ESPN’s Bracketology assessment of the field. UK had slipped as low as a No. 9 seed in Joe Lunardi’s earlier brackets.

Virginia received 48 first-place votes Monday, up six from last week. No. 2 Michigan State received the other 17 votes and Xavier moved up a spot after beating Georgetown in its only game last week, giving Xavier its highest ranking ever at No. 3.

Villanova and Duke round out the top five. The Wildcats dropped just one spot after losing in overtime to unranked Creighton.

Jared Peck: 859-231-1333, @JPSaysHere

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The AP Top 25

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 25, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:

Record

Pts

Pvs

1. Virginia (48)

26-2

1,608

1

2. Michigan St. (17)

28-3

1,571

2

3. Xavier

25-4

1,422

4

4. Villanova

25-4

1,416

3

5. Duke

24-5

1,362

5

6. Kansas

23-6

1,272

8

7. Gonzaga

27-4

1,231

6

8. Purdue

26-5

1,178

9

9. North Carolina

22-7

1,140

10

10. Cincinnati

25-4

1,013

11

11. Wichita St.

23-5

945

13

12. Texas Tech

22-7

887

6

13. Ohio St.

24-7

791

16

14. Auburn

24-5

781

12

15. Michigan

24-7

753

17

16. Tennessee

21-7

564

19

17. Rhode Island

23-4

558

18

18. Clemson

21-7

499

15

19. Arizona

22-7

450

14

20. West Virginia

21-8

429

21

21. Nevada

25-5

386

20

22. Saint Mary’s (Cal)

27-4

318

22

23. Kentucky

20-9

174

24. Middle Tennessee

23-5

144

24

25. Houston

22-6

45

23

Others receiving votes: TCU 41, Butler 34, St. Bonaventure 29, N.C. State 28, Creighton 26, Loyola of Chicago 8, Southern Cal 7, Florida St. 4, Seton Hall 3, Arkansas 3, Virginia Tech 2, Oklahoma 1, Florida 1, Boise St. 1.

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