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College basketball: Three thoughts on the AP poll

Notre Dame’s V.J. Beachem (3) fouls Pittsburgh’s Sheldon Jeter (21) who dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in South Bend, Ind.
Notre Dame’s V.J. Beachem (3) fouls Pittsburgh’s Sheldon Jeter (21) who dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. Associated Press

Here are three thoughts on the new AP college basketball poll released Monday afternoon:

1. Losing at LSU cost Kentucky five spots

You wondered what that 18-point battering at Baton Rouge would do to UK’s standing in the writer’s poll. Turned out getting knocked around by Ben Simmons and Company in the Bayou dropped John Calipari’s team from No. 9 to No. 14 in the poll.

The interesting thing is that Kentucky is still the highest-ranked team in the SEC. After that 77-61 win at Alabama last Saturday, UK is still one spot ahead of Texas A&M, which is off to a 3-0 start in the league. South Carolina is the only other ranked SEC team. The Gamecocks moved up three spots from No. 22 to No. 19. Frank Martin's team is 2-0 in the conference.

2. Latecomers Iowa and Pittsburgh continue to climb

There are nine teams in the current poll that were not ranked in the pre-season poll. The highest among the nine is Xavier at No. 7, followed by Miami at No. 8, SMU at 10, West Virginia at 11, Providence at 12, Iowa at 16, South Carolina at 19 and Pittsburgh at 20.

AP college basketball poll week-by-week

Iowa and Pittsburgh didn’t enter the poll until last week. Iowa debuted at No. 19 after beating top-ranked Michigan State. Pittsburgh debuted at No. 24 and moved up four spots after winning 86-82 at Notre Dame.

Pittsburgh travels to Louisville on Thursday night for a 9 p.m. ESPN game. Louisville dropped from No. 16 to No. 21 after Sunday’s 66-62 loss at Clemson.

3. Gonzaga back among the ranked

The Zags sneaked into the poll at No. 25 meaning that nine of the pre-season top 10 teams are still in the poll. The exception is Wichita State, which started at No. 10 but had dropped out after the fourth week.

Of the pre-season Top 25, 10 teams are no longer ranked. Wisconsin, which started at No. 17, lasted only one week. Michigan, which started at No. 25, lasted two weeks. Neitehr has returned to the rankings.

Utah (16 pre-season), Baylor (22) and Butler (24) fell out by the third week but later returned.

Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings

  • 1. Kansas
  • 2. Villanova
  • 3. Michigan State
  • 4. Oklahoma
  • 5. Duke
  • 6. West Virginia
  • 7. North Carolina
  • 8. Louisville
  • 9. Miami (FL)
  • 10. Xavier
  • 11. SMU
  • 12. Purdue
  • 13. Virginia
  • 14. Iowa
  • 15. Maryland
  • 16. Arizona
  • 17. Indiana
  • 18. Pittsburgh
  • 19. Saint Mary's
  • 20. Texas A&M
  • 21. Butler
  • 22. Michigan
  • 23. Kentucky
  • 24. Iowa State
  • 25. Vanderbilt

Source: Jeff Sagarin’s college basketball rankings

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