All six and seven of the top nine teams in the AP Top 25 lost on the same day last week, a day of unprecedented chaos that led to big changes in this week’s poll – everywhere but at the top.
Gonzaga and Arizona remained the top two teams in Monday’s poll, holding steady despite losing the most recent two games.
The Zags received 43 first-place votes from the AP’s 61-media panel after being a unanimous pick last week. No. 3 Baylor got four first-place votes and No. 4 Duke got 11. Auburn rounded out the top five.
Gonzaga, Arizona, Auburn, Purdue, Kansas and Kentucky all lost on Saturday, marking the first time in the AP polling era (1948-49) that the top six teams lost on the same day. No. 9 Texas Tech also lost, setting another record for most top-10 teams losing in one day.
“It’s a bit of life in late February and early March, especially on the road,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after the Zags’ 67-57 loss to 19th-ranked Saint Mary’s to close out their regular season.
Baylor was the biggest beneficiary of its win on Saturday, moving up seven spots after beating Kansas 80-70. The Jayhawks dropped a spot to No. 6 with the loss.
Auburn fell three spots from last week after losing to No. 13 Tennessee. No. 7 Kentucky fell one spot after losing to No. 14 Arkansas and Purdue fell four spots to No. 8 with its loss to Michigan State.
Do you have all that?
In all, all but four teams were shuffled in this week’s poll; only Gonzaga, Arizona, No. 14 Houston and No. 16 Southern California remained stable.
No team fell or entered the poll, but things are getting awfully interesting with conference tournaments fast approaching.
Baylor, the defending national champion, looked like a good bet to return to the Final Four at the start of the season after opening 15-0 while holding the top spot in the AP Top 25 for five weeks.
Then things got a bit messy.
The Bears lost back-to-back games at home for the first time since 2015-16, and then the injuries started piling up, including a horrific leg injury to forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua.
After falling in the poll, Baylor may be finding its footing. The Bears won a rematch against Oklahoma State in Stillwater and did the same against Kansas on Saturday, going 10-1 against the top 10 teams the past two seasons.
“I know our team looked a little different at the start of the year than we do now, but don’t count those guys out,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “They persevere.”
Baylor’s jump was the biggest of the week as it moved up seven places. Tennessee, Arkansas and Saint Mary’s all moved up four places.
No. 17 UCLA and No. 20 Illinois saw the biggest declines (five spots). The Bruins lost to Oregon before beating Oregon State last week and the Illini lost to No. 23 Ohio State before eliminating Michigan.
EVE OF THE CONFERENCE
The Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences again led the way this week, each with five ranked teams. The Big 12 had four seeded teams, with the Pac-12 and Big East getting three each. The West Coast Conference had two teams ranked for the second straight week, with the Atlantic Coast, American Athletic and Ohio Valley conferences at one each.
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