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Michigan State moves up to No. 4 in basketball polls

Detroit News and wire reports

A pair of blowout victories and the return of its star player helped Michigan State move up in the basketball polls.

The Spartans (16-1) are No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press and coaches polls, up one spot from a week ago after spending a month before that as the nation’s top-ranked team. The Spartans received one first-place vote in the AP poll.

Michigan State is coming off victories over Illinois and Penn State by an average margin of victory of 26 points. Sunday’s 92-65 victory over Penn State included the return of senior guard Denzel Valentine, who missed four games with a knee injury.

Kansas and Oklahoma, who played one of the season’s best games last week, remain 1-2 in the AP poll.

The Jayhawks (14-1) beat the Sooners 109-106 in triple overtime. They received all but two first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel. It is the second week at No. 1 for Kansas.

Oklahoma (13-1) drew one No. 1 vote. It was followed by Maryland and Michigan State. North Carolina is fifth followed by Villanova, Xavier, Miami, Duke and SMU.

SMU is in the top 10 for the first time since February 1985. The Mustangs (15-0) and No. 19 South Carolina (15-0) are the only unbeaten Division I teams. SMU is ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA rules violations.

No. 21 Baylor and No. 25 Gonzaga are the week’s newcomers, replacing Connecticut and Dayton.

AP MEN'S TOP 25

1. Kansas (63 first-place votes), 14-1, 1,621 points (No. 1 last week)

2. Oklahoma (1), 13-1, 1,551 (2)

3. Maryland, 15-1, 1,472 (3)

4. Michigan State (1), 16-1, 1,446 (5) 

5. North Carolina, 15-2, 1,371 (6)

6. Villanova, 14-2, 1,246 (11)

7. Xavier, 14-1, 1,200 (10)

8. Miami (Fla.), 13-1, 1,139 (12)

9. Duke, 14-2, 1,100 (14)

10. SMU, 15-0, 1,040 (15)

11. West Virginia, 14-1, 867 (17)

12. Providence, 14-2, 862 (8)

13. Virginia, 12-3, 818 (4)

14. Kentucky, 12-3, 698 (9)

15. Texas A&M, 13-2, 668 (21)

16. Iowa, 12-3, 656 (19)

17. Iowa State, 12-3, 555 (13)

18. Arizona, 13-3, 537 (7)

19. South Carolina, 15-0, 527 (22)

20. Pittsburgh, 14-1, 334 (24)

21. Louisville, 13-3, 330 (16)

22. Baylor, 12-3, 325 (NR)

23. Butler, 12-4 (302) (18)

24. Purdue, 14-3, 145 (20)

25. Gonzaga, 13-3, 101 (NR)

Others receiving votes: Southern Cal 79, Indiana 59, UCLA 21, Texas Tech 10, Utah 10, Saint Mary’s (Cal) 8, Wichita StATE 7, Oregon 6, Valparaiso 6, Hawaii 4, Akron 1, Dayton 1, Oregon State 1, St. Bonaventure 1.

COACHES POLL

1. Kansas (32 first-place votes), 14-1, 800 points) (No. 2 last week)

2. Oklahoma, 13-1, 743 (1)

3. Maryland, 15-1, 742 (3)

4. Michigan State, 16-1, 694 (5)

5. North Carolina, 15-2, 673 (7)

6. Duke, 14-2, 596 (10)

7. Villanova, 14-2, 557 (13)

8. Xavier, 14-1, 555 (12)

9. Miami (Fla.), 13-1, 551 (11)

10. West Virginia, 14-1, 477 (15)

11. Virginia, 12-3, 426 (4)

12. Providence, 14-2, 400 (9)

13. Kentucky, 12-3, 393 (8)

14. Texas A&M, 13-2, 383 (17)

15. South Carolina, 15-0, 361 (20)

16. Arizona, 13-3, 337 (6)

17. Pittsburgh, 14-1, 263 (21)

18. Iowa State, 12-3, 253 (14)

19. Iowa, 12-3, 226 (23)

20. Louisville, 13-3, 205 (16)

21. Gonzaga, 13-3, 173 (22)

22. Baylor, 12-3, 156 (25)

23. Butler, 12-4, 147 (19)

24. Purdue, 14-3, 122 (18)

25. Indiana, 14-3, 38 (NR)

Others receiving votes: UConn 34, Oregon 18, Southern Cal 16, UCLA 12, George Washington 11, California 9, Dayton 5, Houston 5, Valparaiso 5, Texas Tech 3, Washington 3, UALR 2, Cincinnati 2, Boise State 1, Hawaii 1, Saint Mary’s 1, Utah 1.