Michigan remains at No. 2, Michigan State surges to No. 6 in AP men's basketball poll

Detroit News staff and wire services
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Michigan remained at No. 2, hearing footsteps from its instate rival as Michigan State jumped two spots to No. 6 from No. 8 in the latest Associated Press men’s college basketball poll released Monday.

Both teams came off a pair of resounding victories as Big Ten play resumed last week. The Wolverines (15-0, 4-0) defeated Penn State 63-55 on Thursday and Indiana 74-63 on Sunday with both victories coming at home.

The Spartans (13-2, 4-0) dusted off Northwestern 81-55 on Wednesday at the Breslin Center and knocked off Ohio State 86-77 Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Duke remained at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 released Monday, receiving 37 of 64 first-place votes. No. 2 Michigan received nine first-place votes, No. 3 Tennessee 13 and No. 4 Virginia five.

Then the jumble begins, thanks to losses by Kansas, Nevada and Florida State.

No. 5 Gonzaga, which is finally back to full health, and No. 6 Michigan State each moved up two spots. No. 7 Kansas dropped two spots after losing to Iowa State , which moved back into the poll at No. 20.

No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 9 Virginia Tech each moved up after Nevada lost on the road to New Mexico and fell four places to No. 10. Florida State dropped four spots to No. 13 after being shut down by Virginia.

In all, every team outside the top four changed positions except No. 23 Oklahoma, which split its games last week.

Got all that?

Kansas took the biggest hit last week, not only falling 77-60 to the Cyclones, but losing big man Udoka Azubuike for the rest of the season to a wrist injury. The Jayhawks already have been playing without sophomore forward Silvio De Souza, whose name surfaced in an FBI probe into shady recruiting practices, and the loss of Azubuike could put a dent in their national title hopes.

Nevada passed every early season test it faced, entering last weekend as one of four undefeated teams left.

After the Wolf Pack lost 85-58 to New Mexico, the number of undefeated teams is down to three: Michigan, Virginia and No. 17 Houston.

“We just had a bad night all around,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “We had a bad night sharing the ball. We had a bad night defensively. Usually they’re zoned in on the scoring report, but we let guys who are shooters take open shots and we didn’t play who we are. Just a terrible game for all of us.”

Florida State entered ACC play on a roll, its only loss coming to defending national champion Villanova in late November. Then the Seminoles ran into Virginia’s defensive buzz saw.

The Cavaliers lead the nation in defensive scoring and shut Florida State down, holding the Seminoles to 15 field goals and 52 points in a 13-point win.

Iowa State coach Steve Prohm spent the early part of the season biding his team with several players out because of injuries. The Cyclones won two of three games at the Maui Invitational despite being down to eight scholarship players, and their only other loss came at Iowa in early December.

Finally healthy, Iowa State (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) picked up one of its biggest wins in four seasons under Prohm, blowing out Kansas 77-60 in Ames on Saturday.

“They’re the standard in our league and the team we’re all trying to catch,” Prohm said. “It’s a great win. I loved the way they competed.”

Iowa State moved back into the AP Top 25 this week after reaching No. 18 earlier this season.

While Michigan and Virginia get plenty of attention for remaining undefeated while playing in major conferences, Houston continues to keep its record unblemished.

The Cougars had nonconference wins over Oregon, Oklahoma State and LSU, then opened the American Athletic Conference season with victories over Tulsa and Memphis last week. Houston faces Temple and Wichita State this week.

St. John’s (14-1, 2-1 Big East) moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time since hitting No. 15 in 2014-15 after knocking off No. 21 Marquette and beating Georgetown in overtime last week.

TCU, which was No. 20 in the preseason AP Top 25, returned to the poll at No. 25 this week following a home win over Baylor.

Wisconsin dropped out of the poll from No. 22 after losing to Minnesota and beating Penn State.

Iowa, No. 25 last week, is out after losing to Purdue and beating Nebraska, which dropped out from No. 24.


First-place votes in parentheses

1. Duke (37)12-115351
2. Michigan (9)15-014992
3. Tennessee (13)12-114813
4. Virginia (5)12-114714
5. Gonzaga14-213197
6. Michigan State13-212918
7. Kansas12-211595
8. Texas Tech13-1110911
9. Virginia Tech13-1109310
10. Nevada14-19206
11. Auburn11-291912
12. North Carolina11-388915
13. Florida State12-28799
14. Mississippi State12-168317
15. North Carolina State13-167418
16. Ohio State12-262014
17. Houston15-056519
18. Kentucky10-352013
19. Buffalo13-143420
20. Iowa State12-2344NR
21. Marquette12-334016
22. Indiana12-324521
23. Oklahoma12-224323
24. St. John's14-1221NR
25. TCU12-199NR
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