Michigan State vaults to No. 9 in Associated Press basketball poll; Michigan drops out

Detroit News staff and wires

Michigan State, which won five straight games to earn a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship, improved to No. 9 from No. 16 in this week’s Associated Press poll.

The Spartans (22-9, 14-6) are seeded No. 2 in the Big Ten tournament and face the winner of Thursday's Purdue-Ohio State game on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Indianapolis.

Michigan State freshman Rocket Watts flies through the Buckeyes' defense for a second-half bucket Sunday in East Lansing.

Michigan State rejoined the top 10 for the first time since early January after going from preseason No. 1 to unranked.

Michigan (19-12, 10-10) had been ranked No. 25, but fell out of the Top 25 after losing to Maryland on Sunday to close the regular season. Michigan, seeded No. 9 for the Big Ten tournament, plays Rutgers on Thursday at noon.

Kansas maintained its grip on the No. 1 ranking, while fourth-ranked Florida State has its highest ranking in nearly five decades.

The Jayhawks received all 65 first-place votes to remain at the top for a third straight week and fourth overall this season, with the past two weeks coming as the unanimous choice ahead of Gonzaga and Dayton.

The Seminoles rose three spots after wrapping up the first Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title in program history. That moved FSU to its highest ranking since No. 2 in December 1972.

Baylor slid to fifth and San Diego State sixth behind FSU, while Creighton jumped four spots to No. 7 ahead of Kentucky.

Duke, one of a record-tying seven teams to spend time at No. 1 this season, rounded out the top 10.

West Virginia and Butler returned to the poll as the week’s new additions, with the Mountaineers tying Houston for 22nd and the Bulldogs checking in at No. 24. Penn State joined Michigan in falling out of the rankings.

Associated Press Top 25

1. Kansas (65 first-place votes), 28-3, 1625 points (last week: 1)

2. Gonzaga, 29-2, 1546 (2)

3. Dayton, 29-2, 1507 (3)

4. Florida State, 26-5, 1384 (7)

5. Baylor, 26-4, 1322 (4)

6. San Diego State, 30-2, 1261 (5)

7. Creighton, 24-7, 1157 (11)

8. Kentucky, 25-6, 1118 (6)

9. Michigan State, 22-9, 995 (16)

10. Duke, 25-6, 990 (12)

11. Villanova, 24-7, 989 (14)

12. Maryland, 24-7, 912 (9)

13. Oregon, 24-7, 904 (13)

14. BYU, 24-7, 762 (15)

15. Louisville, 24-7, 755 (10)

16. Seton Hall, 21-9, 722 (8)

17. Virginia, 23-7, 560 (22)

18. Wisconsin, 21-10, 495, (24)

19. Ohio State, 21-10, 443 (19)

20. Auburn, 25-6, 436 (17)

21. Illinois, 21-10, 241 (23)

22. Houston, 23-8, 167 (21)

22. West Virginia, 21-10, 167 (NR)

24. Butler, 22-9, 161 (NR)

25. Iowa, 20-11, 111 (18)

Others receiving votes: Stephen F. Austin 75, Providence 66, ETSU 59, Michigan 53, Penn State 42, Utah State 40, Saint Mary's (Cal) 9, Arizona 7, Liberty 6, Southern Cal 6, Richmond 5, Northern Iowa 4, UCLA 4, New Mexico State 4, Rutgers 4, Texas Tech 3, Vermont 2, LSU 2, Purdue 1, Belmont 1, Mississippi State 1, Florida 1.