Michigan up, MSU down in AP college basketball poll; Big Ten has nine ranked teams

Detroit News staff and wires

Michigan rose to No. 16 from No. 19 and Michigan State fell to No. 17 from No. 12 in this week's Associated Press college basketball poll, released Monday.

The Wolverines (7-0, 2-0 Big Ten) remained undefeated last week with an 80-69 win at Nebraska on Christmas Day. They have two games this week -- at Maryland on New Year's Eve and home against Northwestern on Sunday.

The Spartans (6-2, 0-2) lost at home to Wisconsin on Christmas and they have a pair of road games this week -- Maryland on Monday and Nebraska on Saturday.

Franz Wagner

Gonzaga remained the clear-cut No. 1, earning 62 of 64 first-place votes after its latest win over a Top 25 foe, while the Big Ten placed nine teams in the poll, with Wisconsin and Iowa in the top 10.

Gonzaga blitzed then-No. 16 Virginia 98-75 on Saturday for the most lopsided win over a ranked team in the Mark Few era, giving the Bulldogs a poll-record fourth win over a Top 25 team in a team’s first seven games of a season. Kansas, Iowa and West Virginia also have fallen to Corey Kispert & Co., all of them on neutral floors.

More: Michigan State needs to 'dig deep' to climb out of early hole in Big Ten race

“They’re so potent offensively,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said. “They’re so well-coached. They have such talent. Our lack of athleticism showed. They have such athletic guys, and they’re veterans in all spots, I think.”

Second-ranked Baylor received the other two first-place votes and the Jayhawks remained No. 3 after their rout of then-No. 7 West Virginia. Villanova and Houston each moved up a spot after Iowa’s overtime loss to Minnesota.

After that? Well, it pretty much reads like the Big Ten standings.

The sixth-ranked Badgers began a run of Top 25 teams from the league, jumping three spots after wins over Nebraska and then-No. 12 Michigan State. The Hawkeyes dropped from fourth to 10th while surprising Rutgers began a run of four more Big Ten teams at No. 14 – Illinois, Michigan and the Spartans were right behind the Scarlet Knights.

No. 19 Northwestern and No. 21 Minnesota were newcomers to the poll and Ohio State rounded out the Top 25.

“You look at our schedule, this is a heck of a week for us from an energy standpoint,” said Wildcats coach Chris Collins, whose team is ranked for the first time since Nov. 13, 2017. “To have to play Michigan State, at Indiana, then come home and play a real tough Ohio State team and to win all three games, it shows a lot about the grit of our team.”

The league’s newcomers will have their hands full over the next couple of weeks.

Northwestern’s next five games begin with trips to Iowa and Michigan, a home game against Illinois, a trip to Ohio State and the return game against the Hawkeyes. In fact, eight of their next nine are against ranked opponents.

Minnesota, whose lone loss came to Illinois and which was last ranked on Dec. 4, 2017, plays its next six against Top 25 teams: Michigan State, at Wisconsin, Ohio State, at Michigan, at Iowa and the Wolverines at home.

“We’re a pretty motivated team,” Golden Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “We just talked about what Illinois did to us and we didn’t get negative or lose hope. It was one game and we had to get back to work, which is what we did. We didn’t even watch film on it. We addressed it and moved on … and we beat a team that people think can go to the Final Four.

“We’ll turn the page and look towards the next one,” he added. “We’re not a get too-high-or-too-low-type of program.”

AP Top 25

1. Gonzaga (7-0), 1,598 points (last week: 1)       

2. Baylor (6-0), 1,537 (2)             

3. Kansas (8-1), 1,458 (3)            

4. Villanova (8-1), 1,370 (5)        

5. Houston (7-0), 1,313 (6)         

6. Wisconsin (8-1), 1,249 (9)      

7. Tennessee (6-0), 1,217 (8)      

8. Texas (7-1), 1,109 (10)            

9. West Virginia (7-2), 1,080 (7) 

10. Iowa (7-2), 1,008 (4)

11. Creighton (7-2), 926 (13)      

12. Missouri (6-0), 888 (14)        

13. Texas Tech (7-2), 821 (15)    

14. Rutgers (6-1), 659 (11)          

15. Illinois (7-3), 650 (18)            

16. Michigan (7-0), 582 (19)       

17. Michigan State (6-2), 431 (12)           

18. Florida State (5-1), 377 (21) 

19. Northwestern (6-1), 350 (NR)            

20. Duke (3-2), 290 (20)

21. Oregon (6-1), 252 (25)          

21. Minnesota (8-1), 252 (NR)

23. Virginia (4-2), 238 (16)          

24. Virginia Tech (7-1), 230 (24)

25. Ohio State (7-2), 216 (23)     

Others receiving votes: Xavier 178, San Diego State 172, North Carolina 57, Arkansas 55, Clemson 50, Colorado 50, Saint Louis 49, Florida 20, Louisville 18, BYU 12, Georgia 10, North Carolina State 8, UCLA 4, Indiana 4, Richmond 3, UCF 2, Western Kentucky 2, Boise State 2, SMU 1, Chattanooga 1, Drake 1.