Michigan State moves back up Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll

Detroit News staff and wires

Michigan State is on its way back up.

A week after dropping four spots in the Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll, the Spartans moved back up to No. 10 in this week's rankings, released Monday.

Michigan State (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten) bounced back from its first Big Ten loss of the season against Northwestern with an 86-74 victory over then-No. 8 Wisconsin on Friday night.

Auburn is the new No. 1 team in the AP Top 25.

A barely ranked afterthought to begin the season, Auburn climbed past Gonzaga to No. 1. The Tigers beat Kentucky over the weekend for their 15th consecutive win, then scooped up 45 of 61 first-place votes to become the nation’s top-ranked team for the first time since the poll began with the 1948-49 season.

The Bulldogs dropped to No. 2 with 15 first-place votes. Arizona remained third and earned the other No. 1 vote.

“I think for us, it’s the sum of our parts,” said Bruce Pearl, who led the Tigers to the Final Four in 2019. “If we’re playing nine guys on a regular basis, or sometimes 10, you’ve got to account for all of them. And I thought (against Kentucky) we got really great contributions, you know, from everybody.”

Including the teeming crowd inside Auburn Arena, and the boisterous student section known simply as The Jungle, who are no doubt celebrating the return to prominence of a school known more for its football than its basketball.

The Tigers (18-1, 15-0 SEC) spent most of the 1999-2000 season ranked in the top 10, including one week at No. 2. They also spent a week at No. 2 late in the 1988-99 season and another week at No. 2 back in February 1959.

But being No. 1? That’s a whole new experience. The Tigers are the fifth team to reach that spot this season, following two stints by the Bulldogs and runs by Duke, Purdue and defending national champion Baylor.

The Bears rebounded from consecutive losses while ranked No. 1 to beat West Virginia and Oklahoma, and climbed one position to fourth. Big 12 rival Kansas was right behind in fifth after a pair of heart-stopping wins.

The Boilermakers fell two spots to sixth after losing to Indiana early last week. They were followed by Houston and UCLA, deadlocked at No. 7, with Duke and Michigan State rounding out the top 10.

Michigan (9-7, 3-3), coming off two resounding victories last week over Maryland and Indiana, remains unranked.

Associated Press Top 25

1. Auburn (45 first-place votes), 18-1, 1504 points (last week: 2)

2. Gonzaga (15), 15-2, 1475 (1)

3. Arizona (1), 16-1, 1381 (3)

4. Baylor, 17-2, 1335 (5)

5. Kansas, 16-2, 1281 (7)

6. Purdue, 16-3, 1119 (4)

7. Houston, 17-2, 1116 (10)

7. UCLA, 13-2, 1116 (9)

9. Duke, 15-3, 1017 (6)

10. Michigan State, 15-3, 979 (14)

11. Wisconsin, 15-3, 894 (8)

12. Kentucky, 15-4, 822 (12)

13. Texas Tech, 15-4, 766 (18)

14. Villanova, 14-5, 713 (11)

15. Southern Cal, 16-2, 711 (16)

16. Ohio State, 12-4, 584 (19)

17. Providence, 16-2, 542 (21)

18. Tennessee, 13-5, 419 (24)

19. LSU, 15-4, 399 (13)

20. UConn, 13-4, 284 (25)

21. Xavier, 14-4, 269 (20)

22. Marquette, 14-6, 177 (NR)

23. Iowa State, 14-5, 167 (15)

24. Illinois, 13-5, 155 (17)

25. Davidson, 16-2, 132 (NR)

Others receiving votes: BYU 120, Alabama 77, Texas 61, Colorado State 57, Florida State 50, Loyola Chicago 21, Oregon 19, Wake Forest 12, Indiana 10, Murray State 10, Iowa 8, TCU 6, Miami 4, Florida 3, Boise State 3, Saint Mary's (Cal) 3, Wyoming 2, Iona 1, Seton Hall 1.