Texas basketball had already ascended to its highest ranking in Shaka Smart's sixth season as coach entering Saturday's game at Kansas. Now, after demolishing the Jayhawks 84-59, the Longhorns have cracked the top four of the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in a decade. At 8-1 (2-0 Big 12), Smart's crew came in at No. 4 in Monday's new poll, up four spots from last week.
The Longhorns were No. 8 and the Jayhawks No. 3 last week when Texas handed Kansas coach Bill Self the worst home loss of his 18-year tenure. The loss dropped Kansas (8-2, 2-1) from No. 3 to No. 6. Villanova rose from No. 4 to No. 3 to replace the Jayhawks, despite the fact that the Wildcats have not played since Dec. 23 due to COVID-19 issues. Gonzaga and Baylor remained at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
A week after placing nine of its 14 teams in the poll, the Big Ten saw a pair of teams drop out. Northwestern lost two games by double-digits and fell out from No. 19, while Ohio State fell out from No. 25 following Sunday's 77-60 loss to Minnesota. But it wasn't all bad news for the league, as Michigan rose six spots to No. 10, while Iowa rose five spots to No. 5.
Houston and West Virginia were among the team's most-penalized in this week's poll after both lost games and key players. The Cougars fell from No. 5 to No. 11 following a 1-1 week and the news that AAC Preseason Player of the Year Caleb Mills will be away from the team indefinitely. West Virginia dropped from No. 9 to No. 14 following a Saturday loss to Oklahoma and the announcement that preseason All-Big 12 selection Oscar Tshiebwe won't return this season.
AP Top 25
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sunday, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Others receiving votes: Florida 110, Louisville 103, Ohio St. 96, Northwestern 86, Oklahoma St. 68, Arizona 25, Colorado 19, BYU 18, Drake 17, NC State 16, Oklahoma 15, Arkansas 14, Seton Hall 11, UCLA 6, Xavier 5, San Diego St. 4, UConn 4, LSU 3, Boise St. 3, Indiana 2, Alabama 2, Syracuse 1.