Preseason No. 1 Michigan St out of Top 25; Baylor atop poll

Oklahoma State forward Cameron McGriff, right, heads upcourt past Baylor guard Mark Vital, left, after a turnover during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte)

The NCAA initial rankings had little impact at the top of the AP Top 25, but a three-game losing streak knocked preseason No. 1 Michigan State out of the poll.

Baylor remained No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll released Monday, two days after being the top overall seed in the NCAA Division I Basketball Committee’s preliminary rankings. The Bears received 48 first-place votes from a 64-person media panel.

Gonzaga remained at No. 2 and received 15 first-place votes despite being the No. 3 overall seed behind Kansas in the NCAA rankings released Saturday.

The Jayhawks had one first-place vote and San Diego State, the lone remaining undefeated team in Division I, stayed at No. 4 after being slotted as the No. 1 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament.

Louisville remained No. 5 during a week in which No. 10 Seton Hall, which moved up two places, was the only addition to the top 10.

The biggest change: Preseason No. 1 Michigan State dropped out of the poll from No. 16, thanks to a three-game losing streak.

The Spartans have struggled with Joshua Langford out because of a foot injury and star Cassius Winston grieving after his brother was killed just before the season started.

Michigan State lost to rival Michigan on Saturday to become the first team since Kentucky in 2013-14 to drop out of the poll after being the preseason No. 1.

“We’ve been in every game but one,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “And yet, we get close like that, cut big leads ... it’s almost like we go brain dead then, and that’s got to change.”

The NCAA created the initial rankings as a sneak peek into the selection process ahead of Selection Sunday on March 13.

The basketball committee had Baylor (21-1, 10-0 Big 12) as the No. 1 seed in the South Region based on games through Friday. The Bears beat Oklahoma State 78-70 on Saturday and became the first team in this season of parity to remain at No. 1 four straight weeks.

Baylor is the first Big 12 team since Kansas in 2008 to win 20 consecutive games and has its longest conference winning streak since opening 10-0 in 1948.

The NCAA slotted Kansas as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region and the Jayhawks followed with a 14-point victory over TCU on Saturday.

Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West, turned its rivalry game against Saint Mary’s into a laugher, handing the Gaels their worst home loss in 19 years with a 90-60 victory in Moraga. The Zags have won 17 straight since losing to Michigan on Nov. 29.

San Diego State earned a No. 1 seed from the NCAA, but because the Aztecs were slotted behind Gonzaga, they were No. 1 in the East Region across the country in New York.

Women’s Top 25 poll NC State jumps UConn to No. 4

NEW YORK (AP) — North Carolina State jumped to No. 4 in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll, its best ranking in 20 years.

The Wolfpack, who moved up three places on Monday, have their highest spot in the AP Top 25 since Jan. 10, 2000, when they were third. N.C. State has a huge game against No. 9 Louisville on Thursday night, when a win would give the Wolfpack a two-game lead in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“It’s great and I’m happy for the players. They’ve worked extremely hard and made a lot of sacrifices so it’s great for them to garner that recognition,” N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. “But they don’t give out trophies in February. We’ve got to stay focused in the process, one game at a time.”

South Carolina remained No. 1, receiving 27 first-place votes from a 30-person media panel. Baylor stayed No. 2, getting the other three first-place votes. Oregon was a solid third.

UConn, despite suffering its worst home loss in 15 years in a game against the Ducks a week ago, extended its streak of top-five appearances, coming in fifth. The Huskies have been a top-five team for a record 253 consecutive weeks dating to February 2007.

UConn was able to hang on to its top-five ranking because the two teams directly behind it in the poll — Louisville and Stanford — also lost this week. UConn faces South Carolina on Monday night.

Mississippi State, UCLA, Stanford, Louisville and Maryland rounded out the top 10 teams in the poll.

Oregon State dropped two spots to No. 11 after edging Arizona State on a last-second shot on Friday night and then losing to Arizona on Sunday.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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