Gonzaga (18-1) remains ranked #1 in the AP Top 25 Poll for a fourth week in a row, while Baylor (13-1) jumped two spots from #4 to #2 after the Bears went on the road and easily defeated Kansas.
Five different college basketball teams were ranked #1 this season before Gonzaga took their turn in the top spot. No other team has been able to retain the top ranking for more than two weeks before they lost. Gonzaga extended their winning streak to 10 games after losing to unranked Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas before Thanksgiving.
AP TOP 10
1. Gonzaga 18-1
2. Baylor 13-1
3. Duke 15-1
4. Auburn 15-0
5. Butler 15-1
6. Kansas 12-3
7. San Diego State 17-0
8. Oregon 14-3
9. Florida State 14-2
10. Kentucky 12-3
Baylor hadn’t beaten Kansas in Lawrence in 16 previous attempts, but finally broke through when they upended the #3 team in the country on Saturday, 67-55. Jared Butler led all scorers with 22 points. The sophomore shooting guard bounced back after scoring only five points in the previous game against Texas Tech.
“I knew at some point, Baylor was going to win up here, and I was just hoping I would be a part of it,” said Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “Really pleased it was with this group, because they’ve worked extremely hard.”
After the Kansas victory, Baylor improved to 3-0 in Big 12 play. Earlier that week, they went on the road and beat a tough Texas Tech team in Lubbock, where the Red Raiders don’t lose many home games.
Both impressive road victories propelled Baylor from #4 to the second overall ranking in the latest AP Poll.
Unbeatens: Auburn and SDSU
Auburn and San Diego State are the only unbeaten teams remaining in Division I. Auburn moved up to the #4 spot after Kansas tumbled out of the Top 5. Although Auburn has yet to lose, they must face a tough SEC conference schedule.
San Diego State has a softer conference with the Mountain West. They’re holding steady with the #7 ranking for a second week in a row after finally jumping into the Top 10.
How About Butler?
While Auburn and San Diego State are on everyone’s radar with a combined 32-0 record, it’s 15-1 Butler that have been turning many heads.
Butler wasn’t supposed to be this good. Several preseason previews had Butler at the bottom of the Big East food chain with DePaul. Butler is 3-0 in Big East play thus far. The Bulldogs are also 9-0 at Butler Field House in Indianapolis.
Butler won six in a row since they were picked off by Baylor, who were ranked #11 at the time. Baylor won a close game, 53-52, and handed Butler their first loss of the season.
Butler faces #18 Seton Hall (12-4) on Wednesday night, and then plays last-place DePaul in Chicago over the weekend.