AP men’s poll: SMU back in top 10 for 1st time in 30 years


By Jim O’Connell - AP Basketball Writer



SMU, along with South Carolina the only unbeaten teams in Division I, cracked the top 10 in The Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, the Mustangs first time there since 1985.

In a season where they played without coach Larry Brown for nine games because of NCAA violations, and face not playing in the NCAA Tournament for those same reasons, the Mustangs are off to a 15-0 start.

The last time SMU was in the top 10 was Feb. 19, 1985, when the Mustangs were No. 9. Things didn’t go well from there as they lost five of their last games, including a second-round loss to Loyola Chicago in the NCAA Tournament.

That team, featuring center Jon Koncak and guard Butch Moore and coached by Dave Bliss, reached as high as No. 2 during the season, but the Mustangs (23-10) weren’t even ranked in the season’s final poll.

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WEST VIRGINIA’S WEEK: The No. 11 Mountaineers have a chance to make their season with two games this week. On Tuesday, they host No. 1 Kansas and on Saturday, they are at No. 2 Oklahoma. In boxing they would call that the old 1-2 punch.

In other games involving two ranked teams this week: No. 8 Miami is at No. 13 Virginia on Tuesday as the host Cavaliers try to snap a two-game losing streak. On Thursday, No. 20 Pittsburgh is at No. 21 Louisville and No. 16 Iowa visits No. 4 Michigan State.

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MOVING IN AND OUT: Two teams that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 — Baylor and Gonzaga — moved back into the Top 25 while Connecticut and Dayton dropped out.

Baylor, which was No. 22 in the preseason poll, moves in at that same spot. The Bears (12-3), who dropped out for one week following their 102-74 thumping at Kansas, move in off wins over Oklahoma State and Iowa State last week. Their other losses this season are to Oregon and Texas A&M.

Gonzaga was No. 9 in the preseason poll and was ranked for the first four weeks of the regular season until the Bulldogs (13-3) lost twice in a three-game span to Arizona and UCLA. They have won seven straight since, beating Portland in their only game last week. No. 25 Gonzaga’s other loss was to Texas A&M.

Connecticut, which was No. 20 in the preseason rankings, has been in and out of the Top 25 all season. The Huskies (11-4) dropped out from No. 23 following last week’s home loss to Temple.

Dayton moved into the Top 25 last week for the first time this season and it was a quick ride for the Flyers (12-3), who lost at La Salle last weekend, and fell out from 25th.

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MOVING UP: Five teams jumped at least five places from last week led by West Virginia and Texas A&M, which both improved six spots.

West Virginia (14-1) beat TCU and Oklahoma State last week to jump from 17th to No. 11. Texas A&M (13-2) beat Mississippi State and Tennessee last week and moved from 21st to No. 15.

The teams that moved five places were No. 6 Villanova, No. 9 Duke and No. 10 SMU.

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FREE FALLING: Arizona, which lost to UCLA and Southern California — the latter in four overtimes — last week dropped seven places, landing at No. 18. Virginia, which lost to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, fell from fourth to 13th. Kentucky, which was No. 1 for two weeks earlier in the season, dropped from ninth to No. 14 after its loss to LSU, matching the fall of Butler which dropped from 18th to No. 23 after losing at home to Villanova.

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CONFERENCE CALL: With Baylor rejoining the Top 25, the Big 12 moved closer to catching the Atlantic Coast Conference for most ranked teams.

The ACC has six teams in the Top 25, one more than the Big 12. The Big Ten and Big East stayed at four teams each and the Southeastern Conference stayed at three.

By Jim O’Connell

AP Basketball Writer

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