Mizzou men’s basketball drops four spots to No. 17 in AP Top 25 | #dating | #datingcovid | #covid

Eric Blum
 
| Columbia Daily Tribune

Missouri men’s basketball fell four spots to No. 17 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, released Monday. 

The Tigers went 0-1 last week, with a loss to unranked Mississippi State, which didn’t receive a single vote in the poll. MU was slated to face LSU on Saturday, but the game was postponed due to multiple COVID-19 cases within Missouri’s program. 

Missouri’s next scheduled game is on Saturday on the road against Texas A&M, as the team is scheduled to resume all team activities, pending no more positive coronavirus cases arise, on Wednesday.  

The game slated for Tuesday night against Vanderbilt has also been postponed to a later date. 

After an undefeated week, Tennessee fell a spot to No. 10, with undefeated Michigan jumping three highly touted teams. The Volunteers are the only other Southeastern Conference team ranked in the poll. 

Alabama, at 4-0 in SEC play and 9-3 overall, is the highest vote-getter not ranked, falling eight votes behind No. 25 Connecticut. 

The conference had three other teams receive votes: Arkansas had 24, while LSU and Florida each garnered seven. 

Other rankings of note to MU fans include No. 6 Kansas, No. 14 Illinois, No. 22 Oregon and No. 24 Saint Louis. 

Missouri was ranked on all but 10 of the 64 ballots this week, meaning nine voters took the Tigers off their ballots for this week’s poll. The Tigers’ highest ranking was No. 12, given by longtime ESPN commentator Dick Vitale. 

Missouri had a four-way tie for its most-common ranking, appearing seven times at No. 16, 17, 18 and 21. The Tigers also appeared six times at No. 19. 

In this week’s coaches poll, Missouri fell three spots to No. 16. Three SEC teams were ranked with Alabama being tied with SLU at No. 24. Tennessee fell two spots to No. 10. 

In the latest NET rankings, Missouri is fourth in the SEC at No. 25 behind No. 3 Tennessee, No. 20 Arkansas and No. 22 LSU. Alabama sits at No. 29. 

Missouri is 7-2 overall and coach Cuonzo Martin’s Tigers are 1-2 in league play, with a win over Arkansas and a loss to Tennessee, in addition to last week’s defeat by Mississippi State. 

Missouri’s next scheduled game after the road matchup against the Aggies is at home against South Carolina on Jan. 19. The Gamecocks are also currently paused due to COVID-19 protocols. 

No makeup date for either postponed game has been determined. The league provided a window of March 4-9 to play postponed games before the start of the conference tournament.

Fans with tickets to Saturday’s or Tuesday’s postponed contests will be able to use those tickets for the respective LSU and Vanderbilt matchups once they have been rescheduled, MU announced.

Top teams stay the same

Gonzaga and Baylor were the top two teams in The Associated Press preseason men’s college basketball poll. After eight weeks of twists and turns, that hasn’t changed.

The Zags received 63 of 64 first-place votes from a national media panel in the poll released Monday and the Bears had the other one. Villanova, Texas and Iowa rounded out a top 5 that remained the same from last week.

Gonzaga and Baylor split most of the first-place votes in the preseason AP Top 25, but the Zags have become the clear-cut No. 1 after stringing together a series of routs.

Gonzaga (12-0) has wins over No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Kansas, No. 13 West Virginia and No. 18 Virginia, the closest game a five-point win over the Mountaineers.

The Zags continued the rout route last week, beating BYU 86-69 and Portland 116-88. Joel Ayayi had the first triple-double in school history against Portland, finishing with 12 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.

Gonzaga, which had five games canceled due to COVID-19 issues last month, has won 16 straight dating to last season.

UConn rising

Dan Hurley was hired in 2018 to try rebuilding a UConn program that had fallen from the elite. The Huskies reached the national championship game in 2014 but went to the NCAA Tournament only one more time before Hurley was lured from Rhode Island.

UConn won 19 games before the remainder of last season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Huskies reached a milestone in this week’s poll, entering at No. 25.

It’s UConn’s first appearance in the AP Top 25 since reaching No. 18 in 2016-17. The Huskies (6-1) have had five games canceled or postponed because of COVID-19 issues but have played well when they’ve been on the court.

UConn’s only loss was in overtime to Creighton last month and the Huskies beat Butler and Marquette last week.

Rising/falling

Clemson climbed seven spots to No. 12 this week after returning to the poll a week ago. The Tigers beat North Carolina State by four last week.

No. 23 Minnesota lost seven spots after losing to No. 7 Michigan and No. 5 Iowa last week. No. 22 Oregon dropped five places following a loss to Colorado and a win over Utah.

In and out

Louisville is back in the rankings at No. 16 after beating Virginia Tech. The Cardinals were not ranked the previous three weeks after reaching No. 23 on Dec. 14.

No. 21 Ohio State returned to the poll after a one-week absence following a win over Rutgers. The Scarlett Knights dropped out from No. 15 following a three-game losing streak.

Michigan State dropped out from No. 23 after losing to Purdue, and Florida State is out from No. 25 following three straight postponements.

John Marshall of the Associated Press contributed.

eblum@columbiatribune.com

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