AP College Basketball Poll 2014: Complete Week 12 Rankings Released

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2014

USA Today

And then there were three.

With the intraconference season in full swing, Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State are the only remaining unbeatens, and the latest Associated Press rankings reflect those teams' avoidance of the big upset.

The Wildcats are the No. 1 team in the country for the seventh straight week, easily scoring a dominant win over Arizona State in their only game of Week 11. Syracuse sticks at No. 2, but had the more impressive victory with a nail-biter over Pitt. Michigan State, Villanova and Wichita State round out the top of the poll, which again represents a stark change from the one a week prior.   

Here is a look at how the rest of the Top 25 played out:

Week 12 AP Top 25 Poll
RankTeam (First-Place Votes)RecordVotesPrevious
1Arizona (61)18-016211
2Syracuse (4)18-015592
3Michigan State17-114974
4Villanova16-113776
5Wichita State19-013685
6Florida15-213037
7San Diego State16-1121110
8Kansas13-4111715
9Wisconsin16-210743
10Iowa15-3104114
11Oklahoma State15-39719
12Louisville16-380418
13Massachusetts16-178116
14Kentucky13-476913
15Cincinnati17-273619
16Iowa State14-36448
17Ohio State15-354911
18Duke14-444723
19Saint Louis17-242124
20Pittsburgh16-241922
21Michigan13-4362NR
22Kansas State14-4221NR
23Memphis13-420117
24Baylor13-417012
25Oklahoma14-411125
AP.org

The influx of changes begins not too far away from the top, where formerly third-ranked Wisconsin has been laid to waste. Bo Ryan's Badgers began their week with an upset loss to a scuffling Indiana team in Bloomington and then compounded their struggles with a 77-70 home defeat to Michigan over the weekend.

Jan 14, 2014; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) shoots a basket against Wisconsin Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky (44) at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Typically regarded as one of the nation's best defensive teams, Wisconsin floundered on that end this week. Both the Hoosiers and Wolverines made more than half their shots and got particularly strong play from their guards. Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert and Yogi Ferrell each scored 20 or more points.

"It’s a very humbling game for sure," guard Ben Brust said following the Michigan game, via Wisconsin. "But we have no time to feel sorry for ourselves because we’re (going) on the road and I think everyone knows that it’s not easy to win road games in the Big Ten. It’s a good opportunity for us, I’ll tell you that much."

Wisconsin, which dropped down to No. 9, travels to Minnesota and Purdue this week. The Golden Gophers were a party to another Big Ten upset in Week 11 with their 63-53 triumph over then-No. 11 Ohio State. Overall, 12 different ranked teams suffered at least one loss—with Wisconsin being one of three Top 25 squads to fall twice.

Jan 18, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Naz Long (15) reacts against the Texas Longhorns during the second half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. Texas beat Iowa State 86-76. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State, another team to take a tumble, has now lost three straight Big 12 contests and may already be at something of a crossroads. Playing an uptempo style that engenders itself to fans and attracts stellar athletes, the Cyclones have given up an average of 83.3 points per game in their three losses—two of which were to unranked opponents.

ESPN's Fran Fraschilla noted just how fleeting the Cyclones', and seemingly all other teams' success, can be in conference play:

Iowa State's one loss to a ranked opponent came to Kansas, which may finally be realizing its immense potential. The Jayhawks are off to a 4-0 start in Big 12 play after dropping four non-conference contests, and three of those wins have come against ranked foes. Their win in Ames was a mere prelude to their 80-78 win over then-No. 9 Oklahoma State in a thrilling Saturday showcase.

And they even did it without all their stars performing. Guard Andrew Wiggins had only three points, as Allen Fieldhouse may have been witness to Joel Embiid's coming-out party as the future No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft. Embiid scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds and only narrowly missed out on a triple-double with eight blocks.

Jan 18, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) dunks the ball against Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Markel Brown (22) in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won 80-78. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The seven-foot Cameroonian intimidated Oklahoma State at the rim to the point that 12 of its 26 made field goals were from beyond the three-point arc. Marcus Smart had 16 points, but that came on a frustrating 3-of-14 from the field. 

"It was not always him just sitting there, waiting on us," Cowboys coach Travis Ford said, via USA Today's Eric Prisbell. "He came out of nowhere a couple times, which was impressive. It was very impressive. He is so talented."

Kansas, once on the verge of dropping out of the Top 25 heading into conference play, moved up to No. 8. It was one of only a select few teams to see a positive result over the past week, with a plethora of squads either going backward or merely staying inert.

That blueprint is one Mike Krzyzewski hopes his team will follow, as Duke continues to hang on at No. 18 despite more shaky play. The Blue Devils, who were the No. 7 team just three weeks ago, needed a late three-pointer from Rasheed Sulaimon on Jan. 13 to overcome unranked Virginia before seemingly starting to get into a rhythm this past weekend against North Carolina State. 

It will be interesting to see whether that was the start of something or merely Duke taking advantage of the weak part of its schedule. With a trip to Miami and a visit from Florida State on the calendar in Week 12, Coach K should be able to have four straight wins buoying his team before contests against Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

In fact, barring upsets, this should be a relatively quiet week in the Top 25. Arizona plays a Colorado team still reeling from the loss of star guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Utah, which has two straight Pac-12 wins but seems a long shot to win in Tucson. Syracuse plays only at Miami—an easy win on paper—with Michigan State's Indiana-Michigan mixer probably being the toughest gauntlet among the nation's five best teams.

Odds are, we will see a bit of normalization in Week 13. That, of course, isn't exactly a bad thing considering how unpredictable the conference season has been so far.

Baylor had the biggest drop back of the week, sliding 12 spots down to No. 24 after a two-loss week. The Bears eclipse Iowa State (eight), Wisconsin and Ohio State (six) for the worst week among those still inside the Top 25. Kansas' big week served as the biggest launching pad for the Jayhawks, while Iowa is a Top 10 team for the first time in more than a decade, per John Bohnenkamp of The Hawk Eye: 

Creighton, Colorado and UCLA dropped out of the rankings. In their places, No. 21 Michigan and No. 22 Kansas State have returned following absences. 

 

Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter: