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AP College Basketball Poll 2014: Complete Week 13 Rankings Released

Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014

Arizona and Syracuse may have remained unscathed, but after a week of closer-than-expected contests and surprising upsets, it's clear that the established hierarchy of college basketball is on shaky ground.

The Wildcats are nearing two full months atop the Associated Press rankings, with this their eighth straight Monday safely above the fray. The same goes for the Orange, who are as steady as ever defensively under Jim Boeheim. Wichita State, the nation's only other undefeated team, comes in at No. 4 this week, behind No. 3 Florida and ahead of No. 5 San Diego State.   

Just because the three undefeated teams stayed that way did not mean Week 13 was without changes, however. Here is a look at how the rest of the Top 25 played out:

Week 13 Associated Press Top 25
RankTeam (First-Place Votes)RecordVotesPrevious
1Arizona (63)20-016231
2Syracuse (2)19-015612
3Florida17-214366
4Wichita State21-014355
5San Diego State18-113377
6Kansas15-412728
7Michigan State18-212513
8Oklahoma State16-3106711
9Villanova17-210634
10Michigan15-4105021
11Kentucky15-489614
12Louisville17-389112
13Cincinnati19-279315
14Wisconsin17-37639
15Iowa16-472210
16Iowa State15-368416
17Duke16-454918
18Pittsburgh18-251720
19Saint Louis18-246419
20Creighton17-3445NR
21Massachusetts17-235313
22Memphis15-426223
23Oklahoma16-420325
24Ohio State16-414317
25Texas16-4142NR
AP.org

It's easy to gloss over Arizona and Syracuse because they won, but both teams came dangerously close to being a party in the season's biggest upset over the weekend. The Wildcats needed a 22-point performance from Nick Johnson to overcome a surprisingly game Utah team on Sunday. The Utes, unranked and not considered a threat coming in, had a 47-45 lead with 11 minutes remaining before Johnson spearheaded a 12-2 run to help Arizona escape.

Arizona has now won a school-record 20 straight games to start the season, and with the Pac-12 almost entirely bereft of elite competition, it's hard to see an obvious upset upcoming.

Jan 26, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Nick Johnson (13) shoots the ball during the first half against the Utah Utes at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

“It means a lot," coach Sean Miller said, per Arizona. "Anytime that we have an opportunity to accomplish a goal, I shouldn’t say goal, but to set a record at Arizona, it’s so meaningful because of the history here. It’s so special."

A similar story played out in Miami, where the Hurricanes were within two baskets right until the final minute but couldn't convert offensively. Syracuse held the upset-minded squad without a field goal from the 8:20 mark in the second half until there were just 46 seconds remaining to get a 64-52 victory.

The methodical pacing played into the strategy of both teams—they are both among the 10 slowest-paced teams in the nation, per Ken Pomeroy—but the Orange were just plain better. While some clamored for a takeover at No. 1 following Arizona's scare Sunday, ESPN's Jeff Goodman noted that the current chasm is far from undeserved:

Being scared quickly turned to being upset for Michigan State and Villanova, the former third- and fourth-ranked teams in the country respectively.

The Wildcats were victim to one of the best shooting displays in college basketball history in their 96-68 loss to Creighton last Monday. The Bluejays hit a Big East-record 21 three-pointers, knocking down shots no matter what adjustments Jay Wright made defensively. Ethan Wragge's 27 points all came beyond the arc, and National Player of the Year contender Doug McDermott added 23.

"I've seen him shoot better in practice," McDermott said of Wragge, per the Associated Press (via ESPN). "I've seen him hit 11 or 12 3s in an open gym, that's normal. So not a lot of us are shocked. The outside world, everyone's kind of shocked. But that's just another day at the office for Ethan."

Creighton went up by as many as 41 before a late run in garbage time brought the final toward respectability. Coupled with a victory over Georgetown, the Bluejays were one of the week's biggest benefactors, moving back into the rankings at No. 20. Villanova, which needed overtime to beat Marquette over the weekend, drops to No. 9.

An interesting dichotomy also played itself out in Michigan over the weekend, as the Wolverines' three straight victories over Top 10 opponents have them vaulting up the Top 25. They opened Week 12 with a 75-67 win over Iowa in Ann Arbor, putting an end to the Hawkeyes' Top 10 ranking after just one week.

EAST LANSING, MI - JANUARY 25:  Nik Stauskas #11 of the Michigan Wolverines shoots over Gary Harris #14 of the Michigan State Spartans during the first half of the game at the Breslin Center on January 25, 2014 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Wolverines de
Leon Halip/Getty Images

That helped set up another upset, this one coming in East Lansing against the third-ranked team in the country. Nik Stauskas, often the third-mentioned returning sophomore in the preseason, continued his stellar campaign with 19 points, including five conversions from long range. Gary Harris did his best with a game-high 27 for the Spartans, but injuries to stars like Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson finally caught up.

Never the easiest person to please, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was "crushed" but at the same time beaming with pride about how his kids battled, per a team release:

In the 30 years I’ve been here, I’ve never been more proud of a team. I played guys that haven’t played in a month. Keith Appling—I can’t tell you how much that kid sucked it up. If (Gary) Harris isn’t the best player on both ends of the court in the league, God bless whoever is. I had some guys who stepped up.

The Wolverines' recent run set up an interesting dilemma for rankers. Sitting atop the nation's best conference with wins over top competition, they were certainly in for a bump. But Michigan also struggled to the tune of four losses in nonconference play, including an embarrassing defeat to Conference USA outfit Charlotte.

Stauskas and Co. eventually settled at No. 10, still behind No. 7 Michigan State but ahead of every other Big Ten team. 

Jan 25, 2014; Waco, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns guard Isaiah Taylor (1) hugs guard Kendal Yancy (0) during the second half against the Baylor Bears at The Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 Texas finds itself in a similar situation to the Wolverines. After giving then-No. 24 Baylor its fourth straight loss on Saturday, the Longhorns have now won three consecutive games against ranked opponents for the first time in school history. Their inability to hit outside shots has somehow not backfired in any of those contests, though this week's matchup against No. 6 Kansas might put a halt to that.

Behind Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, possibly the No. 1 and No. 2 NBA prospects in the country, the Jayhawks are firing on all cylinders in conference play and could be building toward a Final Four run. After hanging at No. 18 earlier in the month, it's amazing how much can change in a couple weeks.

Michigan, moving up 11 spots, was easily the biggest jumper this week, followed by relatively modest three-spot bumps from Florida, Oklahoma State and Kentucky among the teams ranked in Week 12.

No. 21 Massachusetts (eight spots) and No. 24 Ohio State (seven) were the biggest losers this week, followed by a triad (Villanova, Wisconsin and Iowa) that each fell back five places.

Kansas State and Baylor were the only two ousted from the Top 25 in Week 13, replaced by Creighton and Texas.

 

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