As Top 10 teams falter across the nation, Gonzaga remains college basketball's undefeated constant.
Gonzaga continued its dominance of the West Coast Conference, adding two wins to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 24 games. The Bulldogs held their perch as the Associated Press' top-ranked team for the second straight week and are followed by a completely revamped Top 25.
Villanova moves up two spots to No. 2, with Kansas, Louisville and Oregon rounding out the Top Five. Here is how the entire poll played out:
|AP Top 25|
|20||Saint Mary's (Cal.)|
Gonzaga has won its last 16 games by double digits, including its first 12 conference games. This is perhaps the best chance coach Mark Few has had at making a Final Four.
"If the worst thing they can say about us is that we haven't been to a Final Four, well, I think that means we're doing pretty well," Few said, per John Feinstein of the Washington Post. "I get it; I understand it, but I think it's kind of shallow. What's important to me is that we've been nationally relevant every year for 20 years now. I think that's pretty good."
Gonzaga's chances look better with each passing day, mostly due to the faltering teams around them.
Ranked second a week ago, Baylor dropped four spots after losing close games to Kansas and Kansas State. The Bears attempted just six free throws in Lawrence and gave up 45 second-half points, as Kansas came back for a 73-68 win on Feb. 1. They compounded their errors Saturday against Kansas State, turning the ball over 16 times and shooting 38.5 percent in their first home loss of the season.
"Home losses are the worst," Baylor coach Scott Drew said, per Jerry Hill of the Bears' website. "Give them credit, because they outplayed us for 30 minutes. Finally, the last 10 minutes, we started to get some rhythm and got back in the game and had opportunities down the stretch. ... K-State punched us in the mouth, and we didn't respond until the last 10 minutes of the game."
Baylor was one of two Top 25 teams to drop two games. Notre Dame fell out of the rankings after stretching its losing streak to four, coming up short at home against Duke and on the road in North Carolina.
Baylor and Notre Dame were far from the only elite teams to come up short. Kansas saw its defense fall apart in a 92-89 overtime loss to Iowa State on Saturday. The Cyclones knocked down 18 threes and shot 50 percent from the floor while holding Kansas to just 37 points in the second half and overtime.
"They played with house money today," Kansas coach Bill Self said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "I'm sure [head coach] Steve [Prohm] would say the same thing. They came in here with a free mind and said, 'Let's just let it go.'"
Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia comprised the remaining Top 10 teams to drop a game. Arizona turned in its worst performance of the season, allowing Oregon to shoot 65.2 percent from the floor and knock down 16 threes in an 85-58 blowout. The Ducks assisted on 26 of their 30 field goals, and Tyler Dorsey hit on all six of his threes.
"I think a perspective is what's next. We're 21-3 and we're 10-1 in the Pac-12. We've played some great basketball, and the team we just got beat by has an identical record. They're also 21-3 and 10-1, and right now the season didn't end, it's not spring," Arizona coach Sean Miller said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
Kentucky was also at the end of an in-conference drubbing, as Florida put up 54 second-half points in an 88-66 win on Saturday. The Gators limited the Wildcats to 37.7 percent shooting, including 6-of-18 from beyond the arc.
West Virginia and Virginia both dropped close contests. Oklahoma State broke the Mountaineers' press to shoot 62.5 percent in an 82-75 upset in Morgantown. Syracuse continued inching itself back into tournament contention with a 66-62 home win over Virginia.
No. 24 Xavier and No. 25 SMU moved into the rankings in place of Notre Dame and Northwestern.