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Gonzaga regains No. 1 ranking in men’s basketball Top 25 poll; Baylor drops to No. 5

A wild week of disruption led to major changes in the AP Top 25. In the midst of the chaos, a well-known team returned to the top.

Preseason No. 1 Gonzaga climbed back to the top of the Associated Press men's college basketball poll, released Monday, ending Baylor's five-week run. The Bulldogs had 25 votes in first place, 11 fewer than No. 2 in Auburn, but surpassed the Tigers by total points to take the top spot.

Auburn has his highest ranking since reaching No. 2 in 1999-2000 after moving up two spots. Arizona, Purdue and Baylor rounded out the top five.

Gonzaga (14-2, 3-0 West Coast) continued his role since losing to Alabama on Dec. 4, extending his winning streak to seven games with blowouts over BYU and Santa Clara last week.

The rest of the AP Top 25 did not do quite as well, with 13 teams losing, including nine on Saturday. Eight teams lost to unranked opponents.

Baylor's tenure at the top ended with losses to No. 18 in Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. It was the first time the Bears lost consecutive home games in nearly six years, ending the reigning national champions' winning streak of 21 games.

Nr. 16 in Southern California also saw his undefeated season come to a resounding end with losses to Stanford and Oregon squeezed around a win over Oregon State. Seton Hall dropped out of the No. 20 poll after losing to DePaul and Marquette.

"They're not very happy," said Bears senior Matthew Mayer when asked about the mood of Baylor's coaches.

Neither are UCLAs. The Bruins climbed to No. 3 in last week's poll and dropped six spots this week after losing 84-81 to Oregon in overtime. The victory was the 700th in Ducks coach Dana Altman's career and dropped UCLA six places to No. 9 in this week's poll.

"Either you are humble and hungry, as if they were trying to remove the so-called disruption, or you are arrogant for no reason because we have won nothing," said an upset UCLA coach Mick Cronin.

ARIZONAS OPGANG

Arizona was not expected to be among the Pac-12's elite in its first season under coach Tommy Lloyd, selected to finish in fourth place in the preseason poll.

The Wildcats (14-2, 4-0 Pac-12) have exceeded those expectations and placed among the nation's top teams with a free-flowing offensive that can beat teams in several ways.

The nation's highest scoring team shot 51% and had 20 assists on 29 field goals in a 76-55 victory over Colorado last Thursday. The Wildcats then outscored Utah inside and outscored Utes 56-28 in the paint during an 82-64 victory Saturday.

Arizona climbed three places in this week's poll to No. 3, its highest ranking since reaching No. 2 in 2017-18.

"Obviously, they're very, very talented, play super connected and are super athletic," Utah coach Craig Smith said.

RISING AND DECREASING

Nr. 17 Illinois had the biggest increase of the week, moving up eight places after beating Nebraska and Michigan. Nr. 12 Kentucky climbed six spots after beating Vanderbilt 78-66 and blowing No. 24, Tennessee 107-79.

No. 8 Wisconsin moved up five places after a 78-68 victory over No. 19 Ohio State.

Nr. 16 USC had the biggest drop, losing 11 places, and UCLA was next on six.

IN AND OUT

No. 22 Loyola Chicago moved into the polls for the first time this season following victories over Valparaiso and Indiana State. UConn moved back in the poll as No. 25 after beating St. Louis. John's Red Storm 86-78.

Alabama dropped from No. 24 with losses to Auburn and Mississippi State. Seton Hall did not receive a single vote after his two losses to unranked opponents.

CONFERENCE SE

Big Ten and Big 12 had five ranked teams each, followed by the SEC and Big East with four each. The Pac-12 had three ranked teams, with the ACC, American Athletic, West Coast and Missouri Valley each having one.

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