An eventful week in men’s basketball produced the usual level of expected changes in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll, but the top two teams appear to be separating themselves from the rest of the field.
Connecticut and Purdue once again monopolize the No.-1 votes after a week of dominating performances. The defending champion Huskies retain the top spot with 24 of 32 firsts, and the second-ranked Boilermakers claim the other eight. Houston climbs back up to the No. 3 position.
The voting was tightly bunched with just 12 poll points separating the next four spots. Red-hot Marquette vaults three positions to No. 4 as North Carolina slips to fifth thanks to a midweek loss to Clemson. Arizona moves up two places to No. 6 ahead of Kansas, which drops from fourth to seventh.
Duke, Tennessee and Iowa State round out the top 10, with No. 11 South Carolina knocking on the door thanks to a nine-place jump. No. 20 Kentucky and No. 21 Wisconsin are moving in the opposite direction. The Badgers have lost four in a row and fall 12 positions, while the Wildcats drop five slots following a third consecutive home loss.
Indiana State joins the poll at No. 24, the first ranking for the Sycamores since their historic 1979 season. Saint Mary’s reenters the poll at No. 19. Oklahoma moves back in, tying for 21st with Wisconsin, and No. 23 Virginia and No. 25 Colorado State also regain positions in the rankings.
Among the week’s five dropouts are three Mountain West contenders, Utah State, San Diego State and New Mexico. Florida Atlantic and Texas Tech also fall out.