Saturday, March 2, 2024

College basketball rankings: Kentucky drops in AP Top 25, South Carolina in poll for first time since 2017

The last week on the hardwood was not kind to Kentucky after losing twice at home and surrendering 197 points in the process, and neither were AP voters on Monday as they reshuffled their latest rankings. The updated AP Top 25 poll dropped the Wildcats out of the top 10 for the first time in two months from No. 10 to No. 17, making them the second-largest faller of the week behind Texas Tech, which fell eight spots to No. 23.

Kentucky’s seven-spot drop to No. 17 is the first time since Week 6 it has been ranked outside the top 10 of the AP poll and it marks the lowest ranking of the season for the struggling Wildcats, which were also ranked No. 17 in Week 2 — on Nov. 13. It began the week with an overtime loss at home to Florida, 94-91, then gave up 103 points to visiting Tennessee over the weekend, giving it a third loss in its last four games.

That same Tennessee team that romped UK in Rupp dropped one spot in the poll from No. 5 to No. 6 after falling to South Carolina earlier in the week before rebounding with a resounding win. South Carolina defeated the Vols and Georgia to rocket up the ranks from unranked to No. 15, giving the Gamecocks their first appearance in the AP poll since 2016-17 and their highest-ranking since 1998.

Meanwhile, at the top of the poll, the usual suspects remained with UConn, Purdue and North Carolina all clinging to the top three spots. Each of the Huskies, Boilermakers and Tar Heels went a perfect 6-0 combined on the week to keep the same top three intact for a third consecutive week. Purdue, though, siphoned three first-place votes away from UConn this week, earning 16 of the 61 while the remaining 45 went to the defending champions.

AP Top 25 

1. UConn (45)

2. Purdue (16)

3. North Carolina

4. Kansas

5. Houston

6. Tennessee

7. Marquette

8. Arizona

9. Duke

10. Illinois

11. Wisconsin

12. Auburn

13. Baylor

14. Iowa State

15. South Carolina

16. Alabama

17. Kentucky

18. Dayton

19. Creighton

20. FAU

21. BYU

22. Utah State

23. Texas Tech

24. San Diego State

25. New Mexico

Others receiving votes: Saint Mary’s 73, TCU 72, Indiana State 53, Boise St. 49, Colorado State 43, Virginia 32, Texas 22, Oklahoma 17, Ole Miss 10, Washington State 6, Memphis 5, Appalachian State 4, Gonzaga 2, Grand Canyon 1, Michigan State 1.

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