SMU is ranked for 1st time since 1985
Breaking down this week’s Associated Press college basketball poll:
SMU RETURNS: Even Larry Brown was young the last time SMU was ranked.
In their second season under the 73-year-old Hall of Fame coach, the Mustangs moved into the Top 25 for the first time since the next-to-last poll of 1984-85, a season when they reached as high as No. 2.
SMU (19-5) moved in off a 76-53 victory over then-No. 7 Cincinnati, a win that snapped the Bearcats’ 15-game winning streak.
It was the Mustangs’ third win over a ranked team in a seven-game span since they moved back into a renovated Moody Coliseum five weeks ago.
Before the streak SMU hadn’t beaten a ranked team since December 2003 and the last time the Mustangs beat more than one ranked team in a season was 1984-85 when Jon Koncak was the star player and Dave Bliss was the head coach.
SMU’s other wins over ranked teams this season were then-No. 17 Connecticut and then-No. 22 Memphis, like Cincinnati, all American Athletic Conference games.
”I think I’m happy for all of (the players) because they’ve been talking about this since the beginning of the season,” Brown said Monday. ”And we’ve had some chances to get ourselves in that position, but to finally get there and when you look back and see that we were able to beat Memphis, Temple and Cincinnati in a week. If you look at those three programs and what they’ve been able to accomplish over the years, that’s a huge step for us.”
QUICK TRIP: The week’s other newcomers to the poll are teams that have spent all but last week in the Top 25.
No. 21 Wisconsin, which beat No. 9 Michigan State on Sunday, had been ranked all season until falling out last week. The Badgers had reached as high as No. 3 as they opened the season 16-0. They lost five of their next seven and the win over Michigan State snapped a three-game home losing streak.
No. 22 Ohio State also came back after falling out of the poll for one week. The Buckeyes, who were No. 11 in the preseason Top 25, reached as high as No. 3 by starting the season 15-0. Last week’s win over Purdue was Ohio State’s third straight win after losing five of six.
SEE YA: Oklahoma State’s rough stretch continued with the Cowboys being knocked out of the Top 25.
The Cowboys’ fourth straight loss was to Texas Tech on Saturday and that was the game when preseason All-America Marcus Smart shoved a fan and was suspended for three games. Two weeks ago the Cowboys were ranked No. 8, the same spot they held in the preseason Top 25. Oklahoma State, which reached as high as No. 6, was ranked for the last 21 polls, the eighth-longest current streak.
Oklahoma, which lost to West Virginia last week, dropped out after being ranked the last four weeks. The Sooners reached as high as 21st.
Gonzaga returned to the poll last week and fell out Monday after losing to Memphis. The Bulldogs, who were No. 15 in the preseason poll, were out for three weeks before returning last week.
NEW LEAGUE: The American Athletic Conference hit an impressive height in its first season.
With SMU moving into the rankings this week the AAC has five members in the Top 25 joining the Big Ten for the most.
Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis and Connecticut are the other AAC schools in the poll.
”I think we’re all proud of that,” SMU coach Larry Brown said Monday. ”But you would expect Cincinnati, Connecticut, Memphis and Louisville, and you would almost expect Temple because of what (coach) Fran (Dunphy) has done every year except for this. But to have us in there included with those programs, that’s phenomenal.”
The Big Ten reached five with the return of Wisconsin and Ohio State. Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa are the others from the Big Ten.
The Big 12 had five ranked teams but Oklahoma State and Oklahoma fell out this week leaving Kansas, Iowa State and Texas in the Top 25.
The Atlantic Coast Conference stayed with four ranked teams: Syracuse, Duke, Virginia and Pittsburgh.
TIME ON TOP: This is Syracuse’s 16th poll as No. 1.
That moved the Orange into a tie with Stanford and Kansas State for 15th on the all-time list. Illinois is next with 17 weeks at No. 1.
The all-time leader is UCLA with 134 weeks on top.
DOUBLE-RANKED GAMES: There are six games between ranked teams this week and No. 15 Michigan is in two of them.
On Tuesday, the Wolverines are at No. 22 Ohio State and on Sunday they host No. 21 Wisconsin.
On Wednesday, No. 1 Syracuse is at No. 25 Pittsburgh.
No. 20 Memphis visits No. 24 Connecticut and No. 3 Florida is at No. 14 Kentucky on Saturday.
On Sunday, No. 6 Villanova visits No. 18 Creighton.
AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Dallas contributed to this report