Gonzaga, UCLA and Kansas held the top three spots in The Associated Press’ first Top 25 rankings of the regular season while Michigan climbed two spots to No. 4.
The Bulldogs received 55 first-place votes from a 61-person media panel in the poll released Monday after a win over Texas. The No. 2 Bruins had six first-place votes after beating Villanova and the Jayhawks were third following a win over Michigan State.
Villanova dropped a spot to No. 5. Purdue, Duke, Texas, reigning national champion Baylor and Illinois rounded out the top 10.
Gonzaga was the runaway No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25 following last season’s run to the national championship game. The Zags returned key players from that team, including preseason All-American Drew Timme, and filled in the holes in their roster with skilled freshmen and transfers.
Gonzaga (2-0) expectedly rolled over Dixie State in its opener and then had an early statement game, jumping on then-No. 5 Texas early on the way to a convincing win Saturday night. Timme was the catalyst, finishing with a career-high 37 points.
UCLA faced its own early test Friday night when it hosted then-No. 4 Villanova. The Bruins were sluggish early without forward Cody Riley due to a sprained left knee, but rallied from a 10-point deficit to win 86-77 at a raucous Pauley Pavilion.
Kansas (2-0) played Michigan State in a doubleheader with Kentucky and Duke at Madison Square Garden to open the season. The Jayhawks were sharp, winning 87-74 behind Ochai Agbaji‘s career-high 29 points. Agbaji, who considered leaving Lawrence for the NBA, added 25 points in a lopsided win over Tarleton State.
“(I came back) for this. Be on this stage, be in this moment,” Agbaji said.
SEC — 6 (Nos. 13, 14, 16, 17, 21, 24)
Big Ten — 5 (Nos. 4, 6, 10, 19, 20)
Big 12 — 3 (Nos. 3, 8, 9)
Pac-12 — 3 (Nos. 2, 12, 25)
ACC — 2 (Nos. 7, 18)
Big East — 2 (Nos. 5, 23)
American Athletic — 2 (Nos. 11, 15)
West Coast — 1 (No. 1)
Atlantic 10 — 1 (No. 22)
UP AND DOWN
With only one week’s worth of games, there were no major moves up or down the first regular-season poll. Texas lost three spots, as did No. 13 Kentucky following its 79-71 loss to No. 7 Duke, which moved up two spots. No other teams still in the poll lost or gained more than two places.
IN AND OUT
Florida moved into the poll at No. 24 after beating Elon and routing Florida State. Southern California moved in at No. 25 following wins over Cal State Northridge and Temple.
Florida State plummeted out from No. 20 after a 16-point loss to Florida and a win over Penn. Virginia’s 66-58 loss to Navy knocked the Cavaliers out from No. 25.