Michigan Leaps Into Second Place Behind Gonzaga in AP Top 25

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Michigan finally broke the stranglehold of Gonzaga and Baylor atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday, taking advantage of the Bears’ loss at Kansas to leap into the No. 2 spot behind the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga continued to hold down the top spot in the Top 25, just as it has all season, receiving 59 of 63 first-place votes among national media members. But the Wolverines picked up the other four to climb into second while the Bears, whose unbeaten season was foiled by the Jayhawks on Saturday night, dropped back to third place.

Illinois climbed one spot to fourth and Iowa gave the Big Ten three teams in the top five.

Now the question is whether the Wolverines can hold onto its No. 2 spot. They have a showdown with the Illini on Tuesday night before wrapping up the regular season with a home-and-home series against Michigan State.

West Virginia continued its steady climb, up four spots to No. 6 after its third consecutive win. Ohio State fell three spots to seventh after its loss to the Hawkeyes. Alabama, Houston and Villanova rounded out the top 10.

Florida State was next while Arkansas leaped eight spots to No. 12 after running its winning streak to six, including victories over then-No. 10 Missouri and the Crimson Tide. It’s the highest the Razorbacks have been ranked since Feb. 16, 1998.

Also making a big move was No. 13 Kansas, fresh off its win over the Bears; the Jayhawks have won six of seven after their record 12-year streak in the Top 25 came to an end, with the loss coming to then-No. 14 Texas in overtime.

Creighton dropped one spot to No. 14, followed by the Longhorns. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were next, followed by Big 12 rival Texas Tech, with San Diego Staten and Loyola Chicago rounding out the top 20.

Virginia was No. 21, followed by Virginia Tech, Purdue, Colorado and Wisconsin. The newcomer Boilermakers and sliding Badgers give the Big Ten six teams in the Top 25, one fewer than the poll-leading Big 12.

The full men's AP Top 25 poll is below (as of March 1):

1. Gonzaga
2. Michigan
3. Baylor
4. Illinois
5. Iowa
6. West Virginia
7. Ohio State
8. Alabama
9. Houston
10. Villanova
11. Florida State
12. Arkansas
13. Kansas
14. Creighton
15. Texas
16. Oklahoma
17. Oklahoma State
18. Texas Tech
19. San Diego State
20. Loyola Chicago
21. Virginia
22. Virginia Tech
23. Purdue
24. Colorado
25. Wisconsin