Michigan State back on top of AP poll
It’s been quite a few days for Sparty’s football and basketball programs.
Michigan State’s football team won the Big Ten title on Saturday and was chosen as one of the four playoff teams the next day.
To keep the streak going, the basketball team moved to No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 on Monday.
It’s the first time the Spartans have been No. 1 since a three-week stint early in the 2013-14 season. This is the eighth week Michigan State will be ranked No. 1, moving the Spartans into a tie with West Virginia and St. John’s on the all-time list. The big difference is the last time West Virginia was No. 1 was in 1958 and the last time St. John’s was on top was in 1985.
The first time Michigan State reached No. 1 was in 1978-79 when the Spartans were led by a revolutionary point guard named Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
WELCOME BACK: The two newcomers to this week’s poll are both returning to the rankings.
Butler (6-1), which jumped in at No. 18, joins the Top 25 on a three-game winning streak that includes last week’s impressive win over Cincinnati The Bulldogs were 24th in the preseason poll and 22nd in the first regular-season poll.
Utah (7-1) returns at No. 25 and the Utes are on a five-game winning streak, including last week’s win over rival BYU. They were 16th in both the preseason and first regular-season polls.
Butler and Utah each have a loss to Miami.
SEE YA: Syracuse made one of the biggest jump-ins to the poll last week debuting at No. 14. The Orange were gone just as quickly.
A home loss to Wisconsin and a loss to Georgetown in the first game of coach Jim Boeheim’s nine-game suspension knocked the Orange out of the rankings.
Texas A&M (7-2) fell from 18th after losing at Arizona State on Saturday.
CONFERENCE CALL: The Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference are tied for most ranked teams with five each. Even more impressive that each league has three teams in the top 10. The Big 12 has Kansas, Iowa State and Oklahoma; the ACC has North Carolina, Duke and Virginia.
Butler moving in gives the Big East four ranked teams while the Big Ten and Pac-12 have three teams each.
DOUBLE-RANKED GAMES: A matchup of ranked teams happens right away this week as No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 9 Villanova meet Monday night in Honolulu on the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The game will be played on the base at Pearl Harbor.
On Tuesday night, No. 14 West Virginia plays No. 10 Virginia in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The other game of the doubleheader just misses being a double-ranked game as No. 6 Maryland plays Connecticut, which was the first team out of the Top 25 this week.
The third game between ranked teams is one of those intra-city rivalries that almost assures a close, physical game. No. 23 Cincinnati is at No. 12 Xavier on Saturday.
BEATING No. 1: UCLA’s 87-77 victory over Kentucky last week was the Bruins’ 11th win over a top-ranked team. That broke a tie with Maryland for second place on the all-time list.
North Carolina is No. 1 in beating No. 1s, having done it 13 times.