There’s no argument among AP Top 25 voters about the top two teams in the country.
Things get a bit trickier at the bottom of the rankings.
For the third consecutive week, Kentucky and Virginia are ranked 1-2 in the poll, with the nation’s last two unbeatens topping all 65 votes cast Monday.
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The Wildcats (19-0) were the unanimous choice for five consecutive weeks before losing a pair of first-place votes to the Cavaliers (19-0) two weeks ago, though Kentucky reclaimed one of those this week.
Gonzaga stayed at No. 3 while Duke moved up a spot to fourth after coach Mike Krzyzewski earned his 1,000th career victory against St. John’s on Sunday. Wisconsin rounded out the top five.
But with nine ranked teams losing last week, six of the last seven teams in the Top 25 have at least five losses. That includes a six-loss Butler team at No. 25, while No. 24 Oklahoma (12-7) stayed in the poll after losing to two ranked opponents last week.
The Sooners are only the fourth team to be ranked with seven losses in January since the 1981-82 season, according to STATS.
John McNamara of the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland, and John Feinstein of the Washington Post both said they do more than automatically move teams up or down based on whether they won or lost a game.
As Feinstein said: “I think it’s total picture and it’s also a more detailed picture.”
“It’s a little bit less black and white and a little bit more shades of gray,” McNamara said. “It just seems like who you played and where you played and the scoring margin of the game are all things that come into play for me in terms of figuring out who to drop and how far to drop them.”
BACK TO UK: After two weeks with Virginia at No. 1, Zach Osterman of The Indianapolis Star went back to Kentucky this week.
Osterman switched after the Wildcats survived a pair of overtime wins against unranked Southeastern Conference teams. But Virginia had to rally Sunday to beat a Virginia Tech team that’s winless in the ACC.
“My rationale for knocking Kentucky down at the time was because I wasn’t impressed with them that week, relative to Virginia,” Osterman said in an email. “Would have to say the same about the Cavs after a tight game against Virginia Tech.”
RISING AND FALLING: There were no big climbers in this week’s poll. Six teams moved up two positions, led by No. 9 Kansas and No. 12 Wichita State.
On the other side, No. 15 Iowa State had the biggest drop of six spots in a wild month in the poll. The Cyclones started January at No. 9, fell eight spots to No. 17, bounced up six spots the next week to No. 11 then two more last week to No. 9 before a loss to Texas Tech dropped them again.
THE NEWCOMERS: No. 21 Georgetown and No. 23 Miami joined Butler as newcomers to this week’s poll, though they’re hardly new faces this year. All three were ranked in December.
FAREWELL FOR NOW: Dayton, Seton Hall and Iowa fell out of the rankings, with the Pirates and Hawkeyes losing twice last week.
This article was written by Aaron Beard from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.