Illinois lost 12 of its final 14 games last season in a stunning end-of-the-year collapse, then lost its top interior presence–sophomore pivot Meyers Leonard–to the NBA draft. But following a statement road win against Gonzaga at the Kennel and the program’s first 10-0 start under a first-year head coach in more than 100 years, the Fighting Illini have crept into the Top 10 of the latest AP Poll unpacked on Monday.
John Groce’s squad moved up from No. 13 to No. 10, the spot previously held by the team Illinois knocked off on Saturday. Gonzaga dropped to No. 14 while Minnesota bumped up one peg to No. 13, taking the place of the fast-rising Illini. Cincinnati (No. 11) and Missouri (No. 12) held serve.
There was little movement inside the Top 10, where the top four teams (Indiana, Duke, Michigan and Syracuse, respectively) retained their rankings. Florida and Louisville traded places, with the Gators moving up to No. 5 in light of their blowout win over rival Florida State in Tallahassee. The Hoosiers lost one of their 45 first-place votes from last week, though second-ranked Duke, or any other school for that matter, didn’t pick it up. The most plausible explanation: one writer didn’t cast his ballot in time or took the week off from voting altogether.
San Diego State (No. 17) and New Mexico (No. 18) swapped spots while UNLV (No. 20) and North Carolina (No. 21) as well as Wichita State (No. 23) and Oklahoma State (No. 24) did the same.
No team ranked last week fell out of the poll, which means the latest Top 25 features no newcomers for the first time this season. The complete rankings:
|AP Top 25|
|18||San Diego State||7-1||491|
|25||North Carolina State||6-2||213|