While Indiana returns to its familiar spot at No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, another school enters a place it’s never been before.
Akron, which owns the nation’s longest active winning streak (now 18 games), joined the Top 25 on Monday for the first time in program history. After weeks of flirting with the poll, the Zips finally snuck in at No. 24 on the heels of a 15-point win over North Dakota State during BracketBusters weekend.
The top of the coaches’ poll offers less movement of note. The Hoosiers pinned down 28 of the 31 first-place votes to retain the top spot for the third consecutive week. Gonzaga, which rose to second (its highest ranking in school history), nabbed the other three votes.
Duke (No. 3), Michigan (No. 4) and Kansas (No. 5) round out the Top 5. Despite an ugly three-game losing skid that prompted its coach to draw comparisons to a 19th century Topeka YMCA team, the Jayhawks are back in the Top 5 for the first time in three weeks.
Miami, which ranked second in last week’s poll and earned seven first-place votes, sunk to seventh. The Hurricanes trail fellow in-state power Florida (No. 6) and are shadowed by Georgetown (No. 8), Louisville (No. 9) and Michigan State (No. 10).
Colorado State (No. 21), Pittsburgh (No. 22) and Creighton (No. 23) dropped out of the poll.
Accompanying Akron into the poll are a pair of overlooked, but not unaccomplished, mid-majors riding impressive runs. Saint Louis (No. 19) raced into the poll after an impressive road win at Butler over the weekend while Saint Mary’s cracked the rankings for the first time at No. 23. The Gaels notched a signature win during BracketBusters, knocking off free-falling Creighton at home.
|USA Today Coaches Poll|
- Others receiving votes: Pittsburgh 38, Oregon 37, Middle Tennessee 29, Louisiana Tech 24, San Diego State 13, UNLV 12, Wichita State 12, Colorado State 10, Connecticut 5, Illinois 5, Oklahoma 5, North Carolina 3, California 3, UCLA 2, Belmont 1, Creighton 1, Kentucky 1