Hoops: Horns Take A Rankings Hit

The Texas men’s basketball team slipped a few spots to No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and to No. 16 in the Associated Press poll released Monday after an up-and-down week that saw the Longhorns (14-4) upset Oklahoma State 75-61 but drop the next game to Oklahoma 64-60 after losing leading scorer P.J. Tucker for the season due to academics.

The two polls show almost identical rankings at the top with an unbeaten Illinois manning the top position. Also undefeated, Duke slid into the No. 2 spot in both polls with wins over Miami and Florida State. North Carolina (16-2) moved up the ladder to the No. 3 spot, followed by No. 4 Syracuse (19-1). Wake Forest (16-2) dropped to No. 5 in the polls after Florida State handed the Demon Deacons a loss, but Wake rebounded to defeat Cincinnati later in the week.

Kentucky (14-2) claimed the No. 6 spot in the Coaches poll (No. 7 in AP) after beating Mississippi and LSU, while Kansas (14-1) nabbed the No. 6 position in the AP poll (No. 7 in Coaches) after beating Nebraska but falling victim to Villanova in a crushing 83-62 loss. Boston College rose to No. 8 in the polls and remains unbeaten after defeating both Villanova and St. John’s. Oklahoma State (14-2) trails Boston College at No. 8 after losing big to Texas and bouncing back to beat Baylor 82-53 later in the week. (The Cowboys lost to Oklahoma 67-57 in Norman Monday night, falling to 14-3 overall and 4-2 in conference.) Washington (16-2) rounds out the top 10, following a win over Washington State.

No new Big 12 teams cracked the polls this week, but Oklahoma (15-2) solidified its position in the rankings by moving up to No. 13 in the AP poll and to No. 15 in the Coaches poll after beating Texas A&M and Texas. (The Sooners could climb even higher next following their Big Monday win over OSU.)

With Oklahoma winning both games last week and other top Big 12 teams being handed a loss, a shift occurred in the CollegeRPI.com rankings (which simulates the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index Rankings). Kansas (No. 1) leads Oklahoma State (No. 4), followed by Oklahoma (No. 16) which rose above Texas (No. 18). Even though the Sooners passed the Longhorns, Texas still managed to climb from last week’s No. 25 position.

Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s weekly Bracketology still shows the Horns as a fifth seed if the NCAA tournament started today, while Big 12 foe Kansas remains a projected No. 1 seed. Oklahoma State would be a second seed, with Oklahoma claiming a fourth seed. Texas Tech remains a 10th seed, and Texas A&M dropped from the Bracketology rankings (now listed in the Last Four Out category).

Texas (14-4, 3-2) next plays host to Texas Tech (11-4, 3-1) on Tuesday, Jan 25 at 8 p.m. in the Erwin Center.

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