Hoops: Unranked, Tourney Hopes Hanging By A Thread

The Texas men’s basketball team dropped from the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and from the Associated Press poll released on Monday for the first time this season and for the first time in 52 consecutive weeks.

After flirting with the possibility of losing their top 25 ranking last week, a 79-88 loss at Colorado followed by a 75-72 overtime victory over Kansas State this past week finally pushed the Longhorns from the ranks of the ranked.

Illinois (25-0) maintained its lead in both polls following wins over Michigan and Wisconsin. Kansas (20-1) stayed a spot behind Illinois at No. 2 after beating Kansas State and Colorado. (The Jayhawks, though, lost a double-overtime thriller to Texas Tech on Monday night, after the rankings were released, for just their second loss of the season.) Kentucky (19-2) rose to the No. 3 position in both polls, followed by a No. 4 North Carolina team that dropped a few spots after losing to Duke but rebounding with a victory over Connecticut. Wake Forest (21-3) claimed the No. 5 rank, trailed by No. 6 Boston College (20-1), which lost its first game of the season last week to Notre Dame.

Oklahoma State (19-3) moved up to No. 7 in the Coaches poll (No. 8 in AP), while Duke (18-3) claimed that No. 7 position in the AP poll (No. 8 in Coaches). With a loss to Connecticut and a win against Villanova, Syracuse (22-3) fell to No. 9 in both polls. Rounding out the top tier is Michigan State (17-4) at No. 10 in the Coaches poll (No. 11 in AP) and Arizona (21-4) at No. 10 in the AP poll (No. 11 in Coaches).

After slowing moving up in rank the past couple week, Oklahoma (17-6) took a hit in the polls and dropped to No. 21 in the AP poll and to No. 22 in the Coaches poll after falling victim to Oklahoma State and Missouri. Texas Tech (15-6) remained in the rankings but slid down to No. 25 in the Coaches poll while dropping out of the AP poll entirely. (That will almost certainly change next week after the Raiders upset No. 2 Kansas Monday evening in Lubbock.)

Kansas stayed atop its Big 12 foes in the CollegeRPI.com rankings (which simulates the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index Rankings) at No. 1. Oklahoma State (No. 4) trails the Jayhawks, followed by Oklahoma (No. 21), Texas (No. 34) and Texas Tech (No. 43).

Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s weekly Bracketology has Texas as an eleventh seed -- about as low as a team can go and still receive an at-large berth -- if the NCAA tourney started today. Kansas remained a top seed, while Oklahoma State would earn a third seed. Oklahoma and Texas Tech would claim a sixth seed.

Texas next plays host to Texas A&M in the Lone Star Showdown on Wednesday, Feb 16 at 7 p.m.

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