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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | January 21, 2020

College basketball rankings: Baylor becomes seventh No. 1 team as Rutgers returns after 41-year hiatus

Here's why Baylor is ranked ahead of Gonzaga in Andy Katz's latest Power 36 rankings

Another week of college basketball, another set of rankings to crumble. A new No. 1 team reigns in Division I — Baylor, setting a single-season record by becoming the seventh team to top the rankings this year.

The Bears overcame a double-digit, second-half deficit at Oklahoma State to ultimately topple Gonzaga, which held the top spot for the past four weeks.

Though the ‘Zags dropped in the rankings, their winning ways remained intact. Duke, Auburn and Butler weren’t as fortunate. Formerly ranked Nos. 3-5, each program lost twice in the past week and four of the six combined losses were on the road against unranked teams.

PANDEMONIUM: Have upsets become the 2019-20 college basketball norm?

With three teams in the top-5 losing twice and six of the top 12 dropping a game, here’s a look at the newest rankings.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS PREV
1 Baylor 15-1 1591 2
2 Gonzaga 20-1 1588 1
3 Kansas 14-3 1470 6
4 San Diego State 19-0 1422 7
5 Florida State 16-2 1335 9
6 Louisville 15-3 1303 11
7 Dayton 16-2 1139 13
8 Duke 15-3 1065 3
9 Villanova 14-3 1055 14
10 Seton Hall 14-4 1034 18
11 Michigan State 14-4 1004 15
12 Oregon 15-4 886 8
13 Butler 15-3 867 5
14 West Virginia 14-3 758 12
15 Kentucky 13-4 755 10
16 Auburn 15-2 637 4
17 Maryland 14-4 525 17
18 Texas Tech 12-5 399 23
19 Iowa 13-5 398 NR
20 Memphis 14-3 394 22
21 Illinois 13-5 280 24
22 Arizona 13-5 225 NR
23 Colorado 14-4 154 20
24 Rutgers 14-4 152 NR
25 Houston 14-4 151 NR

Rising from the ashes of the old top-5 is San Diego State. The Aztecs — up three spots to No. 4 — matched the program’s highest ranking ever after extending its streak of perfection to 19 games. SDSU last accomplished this in 2010-11 when it won 20 straight to open the year and reached the Sweet 16, led by a little-known forward by the name of Kawhi Leonard.

Right behind the Aztecs are Florida State, Louisville and Dayton. The No. 5 Seminoles have won nine in a row, most recently earning an overtime decision over Miami (FL) in which Devin Vassell went for 23 points and 11 rebounds while the defense forced 24 turnovers. Their hot streak warranted a four-spot improvement and the program’s first top-5 appearance since 1973.

POWER 36: San Diego State, Florida State move up in Andy Katz's newest rankings

As for Dayton, Obi Toppin might be the trendy candidate for national player of the year, but Jalen Crutcher’s performance against Saint Louis guided the Flyers into the top 10. Crutcher had 21 points, including the game-winning 3 just before the overtime buzzer as Dayton erased a 13-point deficit to beat the Billikens. Following the win, Dayton jumped six spots to No. 7 — its highest mark since 1968.

Thriving in the Garden State

No team had a bigger improvement between polls than Seton Hall. The Pirates are winners of eight straight and continue to find creative ways to win. In the past two first halves, they’ve trailed St. John’s by 13 at Madison Square Garden and before that, found themselves down 10 against Butler. Myles Powell scored 19 and 23 points respectively — all in the second halves. He finished with 29 in both games and Seton Hall surges back to No. 10.

To find the last team to beat Seton Hall, you’ll have to travel less than 30 miles down the Garden State Parkway. Rutgers beat the Pirates by 20 back in December, the beginning of a stretch of eight wins in nine games for the Scarlet Knights. As of Jan. 20, Steve Pikiell’s team is tied for second place in the Big Ten standings. More importantly, No. 24 Rutgers is ranked for the first time in 41 years. The Scarlet Knights were one of four teams to enter the rankings this week. These are the others:

  • No. 19 Iowa
  • No. 22 Arizona
  • No. 25 Houston

Here are some of the top games to watch this week

No. 13 Butler at No. 9 Villanova

Losses to Seton Hall and DePaul threaten to derail Butler’s dream season as the Bulldogs slipped in the rankings this week. What better way to turn things around than with a road win at perennial Big East contender Villanova. Butler heads to ‘Nova on Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

No. 15 Kentucky at No. 18 Texas Tech

The Wildcats are a South Carolina buzzer-beater away from possibly still being in the top 10. They’ll have a chance to move back up after the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Kentucky heads to Lubbock on Saturday, Jan. 25 to take on Texas Tech. 

No. 11 Michigan State at Indiana

Michigan State has only played three true road games this year, twice against the Big Ten. Its last time out away from East Lansing, the Spartans were dealt a 29-point drubbing by Purdue. Indiana is 11-1 in Assembly Hall with a 2-1 record against ranked teams. There is plenty for both teams to play for when they meet in Bloomington on Thursday, Jan. 23. 

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