Baylor becomes fourth No. 1 in last 4 weeks in AP Top 25

Dec 12, 2021, 6:59 PM | Updated: Dec 13, 2021, 9:01 am
Baylor guard James Akinjo high fives fans following an NCAA college basketball game against Villano...

Baylor guard James Akinjo high fives fans following an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin)

(AP Photo/Ray Carlin)

Baylor won the national championship last season without ever reaching No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

The Bears are there now.

Baylor took advantage of Purdue’s last-second loss to Rutgers last week to become the fourth different team at No. 1 in the past four weeks. The Bears earned every vote from a 61-member national media panel Monday to reach the top spot in the poll for the first time since a four-week run ended on Feb. 17, 2020.

“Every coach tells you that the goal is at the end of the year to be No. 1,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said, “but I will tell you that it always means something. It means something to your fans. It means something to your coaches, your players and everybody. It’s a great sign of respect for other people that have come before you, the work they put in.”

The Bears (9-0) were followed by former No. 1s Duke and Purdue along with UCLA and Gonzaga, which began the season atop the poll and spent the first two weeks there before losses to the Blue Devils and Alabama in a span of three games.

Baylor has won a nation-leading 15 consecutive games, none by fewer than eight points, including its memorable 86-70 win over Gonzaga in April for the national title. The Bears also had wins over Stanford, Arizona State and Michigan State to start this season before suffocating then-No. 6 Villanova in a 57-36 victory on Sunday.

“That team was great last year,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “I think this team is really good and could be as good.”

Never mind the fact that Baylor lost their standout backcourt of Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague along with do-everything forward Mark Vital. Arizona transfer James Akinjo and freshman guard Kendall Brown have picked up some of the scoring, and returning forwards Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Flo Thamba have dominated inside.

“When you lose dudes like that, people think you’re going to go into a rebuilding phase,” Akinjo said. “But our coaches did a great job of putting this team together, not just with the talent but in ways that we would mesh.”

The Crimson Tide led the second five in the AP poll Monday, climbing three spots after beating then-No. 14 Houston on Saturday. They were followed by Kansas, unbeaten Arizona, Villanova and undefeated Southern California.

“I can’t be too upset if we haven’t lost, but there’s always things to clean up and get better at,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. “Our goal is to be an elite defensive team, but we’re not there yet. I’m happy with the team. We’re excited to be 10-0.”

Iowa State, another of the seven remaining Division I unbeatens, climbed six spots to No. 11 after the Cyclones romped past Iowa and avoided a letdown against Jacksonville State. They were followed by Michigan State, Auburn, Houston and Ohio State with Seton Hall, Texas, Tennessee, LSU and UConn in the top 20.

Kentucky, Xavier, Colorado State, Arkansas and Texas Tech rounded out the poll.


Michigan State and Seton Hall made the biggest moves this week, the Spartans climbing seven spots to No. 12 after wins over Minnesota and Penn State and Seton Hall jumping to No. 16 after beating Texas on Thursday night.

The Longhorns dropped 10 spots to No. 17. Kentucky fell 11 to No. 21 after the Wildcats lost to Notre Dame on Saturday.


Xavier entered the poll at No. 22 with Colorado State right behind after the Rams ran their record to 10-0 for the second time in program history. The Red Raiders moved into the poll at No. 25 after their overtime win over Tennessee.

“(Mississippi State) has visions of going to the NCAA Tournament and contending in the SEC. We have those kinds of visions, too,” Colorado State coach Nico Medved said after a win over the Bulldogs. We scheduled these games and knew we had to win some of them. So far, guys have been able to step up to the challenge.”

Wisconsin was No. 22 last week but lost to Ohio State and was first outside the Top 25 receiving votes this week. Also dropping out were BYU, which lost to Creighton on Saturday, and Florida, which was 20th before bookending a win over North Florida with losses to Maryland and then-winless Texas Southern.


SEC: 6 (Nos. 6, 13, 18, 19, 21, 24)

Big 12: 5 (Nos. 1, 7, 11, 17, 25)

Big East: 4 (Nos. 9, 16, 21, 22)

Big Ten: 3 (Nos. 3, 12, 15)

Pac-12: 3 (Nos. 4, 8, 10)

ACC: 1 (No. 2)

West Coast: 1 (No. 5)

American Athletic: 1 (No. 14)

Mountain West: 1 (No. 23)


More AP college basketball: and and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Texas A&M wide receiver Evan Stewart (1) catches a pass for a touchdown as Arkansas defensive back ...
Associated Press

Achane leads No. 23 Texas A&M past No. 10 Arkansas, 23-21

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Devon Achane rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown, Demani Richardson sprinted the final 82 yards on a wild fumble return for another score and No. 23 Texas A&M beat 10th-ranked Arkansas 23-21 on Saturday night. The Razorbacks (3-1, 1-1 SEC) had a chance to take the lead with 1:30 remaining, […]
20 hours ago
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass during the first half of the team's NCAA college ...
Associated Press

Young, No. 2 Alabama top Vanderbilt 55-3 in SEC opener

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Bryce Young passed for a season-high 385 yards and four touchdowns and No. 2 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 55-3 Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. It was the first 300-yard game of the season for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter and […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Magee provides spark, Davidson routs Presbyterian 56-24

CLINTON, S.C. (AP) — Freshman TJ Magee set the tone when he returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and Davidson breezed to a 56-24 victory over Presbyterian on Saturday night. Jayden Waddell completed 6 of 7 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown — a 67-yard second-quarter strike to Clarence Freeman IV […]
20 hours ago
North Carolina State's Devin Leary (13) prepares to pass the ball during the first half of an NCAA ...
Associated Press

Leary, No. 12 N.C. State rout UConn 41-10 to stay unbeaten

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Devin Leary threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns — including a 75-yarder on the first play from scrimmage — and No. 12 North Carolina State routed UConn 41-10 on Saturday night. Leary completed 32 of 44 passes for the Wolfpack (4-0), while throwing touchdowns to four different receivers, including one […]
20 hours ago
New Mexico running back Nathaniel Jones (25) carries against LSU linebacker Micah Baskerville (23) ...
Associated Press

LSU QB Daniels injured in 38-0 victory over New Mexico

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The LSU defense held New Mexico to 88 total yards in a 38-0 shutout victory Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. While the defense helped propel the Tigers to their first shutout victory since 2018, LSU did see its starting quarterback Jayden Daniels exit the game in the third quarter with […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

UCF turns back Georgia Tech 27-10

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — On a day when senior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee completed just eight passes, Central Florida scored on a blocked punt and rode four Colton Boomer field goals to a 27-10 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. “A win is a win, no matter what it looks like,” said Plumlee, who has […]
20 hours ago
Baylor becomes fourth No. 1 in last 4 weeks in AP Top 25