When Cincinnati lost to SMU last Sunday, it was guaranteed that it would fall from the lofty position of No. 11 when the AP Top 25 was released. We are now a week past that time, and the Bearcats are 24-3 overall and 13-1 in American Athletic Conference play, having easily tamed the USF Bulls and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane this past week.
Dominant wins against lesser opponents aren’t likely to jet a team up to the top five, but it shouldn’t hurt the cause and in UC’s case, it did not, as the Bearcats moved up from No. 18 top No. 15 in the most recent AP poll. SMU, one of only three teams to top UC and the only one to do so in the 2017 calendar year, remains hot on the heels of the Bearcats, ranking No. 17 this week after entering the top 20 a week ago.
As has been the case all season, no other AAC team is getting love, but it is good to see that Iowa State, which is now receiving 22 votes in the poll and nearly re-entry, is back in the mix, making UC’s road win over the Cyclones in December look better for its NCAA Tournament resume.
As for the upper echelon of the poll, the top three stayed the same with undefeated Gonzaga retaining the top spot and Villanova and Kansas following behind. Arizona and UCLA each moved up one spot to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, with Baylor falling to No. 9 from the four spot.
Cincinnati did not move up as much in the Coaches poll, rising one spot to No. 16. SMU rose two spots to No. 21 after making its debut in the rankings a week ago. The Coaches’ top five is exactly the same as the AP, while Iowa State got 15 votes this week.