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Bearcats Back in Coaches Poll, Still Outside AP Top 25

The Wichita State win was enough for the coaches but not the AP voters.

NCAA Basketball: Wichita State at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

There is clearly still work to do for the Cincinnati Bearcats on the rankings front. While a top 25 designation doesn’t earn a program any trophies, it is at least a distinction worth striving for. The Bearcats fell out of both the AP Top 25 and USA Today/Coaches poll last week, but they made some progress toward a return in today’s updated rankings.

They actually found their way back into the top 25 of the Coaches poll or, more accurately, the top 26. With both the Bearcats and Maryland Terrapins receiving 66 votes, the two programs are deadlocked at the No. 25 spot in the poll. If you want a tiebreaker for this conundrum, you can take your pick. Total wins favor the Bearcats (21 vs. 19) as do total losses (4 vs. 7), but the Terps have the statistical advantage, with superior marks in adjusted offense and defense as well as the 22nd most difficult schedule in the country, according to KenPom. Even if a number of opponents from the Bearcats’ schedule are either ranked (Houston at No. 8) or receiving votes in the poll (Mississippi State, Ole Miss), their slate is just 109th nationally.

Progress has been a little slower in the AP poll for the Bearcats. With 99 votes, they improved their vote count by 23, but that didn’t lead to any movement, as they maintained their hold on the No. 26 spot in the rankings. Houston also stayed put at the No. 9 ranking, while Mississippi State and Ole Miss have only three votes between them.

If we return to KenPom’s look at the college basketball landscape, you’ll find that the Bearcats are even lower, with the No. 31 mark in adjusted efficiency. They are also outside the top 30 in adjusted offense (37th) and adjusted defense (35th).