Baylor Basketball Rises to No. 3 after Weekend of Historic Upsets

Baylor Basketball Rises to No. 3 After Weekend of Historic Upsets
Baylor basketball forward Flo Thamba (0) slaps hands with guard Adam Flagler (10) after scoring against Kansas on Saturday, February 26, 2022. | Image by Ray Carlin, AP Photo

The top six teams in last week’s Associated Press Top 25 all lost on the same day for the first time since the AP poll began in the 1948-49 season. This historic upset bumped Baylor basketball up seven places in rank, the biggest jump of the week.

Gonzaga, Arizona, Auburn, Purdue, Kansas, and Kentucky made up the top six in last week’s poll, and all suffered losses on Saturday. No.9 Texas Tech lost too, setting the record for most top-ten teams losing in one day since the AP poll began.

The other ten Top 25 teams in action on Saturday all won, but the chaos at the top of the rankings led to several changes in the weekly poll released on Monday.

Despite losing their most recent games, Gonzaga and Arizona remained the top two teams in the rankings. Gonzaga lost 67-57 on the road to No.19 Saint Mary’s on Saturday, but still received 44 first-place votes from the AP’s panel of 61 media members.

Arizona lost 79-63 on the road to unranked Colorado but stayed in the No.2 spot.

Baylor basketball moved up seven spots to No.3 and received four first-place votes. The Bears were one of just two teams in the top ten to win on Saturday, defeating No.5 Kansas 80-70 in Waco. Kansas had a four-game winning streak and would have clinched the Big 12 conference title with a win. Instead, they dropped one spot to No.6 in the latest poll following their loss.

The Bears never led in the first half; their first lead came in the first minute after halftime when they brought the score to 33-32. The team would not trail again for the remainder of the game, avenging a blowout 83-59 road loss at the hands of Kansas on February 5.

Baylor began Saturday tied with Texas Tech for second place in the Big 12 conference, but the Red Raiders dropped a road game to unranked TCU. The Bears are now the sole occupants of second place in the conference and are just one game behind Kansas with two games remaining.

Rounding out the top five is Duke at No.4, the only other top ten team to win on Saturday, and Auburn at No.5. Auburn dropped from No.3 in last week’s poll after losing 67-62 on the road to No.13 Tennessee.

Kentucky and Purdue were the other top-six-ranked teams to lose on Saturday. Kentucky dropped one spot to No.7 after a 75-73 loss on the road to No.14 Arkansas. Purdue fell four spots to No.8 following a surprising 68-65 road loss to an unranked Michigan State.

Texas Tech dropped from No.9 to No.12 after their 69-66 road loss to TCU on Saturday. TCU rallied from an 11-point deficit early in the second half to take their first lead at 63-62 with 2:55 remaining in the game. TCU held the lead for the remainder of the game.

Tech had one last attempt with less than one second left on the clock as TCU protected their three-point lead. A long pass was caught by Bryson Williams of the Red Raiders, who turned around and made a three-point shot. However, officials deemed that he did not get the shot off before the clock hit zero, and TCU fans stormed the court in celebration. The officials still needed to review the play to determine if the call was correct. After looking at the replay, they decided Williams’ shot was, in fact, too late, sealing the win for TCU.

The win immensely helped TCU’s case for being named to the tournament. Meanwhile, Tech had a chance to go undefeated against their in-state rivals from the Big 12. The Red Raiders defeated Baylor and Texas twice and beat TCU 82-69 at home on February 12.

The Texas Longhorns dropped one spot to No.21 in the rankings. On Saturday, the Longhorns escaped with a nail-biting 83-82 win on the road over unranked West Virginia.

Texas trailed by ten points midway through the second quarter before rallying for their second consecutive win. The Longhorns severely hindered themselves by committing 16 turnovers but managed to escape with their seventh win of the past nine meetings with West Virginia.

In all, every team but four got a new spot in this week’s poll; only No.1 Gonzaga, No.2 Arizona, No.14 Houston, and No.16 Southern California retained their same rankings.

On Saturday, Houston avenged their February 9 loss to SMU by defeating the Mustangs 75-61 at home. Houston has a two-game lead over second-place SMU in the American Athletic Conference, with three remaining games.

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