The Baylor Bears kept their spot as the No. 1 team in the latest Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball rankings. Baylor received all 61 first-place votes for the third time in four weeks.
Duke, Purdue, Gonzaga, and UCLA round out the top five, followed by the second-highest ranked Big 12 team, Kansas, at No. 6.
Intra-conference play began this week, and Baylor (14-0) picked up two wins to open their Big 12 season. First, the Bears held on for a tough 77-72 win on the road against then-undefeated and No. 8 Iowa State. Baylor never trailed in the game that matched two Division I teams with 12-0 records or better against each other for only the fourth time in the last 40 years.
Baylor led 41-33 at halftime and built a lead as big as 14 points in the second half. However, Iowa State (13-1) battled and managed to keep the game close despite making only 1-of-15 three-point attempts in the game. Iowa State cut their deficit to five points three times in the last three minutes, but fell short. They dropped to No. 11 after their first loss in the latest rankings.
The Bears followed up that win by defeating Oklahoma 84-74 on Tuesday night in Waco. Baylor’s 84 points are the highest that Oklahoma (11-3) has allowed all season. The Bears dominated Oklahoma on the boards, out-rebounding the Sooners 34-16 on the night.
The Sooners had not lost in nearly a month before falling victim to the top-ranked Bears. Baylor is on a 20-game win streak dating back to last season.
Next, Baylor will go on the road to play TCU (10-1) on Saturday, followed by a home game against Texas Tech (10-3) on January 11.
The second-highest ranked team from Texas remains the Houston Cougars at No. 12. Houston (13-2) picked up two wins on the road against American Athletic Conference (AAC) rivals this week. First, a challenging 66-61 win over Temple, then a comfortable 83-66 victory over South Florida. Next, the Cougars will play a game at home against Wichita State (9-4) on January 8.
The Texas Longhorns rose three spots to No. 14. Texas (12-2) picked up two solid wins against Big 12 opponents. First, a 74-59 win over West Virginia (11-2) at home. Texas led 39-20 at halftime and were ahead by 28 points with 13 minutes remaining in the game. West Virginia’s shooting improved down the stretch to make the score more respectable.
Then, the Longhorns got a solid win on the road, defeating Kansas State 70-57. Texas trailed by six points at halftime but outscored Kansas State (8-5) 41-22 in the second half to take the win.
The Longhorns are powered by an elite defense that leads the nation in the fewest points allowed per game (51.3). Next, Texas will go on the road to play Oklahoma State (7-5) on Saturday, followed by a home game against Oklahoma on January 11.
Rounding out the rankings as the No. 25 team for the third consecutive week is the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Texas Tech may not remain in the Top 25 for long. This week, the Red Raiders’ only game was a narrow 51-47 defeat in their Big 12 opener on the road against No. 11 Iowa State.
Texas Tech was shorthanded due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols. The Red Raiders had just seven players available for the game but gave a valiant effort, nearly coming away with a road win against a highly ranked team.
Texas Tech will hope that it is not shorthanded in their next two games, where they will face top-ranked competition. First, the Red Raiders will host No. 6 Kansas (12-1) on Saturday, and then they will go on the road for a game against No. 1 Baylor on January 11.