AP men's basketball Top 25: Gonzaga, Texas A&M and Michigan State grab big statement wins

The top two spots didn't change, again, but there was plenty of movement throughout the rest of the country this past week.

Here’s everything you missed in Week 14 of the season, and the latest Associated Press men’s basketball poll.

Gonzaga may not be out of it just yet

After what has been an uncharacteristically bad season for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs picked up a marquee win on Saturday.

Gonzaga, thanks to 23 points from Graham Ike, held on to beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena. It marked the Wildcats’ third straight loss at home, something that has never happened since the arena opened in 1976. Kentucky slipped to No. 22 this week in the poll. The Wildcats host Ole Miss next on Tuesday with a chance to snap their home losing skid. Gonzaga grabbed the win while out-rebounding Kentucky by 12 and making only four 3-pointers as a team.

While the loss stings for Kentucky, it was much more meaningful for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs, who slipped out of the rankings earlier this year for the first time since 2016, have struggled all season. They hold a 18-6 record and have beaten just one ranked team all year long, and sit in third in the WCC standings. They’ve been to the NCAA tournament for 24 straight seasons, too, something that’s now very much at risk.

The matchup with Kentucky was pretty much Gonzaga’s last chance to pick up a big win this year, though wins against both San Francisco and Saint Mary’s — which lead the WCC at this point — to close out the regular season would certainly help heading into the conference tournament. Any more big slips, though, and the Bulldogs may be relying on a conference tournament win to punch their ticket into the tournament.

Texas A&M dominates Tennessee

Texas A&M is making a real run in the SEC.

The Aggies picked up their fifth win in six games on Saturday afternoon in what was a dominant showing in College Station. They rolled to a 16 point win over Tennessee in what was their second victory over a top-10 program this season. They led nearly the entire way, and held Tennessee scoreless for a nearly eight-minute stretch in the middle of the game to push to a 20-point lead early after halftime. Tyrece Radford and Wade Taylor combined for 52 points in the win for the Aggies.

Though Tennessee struggled, Dalton Knecht kept them in it. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers and cut the lead to 12 points in the final minutes, but it was too late. He finished with 22 points, though he’s averaged an impressive 28.4 points per contest over the Vols’ last nine games. They slipped to No. 8 this week after dropping just their third game in conference play.

As for the Aggies, they haven't quite found their way back into the rankings. They received 16 votes in the poll, which makes them No. 37 in the country. They hold a 15-8 record, which is good for fifth in the SEC. Texas A&M has a great opportunity ahead of them with road games against Vanderbilt and No. 15 Alabama this week, before closing with another shot at Tennessee and South Carolina later in the month. If this run can continue, the Aggies will be dangerous in about a month or so.

There goes Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s run may be about done.

The Badgers, after losing a pair of games last week, have now lost four straight. Michigan beat Wisconsin by four on Wednesday night, and then Rutgers flew to a 22-point win on Saturday afternoon. It was the largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent in Rutgers program history.

As a result, Wisconsin — which jumped into the top-10 last week and seemed like a legitimate contender in the Big Ten — fell to No. 20 this week in the poll. That marks a 14 spot swing over the last 14 days.

While Wisconsin isn’t out of it by any means, the last two weeks haven’t done anything to back that up. Wins over Ohio State and Iowa this week now suddenly feel like must wins for the Badgers.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Purdue is still leading the way after a 20-point win over Indiana last week. Zach Edey hit his first career 3-pointer in that win, too. They trail only UConn in the polls. Michigan State picked up a massive win over Illinois on Saturday, too. The Spartans, who opened the season at No. 4 in the nation before falling out of the rankings, rallied from an eight-point hole late to knock off the Illini. It marked Michigan State’s first win over a ranked opponent since it beat then-No. 6 Baylor on Dec. 16, and just its second of the season. It did, though, show flashes of how great Michigan State can truly be if it gets hot in March. After the loss, Illinois fell four spots to No. 14 this week.

Games to watch this week

Monday, Feb. 12

No. 6 Kansas at Texas Tech | 9 p.m. ET | ESPN

Wednesday, Feb. 14

No. 11 South Carolina at No. 13 Auburn | 8:30 p.m. ET | SEC Network

Saturday, Feb. 17

Texas Tech at No. 10 Iowa State | 12 p.m. ET | ESPN+

Texas A&M at No. 15 Alabama | 12 p.m. ET | TBD

Texas at No. 3 Houston | 1 p.m. ET | CBS

No. 4 Marquette at No. 1 UConn | 3 p.m. ET | Fox

No. 22 Kentucky at No. 13 Auburn | 6 p.m. ET | ESPN

AP Top 25

The full AP Top 25 poll from Feb. 12, 2024

1. UConn (22-2)

2. Purdue (22-2)

3. Houston (21-3)

4. Marquette (18-5)

5. Arizona (19-5)

6. Kansas (19-5)

7. North Carolina (19-5)

8. Tennessee (17-6)

9. Duke (18-5)

10. Iowa State (18-5)

11. South Carolina (21-3)

12. Baylor (17-6)

13. Auburn (19-5)

14. Illinois (17-6)

15. Alabama (17-7)

16. Dayton (19-4)

17. Creighton (17-7)

18. Saint Mary's (20-6)

19. BYU (17-6)

20. Wisconsin (16-8)

21. Virginia (19-5)

22. Kentucky (16-7)

23. Indiana State (22-3)

24. FAU (19-5)

25. Oklahoma (18-6)

Others Receiving Votes: Utah St. 160, Colorado St. 145, Texas Tech 111, San Diego St. 84, Washington St 82, Clemson 57, Nevada 57, Gonzaga 50, New Mexico 27, Florida 19, Michigan St. 17, Texas A&M 16, Grand Canyon 13, Mississippi 12, TCU 10, Texas 9, Memphis 8, South Florida 7, Northwestern 2, UNC Wilmington 1.

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