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USF Bulls men’s basketball team receives votes in AP Top 25 poll

UConn remains No. 1; No. 23 Indiana State is ranked for the first time since 1979.
 
USF guard Selton Miguel (1) makes a steal during a game against Temple in January at Yuengling Center in Tampa.
USF guard Selton Miguel (1) makes a steal during a game against Temple in January at Yuengling Center in Tampa. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Feb. 12|Updated Feb. 12

The USF men’s basketball team received votes in the AP Top 25 poll released on Monday.

The Bulls, who have won nine straight games and 15 of their past 16 after a 2-4 start, got seven votes in the weekly 61-person media poll.

USF (10-1, 17-5) entered Monday in first place in the American Athletic Conference and can claim wins over then-No. 10 Memphis, as well as Charlotte and Florida State.

The Bulls will host No. 24 Florida Atlantic (9-2, 19-5), tied with Charlotte (9-2, 15-8) for second in the AAC, Sunday at Yuengling Center in Tampa.

Florida (6-4, 16-7), currently tied for fifth place in the SEC, received 19 votes.

USF isn’t the only surprise team this week.

Indiana State debuted at No. 23, the Sycamores’ first ranking since reaching No. 1 in 1978-79, when Larry Bird played in Terre Haute.

“It’s a group that the community can really wrap their arms around and I think they have. That’s just great to see,” Indiana State coach Josh Schertz told reporters recently. “I know Terre Haute. They love basketball. I know there’s a great history and tradition, from Larry Bird to John Wooden to Clarence Walker.”

Connecticut and Purdue kept the top two spots in the AP Top 25. The defending national champion Huskies received 45 first-place votes, and the Boilermakers had 16.

Schertz took over the Indiana State program during the pandemic, inheriting a depleted roster with no chance to get players to visit campus. Schertz cobbled together a team that won 11 games his first season and the Sycamores improved to 23-13 last season.

Indiana State (22-3) has been on a roll in Schertz’s third season, winning all 11 home games while taking a two-game lead over Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference at 11-1.

The Sycamores have five players scoring in double figures, led by dynamic 5-foot-10 guard Isaiah Swope’s 17.7 points per game. Big man Robbie Avila has become a fan favorite with his goggles, averaging 16.4 points and 7.4 rebounds.

Indiana State is fifth nationally in scoring at 85.6 points per game, ninth in 3-point percentage (39%) and is No. 1 in adjusted field goal percentage, according to KenPom. The combination has the Sycamores eyeing their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011.

“Our goal is we want to get to the NCAA Tournament and advance,” Schertz said. “You never want to put ceilings on yourself. You want to get to the tournament and win games and go as far as you can. You saw what happened last year with Florida Atlantic and San Diego State playing in the Final Four — there’s nothing outside of your reach.”

At the top

Losses by No. 6 Kansas and No. 7 North Carolina led to a shakeup in the top 10 behind UConn and Purdue.

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Houston moved up two spots to No. 5, Marquette rose three places to No. 4 and No. 8 Arizona climbed three following a sweep of the Pac-12′s mountain schools. Tennessee, Duke and Iowa State rounded out the top 10. The Cyclones returned to the top 10 for the first time since the 2021-22 season.

Rising and falling

Iowa State and No. 11 South Carolina had the biggest jumps in this week’s poll, each rising four spots.

No. 20 Wisconsin had the biggest drop, falling nine places after losing four straight games.

No. 22 Kentucky dropped five places after losing three straight games at Rupp Arena for the first time it opened in 1976. The Wildcats hadn’t lost three in a row at home since the 1966-67 season, when they played at Memorial Coliseum.

In and out

No. 18 Saint Mary’s moved back into the AP Top 25 for the first time since the preseason poll after wins over Pacific and Portland. No. 19 Virginia returned to the poll for the first time since mid-December thanks to an eight-game winning streak.

No. 25 Oklahoma moved back into the poll after dropping out last week following wins over No. 18 BYU and rival Oklahoma State.

Utah State dropped out from No. 22 after losing at home to Nevada and beating Boise State. Texas Tech fell from No. 23 to unranked following a loss to No. 12 Baylor and a win over UCF.

San Diego State also dropped out from No. 24 after an overtime loss to Nevada.

Conference watch

The Big 12 leads the country with six ranked teams, followed by the SEC with five. The Atlantic Coast, Big Ten and Big East conferences were next with three. The Pac-12, Atlantic 10, West Coast, Missouri Valley and American Athletic conferences each had one.

By JOHN MARSHALL AP Basketball Writer

AP Top 25

Team (first-place votes), Record, Points, Previous

1. UConn (45), 22-2, 1509, 1

2. Purdue (16), 22-2, 1480, 2

3. Houston, 21-3, 1386, 5

4. Marquette, 18-5, 1273, 7

5. Arizona, 19-5, 1241, 8

6. Kansas, 19-5, 1227, 4

7. North Carolina, 19-5, 1216, 3

8. Tennessee, 17-6, 1033, 6

9. Duke, 18-5, 1025, 9

10. Iowa St., 18-5, 969, 14

11. South Carolina, 21-3, 921, 15

12. Baylor, 17-6, 811, 13

13. Auburn, 19-5, 799, 12

14. Illinois, 17-6, 728, 10

15. Alabama, 17-7, 618, 16

16. Dayton, 19-4, 425, 18

17. Creighton, 17-7, 410, 19

18. Saint Mary’s, 20-6, 296, —

19. BYU, 17-6, 294, 21

20. Wisconsin, 16-8, 249, 11

21. Virginia, 19-5, 218, —

22. Kentucky, 16-7, 217, 17

23. Indiana St, 22-3, 209, —

24. FAU, 19-5, 206, 20

25. Oklahoma, 18-6, 178,

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, USF 7, Northwestern 2, UNC Wilmington 1.

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