For the first time since New Year's Eve of 1996, Iowa State has cracked the top four in the Associated Press men's basketball poll.
The Cyclones rose three spots from No. 7, aided in part by several top-tier losses, including North Carolina (to Northern Iowa), Kansas (to Michigan State), Duke (to Kentucky) and Virginia (to George Washington). It was a bit surprising to see voters punish the 4-1 Blue Devils for their lone loss to now top-ranked UK, particularly after good bounce-backs wins over VCU and Georgetown on neutral floors. But I suppose they had to go somewhere.
In any case, Iowa State now sits ahead of the defending national champions with a string of four possible games lying ahead over the next eight days, beginning tonight against Chattanooga (7:00 PM, CyclonesTV) and leading into the Emerald Coast Classic this weekend.
Elsewhere around the Big 12, Kansas dropped a spot to No. 5, Oklahoma rose one to No. 7, and Baylor dropped out of the Top 25 after suffering a seven-point loss to Oregon in Eugene. The 4-0 Ducks found themselves at No. 21 today.
Arguably the Cyclones' two toughest non-conference tests of the year, Cincinnati and Texas A&M, occupy the final two spots in the Top 25 after spending the first two weeks just on the outside looking in. Neither team has faced opposition with a higher KenPom rating than 203rd so far, so truer tests certainly lie ahead.
Other teams receiving votes include future opponents in West Virginia, Iowa, Northern Iowa and, a bit surprisingly, Chattanooga. Fifteen of Iowa State's 30 scheduled games are now against teams that have received at least a vote in any AP poll so far this season.
You can view the poll in its entirety below.
|1||Kentucky Wildcats (59)||4-0||1,619|
|2||Maryland Terrapins (6)||3-0||1,518|
|3||Michigan State Spartans||3-0||1,448|
|4||Iowa State Cyclones||2-0||1,297|
|6||Duke Blue Devils||4-1||1,238|
|9||North Carolina Tar Heels||3-1||1,141|
|14||California Golden Bears||3-0||746|
|17||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||3-0||480|
|20||Wichita State Shockers||2-1||423|
|25||Texas A&M Aggies||4-0||100|
|Also Receiving Votes: Utah 95, George Washington 85, Baylor 81, West Virginia 69, Butler 59, Louisville 40, Northern Iowa 23, Iowa 20, Dayton 18, Tulsa 17, Colorado State 13, Providence 8, Georgetown 4, Michigan 3, Valparaiso 2, Washington 1, Chattanooga 1|
|Dropped: Utah 16, Baylor 20, Butler 22, Michigan 24|