Mizzou basketball falls 10 spots to No. 20 in AP poll after losses to Mississippi and Arkansas

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune

Missouri men's basketball dropped 10 spots to No. 20 in The Associated Press poll Monday — its lowest ranking since entering the Top 25 nine weeks ago.

The Tigers experienced the largest drop of any ranked team in the country after losses last week to Mississippi and Arkansas. Texas Tech fell eight spots from No. 7 to No. 15, and Villanova slipped from No. 5 to No. 10. 

Missouri is the third-highest ranked Southeastern Conference team behind Alabama, which moved up three spots to No. 8, and No. 19 Tennessee. The Volunteers dropped three spots from last week's rankings.

After defeating the Tigers on Saturday, Arkansas entered the poll for the first time since January 2018 at No. 24. Florida and LSU also received votes in the poll, with the teams being No. 35 and No. 36 in the nation if the rankings extended that far. 

Missouri was ranked on 60 of 64 ballots this week, with its highest individual vote coming at No. 13. 

More:Five things we learned in No. 10 Mizzou basketball's 86-81 overtime loss to Arkansas

Missouri guard Dru Smith (12) reacts after being hit in the eye during the first half against Arkansas on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

Of the Tigers' 60 votes, 33 came between Nos. 19-21, with 14 coming solely at Missouri's most popular ranking for the week, No. 20. 

Missouri is 13-5 overall and 6-5 in the SEC ahead of two road games this week. First, Missouri is scheduled to play at Georgia on Tuesday night. The Tigers then head back on the road Saturday for a matchup against South Carolina. 

Despite being the third-highest-ranked team in the league, Missouri is sixth in the SEC standings, five games back of first-place Alabama.

The Tigers are only a half-game behind fourth-place Florida and Tennessee. The top four teams in the league standings at the end of the regular season get a double bye in the SEC Tournament. 

Gonzaga, Baylor sit atop rankings

Gonzaga and Baylor lead an unchanged quartet atop the AP poll, while Kansas has returned to the rankings at No. 23 after a one-week absence.

Coach Mark Few’s Bulldogs received 59 of 64 first-place votes in Monday’s Top 25, while Scott Drew’s Bears claimed the other five. Those two teams have been 1-2 in all 13 polls this season and also headlined Saturday’s initial rankings for the committee that will select the field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament.

Next came three straight Big Ten Conference teams, starting with No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Ohio State in their same positions from last week, followed by Illinois in its return to the top 5 for the second time this season.

Houston, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Villanova rounded out the top 10.

No. 14 Creighton had the week’s biggest climb, jumping five spots after a weekend win over Villanova.

The Jayhawks fell out of last week’s poll for the first time in 12 years, but their absence turned out to be a short one. Kansas was one of three new additions to this week’s poll, joined by the Razorbacks and No. 25 San Diego State.

Oklahoma State, Purdue and Rutgers fell out of the rankings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Eric Blum at eblum@columbiatribune.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.

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