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NCAAB: LSU, Houston on the rise in latest AP Top 25

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January 31st, 2020

For the first time since mid-November, the top 10 of the AP poll stayed mostly intact. The 17-1 Baylor Bears still reign supreme at No. 1, with Gonzaga and Kansas trailing close behind.

The bottom half of the Top 25 experienced a bit of a shakeup. Let’s take a look at the biggest risers and fallers of the week and check out their odds movement ahead of March Madness.

Risers

Houston Cougars: up four spots to #21

Head coach Kelvin Sampson has the Houston Cougars back in top form, a year after his team fell in the Sweet 16 as a No. 3 seed.

Houston began this season unranked and suffered early losses to BYU (72-71) and then-No. 11 Oregon (78-66). In late December the Cougars seemed to find their stride and have lost just once since then, a two-point defeat at Tulsa. Houston’s 65-54 win at Wichita State, during a current four-win stretch, helped land the team at No. 21 in the latest poll.   

The Cougars top the nation in rebound margin (+10.2 per game) and are tied for 15th in blocks per game (5.5). They now own a 16-4 record and are a +6000 longshot to earn the school’s first NCAA title.

LSU Tigers: up four spots to #22

The 15-4 LSU Tigers are riding an eight-game win streak and cracked the Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 11.

The Tigers sit in first in the SEC, with a 6-0 conference record, but have yet to defeat a ranked opponent. Their four losses occurred against head coach Will Wade’s former team, VCU, to then-No. 15 Utah State, East Tennessee State, and USC.

LSU is tied at 19th in scoring (79.6 points per game) and 18th in team field-goal percentage (47.9%). The Tigers boast +6000 odds to win the NCAA tournament and made it as far as the Sweet 16 as a No. 3 seed in 2019.

Fallers

Michigan State Spartans: down three spots to #14

Just as soon as the Spartans jumped up four spots in the Top 25, they came crashing down, from 11th to 14th. The preseason No. 1 endured its fifth loss Thursday at Indiana, 67-63, to bring the team’s record to 2-2 in the past four games.  

The Spartans bounced back with a 70-52 win at Minnesota on Sunday and handled Northwestern easily Wednesday. A road trip to Wisconsin is ahead Saturday, before a difficult February slate that includes games against No. 24 Penn State, No. 19 Illinois, No. 15 Maryland (twice), and No. 18 Iowa.

Despite the Spartans’ recent slide, Tom Izzo’s squad is still a +1200 choice to celebrate a championship in Atlanta.

Butler Bulldogs: down three spots to #16

After they climbed as high as No. 5, the Bulldogs are on a downward spiral and dropped another three spots, from 13th to 16th.

The Bulldogs lost three in a row, to then-No. 18 Seton Hall, DePaul and No. 8 Villanova, then barely edged past Marquette in overtime on Friday.

Butler visited Georgetown on Tuesday and notched a five-point win against the Hoyas, behind senior forward Sean McDermott’s 25 points. 

The Big East power next faces Providence and will get a rematch at home against Villanova on Feb. 5. The Bulldogs own +2000 odds to win the NCAA tournament.


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