Baylor & Kansas Headline This Week In AP Top 25

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Kansas didn’t get long to savor a win at Kentucky, not with another top-five matchup looming to headline this week’s schedule for AP Top 25 teams.

The third-ranked Jayhawks host No. 2 Baylor on Wednesday night, topping a heavy schedule of games matching two ranked teams. Each of the major conferences has at least one, though the Baylor-Kansas game is the only one featuring two top-10 teams.

It comes four days after Kansas beat the Wildcats 79-73 at Rupp Arena when those teams were ranked No. 2 and No. 4, respectively.

“It’s not very often you get to host a top-five team at home. We were able to do that last year in an epic game,” Kansas coach Bill Self said, referring to the Jayhawks’ triple-overtime win against Oklahoma. “I’m sure this one will be hotly contested as well.”

Baylor (20-1) was ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history before losing at West Virginia on Jan. 10. Kansas (19-2) suffered its own loss at West Virginia last week to snap an 18-game winning streak.

HEAVY LOAD: The Atlantic Coast and Big Ten conferences each had two games featuring two ranked teams, though the ACC’s first came Monday night with No. 21 Duke’s 84-74 win at No. 20 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish (17-5) visit No. 12 North Carolina on Saturday trying to snap a three-game skid.

No. 23 Purdue (17-5) also has two games against ranked teams this week. The Boilermakers host No. 25 Northwestern — rolling with six straight wins to enter the poll for the first time since the 2009-10 season — on Wednesday then visit No. 17 Maryland on Saturday.

RISING CATS: If not for Baylor-Kansas, the biggest game to watch this week might have been No. 5 Arizona visiting No. 13 Oregon on Saturday.

The Wildcats (20-2) are surging with 14 straight wins and recently got Allonzo Trier — an athletic 6-foot-5 guard who returned for his sophomore season instead of entering the NBA draft — back from a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs that sidelined him for the first 19 games.

The preseason Pac-12 favorite Ducks (19-3), who reached last year’s NCAA Elite Eight, had won a school-record 17 straight games before losing at Colorado over the weekend.

Other matchups involving two ranked teams include No. 22 Creighton at No. 16 Butler (Tuesday) in the Big East and No. 8 Kentucky at No. 24 Florida (Saturday) in the Southeastern Conference.

NEW NO. 1: Gonzaga’s still unbeaten — and now the nation’s top-ranked team.

The Bulldogs (22-0) moved into the top spot in Monday’s poll. They play with the No. 1 ranking for the first time Thursday at BYU, then host Santa Clara on Saturday.

This is Gonzaga’s second appearance at No. 1, the other time coming during the 2012-13 season. The Bulldogs are the fifth team to reach No. 1 this year, following Duke, Kentucky, Villanova and Baylor.

CONFERENCE WATCH: The ACC had a national-best six teams in the poll, led by No. 6 Louisville and No. 9 Virginia. The Big Ten was second with four teams, led by No. 10 Wisconsin.

All three of the Big 12’s ranked teams are in the top 10 with Baylor, Kansas and No. 7 West Virginia.

WATCH LIST: SMU (18-4) is the first team in the “Others receiving votes” category just outside the Top 25. The Mustangs host East Carolina on Wednesday then visit Tulsa on Saturday in American Athletic Conference play, though neither game is likely to create much of a boost considering Tulsa sat at No. 107 and East Carolina at No. 220 in the NCAA’s RPI listings as of Monday.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW): Xavier fell out from No. 24, snapping a streak of 29 straight poll appearances. The Musketeers (15-6) were No. 7 in the preseason poll, but have lost four of six — all to ranked teams — and now must play without point guard and No. 2 scorer Edmond Sumner due to a season-ending knee injury .

Xavier hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday then visits No. 22 Creighton on Saturday.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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