Sweet 16 primer: Teams, times, outlooks, more

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Now’s the Sweet part.

We’re through the early madness of the men’s NCAA tournament and onto the regional semifinals, just two games away from the Final Four. Only four of last year’s Sweet 16 made it this season, which should make for a refreshing change of pace.

Kinda.

Duke, Butler, Ohio State and Kentucky are the repeaters, but Kansas, North Carolina, UConn and Arizona are hardly regional semifinal rookies. Still, there are some new faces.  San Diego State, VCU and Richmond have never been this far. BYU’s hasn’t made it here since 1981.

It’s not a powerhouse field by seed, either. With four double-digit seed and an average seed of 5, it’s just as “chalky” as last season.

Read on for a little more about each Sweet 16 team.

EAST REGION

No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 34-2
How it got here: Beat No. 16 Texas-San Antonio 75-46; beat No. 8 George Mason 98-66.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2010
Next up: No. 4 Kentucky

Essential info: The tournament’s top overall seed played like it the first week and then some. Ohio State hit 16 of 26 attempts from beyond the arc vs. George Mason and 12 of 24 vs. Texas San Antonio. Scoff at the competition if you like, but that’s 56 percent on 50 attempts. That’s absurd, no matter who the Buckeyes are playing. I’d be shocked if opponents allow them to shoot as many 3s the rest of the tournament. Ohio State’s unlikely to continue shooting like that, but even if it only makes 38 percent of those 3s, it’s still a dangerous team. Best take your chances with Jared Sullinger “only” getting 2 points inside.

Tip-off: 9:45 p.m. ET on Friday (TBS)

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No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Record: 28-7
How it got here: Beat No. 15 Long Island 102-87, No. 7 Washington 86-83.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2009
Next up: No. 11 Marquette

Essential info: The Heels’ frontcourt has filled up the box score – Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes has scored 139 of UNC’s points in two games and grabbed 51 rebounds – but the play of point guard Kendall Marshall has been even more impressive. He was spectacular vs. Washington, scoring 13 points, dishing 14 assists and grabbing five rebounds, defying the conventional wisdom about freshmen in March. He’ll be looking for more of the same vs. Marquette as the Heels will have a size advantage inside. Henson, with his considerable reach, will be particularly vexing for the Eagles. 

Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. ET on Friday (CBS)

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No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats

Record: 27-8
How it got here: Beat No. 13 Princeton 59-57; beat No. 5 West Virginia 71-63.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2010
Next up: No. 1 Ohio State

Essential info: Brandon Knight’s doing his best to make Big Blue Nation forget John Wall. (Kidding. That’ll never happen.) He hit the game-winner vs. Princeton then dropped a career-high 30 vs. West Virginia. He wasn’t the only reason the Wildcats advanced (Jorts!) but was the main one. But to beat Ohio State, they’ll need Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb to boost their scoring (combined for 17 and 15 in two games) and for DeAndre Liggins to perform some defensive magic on the Buckeyes shooters. Of note: Kentucky can match Ohio State with talent and perimeter shooting. Will the post players keep up?

Tip-off: 9:45 p.m. ET on Friday (TBS)

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No. 11 Marquette Golden Eagles

Record: 22-14
How it got here: Beat No. 6 Xavier 66-55; beat No. 3 Syracuse 66-62.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2003
Next up: No. 2 North Carolina

Essential info: Those 14 losses? Ignore them. Marquette’s always been far better than its record indicates. Thirteen of those losses came to NCAA tournament teams and 11 were by single digits. Think your team got an unlucky bounce or two? The Eagles had more. Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odum are the main scoring threats, but anyone out on the floor can score and create shots for others. And for a team that doesn’t roll out a nasty defense, it sure looked nasty vs. Syracuse. The Orange committed 18 turnovers, mostly because Marquette was making them so uncomfortable. They’ll be able to run with the Tar Heels, but they won’t fall into any needless up-and-down exchanges. Marquette’s too smart for that. It just needs to hit its shots.

Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. ET on Friday (CBS)

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WEST REGION

No. 1 Duke Blue Devils

Record: 32-4
How it got here: Beat No. 16 Hampton 87-45; beat No. 8 Michigan 73-71.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2010
Next up: No. 5 Arizona

Essential info: The defending champs survived a second-round scare by Michigan, but is in an unusual position entering the Sweet 16. Freshman guard Kyrie Irving – who missed 26 games this season due to a toe injury – finally got back on the court for the Big Dance. He’s played 41 minutes in two games, scored 25 points and showed impressive quickness for a guy who sat out three months. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Irving will get even more time this week, which provides the Devils with yet another offensive weapon and a solid on-ball defender. But they still need senior Kyle Singler to find his shooting form.

Tip-off: 9:45 p.m. ET Thursday (CBS)

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No. 2 San Diego State Aztecs

Record: 34-2
How it got here: Beat No. 15 Northern Colorado 68-50; beat No. 7 Temple 71-64, 2 OTs.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: Never
Next up: No. 3 UConn

Essential info: The Aztecs’ historic season keeps getting better. They breezed to their first-ever NCAA tournament win, then turned in a classic vs. Temple to reach the Sweet 16. The athletic frontcourt frustrates opponents, the guards are steady and smart. It’s a tough, defensive minded team. All good things. But reaching the Final Four presents much more formidable challenges than reaching the Sweet 16. If the Aztecs get past UConn, they’ll face either Arizona or Duke, teams that thrive by hitting 3-pointers and grab defensive rebounds well. That’s a formula that’s burned SDSU twice this season.

Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. ET Thursday (CBS)

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No. 3 Connecticut Huskies

Record: 28-9
How it got here: Beat No. 14 Bucknell 81-52; beat No. 6 Cincinnati 69-58.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2009
Next up: No. 2 San Diego State

Essential info: Kemba Walker’s on his game. He nearly put up a triple-double vs. Bucknell and dumped 33 on Cincy. He’s one of the few players left in the tournament who can win a game by himself, but he’s even better when the rest of the Huskies come to play. Guard Jeremy Lamb’s only missed five shots in two games – and has 30 points to show for it. The Aztecs will almost certainly use guard D.J. Gay on Walker at first, but if he struggles  6-7 Kawhi Leonard could switch over.) Leonard was effective in limiting Jimmer Fredette earlier this season.) They can’t stop Walker from getting his points, but they can make him work for it. That happens, Lamb becomes crucial.

Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. ET on Thursday (CBS)

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No. 5 Arizona Wildcats 

Record: 29-7
How it got here: Beat No. 12 Memphis 77-75; beat No. 4 Texas 70-69.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2009
Next up: No. 1 Duke.

Essential info: Two games, two last-second victories. That’s the Wildcats’ tournament thus far. The first came off a Derrick Williams’ game-saving block, while the other saw Williams make a 3-point play in the final seconds vs. Texas. Some might call that lucky. They wouldn’t be wrong. But give some credit to Arizona for shrugging off a sub-par performance from their star (Williams) by getting 16 points from both Solomon Hill and Jordin Mayes and making 8 of 14 3-point attempts. They’ll need that kind of production against the Blue Devils, who will be aggressive on defense and try to force Kyle Fogg and Momo Jones into turnovers.

Tip-off: 9:45 p.m. ET Thursday (CBS)

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SOUTHEAST REGION

No. 2 Florida Gators

Record: 28-7
How it got here: Beat No. 15 UC Santa Barbara 79-51; beat No. 7 UCLA 73-65.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2007
Next up: No. 3 BYU

Essential info: The Gators drove into the Sweet 16 thanks to their aggressive guards, Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, who made their shots and were too much for the UCLA defense to handle. That hasn’t been true all season, but it’s worked lately. Expect more of the same when the Gators match up with BYU. The Cougars can’t match the Gators’ athleticism, but they’ll happily run and shoot with Florida. That means Boynton and Walker, two average shooters, will be tasked with maintaining their hot shooting from the first two rounds. If that fails, Florida’s not toast because of its balance – and the chance for some revenge on BYU. That’s some powerful motivation.

Tip-off: 7:27 p.m. ET on Thursday (TBS)

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No. 3 BYU Cougars

Record: 32-4
How it got here: Beat No. 14 Wofford 74-66; beat No. 11 Gonzaga 89-67.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 1981
Next up: No. 2 Florida

Essential info: Florida better be ready to guard the perimeter. BYU will come out shooting. Question is, will they connect? Ever since center Brandon Davies was dismissed from the team, the Cougars have attempted roughly two more 3-pointers per game (about 25), but are making just 32 percent of those attempts. With Davies, it was nearly 38. It’s not that they’re a one-dimensional team, it’s that defenses can afford to creep toward the arc more often. It worked vs. Gonzaga when BYU hit 14 of 28. Will the Gators have more success? About the only certainty is that BYU senior Jimmer Fredette will get his. He’s gone for at least 30 points in six of the seven games without Davies.

Tip-off: 7:27 p.m. ET on Thursday (TBS)

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No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 25-8
How it got here: Beat No. 13 Belmont 72-58; beat No. 5 Kansas State 70-65.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2008
Next up: No. 8 Butler

Essential info: Jon Leuer (41 points in two games) and Jordan Taylor (33 points) get the headlines, and rightly so. Most of Wisconsin’s offensive sets rely on those two making shots, but it’s possible to win if they struggle. Ask K-State. Taylor missed 14 of 16 shots and Leuer missed six of his 12 attempts. The rest of the team went 13 of 22. That’s how it goes with Bo Ryan’s team, which prizes high-percentage shots or 3-pointers in order to maximize points on every possession. It’s close to the same offense Butler runs, with some variations and slightly more athletic players. Can the Badgers run it better?

Tip-off: 9:57 p.m. ET on Thursday (TBS)

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No. 8 Butler Bulldogs

Record: 25-9
How it got here: Beat No. 9 Old Dominion 60-58; beat No. 1 Pitt 71-70.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2010
Next up: No. 4 Wisconsin

Essential info: Last year’s Cinderella team is back for another Final Four run. The Bulldogs won two games in the final second, one on a layup, the other on a free throw. Chalk it up to business as usual for Brad Stevens’ team, which won four of its five NCAA tournament games last season by an average of three points. This version doesn’t have a Gordon Hayward, who was a matchup nightmare for opponents, does everything else. It doesn’t turn the ball over, grabs every defensive rebound and is a solid 3-pooint shooting team. It’ll face a Wisconsin team that emphasizes many of those same qualities and plays at the same deliberate pace. Butler will be in the game. Only question is if it’ll come down to the last second again.

Tip-off: 9:57 p.m. ET on Thursday (TBS)

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SOUTHWEST REGION

No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks

Record: 34-2
How it got here: Beat No. 16 Boston 72-53; beat No. 9 Illinois 73-59.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 2009
Next up: No. 12 Richmond.

Essential info: Check out the remaining teams in the Jayhawks’ region. If that looks favorable for a Final Four run, that’s because it is. (In ’08, Kansas played teams seeded 16, 8, 12 and 10 en route to the Final Four.) Look at it two ways: Bill Self’s squad can punch its ticket to Houston by beating inferior teams or it’ll face more pressure than ever because of those teams. Provided the Jayhawks stay motivated, expect more of the same of what’s worked thus far – getting the ball to Marcus and Markieff Morris inside. They’ve combined for 72 points and 41 rebounds in two games.

Tip-off: 7:27 p.m. Friday (TBS)

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No. 10 Florida State Seminoles

Record: 23-10
How it got here: Beat No. 7 Texas A&M 57-50; beat No. 2 Notre Dame 71-57
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 1993
Next up: No. 11 VCU.

Essential info: Florida State makes one of the oldest clichés around come true: defense wins games. The nation’s most efficient defense was on full display in their tourney wins. A&M isn’t an offensive powerhouse, but Notre Dame is one of the nation’s best shooting teams – and it made barely 30 percent of its shots. Considering that 6-9 forward Chris Singleton – the team’s best player and atop defender – only played 10 minutes due to health issues, it’s even more impressive. Question is, will the ‘Noles’ continue their run of solid offense? That’s back-to-back games where they’ve surpassed their usual shooting standards.

Tip-off: 9:57 p.m. Friday (TBS)

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No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth Rams

Record: 26-11
How it got here: Beat No. 11 USC 59-46; beat No. 6 Georgetown 74-56; beat No. 3 Purdue 94-76.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: Never
Next up: No. 10 Florida State.

Essential info: You win three games, you’re usually in the Elite Eight. Not so with the Rams. But hey, they’re in the Sweet 16 for the first time, so they’re not complaining. If anything, they’ve only gotten better as the tournament’s progressed. They dished 26 assists, had just four turnovers and hit eight 3-pointers vs. the Boilermakers. They’ve always boasted an efficient offense – especially when it comes to taking care of the ball – but that was impressive against a proud defense. Hope they’re ready for more. FSU’s even better on defense than Purdue, especially at challenging shots and forcing turnovers. But the Rams’ guards have handled that pressure thus far.

Tip-off: 9:57 p.m. Friday (TBS)

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No. 12 Richmond Spiders

Record: 29-7
How it got here: Beat No. 5 Vanderbilt 69-66; beat No. 13 Morehead State 68-48.
Last Sweet 16 appearance: 1988
Next up: No. 1 Kansas.

Essential info: The Spiders rode their two stars (Justin Harper and Kevin Anderson) and a zone defense to the Sweet 16. Especially that zone. It created enough issues for Morehead’s inside-outside combo of Kenneth Faried and Demonte Harper that Richmond breezed into the Sweet 16. Vanderbilt’s shooters were only slightly more effective against it, but only a little bit. That zone will be the key vs. the Jayhawks, too. Kansas thrives when facing man-to-man defense, but has issues when zoned because it lacks a guy who can penetrate the zone consistently, then find open teammates.

Tip-off: 7:27 p.m. Friday (TBS)

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No. 25 Villanova women beat American University 83-42

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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VILLANOVA, Pa. – Maddy Siegrist had 24 points and seven rebounds, Lucy Olsen added 14 points and No. 25 Villanova beat American University 83-42 on Tuesday night.

Siegrist scored 15 points in the opening 13 minutes as Villanova led 34-15. The Wildcats extended it to 46-23 by halftime before starting the second half on a 9-0 run for a 32-point lead.

Villanova added an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter for its largest lead of the game at 79-36. The Wildcats held American to 15-of-50 shooting (30%) and scored 21 points off 19 turnovers.

Christina Dalce scored 13 points for Villanova (8-2), which plays Saint Joseph’s on Saturday before taking a week off for final exams. Siegrist, who was coming off a 29-point performance on Sunday, made 10 of 17 shots as Villanova shot 56%.

Emily Johns scored 12 points for American (0-8), which hosts Marist (3-5) on Saturday.

No. 6 UConn star Azzi Fudd out 3-6 weeks with knee injury

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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STORRS, Conn. — Sixth-ranked UConn’s top scorer, Azzi Fudd, is expected to be out three to six weeks because of a right knee injury she suffered during her team’s weekend loss to No. 5 Notre Dame, a university athletic spokesperson said.

The sophomore guard was injured in the first half of the game when a teammate collided into her. She returned midway through the second period to play four hobbled minutes, but sat the rest of the way.

“I think she’ll be all right,” coach Geno Auriemma said afterward.

Fudd entered the game averaging 24.0 points but finished scoreless on two shots over 13 minutes in the team’s first loss of the season.

The athletic spokesperson didn’t specify the type of knee injury Fudd sustained.

She underwent evaluation and an MRI confirmed the injury, the spokesperson said.

The Huskies host Princeton next.

New Mexico State suspends player after shooting

Nathan J. Fish/Sun News/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico State’s athletic director says power forward Mike Peake has been suspended indefinitely from the basketball team in connection with last month’s fatal shooting of a student from a rival university.

Mario Moccia also told reporters that neither he nor the school could comment on Peake’s enrollment status as a student. The 21-year-old Peake has not been charged in the Nov. 19 pre-dawn shooting on the University of New Mexico’s campus in Albuquerque hours before the host Lobos were to play the Aggies. That game was canceled along with the Dec. 3 rematch in Las Cruces.

“Mike is suspended from our basketball team until the completion of the university’s investigation and the investigation of the proper authorities,” Moccia said. “When those investigations will be complete, I can’t say.”

State police investigators said 19-year-old Brandon Travis conspired with two other UNM students and a teenage girl to lure Peake onto campus.

The subsequent shootout left Travis dead at the scene and Peake hospitalized with a leg wound that has required several surgeries.

A brawl at an Oct. 15 UNM-NMSU football game in Las Cruces was a precursor to the shooting, police said.

First-year NMSU men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar was not made available to talk to media until 10 days after the shooting.

He expressed his condolences for Travis and his family and said he took full responsibility for the actions of multiple players who sneaked out of the hotel on that morning of the game.

But until Monday, NMSU officials had not spoken publicly about any specific discipline for Peake related to the shooting.

“If there is criticism over this decision, I am in a position to take it on myself,” Moccia said. “I’ve known this player for years and I know what kind of person he is. I didn’t feel a need to rush to judgment. I wanted to give the investigation time to play out before making any decisions.”

Peake, a 6-foot-7 junior from Chicago, played one season at Georgia before transferring to Austin Peay. He joined New Mexico State in 2021 and averaged 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds last season, helping the Aggies reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

No. 18 Gonzaga withstands scare from Kent State for 73-66 win

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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SPOKANE, Wash. – Drew Timme scored 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and No. 18 Gonzaga closed the game on an 11-0 run to rally past Kent State 73-66 on Monday night.

The nation’s longest home win streak was extended to 69 games but not without a major scare by the Golden Flashes. Kent State led 66-62 with 3:38 left after Miryne Thomas’ 3-pointer, but the Bulldogs tightened on the defensive end and got a handful of big plays offensively to hold off the Flashes.

Julian Strawther added 14 points, including a 3-pointer with 3:19 left that started Gonzaga’s decisive run. Timme’s spinning basket in the lane with 2:29 left gave Gonzaga (6-3) the lead, and he added a key defensive play blocking Sincere Carry’s layup attempt at the other end.

Timme was fouled and split free throws with 1:55 left, but Malachi Smith grabbed the offensive rebound and his three-point play gave the Bulldogs a 71-66 lead. It was Smith’s first basket of the game.

“(Timme) was heroic. He wasn’t really looking for the ball much early and wasn’t demanding it . he was splitting the defense and scoring in a variety of ways like he does,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “To end up with 17 boards is monster and we needed every one of them.”

Nolan Hickman added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs, who held a 43-30 advantage on the boards. It was just the second home game inside the McCarthey Athletic Center for Gonzaga and first since Nov. 7 against North Florida.

Thomas led Kent State (6-3) with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Malique Jacobs added 11 points and Carry, who was averaging 18.5 points per game, was held to 10.

“I think in the second half we moved the ball well, we got some turnovers, got some easy shots and was able to give us a lead playing a great team and great program. . Unfortunately we couldn’t finish it off. Give them a lot of credit for that,” Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff said.

Kent State nearly pulled off a surprising upset on the road for the second time in two weeks but couldn’t withstand Gonzaga’s late surge. Kent State led No. 1 Houston by one-point with less than a minute to go nine days ago in Houston but couldn’t make the plays in the closing seconds to finish off the upset in a 49-44 loss.

“Coach Few has told us all week that this is a great team that could go to the Sweet 16. . We knew what they were capable of and we weren’t taking them lightly and we knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Strawther said.

JERSEY RETIRED

Kelly Olynyk’s No. 13 jersey number was retired in front of a sellout crowd. Olynyk played for Gonzaga from 2009-13 and led the Bulldogs to its first ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament while earning first team AP All-American status as a senior.

“You’re almost speechless,” Olynyk said. “It’s just such an honor, especially with the names that you’re up beside. They’re unbelievable players.”

BIG PICTURE

Kent State: The Golden Flashes lost their third game of the season and their second against a ranked opponent. Kent State has three non-conference games left before beginning Mid-American Conference play at home against Western Michigan.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs bounced back from a one-point loss to No. 12 Baylor last week with the win. All three of Gonzaga’s losses are to teams ranked in the top 12 of the AP Top 25.

UP NEXT:

Kent State: At Cleveland State on Saturday.

Gonzaga: Host in-state rival Washington on Friday.

Preseason No. 1 North Carolina drops out of AP Top 25

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston and Texas remain firmly entrenched atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, while preseason No. 1 North Carolina has dropped out entirely after a fourth straight loss.

The Cougars earned 37 of 62 first-place votes in the poll, extending the program’s first stay at No. 1 since the “Phi Slama Jama” days in the 1980s for another week. Houston (8-0) beat Norfolk State and Saint Mary’s in its first week at the top.

“I don’t dwell on it,” coach Kelvin Sampson said last week about the No. 1 ranking. “We’re not running around here pushing our chest out, thinking we’re something we’re not.”

The Longhorns received 14 first-place votes. No. 3 Virginia got three votes and No. 4 Purdue got the remaining eight.

Connecticut (9-0) climbed to No. 5, the program’s highest ranking since early in the 2011-12 season. Other than the top five, there are three other teams in the AP Top 25 that entered Monday undefeated (No. 11 Auburn, No. 13 Maryland and No. 23 Mississippi State).

SWIFT FALL

North Carolina is only the sixth team to go from preseason No. 1 to unranked since at least the 1961-62 season, most recently with Michigan State during the 2019-20 season.

Of that group, the Tar Heels had the swiftest exit from the poll to start the season (four weeks) excet for UCLA in 1965-66. The Bruins fell out of the poll after just three weeks back when only 10 teams were ranked.

Ranked No. 18 last week, the Tar Heels (5-4) l ost their fourth straight game over the weekend at Virginia Tech while playing without banged-up big man Armando Bacot. They appeared on a single ballot this week from the 62-member panel that votes on the AP Top 25.

“I told them also that I’m not panicked, I’m not any of that,” coach Hubert Davis said afterward. “I’m convinced we’re going to be a great basketball team by the end of the season.”

Last year’s Tar Heels were on the bubble to even make the NCAA Tournament well into February in Davis’ debut season. They went on a final-month tear all the way to the NCAA championship game before falling to Kansas.

THE TOP TIER

Kansas climbed to No. 6, followed by three Southeastern Conference teams in Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas. For the Volunteers and Crimson Tide, it marked their first appearances inside the top 10 this year. Arizona rounded out the top 10, falling six spots after a loss at Utah.

RISING

No. 13 Maryland had the biggest jump of the week, vaulting nine spots after wins against Louisville and Illinois last week in the Terrapins’ first year under Kevin Willard. That marks the program’s highest ranking since pushing into the top 10 during the 2019-20 season.

Tennessee was next up with a six-spot climb, while No. 11 Auburn rose four spots.

In all, 13 teams climbed from last week.

SLIDING

Creighton had the week’s biggest fall, tumbling 14 spots to No. 21 after losing at Texas and at home to Nebraska last week.

No. 12 Baylor fell six spots after a loss to Marquette, though the Bears responded by beating Gonzaga on Friday in a rematch of the 2021 NCAA championship game won by Baylor.

The Zags, now No. 18, fell four spots to their lowest ranking since checking in at No. 20 on Christmas Day in 2017.

In all, four teams slid from last week.

STATUS QUO

Beyond the top three, No. 25 Ohio State remained in place after a tough loss at No. 15 Duke last week.

WELCOME

No. 23 Mississippi State and No. 24 TCU were the new additions to the poll, with the Bulldogs (8-0) earning their first AP Top 25 ranking under first-year coach Chris Jans since January 2019.

The Horned Frogs were ranked 14th and 15th, respectively, in the first two polls before falling out for two weeks.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW)

In addition to UNC, Michigan State (No. 20) fell out after losses to Notre Dame and Northwestern.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The SEC led the way with six ranked teams, including No. 16 Kentucky. The Big Ten and Big 12 each had five ranked teams, followed by two each for the Atlantic Coast, Pac-12 and Big East conferences.

The American Athletic, West Coast and Mountain West conferences each had one.