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JUST IN: Michigan State inches closer to No. 1 spot in latest AP Poll

Last week was a rather chaotic one for some of college basketball’s best teams. The Associated Press’ top five ranked teams suffered a combined five losses. Among them were the first defeat for No. 1 Duke, and a pair of head-scratching losses by both No. 2 Kansas and No. 5 Florida.

Naturally, the two biggest beneficiaries were the other two top-5 programs that did take one in the loss column. No. 3 Michigan State and No. 4 Villanova picked up a pair of victories last week and were rewarded with promotions. Although, perhaps the newest poll comes as a surprise to some.

And it was a real close decision in terms of overall ballot points. However, looking a little deeper, there was a strong consensus on who the true No. 1 team is on December 11.

Michigan State (9-1, 2-0) by some accounts did not play their best basketball on the road against a perceived weak Rutgers club. They returned home this past weekend to host Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds managed to hang around with MSU for a half before the Spartans ran away in the second half.

Villanova (10-0) is ultimately getting the No. 1 spot this week for multiple reasons, and deservedly so. Aside from the 0 in the loss column entering mid-December, the Wildcats picked up a big resume-building win last week, when they downed No. 12 Gonzaga by 16 points in the annual Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

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And for what it is worth with these top-tier teams this season, Duke losing likely left small mark on this week’s voting ballot for the Spartans. And given how close the point totals were, safe to say it may have contributed some.

Michigan State has won eight straight games since falling to the Blue Devils in the Champions Classic back on November 14. The team has effectively a week off due to final exams at the school before they take the floor again. Their next game is the back end of an in-state college basketball doubleheader showcase at Little Caesars Arena against Oakland (Saturday, December 16 | approx. 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU).

Elsewhere in the polls this week in college basketball, the biggest storyline surrounds Arizona State, who vaulted 11 spots to No. 5 in the newest AP rankings. The Sun Devils picked up a monster road win at Kansas this past weekend, and now have two wins over top-15 clubs through nine games this year. The 9-0 mark for ASU is their best start in over 40 years.

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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