Hope everyone enjoyed watching last week's battle between Kansas and Oklahoma as much as I did.
I came away from that thriller still believing they are the top two teams in the nation, though I was obliged to switch Kansas and Oklahoma from how I've been voting in recent weeks. Here is how I voted in this week's AP men's basketball top 25 poll (week of Jan. 11) with each team's actual ranking in parenthesis.
1. Kansas (1): Jayhawks backed up three-overtime thriller against Oklahoma with a solid road win against Texas Tech.
2. Oklahoma (2): Buddy Hield may have leapt to the top of the player of the year pack with his 46-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist performance against Kansas.
3. Michigan State (4): Denzel Valentine displayed some rust in his return from minor knee surgery against Penn State, but no doubt Spartans are glad to have him back.
4. North Carolina (5): Topped Florida State before ruining coach Jim Boeheim's return to the bench in a win against Syracuse.
5. Maryland (3): A 3-pointer from star Melo Trimble saved the Terrapins from an upset bid by Wisconsin.
6. Duke (9): Blue Devils picked up solid wins against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech last week.
7. Miami (Fla.) (8): Hurricanes face a challenging road test Tuesday night against Virginia.
8. Villanova (6): Wildcats have impressed in recent weeks with wins against Xavier and Butler.
9. Xavier (7): Musketeers kept pace with a solid win against St. John's.
10. SMU (10): Criticism of the academic scandal that will keep the Mustangs out of postseason play are justified, but even after losing 12-points per game guard Keith Frazier to an abrupt transfer, Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has undefeated SMU playing inspired basketball.
11. Virginia (13): Cavaliers took a significant tumble from No. 4 after consecutive losses against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
12. Kentucky (14): Wildcats continue to show more vulnerability than in recent seasons after a loss against LSU.
13. West Virginia (11): Mountaineers continue to roll but will face both Kansas and Oklahoma before the week is over.
14. Arizona (18): The road in the Pac-12 wasn't kind to the Wildcats last week, who were stunned by UCLA's Bryce Alford in the waning seconds before losing in four overtimes at USC.
15. Providence (12): Friars' eight-game win streak was snapped by Marquette last week.
16. Iowa State (17): Cyclones have gone just 4-3 since a season-ending injury to Naz Mitrou-Long.
17. Texas A&M (15): Aggies picked up a pair of narrow-but-solid road wins last week at Mississippi State and Tennessee.
18. South Carolina (19): Gamecocks remained undefeated after beating Auburn and passing first big SEC test against Vanderbilt.
19. Butler (23): Bulldogs topped an improved DePaul program but fell at home Sunday night against Villanova.
20. Iowa (16): After knocking Michigan State from the nation's top spot in late December, Spartans get a rematch at home Thursday night.
21. Pittsburgh (20): The Panthers are 3-0 in ACC play going into a Thursday night battle at Louisville.
22. Louisville (21): Cardinals tumbled five spots after a four-point loss against Clemson.
23. Baylor (22): Bears returned to the rankings after an impressive win against Iowa State.
24. Purdue (24): Boilermakers stumbled at Illinois after a solid home win against Michigan
25. Gonzaga (25): At first I was inclined to include a Pac-12 Conference team at this spot, but I couldn't find a way to separate the candidates. UCLA continued to be giant-killers with its win against Arizona, but six overall losses left me hesitant. Washington has put together the league's best start, but Huskies have lost to Oakland and UC-Santa Barbara at home in the past month. USC continued to impress in its four-overtime win against Arizona, but it's hard to put the Trojans ahead of a Washington team they lost to on Jan. 3. Until one of these teams creates separation the nod goes to the Zags, who have won seven consecutive games since a Dec. 12 loss against UCLA.
OUT (my poll): Cal, UConn.
IN: Baylor, Gonzaga.