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College basketball Top 25: Baylor rides killer ‘D’ back into No. 1 spot; plus, my ballot

You’d think being without the great defender Davion Mitchell would’ve hurt the Bears’ “D,” but apparently not. Just ask Villanova.

Villanova v Baylor
Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Adam Flagler enjoy the moment as Baylor dominates Villanova.
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

One week ago, Purdue took a seat — for the first time in school history — in the No. 1 throne of the AP Top 25.

So what did I write that very day?

“And you know what that means: The Boilermakers will lose their next game.”

Am I brilliant? A college hoops savant? A natural born soothsayer?

Obviously, yes. Fine, no. I was just kidding about the Boilers losing their next game, which happened to be at so-so Rutgers. I would’ve made the same joke had they been lined up to play Boondocks A&M, Bumble Fudge Tech or the College of Automation.

But rankings tend to change like crazy early in the season, and No. 1s have such a history of being vulnerable. Take the Boilers, who went to the RAC in Piscataway, New Jersey, expected to keep rolling and walked out dazed after Ron Harper Jr.’s 40-foot game-winner at the buzzer.

So guess who’s No. 1 in the new poll? Baylor, the defending national champ. And you know what that means …

Saturday night. Bears at Oregon. Quack, quack, the Ducks are back!

For real, though, Baylor is scary-good again, particularly at the defensive end. You’d think losing the great defender Davion Mitchell would hurt the “D,” but ask Villanova about that. The Wildcats played at Baylor on Sunday and lost 57-36. The Bears make opposing offenses look like … hmm, what’s a good way to put this? The Bears! You know, the Chicago Bears.

Never mind.

AP Top 25

1. Baylor, 2. Duke, 3. Purdue, 4. UCLA, 5. Gonzaga, 6. Alabama, 7. Kansas, 8. Arizona, 9. Villanova, 10. USC, 11. Iowa State, 12. Michigan State, 13. Auburn, 14. Houston, 15. Ohio State, 16. Seton Hall, 17. Texas, 18. Tennessee, 19. LSU, 20. Connecticut, 21. Kentucky, 22. Xavier, 23. Colorado State, 24. Arkansas, 25. Texas Tech.

(Click here to see the poll in more complete list form.)

My ballot

1. Baylor, 2. Purdue, 3. Duke, 4. Arizona, 5. Kansas, 6. Alabama, 7. Gonzaga, 8. UCLA, 9. Iowa State, 10. Kentucky, 11. Houston, 12. USC, 13. Auburn, 14. Xavier, 15. Colorado State, 16. Seton Hall, 17. Michigan State, 18. Oklahoma, 19. Villanova, 20. Texas, 21. Arkansas, 22. Ohio State, 23. Wisconsin, 24. Texas Tech, 25. LSU.

(Click here and then on “all voters” to see each voter’s individual ballot.)

Five things

• Arizona is on a dramatic rise. The Wildcats have all the ingredients of a Final Four team, as they put on display in a stirring victory at Illinois. Bennedict Mathurin popped the Illini for 30. The sophomore from Montreal has to be the most underrated player in the country.

• Illini lefties Trent Frazier and Alfonso Plummer combined to shoot 12 for 25 from three and score 52 points, but still the team couldn’t get over the top. Still off my ballot.

• It came down to Wisconsin, Texas Tech, LSU and Loyola for the last three spots on my ballot. The 8-2 Badgers have too many quality wins already to be discounted. The one-loss Red Raiders just beat Tennessee, a terrific win. And the Tigers are 9-0 after blowing out Georgia Tech, so I gave ’em the nod. But the 10-2 Ramblers are a very good team, no doubt about it.

• Porter Moser’s maiden Oklahoma squad just blew the doors off Arkansas by 22, with five Sooners scoring in double figures. Hello.

• My ballot crashers: Seton Hall, Texas Tech and LSU. Falling off it this time: Tennessee, Connecticut and Florida.