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College basketball Top 25: Baylor a runaway No. 1 but not the favorite; plus, my ballot

The Bears get no respect, no respect at all, according to an email that popped into my inbox just after the new poll was released.

Baylor v Gonzaga
For whatever reasons, Gonzaga — not Baylor — is listed as the betting favorite to win it all.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Out of 61 first-place votes in the new AP Top 25 college basketball poll, which came out Monday, take a guess how many went to the undefeated, defending-national-champion Baylor Bears.

Half?

More?

Try all 61. Man, it seems everybody is sold on this team. Even your Cousin Earl tried to sneak in a No. 1 vote for the Bears, and he swears anything that involves voting is as rigged as a Peterbilt.

And yet … Baylor gets no respect, no respect at all, according to an email that popped into my inbox just after the new poll was released. It came from BetOnline and listed Gonzaga — at 7-to-1 — as the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament. Next was Duke at 9-to-1. Baylor was tied with Purdue at 10-to-1.

This is not an earth-shaking development. It made me chuckle, though. The Bears have been so dominant, they’re a ridiculously good bet at 10-to-1 and absolutely should have the shortest odds. By the way, have I mentioned I don’t bet on sports? Cousin Earl and I might be the last two doofuses left who don’t have online accounts.

Here’s the latest poll, out Monday:

AP Top 25

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

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

Five things

• I have Illinois on my ballot, as you can see, and the Illini are sure to be back in the Top 25 for real if they grab a not-so-easy “W” at Minnesota on Tuesday and then take care of business against Maryland on Thursday. Entering the week, the Illini are No. 26 (otherwise known as first among others receiving votes).

• Directly behind Illinois is Oklahoma, Porter Moser’s new squad. The Sooners get Baylor on the road on Tuesday. Good luck with that, fellas. Has Moser torn off his warmup jacket and thrown it to the floor yet?

• UCLA still hasn’t played since Dec. 11. At what point should teams mired in lengthy COVID-19 pauses start to drop a bit in the rankings?

• The national championship game is scheduled for April 4 in New Orleans. That puts us at three months — max — until Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski hangs up the ol’ whistle.

• My only ballot crasher: Tennessee, despite its loss to Alabama; I regretted omitting the Vols a week before after they’d knocked off Arizona. Dropping off my ballot this time: Seton Hall.