How I voted in this week’s AP Top 25 poll

I had no choice but to punish Juwan Howard by not listing Michigan on my ballot. OK, fine, the Wolverines are nowhere near deserving anyway.

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Benedict Mathurin-led Arizona is up to No. 2.

Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin dunks against Arizona State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 67-56. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) ORG XMIT: AZRS112

Rick Scuteri, AP Photos

We’re going to keep it short this week. Not as short as Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s temper. More along the lines of short like Wisconsin’s sub-6-footer coach, Greg Gard.

How about that crazy incident in Madison, folks? What an awful, disappointing scene. I had no choice but to punish Howard by not listing Michigan on my AP Top 25 ballot. OK, fine, the Wolverines are nowhere near deserving regardless of what happens outside the lines.

To the new poll, out on Monday:

AP Top 25

1. Gonzaga, 2. Arizona, 3. Auburn, 4. Purdue, 5. Kansas, 6. Kentucky, 7. Duke, 8. Villanova, 9. Texas Tech, 10. Baylor, 11. Providence, 12. UCLA, 13. Wisconsin, 14. Houston, 15. Illinois, 16. USC, 17. Tennessee, 18. Arkansas, 19. Murray State, 20. Texas, 21. Connecticut, 22. Ohio State, 23. Saint Mary’s, 24. Alabama, 25. Iowa.

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

My ballot

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

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

Five things

• Gonzaga doesn’t face a murderer’s row in the West Coast Conference, but it saved its two toughest league games — at San Francisco on Thursday and at Saint Mary’s on Saturday — for last. Lose either one and kiss the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament goodbye.

• No, it’s not fair to point to a late-January game and say it should decisively dictate where two teams are ranked relative to each other. Still: Kentucky’s 80-62 win at Kansas still leaves me incapable of ranking the Jayhawks before the Wildcats. I’m surprised so many of my fellow voters did just that.

• I kept Michigan State on my ballot, but that doesn’t mean I feel good about it. The Spartans were pretty great down the stretch of a 79-74 loss to Illinois, though. The version of Tom Izzo’s squad that kept coming furiously at the offensive end until it had scored 52 second-half points impressed me just enough. But will that version stick around awhile?

• My ballot crashers this week: Iowa and Wake Forest.

• Kicked to the curb (for now): Notre Dame and Wyoming.

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