Spartans No. 1 in Coaches Poll, No. 2 in AP

Despite taking top spot in coaches poll, 2nd in AP, MSU still a three seed in committee's eyes

The voters are split this week over Michigan State’s place in the college basketball world.

The Spartans returned to No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll on Monday, while only moving up to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25.

MSU (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten), which has won eight straight games, moved back to the top spot in the coaches rankings for the first time since spending one week at No. 1 starting Jan. 1.

In the USA Today rankings, the Spartans received 17 first-place votes and have 763 points. Villanova is No. 2, getting eight votes for first and 742 poll points. Virginia is third (5 first-place votes, 736 points), while both No. 4 Xavier and No. 5 Cincinnati each received one first-place votes.

Virginia, despite losing at home against unranked Virginia Tech on Saturday, moved up one place to No. 1 in the AP Top 25. MSU jumped two spots to after beating previous No. 3 Purdue on Saturday, while then-No. 1 Villanova lost Wednesday to unranked St. John’s.

In the AP poll, the Cavaliers (23-2) have 1,557 points to MSU’s 1,527. Virginia received 30 first-place votes and the Spartans have 21 among the four teams getting first-place votes. Villanova (23-2) is now at No. 3 and received nine first-place votes. No. 4 Xavier (23-3) got five first-place votes.

MSU was projected as a No. 3 seed by the NCAA tournament selection committee on Sunday, in the South Region with overall No. 1 overall projected seed Virginia. The Spartans were deemed the 11th among the top 16 seeds that were released. It is the second year the committee announced its early bracket a month before the selection show that airs when postseason conference tournament games are completed March 11.

The Spartans spent a week at No. 1 after moving into the top spot in both polls on Jan. 1, then lost to both Ohio State and Michigan and dropped the following two weeks. MSU has not dropped out of the top 10 this season and has spent all but two weeks in the top 5 in both the USA Today and AP rankings.

The Boilermakers (23-4, 12-2), who also lost at home to Ohio State on Wednesday, dropped to No. 6 in the AP rankings and No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Buckeyes (22-5, 13-1) moved up six spots to No. 8 this week in the AP rankings and seven spots to No. 9 in the USA Today poll.

The Wolverines (20-7, 9-5) stayed in both polls, dropping one spot to No. 21 in the coaches poll and falling two spots to No. 22 in the AP Top 25.

MSU hits the road for a pair of games this week, starting Tuesday at Minnesota (9 p.m./ESPN2) and then against Northwestern on Saturday (2 p.m./Fox) in Rosemont, Illinois.

Michigan hosts Iowa on Wednesday (6:30 p.m./Big Ten Network) and Ohio State on Sunday (1 p.m./CBS).


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