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Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 13

Michigan’s Chaundee Brown, left, and Franz Wagner celebrates their win over Ohio State after an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Michigan’s Chaundee Brown, left, and Franz Wagner celebrates their win over Ohio State after an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Gonzaga and Baylor have been Nos. 1 and 2 the whole season, and nothing is going to change about that. The only question now is whether there are two teams out ahead of the pack or three.

The way Michigan played against Ohio State on Sunday, and the way the Wolverines have played since returning from two weeks off — the kind of COVID pause that has sunk other teams — certainly raises the question of whether this is actually a 1-2-3 situation, given Michigan’s ongoing success in a conference that accounts for four of the top 10 teams on this ballot.

In terms of efficiency, there’s still a chasm between Gonzaga and Baylor and then again between Baylor and Michigan. (Raw data: Gonzaga’s efficiency margin, on Monday, was 38.42. Baylor’s was 34.93. Michigan’s was 30.61. Iowa’s was 29.86.) The gap between first-place Gonzaga and third-place Michigan is as large as the gap between Michigan and 12th-place Florida State.

It’s not quite a top three yet, but it certainly bears watching. Still, give credit to Juwan Howard, who’s hiring was widely questioned due to his lack of college coaching experience but has picked up right where John Beilein left off, both on the court and the recruiting circuit.

THIS SEASON’S BALLOTS

Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12

THIS WEEK’S TOP 25 BASKETBALL BALLOT

1. Gonzaga (last week: 1)

2. Baylor (2)

3. Michigan (3)

4. Illinois (4)

5. Ohio State (5)

7. Iowa (10)

7. Alabama (8)

8. Villanova (11)

9. West Virginia (13)

10. Florida State (19)

11. Virginia (6)

12. Creighton (12)

13. USC (7)

14. Houston (9)

15. Oklahoma (15)

16. Loyola-Chicago (16)

17. Wisconsin (14)

18. Kansas (25)

19. Purdue (22)

20. Arkansas (24)

21. BYU (NR)

22. Texas (17)

23. Tennessee (18)

24. Colorado (23)

25. San Diego State (NR)

OUT Texas Tech (20), Missouri (21).

Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered four Final Fours, the Summer Olympics, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.



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