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AP Top 25 men’s basketball poll: Kansas, Marquette slumping at the wrong time as Houston holds at No. 1

Houston held onto the top spot in the country with just one week left in the regular season

Well, we’ve made it to March and the final week of the regular season.

Here’s everything you missed in Week 17 of the season and, with the major conference tournaments just a week away, the last relevant Associated Press men’s basketball poll.

Marquette loses Tyler Kolek ahead of rematch with UConn

Marquette may be in trouble.

After looking like a very solid pick to overthrow UConn in the Big East all season, the Golden Eagles are now down Tyler Kolek with just two games to go.

Kolek, the school said Monday, will miss their last two games of the regular season due to an oblique injury he first sustained last week in a win over Providence. The guard is averaging 15 points per game this season while making 40% of his 3-pointers, and has been huge in keeping Marquette in the conversation all year.

Yet on Saturday without him, Creighton flew past Marquette. The Bluejays, who also snapped UConn’s long win streak last month, pushed ahead late to grab an 89-75 win in Omaha. That jumped Creighton to No. 10 this week. As a result, Marquette fell to No. 8.

Just one loss shouldn’t be an issue, but the rest of Marquette’s regular season won’t be easy. They now have to host the Huskies — who jumped over Purdue to No. 2 this week after clinching the regular season conference title — without Kolek on Wednesday. The last time the two schools squared off, UConn cruised to a dominant 28-point blowout win.

While Marquette’s success isn’t centered around just one player, the losses could quickly stack up for the Golden Eagles. That could make a Big East tournament run especially difficult next week.

Kansas has lost two straight games headed into a rivalry matchup with Kansas State and a battle with top-ranked Houston this week

Should we be worried about Kansas?

Honestly, probably.

Kansas is slipping at the absolute worst time. The Jayhawks dropped a home game to BYU first last week, which snapped a 19-game win streak at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Then on Saturday morning, Baylor flew ahead late to hand Kansas a second straight loss in Waco.

While there are still two games left in the regular season, the loss officially means that this Kansas team will have the worst conference record of the Bill Self era.

As a result, Kansas fell seven spots to No. 14 in this week’s poll. Baylor, which beat TCU before beating Kansas, jumped up to No. 11 this week. The Bears sit in third in the Big 12 standings behind top-ranked Houston and No. 6 Iowa State. The Cougars held onto the No. 1 ranking after a last-second win at Oklahoma on Saturday night.

While it’s not always smart to bet against Self, Kansas has a tough stretch to close the season before the Big 12 tournament kicks off next week. The Jayhawks will have to host in-state rival Kansas State on Tuesday night, which is sure to be a tough matchup, before traveling to Houston on Saturday. Without at least one win in those two games, it’s hard to imagine Kansas making a deep run in either the Big 12 tournament — which they’ll have a much lower seed at now than initially thought — or the NCAA tournament.

Games to watch this week

Tuesday, March 5

No. 3 Purdue at No. 12 Illinois | 7 p.m. ET | Peacock

No. 16 Alabama at Florida | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN

Kansas State at No. 14 Kansas | 9 p.m. ET

Wednesday, March 6

No. 1 Houston at UCF | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN+

No. 4 Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN2

No. 2 UConn at No. 8 Marquette | 8:30 p.m. ET | FS1

Thursday, March 7

Washington at No. 18 Washington State | 9 p.m. ET | FS1

Saturday, March 9

No. 14 Kansas at No. 1 Houston | 4 p.m. ET | ESPN

No. 15 Kentucky at No. 4 Tennessee | 4 p.m. ET | CBS

No. 7 North Carolina at No. 9 Duke | 6:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

Sunday, March 10

Wisconsin at No. 3 Purdue | 12:30 p.m. ET | Fox

AP Top 25

The full AP Top 25 poll from March 4, 2024

1. Houston (26-3)

2. UConn (26-3)

3. Purdue (26-3)

4. Tennessee (23-6)

5. Arizona (23-6)

6. Iowa State (23-6)

7. North Carolina (23-6)

8. Marquette (22-7)

9. Duke (23-6)

10. Creighton (22-8)

11. Baylor (21-8)

12. Illinois (22-7)

13. Auburn (22-7)

14. Kansas (21-8)

15. Kentucky (21-8)

16. Alabama (20-9)

17. South Carolina (24-5)

18. Washington State (23-7)

19. Gonzaga (24-6)

20. BYU (21-8)

21. San Diego State (22-7)

22. Utah State (24-5)

23. Saint Mary's (24-7)

24. South Florida (22-5)

25. Dayton (22-6)

Others Receiving Votes: Nevada 42, Florida 39, Boise St. 26, Texas 10, Texas Tech 10, Indiana St 9, Appalachian St 6, New Mexico 5, FAU 4, James Madison 4, Princeton 3, Michigan St. 2, Villanova 2, Colorado St. 2, McNeese St. 2, Richmond 1