NCAA

Virginia remains among top 4, while Maryland moves up in new top-25 poll

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Virginia remains among top 4, while Maryland moves up in new top-25 poll

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Maybe AP Top 25 voters were a bit too low on Michigan to start the season. That isn't the case anymore.

The Wolverines (8-0, 1-0 Big Ten) have made a rapid rise to reach No. 5 in Monday's latest poll behind Gonzaga, Kansas, Duke and Virginia after their latest impressive wins. They've beaten every opponent by at least 17 points, with three of those coming against ranked teams.

The Wolverines are off to their best start since winning the first 16 games of the 2012-13 season, a year that saw them play in the NCAA Tournament final. That's also the last time the Wolverines had cracked the top 5 before Monday.

The success has come amid the program's shift to a more defensive focus. Michigan ranks first in the country in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing an average of 86.8 points per 100 possessions.

"They're learning that sometimes you're not going to make a foul shot, you're going to turn it over, you're going to have a tough ref's call," Michigan coach John Beilein said after Saturday's home win against Purdue. "Your defense can be the one constant, as long as we keep embracing that, we can keep having success."

Michigan started the year at No. 19 but quickly leaped into the top 10 after beating reigning NCAA champion Villanova by 27 on the road on Nov. 14 in a rematch of last year's final.

Last week, Michigan was seventh before beating two more ranked opponents at home: North Carolina by 17 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, then Purdue by 19 in its league opener.

They also rank among the most efficient offenses in the country, while they've proven adept at defending without drawing whistles -- ranking among the nation's best at avoiding fouls and keeping opponents off the foul line.

Yet Beilein chuckled when asked if he was having a difficult time finding things to critique with his team's play after the Purdue win.

"No, I'm finding things," Beilein said. "I'm the same way I'd always be: what can we do better?"

COMPLETE AP TOP 25 POLL

1. Gonzaga 8-0 (43 No. 1 votes, no change from last week)

2. Kansas 6-0 (19 No. 1 votes, no change from last week)

3. Duke 7-1 (1 No. 1 vote, no change from last week)

4. Virginia 7-0 (1 No. 1 vote, no change from last week)

5. Michigan 8-0 (No. 7 last week)

6. Nevada 8-0 (No. 5 last week)

7. Tennessee 6-1 (No. 6 last week)

8. Auburn 6-1 (No change from last week)

9. Kentucky 7-1 (No. 10 last week)

10. Michigan State 6-2 (No. 9 last week)

11. Florida State 6-1 (No. 15 last week)

12. Wisconsin 7-1 (No. 22 last week)

13. Texas Tech 7-0 (No. 20 last week)

14. North Carolina 6-2 (No. 11 last week)

15. Virginia Tech 6-1 (No. 13 last week)

16. Kansas State 6-1 (No. 12 last week)

17. Buffalo 7-0 (No. 21 last week)

18. Iowa 6-1 (No. 14 last week)

19. Ohio State 7-1 (No. 16 last week)

20. Arizona State 7-0 (Not ranked last week)

21. Villanova 6-2 (No. 23 last week)

22. Mississippi State 6-1 (No. 25 last week)

23. Maryland 7-1 (No. 24 last week)

24. Nebraska 7-1 (Not ranked last week)

25. Furman 8-0 (Not ranked last week)

SAME QUARTET

The top four remained unchanged in the poll, with Gonzaga earning 43 of 64 first-place votes. Kansas had 19, while Duke and Virginia each had one.

TOP 10

Michigan jumped Nevada and Tennessee, which checked in at No. 6 and No. 7. Auburn, Kentucky and Michigan State rounded out the top 10.

TOP RISERS

No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 13 Texas Tech made the biggest jumps of the week. The Badgers jumped 10 spots to No. 22, while the Red Raiders moved up seven from No. 20.

No. 11 Florida State and No. 17 Buffalo also had notable climbs, each moving up four spots.

LONGEST SLIDES

Kansas State and Iowa had the biggest slides among ranked teams, with both falling four spots. The No. 16 Wildcats tumbled after a loss to Marquette, while the No. 18 Hawkeyes fell after losing to Wisconsin.

UNC and Ohio State each fell three spots. The No. 14 Tar Heels lost at Michigan a week after losing to Texas, while the No. 19 Buckeyes lost to Syracuse in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

NEWCOMERS

There were three new teams in No. 20 Arizona State, No. 24 Nebraska and No. 25 Furman. It is Furman's first AP poll appearance and comes a little more than two weeks after the Paladins won at Villanova in overtime.

The Cornhuskers are making their first poll appearance since November 2014. Arizona State, however, spent much of last season in the poll and peaked at No. 3 last December.

SLIDING OUT

Texas (No. 17), Oregon (No. 18) and Purdue (No. 19) fell out of the poll, with the Ducks and Boilermakers each losing twice last week.

While the Boilermakers lost against ranked FSU and Michigan teams, the Ducks and Longhorns each suffered surprising upsets. Oregon lost as a 24-point favorite at home to Texas Southern, while Texas lost at home to Radford.

MORE NCAA NEWS

Maryland football coach Mike Locksley releases statement on George Floyd's death

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Maryland football coach Mike Locksley releases statement on George Floyd's death

Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley released a statement on social media following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a black man, died in police custody after a police officer kept his knee on his neck for several minutes. His death has sparked civil unrest and protests in Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York City, Richmond, Va. and several other cities across the country. 

The statement read:

I've been truly struggling attempting to grasp the events of the past few days. My heart goes out to George Floyd and his family. As a father and a coach of players for 30 years that look like George Floyd and myself, it breaks my heart to see this type of behavior continue to be accepted. Regardless of race and color, it's sad and scary to know that these type of events continue to happen in our communities. 

This type of senseless tragedy should never happen and cannot ever be normalized. I will continue to pray that none of my children or players - past, present or future - ever run into the type of injustice that we've seen this week. I sincerely hop ethat these tragedies make us all take some time to think about how we view and treat others. It's on all of us to CREATE CHANGE and DO THE RIGHT THING.

Several other athletes have used their platforms to address Floyd's death and the civil unrest that has followed. Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle released a statement on racism on Friday. Wizards star Bradley Beal sent a series of tweets to address some of the protests.

Patrick Mahomes celebrates Mac McClung picking his alma mater Texas Tech

Patrick Mahomes celebrates Mac McClung picking his alma mater Texas Tech

Wednesday was a good day for Red Raider fans when Mac McClung announced his transfer commitment to Texas Tech

Even former alum and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes - who also was openly recruiting the star on Twitter - was excited about the big get. 

He was joined by fellow Texas Tech alum Jarrett Culver in sharing his excitement of getting the 6-foot-2 guard. Culver's style and skill set are very similar to McClung's. Under head coach Chris Beard, he helped transform the combo guard into a first-round NBA prospect.

Other professional athletes including Trae Young gave McClung their congratulations. 

As a late entry into the transfer portal, McClung was one of the biggest available players this offseason. While he is required to sit a season due to NCAA transfer rules, there is some buzz that he may get a waiver to compete next season in Lubbock. 

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