Michigan State holds off Virginia for No. 1 spot in USA TODAY Sports men’s basketball poll


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For about an hour on Saturday afternoon, it was looking very much like there would be a new No. 1 team in the USA TODAY Sports men’s basketball coaches poll. But in the end, it will be Michigan State for at least another week.

Feb. 18: Michigan guard Zavier Simpson goes to the

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The Spartans then rallied from 27 points down in the first half against Northwestern to avoid relinquishing the ranking it earned last week. Michigan State received 20 of 32 first-place votes and finished nine poll points ahead of second-ranked Virginia. The Cavaliers, who had the weekend off, retained eight first-place nods with the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title all but locked up.

Villanova checks in at No. 3 this week. The Wildcats bounced back from a midweek loss to beat Xavier on the road and vaulted ahead of the Musketeers. Villanova claimed the remaining four No. 1 nods. Duke is back in the top five following Sunday’s big road win at Clemson.

Gonzaga continues its upward mobility, climbing back to No. 6. Big 12 co-leaders Texas Tech and Kansas check in at seventh and eighth, respectively. Purdue and North Carolina round out the top 10.

Houston joins the poll at No. 23 this week, now giving the American three ranked teams along with No. 11 Cincinnati and No. 12 Wichita State. Also debuting is No. 24 Middle Tennessee, its first Top 25 appearance since the final regular-season poll a season ago. Oklahoma and Creighton slide out this week.

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