IU falls, Butler jumps in new NCAA basketball rankings

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A 13-game winning streak and high-profile victory over No. 8 Gonzaga has earned Butler a spot in the top-1o of the latest Associated Press Poll.  The Bulldogs moved from 13th to 9th, meanwhile Indiana dropped from 2nd to 7th after a home loss to Wisconsin.

Indiana and  Butler have identical 16-2 records and could be competing for a spot in the Indianapolis regional in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.  The NCAA Tournament Selection committee does not use the polls as a factor in its seeding process, however, both are in the top-15 of most RPI projections. Butler is no longer a host of the Lucas Oil Stadium tournament events, thus is eligible to play games in that venue this tournament

This is Butler’s first top-10 ranking since the 2008 season.  The Bulldogs continue Atlantic-10 play this week with a trip to LaSalle Wednesday and a home game against Temple Saturday night.  Indiana has two home games this week, against Penn State Wednesday and Michigan State Sunday.

Prior to the poll release, Brad Stevens downplayed the fact that his team was in position to move into the top-10.  “I think that is an indictment on the polls.  There is no way we are a top-10 basketball team, but I guess everybody can think that,” said Stevens with a slight grin.

Junior Khyle Marshall admitted he does keep an eye out on the rankings even though it is not something that consumes the team.  “Of course, you have to look at the polls.  I don’t think there is any guy that doesn’t look at them, but when we’re on the court or in practice we can’t really think about that.  Like Coach (Stevens) always says, we have three big wins under our belt, but our focus is on LaSalle on Wednesday.”

Perhaps the reason Butler has been able to string together 13 consecutive wins is the cliche-like motto that Marshall repeated and that Butler lives by. “All we’re thinking about is winning the next possession, winning the next game, one at a time,” added Marshall.

Duke is the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll, while Michigan checks in 2nd. Kansas and Syracuse are tied for third while Louisville is number-five.

The USA Today Coaches poll is very similar, except Kansas is ranked 2nd.  The Coaches have Indiana one spot lower in 8th, while Butler is 9th in both polls.

The video at the top of the page is a segment from Sunday’s Fox 59 Sports Overtime which includes Indiana and Butler discussion with Indianapolis Star beat writers David Woods and Terry Hutchens.

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