Breaking down this week’s Associated Press college basketball poll:
SPARTAN STREAK: Michigan State’s only game this week is Friday against Mount St. Mary’s. If the heavily favored Spartans win they will have their longest run ever at the top of The Associated Press’ college basketball poll.
This is Michigan State’s third stint at No. 1 and the previous two lasted two weeks, the length the Spartans have been on top this time.
The previous two appearances at the top were in 1978-79, a national championship season, and 2000-01, when Michigan State reached the Final Four as defending national champion.
NEWCOMERS: Iowa and Massachusetts are the new teams in this week’s poll at Nos. 23 and 24, respectively.
The Hawkeyes (5-0) beat Penn 86-55 in their only game last week. They are ranked for the first time since the final poll of 2005-06.
The Minutemen (6-0) won the Charleston Classic by beating Nebraska, then-No. 19 New Mexico and Clemson. They moved into the rankings for the first time since the first regular-season poll of 1998-99, three years after the school’s only Final Four appearance when John Calipari was the coach and Marcus Camby was the All-America center. One of the guards on that team was current UMass coach Derek Kellogg.
QUICK VISIT: VCU moved into the top 10 last week for the first time. Not only was the Rams’ stint there a quick one, they fell out the Top 25 after losing twice in the Puerto Rico Tip-off. VCU (4-2) lost to Florida State 85-67 in the opening round and 84-80 to Georgetown in the fifth-place game. In between, they did beat Long Beach State 73-67 in the consolation semifinals.
ALSO GONE: New Mexico, which was ranked 19th, was the other team to fall from the ranks of the ranked. The Lobos (4-1) beat UAB 97-94 in double overtime in the opening round of the Charleston Classic then lost 81-65 to Massachusetts in the semifinals. They did come back for a 79-58 victory over Davidson in the third-place game. New Mexico had been ranked for the last 12 weeks of 2012-13 and the first three polls of this season.
CONFERENCE RACE: Iowa moving into the poll gave the Big Ten five ranked teams, breaking the tie for the top spot with the Big 12.