Missouri men's basketball moves up to No. 3 in rankings

Monday, February 13, 2012 | 12:39 p.m. CST; updated 8:08 p.m. CST, Monday, February 13, 2012
Missouri forward Ricardo Ratliffe attempts to block Baylor forward Quincy Miller in the second half at Mizzou Arena on Saturday.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri men's basketball team moved up one spot to No. 3 in this week's Associated Press poll.

The Tigers also moved up to No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. Kentucky and Syracuse are the top two in both polls.

The AP Top 25

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 12, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and previous ranking:

1. Kentucky (63) 25-1 1,623 1
2. Syracuse (2) 25-1 1,559 2
3. Missouri 23-2 1,498 4
4. Kansas 20-5 1,356 7
5. Duke 21-4 1,336 10
6. Ohio St. 21-4 1,284 3
7. Michigan St. 20-5 1,283 11
8. North Carolina 21-4 1,227 5
9. Baylor 21-4 1,064 6
10. Georgetown 19-5 983 12
11. UNLV 22-4 976 14
12. Marquette 21-5 810 18
13. San Diego St. 20-4 688 13
14. Florida 19-6 675 8
15. Wisconsin 19-6 635 21
16. Murray St. 24-1 600 9
17. Michigan 19-7 562 22
18. Indiana 19-6 430 23
19. Louisville 20-5 421 24
20. Florida St. 17-7 406 15
21. St Mary's 23-3 377 16
22. Virginia 19-5 337 19
23. Notre Dame 17-8 231
24. Gonzaga 20-4 221
24. Wichita St. 22-4 221

Others receiving votes: Temple 122, Mississippi St. 108, Creighton 20, BYU 12, Long Beach St. 12, New Mexico 12, Iowa St. 10, Southern Miss. 7, Harvard 6, Saint Louis 5, California 3, VCU 2, Vanderbilt 2, Memphis 1.

Missouri's rise comes after previous No. 3 Ohio State lost to Michigan State on Saturday. Missouri won both of its games last week, beating Oklahoma 71-68 and then-No. 6 Baylor 72-57.

Baylor, which lost to Missouri and Kansas last week, dropped to No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the coaches' poll. Kansas, meanwhile, moved up to No. 4 in the AP poll and No. 5 in the coaches' poll.

Missouri (23-2) and Kansas (20-5) are tied for first place in the Big 12 with 10-2 records in the conference. Kansas plays at Kansas State on Monday night. Missouri hosts Oklahoma State (12-13, 5-7) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena.

Missouri lost its first game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 25 but has not lost since. Cowboys freshman Le'Bryan Nash scored a career-high 27 points against the Tigers in that game.

"He's a great player, and he played outstanding against us, especially down the stretch," Missouri coach Frank Haith said in a Monday morning teleconference. "We've gotta do a great job on him."

Haith called the loss to Oklahoma State a great learning experience because the Tigers learned that they need to close out games. Since that loss, Missouri is 3-0 in games decided by three points or less.

"We learn from our experiences, as good ball clubs do," Haith said.

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford is very familiar with Columbia. He played guard for Missouri in the 1989-90 season, the last time the Tigers were ranked No. 1, before transferring to Kentucky.

He knows that it will be much tougher to beat Missouri on its home floor. Missouri is undefeated at home this season.

"They're one of the most dangerous teams in America, and they're playing extremely well at home," Ford said.

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