TOP 25 THIS WEEK: Furman plays for 1st time with ranking

Furman trainer Bob Richey needs his gamers to savor this system’s first look within the AP Best 25 ballot, but additionally consider how a lot paintings it took to get there.

He is hoping that way will stay the 25th-ranked Paladins development towards one thing larger, beginning with Tuesday night time’s shuttle to Elon and a weekend seek advice from to USC Upstate.

“The truth of it’s this used to be now not simply one thing that used to be created by way of this workforce,” Richey informed The Related Press. “There may be numerous other folks which are concerned on this and feature prepared the ground for this to occur.”

The Paladins (Eight-Zero, 1-Zero Southern Convention) had a marquee dissatisfied in November by way of beating reigning nationwide champion Villanova in time beyond regulation at the highway to take hold of some nationwide consideration. Additionally they gained at Loyola-Chicago , final yr’s marvel Ultimate 4 workforce.

And there used to be Jordan Lyons’ 54-point appearing , with 15 Three-pointers to tie an NCAA file, in opposition to North Greenville on Nov. 15.

Then got here Monday, when Furman grabbed the overall spot on this week’s ballot and entered the week as certainly one of 11 unbeaten groups left in Department I. Situated in Greenville, South Carolina, Furman has tied a program file with 23 wins in every of the previous two seasons and has gained 15 of 16 courting to final season.

Richey, in his 2nd season as head trainer after six seasons at the Furman training workforce, mentioned the workforce addressed the score in a Monday assembly. That integrated first-year recruiting director Daniel Fowler, a four-year starter for the Paladins who recalled that his freshman workforce was hoping simply to succeed in 10 wins.

Now a workforce picked to complete fourth within the Southern Convention is chasing a lot more, akin to its first Southern Convention Match name and NCAA Match berth since 1980.

“The duty is we center of attention at the activity to hand, we center of attention on growth, we center of attention on getting higher,” Richey mentioned. “We center of attention on being the most productive model of ourselves that we will be able to. And we stay it about that.

“The second one you escape from that and get started falling in love with all of the issues that include this publicity, then I feel that is when you will briefly in finding your self to your again.”

MARQUEE MATCHUP

There is a marquee matchup to headline the week forward for AP Best 25 groups when top-ranked and unbeaten Gonzaga meets No. 7 Tennessee on Sunday in Phoenix.

The Zags (Eight-Zero) have already got one of the most season’s maximum spectacular wins in opposition to then-No. 1 Duke . As for the Volunteers (6-1), it is their 2nd giant nonconference recreation within the season’s opening month; they misplaced in time beyond regulation to No. 2 Kansas within the NIT Season Tipoff over Thanksgiving week.

RANKED VS. RANKED

There may be any other matchup of ranked groups out west Friday night time. This one options No. 6 Nevada assembly No. 20 Arizona State in Los Angeles with each groups looking to keep unbeaten.

STATUS QUO

There used to be no alternate on the peak of Monday’s newest ballot, with Gonzaga, Kansas, No. Three Duke and No. four Virginia on the peak once more. The Zags had 43 of 64 first-place votes, the Jayhawks had 19, the Blue Devils had one and the Cavaliers had one.

MICHIGAN’S CLIMB

Michigan has long past from No. 19 within the preseason to No. Five with a sequence of spectacular wins .

The Wolverines (Eight-Zero, 1-Zero Large Ten) have gained each and every recreation by way of a minimum of 17 issues, together with in opposition to Villanova, North Carolina and Purdue. That has them off to their perfect get started since successful the primary 16 video games of the 2012-13 season, with a league recreation at Northwestern on Tuesday and a house recreation in opposition to South Carolina on Saturday.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Large Ten has a national-best seven ranked groups, led by way of the Wolverines, No. 10 Michigan State and No. 12 Wisconsin. The listing contains No. 24 Nebraska, which entered Monday’s ballot for the primary time since November 2014, and visits Minnesota on Wednesday.

The Atlantic Coast Convention is 2nd with 5 groups — Duke, Virginia, No. 11 Florida State, No. 14 UNC and No. 15 Virginia Tech — whilst the Southeastern Convention has 4 in Tennessee, No. Eight Auburn, No. nine Kentucky and No. 22 Mississippi State.

WATCH LIST

Purdue (Five-Three) fell out of the ballot from No. 19 after losses to ranked FSU and Michigan groups, however completed one level at the back of Furman for the overall spot and may just make it a temporary absence by way of beating No. 23 Maryland on Thursday and Texas on Sunday.

Iowa State (6-1) used to be additionally a few of the peak vote-getters simply outdoor the Best 25 and has a recreation at No. 18 Iowa on Thursday.

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Extra AP school basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP—Best25

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Apply Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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