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Week Six: Clayton Collier's AP Top 25 men's basketball ballot

Tennessee on the rise after blowout wins, nine Big Ten teams in this week's ballot
Credit: Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Jaden Springer (11) goes to the basket against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

MEMPHIS, Tenn — AP TOP 25 WEEK 6 BALLOT— 

  1. Gonzaga 
  2. Baylor
  3. Kansas
  4. Villanova
  5. Houston
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Tennessee
  8. West Virginia
  9. Iowa
  10. Texas 
  11. Creighton
  12. Missouri
  13. Rutgers
  14. Florida State
  15. Illinois
  16. Texas Tech
  17. Michigan State 
  18. Northwestern
  19. Minnesota 
  20. Michigan
  21. Virginia
  22. Oregon
  23. Virginia Tech 
  24. Ohio State
  25. San Diego State

DROPPED OUT — North Carolina (17), Duke (20), Xavier (25)

JUST OUTSIDE  Saint Louis, NC State, Arkansas, LSU, Colorado

THE RANKING — At this point, anyone who does not pick  Gonzaga as the best team in the nation is not paying attention. The Bulldogs stomped No. 16 Virginia 98-75, adding another ranked win to a resume that already boasts victories over No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Iowa and No. 7 West Virginia. The Zags are on a level all-their-own in terms of both record and talent on the court.

North Carolina drops off my ballot after falling to NC State, as does Xavier after battling in a 66-61 loss at No. 13 Creighton. A win over Seton Hall could return the Musketeers to my Top 25 next week. At this point in the season, it comes down to resumes, and Duke simply does not have one yet, hence their dropping out.

Northwestern and Minnesota debut on my ballot at No. 18 and No. 19 respectively. Few teams in college basketball, if any, have had a better eight-day stretch than the Wildcats and Golden Gophers. Minnesota toppled No. 4 Iowa and a dangerous RV Saint Louis team, and their only loss of the season was at No. 18 Illinois. Northwestern turned heads last week, handing No. 4 Michigan State their first loss of the season. The Wildcats followed it up with victories at Indiana and against Ohio State, who hang at No. 24 in my ballot because of their win over No. 11 Rutgers.