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BYU basketball continues its climb up the AP rankings

Last week, the Cougars cracked the top 25 for the first time in two years

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BYU Cougars students and fans sing “YMCA” during a timeout as BYU and Fresno State play at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 1, 2023.

BYU Cougars students and fans sing “YMCA” during a timeout as BYU and Fresno State play at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. BYU won 85-56. BYU jumped to No. 14 in the latest AP Top 25 poll.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The latest AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll held good news for BYU.

One week after making the list for the first time since 2021, the Cougars climbed five spots to No. 14.

BYU benefitted from its blowout win over Fresno State on Friday, as well as from Kentucky, Tennessee, Miami and Texas A&M’s recent losses.

In an interview with KSL NewsRadio after Friday’s game, BYU coach Mark Pope said he’s proud of his team’s performance early in the season, as well as the commitment to staying focused while the buzz around them grows.

“We are seven games into the season and every game and every extra day of practice, whether you win or lose, whether things are good or bad, it adds distraction. So by the end of the season you can just have this landslide of distraction, and our guys have done a nice job of experiencing a little bit of success and not being distracted,” Pope said, as the Deseret News previously reported.

The Cougars will have to be focused to stay ranked once they start facing their fellow Big 12 programs. The conference is a dominant and consistent presence in the AP rankings.

At No. 14, BYU falls behind four other Big 12 schools — Kansas (No. 2), Houston (No. 3), Baylor (No. 6) and Texas (No. 12).

BYU next plays on Tuesday at home against the Evansville Purple Aces.

Here’s the AP Top 25 as of Dec. 4:

  1. Arizona.
  2. Kansas.
  3. Houston.
  4. Purdue.
  5. UConn.
  6. Baylor.
  7. Gonzaga.
  8. Marquette.
  9. North Carolina.
  10. Creighton.
  11. Florida Atlantic.
  12. Texas.
  13. Colorado State.
  14. BYU.
  15. Miami (Florida).
  16. Kentucky.
  17. Tennessee.
  18. James Madison.
  19. Oklahoma.
  20. Illinois.
  21. Texas A&M.
  22. Duke.
  23. Wisconsin.
  24. Clemson.
  25. San Diego State.