WACO, Texas – Baylor men’s basketball was ranked No. 1 nationally in both the Associated Press and coaches’ top 25 polls released on Monday. It’s the first time in program history the Bears have been voted to the nation’s top spot in the rankings.
Baylor made the fastest climb from unranked to No. 1 in AP poll history. The Bears were unranked – and didn’t receive a single vote – in the week 1 AP poll released on Nov. 14. Just eight weeks later, Baylor claimed the No. 1 spot after starting the season 15-0. BU is the fourth team to go from preseason unranked to No. 1, joining 1978-79 Indiana State, 1989-90 Kansas and 2009-10 Syracuse.
The Bears’ resume includes wins over No. 4 Oregon, No. 7 Xavier, No. 10 Louisville and No. 24 Michigan State, along with Big 12 Conference wins at Oklahoma, vs. Iowa State and vs. Oklahoma State.
Baylor broke into the AP poll at No. 20 on Nov. 21. The Bears then climbed to No. 9 a week later after winning the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis. BU moved up to No. 4 on Dec. 5 after knocking off Xavier for its third top-10 win of the season, and the Bears remained in the No. 4 spot in the Dec. 12, Dec. 19 and Dec. 26 polls. Baylor moved to No. 2 last week and claimed the nation’s top ranking on Monday.
Head coach Scott Drew has had the Bears ranked at some point in each of the last 10 seasons, but BU’s best ranking before this season was No. 3 on Jan. 16, 2012. That same poll was the only time Baylor received a single first-place vote in program history prior to this season, and this year’s squad has earned a total of 86 first-place votes in the AP poll.
This week, Baylor received 55 of 65 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 and 22 of 32 first-place votes in the coaches’ poll.
The 2016-17 Bears are the third different team from the state of Texas to earn the nation’s No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25. Houston was voted No. 1 in 1967-68 and 1982-83, and Texas was No. 1 in 2009-10. Additionally, Baylor is the fourth Big 12 Conference team to earn the No. 1 spot since 2010, joining Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to give the league more No. 1 teams than any other conference over the last eight seasons.
Baylor has a pair of road games against ranked opponents this week. The Bears travel to face No. 10 West Virginia at 6 p.m. Tuesday night and play at No. 25 Kansas State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. BU’s next home game is The Immortal Ten Game against Texas on Jan. 17.
The Feb. 18 game against Kansas is sold out, but tickets for the six other remaining home games can be purchased by at BaylorBears.com/tickets or by calling the Baylor Athletic Ticket Office at 254-710-1000. Follow @BaylorMBB on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for updates throughout the season.