By Jeff O'Brien

Third-ranked Michigan and fourth-ranked Ohio State have found themselves atop the crowd of teams chasing unbeaten Gonzaga and Baylor.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 12: Isaiah Livers #2 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a three-point basket during the first half of the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Crisler Arena on January 12, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Their meeting Sunday headlines the national AP Top 25 schedule for the week, a matchup of teams contending for No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and more.

READ MORE: Michigan Matters: “Help Wanted!” Growing Woe for Business

Michigan (14-1, 9-1 Big Ten) returned Sunday from an extended pause due to coronavirus concerns with a comeback road win at No. 21 Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Ohio State (17-4, 11-4) has won six straight overall — including against the Badgers and No. 11 Iowa.

Both teams were top seeds in Saturday’s initial rankings from the committee that will select the field of 68 teams for the NCAA Tournament. They boast two of the nation’s most efficient offenses.

The Buckeyes are fourth in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency by averaging 122.6 points per 100 possessions.

COLUMBUS, OH – DECEMBER 13: Head Coach Chris Holtmann of the Ohio State Buckeyes gives instructions to his team in the first half against the Cleveland State Vikings on December 13, 2020 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

“The biggest thing as a coach right now is we’ve got to get better,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said after Saturday’s win against Indiana. “And the moment that any type of complacency comes in and we see it in practice, it needs to be addressed. … And we’ve got to stay fully engaged as a group, from scout team on down.”

As for the Wolverines, they rank seventh (118.5 points per 100 possessions) but also boast KenPom’s No. 7 defense (89.1 points allowed per 100 possessions) — which showed when they held the Badgers to 7-for-28 shooting (25%) and 1 for 12 from 3-point range after halftime.

“We trust (coach Juwan) Howard, we trust the whole coaching staff,” Wolverines forward Isaiah Livers said afterward. “We trust each other most importantly.”

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 12: Head coach Juwan Howard of the Michigan Wolverines calls a play from the sideline during the second half of the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Crisler Arena on January 12, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan defeated Wisconsin 77-54. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)


The Big 12 had a national-best six teams in Monday’s latest AP Top 25 poll, and that has set up multiple matchups between ranked teams this week. It figures to be a particularly challenging week for No. 12 Texas.

READ MORE: Detroit Police Department Holds Graduation Ceremony For Recruit Class 2021-G

The Longhorns have games against two teams that appeared in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee’s top 16 seeds, first by visiting No. 9 Oklahoma on Wednesday and then hosting No. 13 West Virginia on Saturday.

The week also includes Saturday’s matchup between No. 15 Texas Tech and No. 23 Kansas — which fell out of last week’s poll for the first time in 12 years but popped back on Monday. And second-ranked Baylor is scheduled to return to action Saturday against Oklahoma State in the Bears’ first game since Feb. 2 after having five games postponed.

LUBBOCK, TEXAS – JANUARY 16: Guards Mark Vital #11 and Jared Butler #12 of the Baylor Bears high five during the first half of the college basketball game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at United Supermarkets Arena on January 16, 2021 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)


As of now, top-ranked Gonzaga (20-0, 11-0 West Coast Conference) has just two games left on its regular-season schedule. The first is Thursday at home against St. Mary’s, followed by Saturday’s visit from San Diego.

All but one of the Bulldogs’ wins have come by double-digit margins, the outlier being an 87-82 win against West Virginia on Dec. 2.


Oklahoma State was the top vote-getter among unranked teams after checking in at No. 23 last week. The Cowboys will have a chance to play their way back in if they can beat Iowa State on Tuesday and Baylor on Saturday.

The same is true of Rutgers, which fell out from No. 25 last week but visits Michigan on Thursday.

PISCATAWAY, NEW JERSEY – JANUARY 15: Paul Mulcahy #4 and Geo Baker #0 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights react in the final minutes of the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Rutgers Athletic Center on January 15, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Wisconsin Badgers defeated Rutgers Scarlet Knights 60-54. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

There’s also Belmont (22-1, 16-0 Ohio Valley) chasing the program’s first AP Top 25 poll ranking. The Bruins host Jacksonville State on Thursday and Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

MORE NEWS: Here's A Look At Weekend Construction Happening In Metro Detroit

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.