Gamecocks to enjoy home-state advantage in 2017 SEC women’s basketball tournament (copy)

Dawn Staley and her Gamecocks are back in the top spot of the AP basketball poll. File/AP

COLUMBIA — Long way to go to discover if South Carolina is the nation's best basketball team. 

The USC women are viewed as that right now. 

The Gamecocks returned to the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press women's Top 25 basketball poll on Monday for the first time in five years. In a week where No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Oregon State each lost, USC beat then-No. 21 Arkansas and Vanderbilt and held off Baylor (which it has also beaten this year) for the top ranking. 

The Lady Bears dethroned the Huskies on their home floor and Arizona State took out each of the Oregon schools. Baylor received seven votes for No. 1 while the Gamecocks got 20. 

USC was last ranked first on Feb. 9, 2015, the final week of a 12-week run where it was undefeated and No. 1. The Gamecocks lost to UConn that week and while they have been a consistent Top-5 team since, they never got back to the official No. 1 spot.

The final AP poll every year is collected before the end of the season, so USC wasn't an AP No. 1 in 2017, when it claimed the national championship. 

The Gamecocks are at Missouri on Thursday in their only game this week. They will host No. 10 Mississippi State in a Monday-night showdown to begin next week.

AP Women's Top 25

1. South Carolina

2. Baylor

3. Stanford

4. Connecticut

5. Louisville

6. Oregon

7. UCLA

8. Oregon State

9. N.C. State

10. Mississippi State

11. Kentucky

12. Texas A&M

13. Florida State

14. DePaul

15. Indiana

16. Gonzaga

17. West Virginia

18. Arizona State

19. Missouri State

20. Maryland

21. Arizona

22. Iowa

23. Arkansas

24. Tennessee

25. South Dakota

Others receiving votes: Princeton 30, Northwestern 23, Rutgers 15, Georgia Tech 5, Florida Gulf Coast 2

David Cloninger's AP Women's Top 25

1. South Carolina             

2. Baylor

3. Connecticut

4. Stanford

5. Oregon

6. Oregon State

7. Louisville

8. UCLA

9. Mississippi State

10. N.C. State

11. West Virginia

12. Texas A&M

13. Florida State

14. Maryland

15. Kentucky

16. Indiana

17. DePaul

18. Gonzaga

19. Missouri State

20. South Dakota

21. Princeton

22. Rutgers

23. Arkansas

24. Arizona State

25. Arizona

Zags remain No. 1 in men's poll

Despite Baylor picking up a head of steam this week, Gonzaga remained No. 1 in the men's AP Top 25. 

The Bears beat then-No. 22 Texas Tech and then-No. 3 Kansas to receive consideration for the top spot. Baylor leaped to No. 2.

AP Men's Top 25

1. Gonzaga

2. Baylor

3. Duke

4. Auburn

5. Butler

6. Kansas

7. San Diego

8. Oregon

9. Florida State

10. Kentucky

11. Louisville

12. West Virginia

13. Dayton

14. Villanova

15. Michigan State

16. Wichita State

17. Maryland

18. Seton Hall 

19. Michigan

20. Colorado

21. Ohio State

22. Memphis

23. Texas Tech

24. Illinois

25. Creighton

Others receiving votes: Iowa 88, Stanford 77, Arkansas 65, Indiana 50, Virginia 41, Penn State 36, LSU 30, Arizona 20, Wisconsin 19, Liberty 11, N Iowa 10, Purdue 10, Duquesne 9, Washington 9, TCU 8, Rutgers 8, Virginia Tech 5, Oregon St. 4, Houston 4, BYU 3, ETSU 2, St. Mary's 1, Harvard 1, Akron 1, Southern Cal 1

David Cloninger's Men's Top 25

1. Gonzaga

2. Baylor

3. Duke

4. Auburn

5. San Diego State

6. Kansas

7. Oregon

8. Butler

9. Florida State

10. Louisville

11. Villanova

12. West Virginia

13. Dayton

14. Kentucky

15. Wichita State  

16. Maryland

17. Michigan

18. Memphis

19. Seton Hall

20. Colorado

21. Creighton

22. Michigan State

23. Rutgers

24. Liberty

25. Ohio State

Follow David Cloninger on Twitter @DCPandC.