GONZAGA

UConn, Purdue atop men’s AP Top 25 while chaos ensues elsewhere

Jan 29, 2024, 3:41 PM

ap top 25 uconn gonzaga...

Alex Karaban of Connecticut shoots over Dusty Stromer and Anton Watson of Gonzaga on Dec. 15, 2023. (Conor Courtney/Getty Images)

(Conor Courtney/Getty Images)

The top five of the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll remained unchanged Monday with defending national champ UConn still ahead of mighty Purdue, streaking North Carolina, defensive-minded Houston and Tennessee.

Click here for the full AP men’s basketball top 25

There was plenty of chaos in the rest of the poll, where 10 teams moved at least five positions one way or another.

The Huskies were still the clear No. 1, picking up four more first-place votes after a 99-56 rout of Xavier for their eighth straight win. They topped the poll on 48 of 63 ballots from the national panel of media, while the Boilermakers received 14 votes for No. 1 and the Cougars picked up the remaining one.

“I think last January helped us a lot,” UConn coach Danny Hurley said. “We went through an absolutely crushing month of January, so we go into games not necessarily afraid to lose. We walked through the fire and still dominated the NCAA Tournament last year.

“So in a weird way,” Hurley said, “we’re not afraid to drop a game, and we go out and we’re really attacking these games.”

Gonzaga is again unranked but received four votes in the poll.

The Boilermakers remained No. 2 after reigning AP player of the year Zach Edey scored 26 points in a win over Rutgers, which made him only the sixth Big Ten player with at least 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

The third-ranked Tar Heels extended their winning streak to 10 with wins over Wake Forest and Florida State, while the Cougars stymied No. 21 BYU and Kansas State to remain at No. 4. Tennessee beat Vanderbilt to remain fifth.

That’s where the wild movement in the poll begins.

Wisconsin rode a slew of losses by top-10 teams, and wins over Minnesota and Michigan State, to climb seven spots to No. 6 for the Badgers’ best ranking since Dec. 28, 2020. Duke climbed five spots to No. 7, and was followed by Kansas, Marquette and Kentucky, which fell four positions following its loss to South Carolina last week.

Arizona was No. 11 while Iowa State made the biggest jump, vaulting 11 spots to No. 12 after beating Kansas State and seventh-ranked Kansas. The Cyclones were followed by Creighton, Illinois and Texas Tech, which moved up five spots after its win over Oklahoma and headed into the week atop the Big 12 at 16-3 overall and 5-1 in league play.

Auburn tumbled eight spots to No. 16 after back-to-back losses to Alabama and Mississippi State, and was followed by Utah State and Baylor. New Mexico moved up six positions to No. 19 after ending a nine-game losing streak to Nevada with an 89-55 rout. Florida Atlantic survived a slugfest with North Texas and came in at No. 20.

The final five consisted of Dayton, BYU and Oklahoma — which fell 12 spots after its losses to Texas and Texas Tech — along with Alabama and TCU, who both returned to the poll after falling out earlier this season.

UP AND DOWN

Iowa State made one of the biggest jumps of the season with its move to No. 12. Wisconsin moved up seven spots, New Mexico moved up six and Duke, Marquette and Texas Tech all advanced five spots.

Their gain came in part at the expense of Oklahoma, which tumbled 12 spots to No. 23. Auburn dropped eight spots and Dayton fell five after the Flyers’ court-storming loss to Richmond.

IN AND OUT

Alabama was as high as No. 17 early in the season before falling out on Nov. 27, while TCU joined the Crimson Tide in returning to the Top 25 for the first time since spending a week at No. 19 in mid-January.

Memphis dropped from No. 19 out of the poll after falling to UAB, its third straight loss to an unranked team. Colorado State also dropped out after a loss to Nevada and an overtime loss to Wyoming.

ON THE DOORSTEP

South Carolina went from receiving no votes last week to the most of any school outside the Top 25. The Gamecocks, who were 11-21 last season, improved to 17-3 overall under second-year coach Lamont Paris with their wins over Kentucky and Missouri.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big East, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and SEC each have a top-five team — in fact, each had two in the top 10. But the Big 12 still leads the overall Top 25 count with eight ranked teams after the Horned Frogs returned to the poll this week.

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UConn, Purdue atop men’s AP Top 25 while chaos ensues elsewhere