Purdue maintained the top spot in the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll released Monday, but another undefeated team is closing the gap.
UConn leaped into the No.2 spot and scooped up 21 first-place votes, while Purdue picked up 40 of the 61 first-place votes from a national media panel. It’s the highest UConn, unranked in the preseason, has been in the AP poll since they were No.1 in early March 2009.
UConn’s jump to No.2 was facilitated by last week’s No.2, Virginia, losing 69-61 at home to Houston last week.
Houston used a balanced attack to defeat Virginia, with five players scoring in double figures, led by Jarace Walker’s 17 points.
Houston used a 10-2 run early in the second half to open a 40-30 lead, and Virginia never got closer than six points the rest of the game.
The road win over the then-No.2 team put Houston in the No.3 spot this week.
Kansas moved up four spots to No.4 after blowing out then-No.14 Indiana 84-62 at home.
Arizona rounds out the top five after knocking off then-No.6 Tennessee last week.
Virginia dropped to sixth after the loss to Houston, while Texas, which played its first games without suspended coach Chris Beard, remained at No.7 for the second straight week.
Following an 87-81 overtime win over Rice last Monday, the Longhorns defeated Stanford 72-62 at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Sunday as part of the Pac-12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge.
Texas opened up a lead of 15 points in the second half before Stanford embarked on a 16-4 run, closing Texas’ lead to just three points with 6:15 remaining.
But clutch shooting, particularly from Texas guard Marcus Carr — who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half — and costly turnovers from Stanford led to Texas securing the win.
Behind Texas, Tennessee checked in at No.8 after its loss to Arizona, beginning a run of Southeastern Conference (SEC) teams, with Alabama falling to ninth after a loss to Gonzaga and Arkansas holding on to 10th for the second straight week.
Gonzaga came in at No.11, while Baylor checked in at No.12 after wins over Tarleton State and a hard-fought 65-59 win over Washington State, also at the AAC in Dallas as part of the Pac-12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge.
True freshman Keyonte George led the way for the Bears against Washington State with 19 points, and Baylor needed every basket. Trailing by as many as six early in the game, the Bears used two separate 7-0 runs to take a 31-25 halftime lead.
Washington State started the second half on a 16-6 run to go up 41-37. Baylor retook the lead on a three-point play by freshman Josh Ojianwuna and stretched it out to 59-53 with 4:48 left when George, a Lewisville native, knocked down a corner three.
Baylor is one spot ahead of UCLA, which climbed to No.13 after arguably the most impressive week of any team. UCLA won 87-60 at then-No.20 Maryland before beating then-No.13 Kentucky 63-53 at Madison Square Garden.
Duke, the only Top 25 team that did not play last week, follows at No.14, while Mississippi State, one of five unbeaten teams left in men’s Division I basketball, came in at No.15.
Illinois begins a run of Big Ten teams at No.16, with Wisconsin and Indiana following behind.
Kentucky tumbled six spots to No.19 after its third loss in its first ten games, while TCU rounded out the top 20 after a dominant 88-43 win over Mississippi Valley State.
The Horned Frogs are on a seven-game win streak following a surprising 64-63 home loss to Northwestern State on November 14, with two non-conference games remaining before Big 12 play commences.
The SEC leads all conferences with six teams in the poll this week. The Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, and Big 12 conferences have four apiece.
AP Top 25 (First-Place votes):
- Purdue (40) 11-0
- UConn (21) 12-0
- Houston 11-1
- Kansas 10-1
- Arizona 10-1
- Virginia 8-1
- Texas 9-1
- Tennessee 9-2
- Alabama 9-2
- Arkansas 10-1
- Gonzaga 9-3
- Baylor 8-2
- UCLA 10-2
- Duke 10-2
- Mississippi State 11-0
- Illinois 8-3
- Wisconsin 9-2
- Indiana 8-3
- Kentucky 7-3
- TCU 9-1
- Virginia Tech 11-1
- Miami 11-1
- Auburn 9-2
- Marquette 9-3
- Arizona State 11-1
Others receiving votes: Maryland 78, West Virginia 74, Xavier 71, Charleston 68, New Mexico 64, Memphis 59, North Carolina 36, Ohio State 33, Iowa State 26, Iowa 21, San Diego State 16, Texas Tech 10, Utah State 10, Michigan State 7, USC 7, Kansas State 5, Saint Mary’s 1