Houston rises to No. 1 in AP Top 25 ahead of Purdue, UConn; South Florida makes its rankings debut

Now it is Houston’s turn at the top of The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll.

The Cougars moved to No. 1 for the first time this season in Monday’s latest poll, climbing one spot to end the six-week stay of reigning national champion Connecticut. Houston (24-3) became the fifth team to hold the top spot this season.


Purdue rose one spot to No. 2, while the Huskies’ loss to Creighton dropped them to third in a poll that included South Florida cracking the rankings for the first time in program history.

Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars spent seven weeks at No. 1 last year, their first stint at the top since the “Phi Slama Jama” days during the 1982-83 season with a team featuring future NBA greats like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Now they’re back, playing in a new conference home (the Big 12) with the same defense-first formula that has Houston leading the country in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency (87.1 points allowed per 100 possessions).

“Our guys are tough,” Sampson said after an overtime win at Baylor. “We’re not always pretty. But last time I checked this is not a beauty contest.”

The top tier

The top 10 featured the same universe of teams, though in reshuffled order.

Tennessee moved up a spot to No. 4 for its highest ranking of the season, followed by Marquette. Arizona, Kansas, Iowa State, North Carolina and Duke rounded out the top 10.

Rising and falling

While there was plenty of movement, there were no major leaps among the week’s 12 rising teams. No. 11 Auburn and No. 12 Creighton had the biggest jumps of a modest three spots, while four others teams rose two positions.

No. 21 Dayton took the biggest tumble of nine teams that dropped, falling five spots after a loss at George Mason. No. 15 Baylor fell four spots after losing at BYU before falling to Houston.

No. 24 Florida was the only team to hold its position from last week.

Welcome aboard

South Florida has been a surprise in its first season under Amir Abdur-Rahim, who led a remarkable turnaround at Kennesaw State from a one-win season to an NCAA Tournament bid last year. Now he’s helped the Bulls (21-5) go from being picked ninth in the American Athletic Conference to their first-ever ranking at No. 25.

The other two additions are familiar: No. 22 Utah State spent five straight weeks in the poll earlier this season, while No. 23 Gonzaga is back in after falling out for six straight weeks to end that program’s first stretch among the unranked since the 2015-16 season.

Farewell (for now)

Colorado State (No. 22), Texas Tech (No. 23) and BYU (No. 25) fell out from last week.

Conference watch

The Southeastern Conference led the way with six ranked teams, including No. 14 Alabama, No. 16 Kentucky and No. 18 South Carolina. The Big 12 was next with four teams, all in the top 15.

The Big East had three, followed by the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast conferences with two. The Atlantic 10 joined the AAC with one.

Texas rises to No. 3 in women’s AP Top 25 behind South Carolina, Ohio State; Iowa drops to No. 6

(AP) — Texas rose to its highest ranking in more than a year in The Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll Monday after another week of shakeups amongst the top teams.

The Longhorns moved up two spots to No. 3 after four of the top seven teams lost at least one game last week. Texas hadn’t been this high in the Top 25 since the school was also third on Nov. 14, 2022. Texas has won eight straight games and closes out the regular season this week against No. 20 Oklahoma and BYU. The Longhorns are a game behind the Sooners for first place in the Big 12.

South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 team, receiving all 35 votes from the national media panel, after routing Alabama and Kentucky. The Gamecocks clinched their third consecutive outright Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and eighth in 11 years. They visit Arkansas on Thursday night before hosting Tennessee in the regular-season finale on Sunday.

Ohio State was second in the poll. The Buckeyes clinched a share of the Big Ten title with their 14th consecutive win on Sunday.

Stanford was fourth after splitting a pair of home games against Arizona and Arizona State. Despite the loss to the Wildcats, the Cardinal clinched at least a share of their 27th Pac-12 regular-season championship.

Virginia Tech moved up three spots to fifth. The Hokies have won 10 consecutive games and earned at least a share of their first ACC regular-season title at 14-2.

Iowa, USC and UCLA followed the Hokies. LSU moved up four places to ninth and UConn climbed five spots to 10th. It’s the first time that UCLA, LSU and UConn — who were in the top five in the preseason poll — are all in top 10 in a month.

FALLING WOLFPACK: N.C. State dropped six spots to 12th after losses to North Carolina and Duke. The Wolfpack had won eight of nine before the two defeats. Two losses separate second place and seventh place in the ACC standings as of Monday; Syracuse at 13-4 is in second and North Carolina and Duke, both 10-6, are in seventh. N.C. State hosts Syracuse on Thursday. The Orange are led by Dyaisha Fair, who moved into fifth on the NCAA career scoring list on Sunday, passing Brittney Griner.

IN AND OUT: UNLV reentered the poll this week, moving in to No. 24. The Rebels are tied for West Virginia in that spot. Princeton fell out after losing to Columbia on Saturday. The Lions received two votes marking the second consecutive year that Columbia has received points in the Top 25. Since joining the Division I ranks in 1986-87, Columbia had gone 0-12 all-time against AP Top 25 opponents before the win over the Tigers.

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