Purdue moves to No. 1 in AP Top 25, Alabama cracks top 5
(AP) — Purdue picked up wins over West Virginia, No. 15 Gonzaga and No. 12 Duke in consecutive weeks to win the Phil Knight Legacy tournament earlier in the season.
Wins over Hofstra and Nebraska last week, combined with a loss by Houston, were enough to move the Boilermakers to No. 1 the AP Top 25 for the second straight season.
Purdue moved up three spots in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll released on Monday, receiving 27 first-place votes from a 62-person media panel. No. 2 Virginia received 19 first-place votes to move up a spot, No. 3 Connecticut received 15 and No. 6 Tennessee also got one.
Alabama and Houston rounded out the top five.
Purdue (10-0, 2-0 Big Ten) has made a steady climb after being unranked in the preseason, moving up to No. 5 by winning the Legacy tourney in Oregon. The Boilermakers were No. 4 last week, then blew out Hofstra and scratched out a 65-62 overtime win over Nebraska despite poor shooting and a quiet scoring afternoon by 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey.
“Can you can you find a way to win a game when you don’t shoot the ball well? We were able to do that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
The Boilermakers hope this run at No. 1 will last longer than their last one. Purdue went to No. 1 for the first time in school history in Week 4 last season and promptly lost to Rutgers.
Alabama had to replace three of its top four scorers and started the season without dynamic guard Jahvon Quinerly while he recovers from knee surgery.
None of it has slowed the Crimson Tide’s ride to a second top-five ranking in three seasons.
Alabama knocked North Carolina off its top-ranked perch in four overtimes on Nov. 27 and became the second team — with Oklahoma in 1990 — to beat two No. 1 teams in the same season with its 71-65 win over Houston on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide moved up four spots in this week’s poll.
“Huge program win,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “Not sure how many teams get the chance to play two No. 1 teams in nonconference, let alone beat them, but I think that shows where we’ve gotten this program to that we can play with anyone in the country at this point.”
RISING AND FALLING
No. 18 Mississippi had the biggest jump in the poll, moving up five spots after beating Minnesota.
No. 19 Auburn had the biggest drop, losing eight spots following an 82-73 loss to Memphis. No. 20 Maryland dropped with consecutive losses to No. 22 Wisconsin and No. 6 Tennessee.
No. 7 Texas lost a chance to move up to No. 1 after its overtime loss to Illinois, dropping five spots instead.
IN AND OUT
No. 22 Wisconsin moved into the poll for the first time this season following wins over Maryland and Iowa. No. 24 Virginia Tech is ranked for the first time since 2020-21 after wins over Dayton and Oklahoma State.
No. 25 Miami beat Cornell and North Carolina State to get ranked for the first time since 2017-18.
Creighton dropped out of the poll after reaching No. 7 earlier this season. The Bluejays, ranked 21st last week, have lost four straight.
Iowa State dropped out from No. 20 after a lopsided loss to Iowa while San Diego State fell out from No. 22 after losing to Saint Mary’s in Phoenix.
The Southeastern and Big Ten conferences led the way with six ranked teams each. The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 had four each and the Pac-12 three.
The Big East, American Athletic and West Coast conferences had one ranked team each.