Houston returned to No. 1 as Northwestern emerged in the AP Top 25

Houston is back in first place in the AP men’s college basketball poll on Monday for the third time this season, while Northwestern and Texas A&M stormed into the rankings after each posted impressive wins last week.

The Cougars, riding a seven-game winning streak, they vaulted over Alabama and returned to the lead, having a two-week stint in November and December and a two-week stint last month. They received 48 first place votes from the 62 members of the National Media Committee to claim the No. 1 spot with just two weeks left in the regular season.

“This is my fourth year coaching these guys. We’ve developed a really good program here,” Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson said, referring to its veteran leaders who went to the Final Four two years ago and the Elite Eight last season. “But the focus is ‘our’.” One person does not. I am proud of our program. I’m proud of everyone in it.”

The Crimson Tide dropped just one point after losing to Tennessee And guide Georgia in their only week at number one. They kept seven first-place votes, while Kansas also picked up seven to move up to third in this week’s poll.

UCLA remains at No. 4 while Purdue dropped two spots to move closer to the top five.

“We’re not as good a basketball team, from a tactical standpoint, as last year’s basketball team so far,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self, whose team is trying to become the first back-to-back national champions since Florida in 2006. ’07. “From a competitive point of view, this team is equal or equal to this team.”

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That was evident on Saturday, when the Jayhawks went 17-17 to defeat No. 9 Baylor 87-71. At Allen Fieldhouse.

Virginia was sixth after beating Louisville and Notre Dame last week. Arizona finished seventh while Texas dropped two spots to eighth after losing to Texas Tech and needing overtime to beat Oklahoma. The Bears held their spot while Marquette moved into the top ten For the first time since February 25, 2019.

The Volunteers fell to No. 11 after following up their victory over Alabama with a loss to Kentucky. Gonzaga, Miami and Kansas were next, with Saint Mary’s giving the West Coast team a 15th-place finish.

Gael (24-5, 13-1) and Bulldog (23-5, 12-2) They each play midweek games before they face off on Saturday.

Xavier held steady in the #16 this week while Indiana, UConn, Creighton and Providence rounded out the top 20.

Northwestern entered the poll for the first time in more than two years at No. 21 after falling behind Purdue two weeks ago with wins over the Hoosiers and Iowa. San Diego State, Iowa State, and California State University were next, with Texas A&M back in the poll after spending one week at No. 24 in November.

“We didn’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Wildcats coach Chris Collins. “We had high aspirations about what we could be, and a lot of people didn’t believe them. I’m sure a lot of people made fun of them. But we had them and they were real. And those people followed through. But we’re still in the moment. For me, that’s Not a time to think.

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“We want more,” Collins continued. “We can think about the end of the year, when everything will be done in a month. And we can look back on the ups and downs. But we’re doing our best right now to stay in the moment.”

inside and outside

The Wildcats, five-time winners in a row, and the Aggies entered the poll at the expense of North Carolina State and Florida Atlantic. The Wolfpack lost to Syracuse on Tuesday and the Owls lost to Middle Tennessee on Thursday.

high and low

There was little movement in this week’s poll. Providence made the biggest climb in just four spots to #20 with wins over Creighton and Villanova. Similarly, Iowa State posted the biggest drop in four sports to No. 23 after beating TCU with a loss to Kansas State on Saturday.

conference hour

The Big 12 continues to lead with six teams in the AP Top 25 and Oklahoma State receiving votes. The Big East has five teams in the poll — all of them in the top 20 — while the SEC and Big Ten have three teams each.

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AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball, https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll, and https://twitter.com/ AP_Top25

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