Houston returns to No. 1 in men’s college basketball poll

The Houston Cougars returned to No. 1 in the AP Men’s College Basketball Poll on Monday for the third time this season, while Northwestern and Texas A&M surged up the rankings after each picking up a pair of impressive wins in the week. last.

The Cougars, on a seven-game winning streak, jumped over Alabama and back to first place, where they spent two weeks in November and December and had another two-week stint last month. They garnered 48 first-place votes from 62 national media panelists to claim No. 1 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 coach Kelvin Sampson said, referring to his veteran leaders who went to a Final Four. two years ago and the Elite Eight last season. “But the emphasis is on ‘we have’. One person doesn’t do it. I’m proud of our program. I’m proud of everyone involved.

The Crimson Tide fell just one spot after losing to Tennessee and routing Georgia in its only week at No. 1. They retained seven votes for the top spot, while Kansas got some. also got seven to move up two spots to No. 3 in this week’s poll.

UCLA remained at No. 4 while Purdue slipped two spots to complete the top five.

“We’re still not as good a basketball team, tactically speaking, as last year’s basketball team,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self, whose he team is trying to become the first consecutive national champions since Florida in 2006 and ’07. “From a competitive point of view, this team is an equivalent, or on par, with this team.”

It was evident on Saturday, when the Jayhawks rallied from 17 to beat No. 9 Baylor 87-71 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Virginia was at No. 6 after beating Louisville and Notre Dame last week. Arizona finished seventh while Texas fell two spots to eighth after losing to Texas Tech and needing overtime to beat Oklahoma. Baylor retained their spot while Marquette returned to the top 10.

The Volunteers fell to No. 11 after following up their win over Alabama with a loss to Kentucky. Gonzaga, Miami and Kansas State followed, with Saint Mary’s giving the West Coast Conference two teams in the top 15.

The Gaels (24-5, 13-1) and Bulldogs (23-5, 12-2) are both playing midweek games before their showdown on Saturday.

Xavier held steady at No. 16, while Indiana, UConn, Creighton and Providence rounded out the top 20.

Northwestern entered the ballot for the first time in more than two years at No. 21 after following up its upset against Purdue two weeks ago with victories over the Hoosiers and Iowa. San Diego State, Iowa State and TCU were next, with Texas A&M returning to the poll after spending a week at No. 24 in November.

“We haven’t gotten ahead of ourselves,” Wildcats coach Chris Collins said. “We had big aspirations for who we could be, and not a lot of people believed in them. I’m sure a lot of people laughed at them. But we had them and they were real. And those guys gave following that. But we are always in the moment, for me it is not the moment of reflection.

“We want more,” Collins said. “We can reflect on the end of the year, when it’s all 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.”


The Wildcats, winners of five straight games, and the Aggies entered the ballot at the expense of NC State and Florida Atlantic. The Wolfpack lost to Syracuse on Tuesday and the Owls lost to Middle Tennessee on Thursday.


There was very little movement in the poll. Providence made the biggest climb just four places to No. 20 after victories over Creighton and Villanova. Iowa State also suffered the biggest drop in four sports to No. 23 after following a win over TCU with a loss to Kansas State on Saturday.


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

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