Arizona men’s basketball leaps to No. 4, ASU gets votes in AP Poll
The Arizona Wildcats (6-0) men’s basketball team climbed up 10 spots in rankings, from 14th to No. 4, in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll after emerging from a stacked field to win the Maui Invitational.
Meanwhile, the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-1) received six votes following home wins over Grambling State and Alcorn State.
Houston reached the top of men’s college basketball in the poll released Monday.
Nearly four decades after Clyde Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon took the Cougars to No. 1, the latest bunch led by Marcus Sasser and star freshman Jarace Walker took over the top spot in the AP Top 25 on Monday. They received 45 of 63 first-place votes from the national media panel, easily outdistancing second-place Texas and third-place Virginia.
“It’s not like we went online and applied for it and waited for a response back. We’ve been working for this,” said Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, whose team is coming off a Final Four and Elite Eight trip the past two seasons. “But remember, it’s a rental. You don’t own it. You’re just renting it because someday somebody else is going to be No. 1.”
North Carolina had been No. 1 all season, but the Tar Heels lost to Iowa State and in a four-overtime thriller to Alabama at the Phil Knight Invitational to cede the top spot to Houston, which beat Kent State in its only game last week.
The last time the Cougars ascended to No. 1 was the final poll of the 1982-83 season, when “The Glide” and “The Dream” along with coach Guy Lewis were the favorites to win it all. They rolled through the NCAA Tournament before falling to Jim Valvano and North Carolina State in an iconic championship game in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“I’ve never been ranked No. 1,” said Sampson, now in his 34th season as a college basketball coach. “We were ranked all 12 years at Oklahoma. I’m sure we were ranked at Indiana. Then we’ve been ranked five or six straight years. We’re used to having a high level of success.”
Texas received eight first-place votes and Virginia received two. Purdue jumped from 24th all the way to fifth and scooped up eight first-place votes after beating West Virginia, Gonzaga and Duke at the Phil Knight Legacy tourney.
“Our guys are competitive. They’re fun to coach. They get along. They’re out there playing with purpose and that’s what you have to have,” said Boilermakers coach Matt Painter, whose team was briefly No. 1 about this time last season.
“Early in the season, very few teams play with the purpose collectively,” he said. “I thought our guys played with a purpose.”
Baylor was sixth, Creighton seventh and U Conn climbed from 20th to eighth after beating Oregon, Alabama and Iowa State to win the Phil Knight Invitational. Kansas fell from third to ninth after losing to Tennessee in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis, while Indiana rounded out the top 10.
AP Top 25 Poll
|1. Houston (45)||6-0||1534||2|
|2. Texas (8)||5-0||1467||4|
|3. Virginia (2)||5-0||1408||5|
|5. Purdue (8)||6-0||1307||24|
|18. North Carolina||5-2||541||1|
|20. Michigan St.||5-2||469||12|
|23. Iowa St.||5-1||198||–|
|24. San Diego St.||4-2||189||17|
|25. Ohio St.||5-1||108||–|
Others receiving votes: TCU 45, Iowa 31, Coll of Charleston 20, West Virginia 14, Mississippi St. 12, Texas Tech 11, Michigan 8, UNLV 6, Arizona St 6, Wisconsin 6, Miami 5, Oklahoma 2, Missouri 2, New Mexico 1, Kansas St 1, Virginia Tech 1, St. John’s 1.