ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona Wildcats ranked No. 1 in men’s basketball AP poll for first time since 2014

Dec 4, 2023, 11:09 AM

Caleb Love...

Arizona Wildcats guard Caleb Love #2 during a basketball game between the Southern University Jaguars and the University of Arizona Wildcats on November 13, 2023 at McKale Center in Tucson, AZ. (Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It is Arizona’s turn to sit atop The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll.

The Wildcats rose to No. 1 in Monday’s poll for the first time in nearly nine years, making Tommy Lloyd’s squad the third team to hold the top spot this season. Last week’s No. 1 team, Purdue, slid after an overtime loss at Northwestern.

Arizona claimed 59 of 63 first-place votes to move up one spot, putting the Wildcats comfortably ahead of preseason No. 1 Kansas. The Jayhawks rose three spots to No. 2 with a win against last season’s NCAA champion, Connecticut.

Arizona hasn’t been No. 1 in the AP Top 25 since an eight-week stint that ended in January 2014 under former coach Sean Miller. Lloyd is in his third season after a long run as an assistant at Gonzaga, and his first two teams each spent multiple weeks inside the top five.

“I know when I came to this program, my dream is to make it one of the best in the country,” Lloyd said of the possible rise to No. 1 after a weekend win against Colgate. “If you’re one of the best in the country, you’re going to stumble into being No. 1 once in a while. So you know what? Handle it. And that’ll be the message.”

It was a busy day for the poll: No team in the Top 25 was in the same spot it was a week ago.

THE TOP TIER

Houston rose three spots to No. 3, while the Boilermakers fell to fourth after the Northwestern loss. UConn slid only one spot to No. 5 after the loss at Kansas, followed by Baylor.

Gonzaga and North Carolina cracked the top 10 for the first time this season.

The Bulldogs jumped four spots to No. 7 after a neutral-court win against USC. The Tar Heels jumped eight spots to No. 9 after beating Tennessee in the ACC/SEC Challenge, followed by a home comeback win against Florida State.

RISING

The Tar Heels’ leap marked the week’s biggest jump, though No. 13 Colorado State was right behind them after rising seven spots on the strength of its 8-0 start. There was also a six-spot rise for No. 19 Oklahoma, which made its poll debut last week.

In all, 14 teams climbed from last week’s poll, including No. 10 Creighton rising five spots to rejoin the top 10 after spending the first three polls at No. 8.

SLIDING

Duke took the biggest tumble of the week of 15 spots to land at No. 22 after a pair of road losses against unranked opponents. First came a loss at Arkansas then a loss at Georgia Tech after starting point guard Tyrese Proctor went down with an early ankle injury.

No. 15 Miami, No. 17 Tennessee and No. 21 Texas A&M each fell seven spots.

Arizona rises to No. 1 in Associated Press Top 25 rankings

Team Record Pts Prv
1. Arizona (59) 7-0 1571 2
2. Kansas (1) 7-1 1460 5
3. Houston (3) 8-0 1432 6
4. Purdue 7-1 1407 1
5. UConn 7-1 1340 4
6. Baylor 8-0 1234 9
7. Gonzaga 6-1 1146 11
8. Marquette 6-2 1134 3
9. North Carolina 7-1 1004 17
10. Creighton 7-1 921 15
11. FAU 7-1 901 13
12. Texas 6-1 763 16
13. Colorado St. 8-0 755 20
14. BYU 7-0 732 19
15. Miami 6-1 638 8
16. Kentucky 6-2 544 12
17. Tennessee 4-3 509 10
18. James Madison 8-0 381 22
19. Oklahoma 7-0 355 25
20. Illinois 6-1 322 24
21. Texas A&M 6-2 306 14
22. Duke 5-3 296 7
23. Wisconsin 6-2 245
24. Clemson 7-0 227
25. San Diego St. 7-1 168

Others receiving votes: Virginia 148, Ohio St. 122, TCU 87, Northwestern 77, Alabama 50, Michigan St. 46, Princeton 35, UCLA 23, Cincinnati 21, Mississippi 15, Arkansas 14, Providence 13, South Carolina 9, Villanova 8, Colorado 5, Memphis 5, Nevada 4, Georgia Tech 2.

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