Houston, Alabama top AP Top 25; Marquette climbing, Pitt in
The top five spots in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll remained the same. The rest of the AP Top 25 was a big jumble.
Houston was No. 1 for the second straight week in the poll released Monday, receiving 49 first-place votes from a 62-person media panel. No. 2 Alabama had five first-place votes and No. 3 Kansas received eight.
UCLA and Purdue rounded out the top five. The Boilermakers held at No. 5 despite losing to No. 15 Indiana.
In the rest of the poll, only No. 20 Providence kept the same position from last week as teams get ready for conference tournaments next week and the start of March Madness.
Alabama held its spot after winning two games despite a challenging week off the court. Brandon Miller had a pair of huge games since police alleged that he brought a gun to former teammate Darius Miles, who is charged with capital murder in a fatal shooting.
Against Arkansas on Saturday, Miller’s regular pregame introduction with a Crimson Tide staffer giving him a pat down didn't sit well with coach Nate Oats — or anyone else.
“I can assure you it definitely will not happen again the remainder of this year,” Oats said.
Miller had 24 points in the 86-83 win over the Razorbacks after scoring 41 in a two-point win over South Carolina.
Marquette has made a quick rise under coach Shaka Smart.
The Golden Eagles wrapped up a share of their first Big East regular-season title in a decade with a 90-84 win over DePaul on Saturday and climbed four spots in this week’s poll to No. 6. It is Marquette’s highest ranking hitting No. 1 in 1977-78.
Houston on top
Houston moved into the top spot last week and held onto it after a pair of routs last week. The Cougars' 76-57 win at East Carolina on Saturday clinched the American Athletic Association regular-season championship, the fourth time in five seasons they've at least shared the conference title.
“Our kids know how to win — I say that a lot,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “But we’ve figured out how to play our system, be unselfish.”
Marquette matched No. 14 UConn and No. 18 San Diego State with the week's biggest jump among teams in the poll, each climbing four spots.
No. 13 Virginia took the biggest tumble, losing seven spots following losses to Boston College and North Carolina last week.
In and out
No. 21 Maryland is back in the AP Top 25 after wins over Minnesota and then-No. 23 Northwestern.
No. 23 Kentucky returned to the poll after a seven-week absence. The Wildcats had a rapid fall from being No. 4 in the preseason poll, but reeled off wins over No. 12 Tennessee, Florida and Auburn.
No. 25 Pittsburgh is ranked for the first time since 2016 after beating Georgia Tech and Syracuse last week.
Northwestern's return to the poll for the first time in two years didn't last long. The Wildcats dropped out this week after losses to Maryland and Illinois.
Iowa State fell out from No. 23 after three straight losses and consecutive losses knocked out Creighton from No. 19.