Arizona rises to No. 1 in AP Basketball poll

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.

NET RANKINGS

The NCAA's initial NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings were released Monday and differed quite a bit from the AP poll.

Houston was No. 1 in the NET rankings, followed by BYU, Arizona, Creighton and Purdue. Kansas was 16th in the NET.

The NET is the primary sorting tool for determining NCAA Tournament teams.

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.

WELCOME ABOARD

Three teams joined this week's rankings.

Wisconsin jumped in at No. 23 after beating then-No. 3 Marquette at home, pushing the Badgers to five straight wins. Clemson followed at No. 24 amid a 7-0 start, while San Diego State is back in the poll at No. 25 for the first time since sitting at No. 17 in the preseason.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW)

Villanova (No. 18), Mississippi State (No. 21) Alabama (No. 23) fell out of the poll.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big 12 led all conferences with six ranked teams, including No. 12 Texas and No. 14 BYU.

The ACC was next with four teams, followed by the Big Ten, Big East and Southeastern conferences with three each. The Mountain West Conference had two ranked teams, while the Pac-12, American Athletic, Sun Belt and West Coast each had one.


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