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AP basketball Top 25: Purdue takes top spot after Alabama knocks off Houston

There’s a new No. 1 in college basketball.

Houston is out after a tough loss to Alabama on Saturday afternoon, meaning it’s time for the third top-ranked team of the season.

Here’s everything you missed in Week 5 of the season, and the latest Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

Purdue overtakes Houston at No. 1

Alabama stunned Houston on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide, after falling into a 15-point hole just after halftime, rallied to knock off the Cougars in Houston to hand them their first loss of the season. Forward Noah Clowney dropped 16 points with 11 rebounds in the win, and Alabama held Houston to just four points as a team in the final 5:41 of the game.

“This is one of those character wins that shows that our guys are going to keep fighting no matter what the score is,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said, via ESPN. “We could have easily given up down 15. The start of the second half wasn’t great. We made some changes with the bench guys. Hung in there, kept clawing away at the lead, finally able to take the lead and then we pulled away from them.”

The loss dropped Houston out of the top spot in the latest AP poll, where it spend the past two weeks in its first appearance there since 1983. The Cougars fell four spots to No. 5 in this week’s poll. The Crimson Tide, on the other hand, jumped up to No. 4.

With Houston out of the way, and with Texas dropping its first game of the season last week to Illinois, Purdue is now the top-ranked team in the country. The Boilermakers are a perfect 10-0 on the season, and escaped with a 3-point win against Nebraska on Saturday.

Virginia moved up one spot to No. 2 after tight wins over Florida State and James Madison last week.

Texas, after an overtime loss to the Illini, is now No. 7. The Longhorns will host Rice on Monday night, though coach Chris Beard was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge early Monday morning in Austin.

Purdue is off until Saturday, when it will host Davidson. Virginia will host Houston on Saturday, too, in what should be a great matchup — even if it’s not the No. 1 versus No. 2 game it could have been.

Alabama Crimson Tide players and coaches

Alabama stormed back to hand Houston its first loss of the season on Saturday. (Troy Taormina/USA Today)

Virginia Tech in, Creighton out

The Hokies are on a roll.

Virginia Tech entered the rankings for the first time this week, hopping in at No. 24. The Hokies are now 10-1 on the season, with their only loss coming to Charleston last month, and they’ve won five straight — ending with a 5-point win over Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon.

Virginia Tech has several notable wins over some decent programs, too, including over both Penn State and Minnesota in the Big Ten and then North Carolina — which entered the season ranked No. 1 in the country.

While the Hokies are trending up, Greg McDermott’s Blue Jays are still struggling.

Creighton, after entering the year ranked inside the top 10, fell out of the rankings completely. It received 11 votes, which made it unofficially No. 40.

The Blue Jays dropped their fourth straight game this week after a late rally came up just short in Las Vegas. BYU knocked off Creighton 83-80 in the final seconds behind 26 points off the bench from guard Rudi Williams and a late offensive rebound and putback from Dallin Hall, which snapped a two-game losing skid for the Cougars.

While the last stretch has been tough for Creighton, it was without center Ryan Kalkbrenner — who missed Saturday’s game with a non-COVID illness. McDermott said he had an hour to prepare for the game without Kalkbrenner, which certainly made things tough.

Still, the once Final Four favorites are now 6-4 on the season with games this week against Arizona State and Marquette. If there’s a time to figure out what’s wrong in Omaha, it’s now. Otherwise, the start of Big East play may be extremely tough.

Full AP Top 25

The full AP Top 25 poll from Monday, Dec. 12:

1. Purdue (10-0)

2. Virginia (8-0)

3. UConn (11-0)

4. Alabama (8-1)

5. Houston (9-1)

6. Tennessee (9-1)

7. Texas (7-1)

8. Kansas (9-1)

9. Arizona (8-1)

10. Arkansas (9-1)

11. Baylor (7-2)

12. Duke (10-2)

13. Kentucky (7-2)

14. Indiana (8-2)

15. Gonzaga (7-3)

16. UCLA (8-2)

17. Mississippi State (9-0)

18. Illinois (7-3)

19. Auburn (8-1)

20. Maryland (8-2)

21. TCU (8-1)

22. Wisconsin (8-2)

23. Ohio State (7-2)

24. Virginia Tech (10-1)

25. Miami (10-1)

Others receiving votes: Memphis 74, Charleston 64, Marquette 39, Iowa State 39, Arizona State 39, UNLV 27, Xavier 26, Iowa 25, West Virginia 20, Saint Mary’s 15, Texas Tech 14, San Diego State 14, New Mexico 12, Utah 12, Creighton 11, Michigan State 5, Mississippi Valley State 4, Utah State 4, Kansas State 2



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