AP men's basketball Top 25: Houston back on top after Purdue falls to Rutgers again

Houston is back in the No. 1 spot for the second time this season

Last week was a chaotic one for the top teams in men's college basketball.

As we enter the second week in January, there’s once again a new team holding the top ranking.

Here’s everything you missed in Week 9 of the season, and the latest Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

Houston back on top as UConn, Arizona fall

Kelvin Sampson and the Houston Cougars are the top ranked team in the country once again.

Houston retook the No. 1 spot in the rankings this week after Purdue fell to Rutgers last Monday. The loss marked the first of the season for the Boilermakers, who have now fallen to the Scarlet Knights as the No. 1 team twice in as many seasons. Purdue fell two spots to No. 3 this week, a small stumble after making up the loss with wins over Ohio State and Penn State.

Houston cruised to a pair of conference wins this week, beating SMU by 33 points on Thursday and then Cincinnati by 13 points on Sunday. The Cougars have won seven straight since falling to Alabama last month, which is their only loss of the season.

Though Purdue’s fall was minimal, others in the top five weren’t so fortunate. UConn fell two spots to No. 6 after the Huskies dropped two straight games before finally snapping the skid on Saturday against Creighton. Arizona dropped four spots after its 14-point home loss to Washington State on Saturday, too. That marked the Wildcats’ first home loss in 28 games.

Iowa State Cyclones guard Gabe Kalscheur
Iowa State guard Gabe Kalscheur lifted the Cyclones past the Horned Frogs on Saturday with a late clutch 3-pointer. (Andrew Dieb/USA Today)

Iowa State’s rise continues

Iowa State’s impressive run continued last week.

The Cyclones picked up their fifth straight victory on Saturday with a narrow two-point win over TCU after Gabe Kalscheur drilled a 3-pointer with just 1.3 seconds left on the clock in Fort Worth.

The win, which was the latest over a ranked opponent for Iowa State, bumped the Cyclones up 11 spots to No. 14 in this week’s poll. They’ve also got wins over then-No. 1 North Carolina in November and Baylor late last month.

Though the latest stretch has been impressive, and they’ve yet to drop a game in conference play, the Cyclones will be faced with a true test in the coming days. After a battle with Texas Tech on Tuesday, Iowa State will go up against No. 2 Kansas on Saturday and then will host No. 10 Texas next week. If the Cyclones are going to make a claim to win the Big 12, the next week or so will be a very good chance to prove they belong in the title conversation.

UCLA back in top 10 after 11th straight win

None of UCLA’s recent wins have been overly impressive.

Sure, the Bruins beat USC on Saturday — but they did so after scoring just 16 points in the second half and going nearly 10 minutes with just a field goal and a lone free throw in that span.

The victory, however, marked the Bruins’ 11th straight win. That is what’s impressive about the stretch that Mick Cronin’s group is on. UCLA jumped up three spots to No. 7 in this week’s poll.

Since it sustained back-to-back losses in Las Vegas in November, UCLA has gone undefeated in conference play and picked up a win over then-No. 13 Kentucky. It’ll host Utah and Colorado this week before traveling to both Arizona State and Arizona next week.

While it hasn’t been perfect by any means, especially after seeing how USC shut them down in the second half on Saturday, the Bruins aren’t losing. And that’s really all that matters.

Full AP Top 25

The full AP Top 25 poll from Monday, Jan. 9:

1. Houston (16-1)

2. Kansas (14-1)

3. Purdue (15-1)

4. Alabama (13-2)

5. Tennessee (13-2)

6. UConn (15-2)

7. UCLA (14-2)

8. Gonzaga (14-3)

9. Arizona (14-2)

10. Texas (13-2)

11. Kansas State (14-1)

12. Xavier (13-3)

13. Virginia (11-3)

14. Iowa State (12-2)

15. Arkansas (12-3)

16. Miami (13-2)

17. TCU (13-2)

18. Wisconsin (11-3)

19. Providence (14-3)

20. Missouri (13-2)

21. Auburn (12-3)

22. Charleston (16-1)

23. San Diego State (12-3)

24. Duke (12-4)

25. Marquette (13-4)

Others receiving votes: Baylor 93, Clemson 43, Florida Atlantic 33, Indiana 30, Michigan State 24, Saint Mary's 24, Northwestern 21, Rutgers 13, Illinois 13, Mississippi State 13, Ohio State 9, North Carolina State 4, Creighton 4, North Carolina 4, LSU 3, Pittsburgh 2, New Mexico 2, Nevada 1