Purdue at No. 1, Charleston ranked for 1st time in 20 years

Purdue solidified its No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll following UConn’s first loss of the season, while No. 23 Charleston moved into the rankings for the first time in 20 years.

The Boilermakers remained No. 1 for the fourth straight week, receiving all but one first-place vote from a 61-person media panel in the poll released Monday. No. 2 Houston and No. 3 Kansas each moved up a spot, and No. 4 UConn dropped two spots after losing to Xavier, which moved up from No. 22 to No. 18. Arizona rounded out the top five.

Purdue lasted only one week after hitting No. 1 for the first time last season, but it has tightened its grip this season since moving to the top spot on Dec. 12.

The Boilermakers (13-0, 2-0 Big Ten) dominated Florida A&M 82-49 last Thursday in its first game in eight days to join No. 21 New Mexico as the nation’s only remaining undefeated Division I teams.

“Competition is going to get harder and teams are going to know what to scout,” Purdue’s Mason Gillis said. “There are going to be closer games down toward the end. We’ll find out who can play under pressure.”

UConn (14-1, 3-1 Big East) had been off to its best start since 1998 before losing 83-73 to Xavier, which has won eight straight.

CHARLESTON CHARTING

Charleston put together a solid first season under Pat Kelsey a year ago, winning 17 games. The Cougars almost have matched that already this season to enter the AP Top 25 for the first time since a one-week stint at No. 25 in 2002-03.

Charleston (14-1, 2-0 CAA) lost to then-No. 1 North Carolina in its second game and has since reeled off 13 straight wins. The Cougars outlasted Colonial Athletic Association preseason favorite Towson 76-74 in overtime on Saturday.

LOBOS RISING

New Mexico cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time in eight years last week and won both of its games.

The Lobos beat Colorado State 88-69 on Thursday in front of more than 15,000 people, the largest crowd at The Pit in seven years. They then pulled out a 76-75 win at Wyoming on Saturday for their best start since going 17-0 in 1967-68.

RISING/FALLING

No. 18 Xavier had the largest jump within the poll, climbing four spots after its win over UConn. No. 11 Virginia and No. 12 Miami were the only other teams to climb more than one spot, each moving up two.

No. 19 Baylor had the biggest drop, losing seven places after a 15-point loss to Iowa State, which went from unranked to No. 25. No. 13 Arkansas dropped four spots following a 60-57 loss at LSU.

IN AND OUT

No. 20 Missouri is ranked for the first time since 2020-21 after returning from its holiday break to beat Kentucky by 14.

No. 24 Ohio State returned to the poll after a two-week absence following wins over Alabama A&M and Northwestern. No. 25 Iowa State is back after three unranked weeks, thanks to its win over Baylor.

Kentucky is unranked for the first time in two years, dropping out from No. 19 after its loss to Missouri. Mississippi State fell out from No. 21 following a loss to No. 7 Alabama.

North Carolina’s return to the poll didn’t last long.

The Tar Heels, the preseason No. 1, moved back into the poll at No. 25 last week after a tumultuous start to the season. North Carolina is again outside looking in, dropping out after losing to Pittsburgh.

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