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UConn, Purdue remain atop jumbled AP Top 25; No. 25 New Mexico moves into rankings

The AP Top 25 had another week of upheaval, with teams bouncing around like kernels in a popcorn maker.

The same two teams remained at the top amid the poll turmoil.

Reigning national champion Connecticut stayed No. 1 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll released Monday, receiving 44 first-place votes from a 61-person media panel. No. 2 Purdue got 17 first-place votes.

A loss by Kansas jumbled the rest of the top five.

No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Houston and No. 5 Tennessee all moved up a spot by sweeping two games each last week.

The Jayhawks dropped four spots to No. 7 following a 91-85 loss to West Virginia that ended their six-game winning streak in the series.

UConn moved to the top of the poll last week for the first time in 15 years.

The Huskies opened the week with a lopsided win over No. 17 Creighton in Donovan Clingan's return from a right foot injury. UConn then edged Villanova 66-65 in a physical game that had coach Dan Hurley talking about jujitsu, Muay Thai and UFC fighting.

“When you get ranked No. 1 — coach talked about it the entire week — it’s like a temporary belt,” UConn's Alex Karaban said. “You’ve got to continue to protect the belt, protect the heavyweight championship.”

The Boilermakers opened their week with an 87-66 rout of rival Indiana and followed with a 14-point win over Iowa. Purdue big man Zach Edey had another dominating week, finishing with 33 points and 14 rebounds against Indiana, and 30 points and 18 rebounds against Iowa.

“It’s just different with him,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “When he gets deep position, it’s hard (to defend him).”

HEELS RISING

North Carolina had a precipitous fall from the poll last season, dropping out a month after being preseason No. 1.

The Tar Heels have moved in the opposite direction this season after missing the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina opened at No. 19 in the preseason poll and, after bouncing around a bit, has steadily climbed to No. 3. The Tar Heels beat Louisville 86-70 last Wednesday and took down Boston College 76-66 on Saturday.

North Carolina (15-3) has won eight straight, including all seven of its Atlantic Coast Conference games, to lead the conference by two games over North Carolina State.

RISING & FALLING

No. 19 Memphis had the biggest drop of the week, falling nine places after losing to South Florida and Tulane. Baylor tumbled six spots to No. 15 following losses to Kansas State and Texas.

No. 12 Duke's 80-76 loss to Pittsburgh dropped the Blue Devils five spots from last week's poll.

No. 16 Dayton made the biggest upward move, gaining six places after wins over Saint Louis and Rhode Island. No. 8 Auburn and No. 20 Texas Tech each climbed five places.

IN & OUT

No. 24 Colorado State returned to the poll after dropping out last week with wins over Air Force and UNLV. No. 25 New Mexico is ranked for the first time since last January after beating No. 18 Utah State and Air Force.

TCU dropped out from No. 19 following close losses to No. 23 Iowa State and Cincinnati. Mississippi also fell out from No. 22 following losses to LSU and Auburn.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big 12 still leads the nation with seven ranked teams despite TCU dropping out. The Big East, Southeastern, Big Ten and Mountain West conferences all had three ranked teams.

The Atlantic Coast and American Athletic conferences had two ranked teams, and one each for the Pac-12 and Atlantic-10.

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