Houston takes over No. 1 spot; UNC’s fall biggest from top spot in poll history

By R.L. Bynum

Houston took over the top spot in the latest AP Top 25 men’s basketball poll, with North Carolina suffering the biggest single-week fall from No. 1 in poll history.

The Tar Heels (5–2) are No. 18, a fall from the top spot much bigger than the previous largest Carolina fall to No. 5 in the 2007–08 season. That drop happened on Jan. 21, 2008, after an 82–80 home loss to Maryland for their first loss of the season.

The 17-spot fall is the largest in this week’s poll. UNC fell 14 spots to No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Carolina went 1–2 at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore., beating Portland 89–81, losing to Iowa State 70–65 and falling to Alabama 103–101 in four overtimes. The Cyclones (5–1) debuted in the AP poll at No. 23, and the Tide (6–1) jumped seven spots to No. 11.

Houston (6–0) moved up from No. 2 after beating Kent State 49–44. Virginia (5–0) moved up two spots to No. 3 after a 72–45 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore. It’s the Cougars’ first No. 1 ranking since the 1982–83 Phi Slama Jama team that lost to N.C. State in the NCAA final.

Duke (6–2) tumbled nine spots to No. 17 after losing 75–56 to Purdue on Sunday in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament championship game in Portland. The Boilermakers (6–0) jumped 19 spots to No. 5.

Indiana, which hosts UNC on Wednesday at 9:15 p.m. in the final ACC-Big Ten Challenge (ESPN), moved up one spot to No. 10 after beating Little Rock 87–68 and Jackson State 90–51.

Ohio State (5–1), which UNC faces in the CBS Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 17, debuted in the poll at No. 25. The Buckeyes went 2–1 at the Maui Invitational, losing to San Diego State 88–77 before beating Cincinnati 81–53 and Texas Tech 80–73.

David Thompson of the Fayetteville Observer ranked UNC the highest at No. 4. Others who had the Tar Heels in the top 10 were Aria Gerson of The Tennessean (No. 6), Dave Preston of WTOP in Washington (No. 8) and Jeff Welsch of Lee Enterprises in Lee, Mont. (No. 9).

David Jones of Penn LIve in Dowington, Pa., was the only voter who didn’t rank Carolina.

Jordan Crammer of WNCN voted UNC No. 18 and C.L. Brown of The News & Observer had the Heels No. 19.

Thompson voted Virginia No. 3 and Duke No. 13. Brown had Virginia No. 2 and Duke No. 17. Crammer had the Cavaliers No. 3 and the Blue Devils No. 16.

AP Top 25

RankTeamChangePoll points
(1st-place votes)
1Houston (6–0)+11,534 (45)
2Texas (5–0)+21,467 (8)
3Virginia (5–0)+21,408 (2)
4Arizona (6–0)+101,341
5Purdue (6–0)+191,307 (8)
6Baylor (5–1)+11,111
7Creighton (6–1)+31,100
8UConn (8–0)+121,099
9Kansas (6–1)-6990
10Indiana (6–0)+1938
11Alabama (6–1)+7860
11Arkansas (5–1)-2860
13Tennessee (5–1)+9848
14Gonzaga (5–2)-8845
15Auburn (7–0)-2733
16Illinois (5–1)643
17Duke (6–2)-9614
18North Carolina (5–2)-17541
19Kentucky (4–2)-4472
20Michigan State (5–2)-8469
21UCLA (5–2)-2346
22Maryland (6–0)+1282
23Iowa State (5–1)198
24San Diego State (4–2)-7189
25Ohio State (5–1)108

Others receiving votes: TCU 45, Iowa 31, Charleston 20, West Virginia 14, Mississippi State 12, Texas Tech 11, Michigan 8, Wisconsin 6, Arizona State 6, UNLV 6, Miami 5, Missouri 2, Oklahoma 2, St. John’s 1, Virginia Tech 1, New Mexico 1, Kansas State 1. Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first-place votes.

UNC’s biggest previous drops from No. 1

To No. 4:
— On Jan. 15, 2007, after a 94–88 road loss to Virginia Tech for their first loss of the season.
— On Jan. 9, 1995, after losing at N.C. State 80–70 for their first loss of the season but beating Maryland at home 100–90.
— On March 15, 1993, after losing 77–75 to Georgia Tech in the ACC tournament championship game before winning the national championship.
— On Dec. 23, 1957, after a 75–64 loss to West Virginia in Lexington, Ky., in the University of Kentucky Invitational for their first loss.
To No. 5 on Jan. 21, 2008, after an 82–80 home loss to Maryland for their first loss of the season

UNC statistics

(current ranking)
28FridayW, 101–40Johnson C. Smith HomeExhibition
7MondayW, 69–56UNCWHome1–0
11FridayW, 102–86College of CharlestonHome2–0
15TuesdayW, 72–66Gardner-WebbHome3–0
20SundayW, 80–64James MadisonHome4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 89–81First round: PortlandPortland5–0
25FridayL, 70–65Semifinals:
Iowa State
27SundayL, 103–101,
4 OTs
No. 1 Alabama
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
30WednesdayL, 77–65 No. 21 IndianaBloomington, Ind.5–3
4SundayL, 80–72 Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.5–4,
0–1 ACC
10SaturdayW, 75–59Georgia TechHome6–4,
1–1 ACC
13TuesdayW, 100–67The CitadelHome7–4
CBS Sports Classic
17SaturdayW, 89–84, OTOhio StateNew York8–4
Jumpman Invitational
21WednesdayW, 80–76MichiganCharlotte9–4
30 Friday L, 76–74PittsburghPittsburgh9–5,
1–2 ACC
4WednesdayW, 88–79Wake ForestHome10–5,
2–2 ACC
7SaturdayW, 81–64Notre DameHome11–5,
3–2 ACC
10TuesdayL, 65–58No. 14 VirginiaCharlottesville11–6,
3–3 ACC
14SaturdayW, 80–59LouisvilleLouisville, Ky.12–6,
4–3 ACC
17TuesdayW, 72–64Boston CollegeHome13–6,
5–3 ACC
21SaturdayW, 80–69N.C. StateHome14–6,
6–3 ACC
24TuesdayW, 72–68SyracuseSyracuse, N.Y.15–6,
7–3 ACC
1WednesdayL, 65–64PittsburghHome15–7,
7–4 ACC
4SaturdayL, 63–57No. 12 DukeDurham15–8,
7–5 ACC
7TuesdayL, 92–85Wake ForestWinston-Salem15–9,
7–6 ACC
11SaturdayW, 91–71ClemsonHome 16–9,
8–6 ACC
13MondayL, 80–72No. 16 MiamiHome16–10,
8–7 ACC
19SundayL, 77–69N.C. StateRaleigh16–11,
8–8 ACC
22WednesdayW, 63–59Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.17–11,
9–8 ACC
25SaturdayW, 71–63No. 14 VirginiaHome18–11,
10–8 ACC
27MondayW, 77–66Florida StateTallahassee, Fla.19–11,
11–8 ACC
4SaturdayL, 62–57No. 12 DukeHome19–12,
11–9 ACC
ACC tournament
8WednesdayW, 85–61Boston CollegeGreensboro20–12
9ThursdayL, 68–59No. 14 Virginia Greensboro20–13

Photo via @UNC_Basketball


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