Make some room, Phi Slama Jama. Other Houston Team has reached the pinnacle of men’s college basketball.
Nearly four decades after Clyde Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon propelled the Cougars to No. 1, the newest group, led by Marcus Sasser and star newcomer Jarace Walker, took the top spot in the AP Top 25 on Monday. They received 45 out of 63 votes in first place from the national media panel, easily beating second place in Texas and third place in Virginia.
“It’s not like we went online and applied and waited for an answer. That’s what we’ve been working towards,” said Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, whose team came back from a Final Four and an Elite Eight trip in the last two seasons. “But remember, it’s a rental. You don’t own it. You only rent it because one day someone else will be number 1.”
North Carolina had been No. 1 all season, but the Tar Heels lost to Iowa State and in a four-overtime thriller to Alabama at the Phil Knight Invitational to cede the top spot to Houston, who beat Kent State in their only game last week.
Texas received eight votes in first place and Virginia get two. Arizona climbed from 14th to fourth after emerging from a stacked field to win the Maui Invitational. Purdue jumped from 24th to fifth place and earned eight votes for first place after defeating West Virginia, Gonzaga and Duke in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament.
Baylor finished sixth, Creighton seventh and UConn climbed from 20th to eighth after beating Oregon, Alabama and Iowa State to win the Phil Knight Invitational. Kansas fell from third to ninth place after losing to Tennessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game, while Indiana completed the top 10.
Full Men’s Top 25 (as of Nov 28):
18. North Carolina
20. Michigan State
23. State of Iowa
24. State of San Diego
25. State of Ohio
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 (FL) 5, Missouri 2, Oklahoma 2, St. John’s 1 , Virginia Tech 1, New Mexico 1, State of Kansas 1
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