Houston remains No. 1 heading into postseason


Houston remains entrenched atop the Associated Press Top 25 poll heading into conference tournaments, while North Carolina and Kentucky made big leaps to close out the regular season.

The Cougars (28-3), fresh off a 30-point romp over Kansas to clinch the Big 12 regular-season title, earned 52 first-place votes to remain ahead of UConn (28-3) and Purdue (28-3) in the poll released Monday. The Huskies earned six first-place votes and the Boilermakers four.

The Tar Heels (25-6) defeated arch rival Duke for the second time to win the ACC and jump to No. 4. Tennessee (24-7) rounds out the top five.

The Volunteers wrapped up the SEC regular-season title but had their seven-game winning streak snapped by Kentucky (23-8) on Saturday. The win for the Wildcats, their fifth straight, made them the week’s biggest climber in the rankings as they jumped six spots to No. 9.

Sixth-ranked Arizona (24-7), Iowa State (24-7), Creighton (23-8) and Marquette (23-8) complete the top 10 around Kentucky.

Washington State (23-8) was the week’s biggest faller, dropping four spots to No. 22.

Nevada (26-6) entered the poll for the first time since the end of the 2018-19 season at No. 23. Texas Tech (22-9) also returned to the poll at No. 25.

San Diego State and South Florida dropped out.

The rest of the Top 25: No. 11 Duke No. 12 Auburn No. 13 Illinois No. 14 Baylor No. 15 South Carolina No. 16 Kansas No. 17 Gonzaga No. 18 Utah State No. 19 Alabama No. 20 BYU No. 21 Saint Mary’s No. 22 Washington State No. 23 Nevada No. 24 Dayton No. 25 Texas Tech