Mark Berman’s New AP Top 25 Men’s Basketball Pick

It’s time to send The Associated Press a new poll for the top 25 men’s basketball players. And I need a new No. 1 to replace North Carolina.

I threw out Texas Tech after losing to Creighton and Ohio State. No shame but I need to see a quality win to put Texas Tech back on the ballot.

I expelled Xavier after it lost to Duke and Gonzaga. Xavier has lost three games, each by single digits and each against a good team. No shame but I need to see Xavier get a good win to put the team back on my ballot.

I booted Iowa after it lost to TCU.

1. I considered Texas, Houston, UVa, Purdue and Arizona for this spot. All are worth it.

I chose Purdue (6-0) which moves up 22 spots and becomes my new #1 after beating WVU, Gonzaga and Duke and winning the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Portland.

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I was contemplating just moving Texas up one spot on my ballot to #1. But Purdue has the better resume, at least for now. Both teams have a one-sided win over Gonzaga, but Purdue’s win was at a neutral spot while Texas was at home. Purdue followed that win with a lopsided win over Duke – a team that was ranked 8th in last week’s poll and 14th on my poll last week. That’s a 1-2 punch Texas doesn’t have on its résumé yet. Purdue also has victories over Marquette and WVU.

Purdue also has a better resume than Houston.

Arizona and UVa each have two quality wins to their credit, but I’ll give the nod to Purdue after those one-sided wins in Portland.

Next for Purdue; Marry. in Florida and against Minnesota on Sunday.

2. Texas (5-0) stays here after beating Northern Arizona and Texas-Rio Grand Valley. Next up: a big game against Creighton on Thursday.

3. Houston (6-0) stays here after beating Kent State. Next: Tuesday vs. Norfolk State and Sat. vs. Saint Mary’s.

4. Arizona (6-0) climbs 11 spots after beating Cincinnati, San Diego State and Creighton to win the Maui Invitational. Next up: Thursday in Utah and Sunday against Cal.

5. Virginia (5-0) stays here after beating Maryland-Eastern Shore. Next up: a good game in Michigan and a Saturday game against FSU.

6. Creighton (6-1) falls two places after beating Texas Tech and Arkansas and losing to Arizona in the Maui Invitational finals. Next up: Thursday’s big game in Texas and a Sunday game against Nebraska.

7. Indiana (6-0) stays here after beating Little Rock and Jackson State. Next up: a big game Wed vs. North Carolina and a Sat game at Rutgers.

8. UConn (8-0) cracks my ballot here after defeating Oregon, Alabama and Iowa State to win the Phil Knight Invitational. Next: Do. v. Oklahoma State.

9. Gonzaga (5-2) drops three spots after beating Portland State, losing to Purdue and defeating Xavier in the Phil Knight Legacy. Next up: a big game on Friday with Baylor in Sioux Falls.

10. Arkansas (5-1) stays here after beating Louisville, losing to Creighton and beating San Diego State in OT in the Maui Invitational. Next: Monday vs. Troy and Sat. vs. San Jose State.

11. Baylor (5-1) stays here after beating McNeese State. Next: Tues. in Marquette and Friday’s big game vs. Gonzaga in Sioux Falls.

12. Illinois (5-1) stays here after beating Lindenwood. Next up: Tuesday versus Syracuse and a big game on Friday in Maryland.

13. Alabama (6-1) moves up seven spots after beating Michigan State, losing to UConn and beating North Carolina in four-time overtime in the Phil Knight Invitational. Next: Sat. vs. South Dakota State.

14. Tennessee (5-1) returns to my pick here after a two-week absence after defeating Butler, Southern Cal (in OT) and Kansas to win the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Next: Wed. vs. McNeese State and Sun. against Alcorn State.

15. Kansas (6-1) falls seven places after beating NC State and Wisconsin (in OT) and losing to Tennessee in Battle 4 Atlantis. Next up: Monday against Texas Southern and Thursday against Seton Hall.

16. Michigan State (5-2) falls seven places after losing to Alabama, beating Oregon and beating Portland in the Phil Knight Invitational. Next: Wed. at Notre Dame and Sunday against Northwestern.

17. Iowa State (5-1) cracks my ballot here after beating Villanova (in OT) and North Carolina and losing to UConn in the Phil Knight Invitational finals. Next: Wed. against North Dakota and on Sunday against St. John’s.

18. Duke (6-2) loses four spots on the ballot after beating Oregon State and Xavier and losing to Purdue in the Phil Knight Legacy Finals. Next: a good Mi vs Ohio State game and a Sat game with Boston College.

19. San Diego State (4-2) falls two places after beating Ohio State and losing to both Arizona and Arkansas (in OT) at the Maui Invitational. Next up: a riveting game Tues. vs. UC Irvine and a Friday game vs. Occidental.

20. Auburn (7-0) drops two places after beating Bradley and Northwestern (43-42) to win the Cancun Challenge and also defeat St. Louis. I hate dropping a team after an unbeaten week, but I felt the three newcomers deserved a higher rank than Auburn on my ballot. Next: Friday vs Colgate.

21. Maryland (6-0) loses two points on my ballot after beating Coppin State. Again, I hate dropping a team after an unbeaten week, but I wanted to make room in my top 20 for the three newcomers. Next up: Tuesday in Louisville and Friday’s big game against Illinois.

22. Kentucky (4-2) falls nine places after beating North Florida. Again, I really hate dropping a team on my list after an unbeaten week, but Kentucky is missing a quality win so far and I’ve had to make room in my top 21 for teams that have one. Next: Tues. vs. Bellarmine and a good Sunday game against Michigan in…London? Yes. London.

23. UCLA (5-2) drops seven places after defeating Pepperdine and Bellarmine. Again, I really hate dropping a team on my ballot after an unbeaten week. But UCLA is also lacking a quality win so far, and I’ve had to make room in my top 21 for teams that have one. Next: Thu against Stanford and Sunday against Oregon.

24. North Carolina (5-2) falls 23 spots down my ballot after beating Portland and losing to Iowa State and Alabama (in quadruple overtime) at the Phil Knight Invitational. Next up: a big game Wed. in Indiana and a good game like that. at Virginia Tech.

25. The College of Charleston (6-1) stays here on my ballot after beating Kent State. Next: Tuesday against Old Dominion and Sat. in the Citadel.

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