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UConn, Purdue and North Carolina stay atop AP Top 25; South Carolina joins for first time since 2017

Reigning national champion Connecticut, Purdue and North Carolina remained atop The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll for the third consecutive week, while South Carolina cracked the rankings for the first time in nearly seven years.

The Huskies earned 45 of 61 first-place votes to remain at No. 1 for the fourth straight week in Monday’s poll, while the Boilermakers topped the ballots of 16 other voters.

The top of the poll remained set after a big week that included four top-10 matchups over the weekend, with Purdue winning at Wisconsin and UNC beating rival Duke. The week also included Kansas beating Houston, which vaulted the Jayhawks up four spots to No. 4 and dropped the Cougars one spot to No. 5.

Tennessee fell one spot to No. 6 after losing at home to the now-No. 15 Gamecocks but followed that with a win at Kentucky in the weekend’s other top-10 tussle. The Wildcats tumbled seven spots to No. 17 after losses to the Vols and Florida.

Marquette, Arizona, Duke and Illinois rounded out the top 10, with the Wildcats and Fighting Illini returning after stints earlier this season.

IN AND OUT

South Carolina is making its first appearance in the poll since February 2017, a season that saw the Gamecocks make a surprise run to the Final Four. Lamont Paris’ squad has won five straight games, and its 19 wins already surpassed its season haul for any year since that run.

The Gamecocks joined No. 24 San Diego State as the week’s new additions, replacing Oklahoma (No. 23) and TCU (No. 25).

RISING AND SLIDING

Alabama had the week’s biggest jump, moving up eight spots to No. 16 after rising to the top of the Southeastern Conference standings at 8-1. No. 13 Baylor was next, rising five spots after a home win against No. 14 Iowa State.

In all, nine teams moved up from last week’s poll.

Texas Tech had the week’s biggest tumble, falling eight spots to No. 23 after a loss at TCU and a home loss to Cincinnati. No. 19 Creighton and No. 25 New Mexico also had long slides, each falling six spots.

In all, 10 teams fell from their position last week.

STATUS QUO

No. 20 Florida Atlantic joined the UConn-Purdue-UNC trio at the top as the only teams to remain in the same position from the previous poll.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big 12 led the country with six ranked teams, followed by the SEC with five. The Big Ten, Big East and Mountain West conferences were next with three. The Atlantic Coast Conference had two, while the Pac-12, Atlantic 10 and American Athletic conferences each had one.

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Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here. AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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