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.

I pushed Wisconsin out after it lost to Michigan State and Indiana.

I kicked out San Diego State after it lost to New Mexico.

I booted out Duke after it lost at Clemson.

I threw out Arkansas after they lost to Alabama and Vandy.

I booted Missouri after it lost to Texas A&M and Florida.

1. Houston (17-1) stays here after beating South Florida. Next: Tuesday in Tulane and Sunday against Temple.

2. Kansas (16-1) stays here after beating Oklahoma and Iowa State. Next up: a big game Tuesday at Kansas State and a big game Saturday against TCU.

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3. Purdue (16-1) stays here after beating Nebraska. Next up: a fascinating game at Michigan State on Monday, a visit to Minnesota on Thursday and a game against Maryland on Sunday.

4. Gonzaga (16-3) moves up two spots after winning at BYU and beating Portland. Next: Thurs. against Loyola Marymount and Saturday in the Pacific.

5. Alabama (15-2) moves up two spots after winning in Arkansas and beating LSU. I’ve been thinking about putting Alabama at number 4. But Gonzaga beat Alabama last month, so I’ll be holding the Zags before the Crimson Tide. Next up: Tuesday in Vandy and a good game on Saturday in Missouri.

6. UCLA (16-2) moves up two spots after beating Utah and Colorado. Next up: Thursday at Arizona State and a big game Saturday in Arizona.

7. Texas (15-2) moves up four spots after beating TCU and Texas Tech. Next up: a big game Tuesday in Iowa and a Saturday game in West Virginia.

8. Xavier (15-3) moves up four spots after beating Creighton and Marquette. Next: Wed. at DePaul and Sat. against George Town.

9. Tennessee (14-3) falls four places after beating Vanderbilt and losing to Kentucky. Next: Tue. at Miss. State and Sat. at LSU.

10. Virginia (13-3) moves up five spots after beating North Carolina and beating Florida State. Next up: Wednesday against the collapsing Virginia Tech and Saturday at Wake Forest.

11. The College of Charleston (18-1) move up five spots after beating UNC Wilmington and defeating Elon. Next up: Monday against William and Mary, Thursday at Monmouth and Saturday at Northeastern.

12. Iowa State (13-3) moves up a spot after beating Texas Tech and losing to Kansas by two losses. Next up: Tuesday’s big game against Texas and a Sat. game at Oklahoma State.

13. TCU (14-3) moves up five spots after losing in Texas and beating Kansas State. Next: Wed. at WVU and on the big game Saturday in Kansas.

14. Kansas State (15-2) drops four places after beating Oklahoma State and losing at TCU. Next up: the big Tues. game against Kansas and a Saturday game against Texas Tech.

15. Arizona (15-3) falls six places after winning at Oregon State and losing at Oregon. Next up: Thursday vs. USC and the big game Saturday vs. UCLA.

16. Marquette (14-5) moves up eight spots after beating UConn and losing to Xavier. Next: Wed. against Providence and Sat. at Seton Hall.

17. UConn (15-4) drops 13 places after losing at Marquette and falling at home to St. John’s. UConn has lost four of its last five. Next: Wed. at Seton Hall and Sunday against Butler.

18. Miami (14-3) loses four spots after beating Boston College and losing in OT, North Carolina State. Miami is now 1-1 with State and also has wins against Providence, Rutgers and UVa. So I’ll keep Miami ahead of newcomers Clemson and State. Next: Monday against Syracuse and a good game on Saturday at Duke.

19. Clemson (15-3) cracks my ballot here after beating Louisville and Duke to go 7-0 in the ACC game. Clemson has also beaten North Carolina State this season. Next up: Tuesday at Wake Forest and Saturday against Virginia Tech.

20. North Carolina State (14-4) cracks my ballot here after beating Miami in OT. State also beat Duke this month. Next: Tues. at Georgia Tech and Sat. in North Carolina.

21. Florida Atlantic (16-1) moves up four spots after winning at FIU in OT and beating North Texas. Next Monday in Western Kentucky, Thursday at UTSA and Saturday at UTEP.

22. Providence (14-4) drops three points after losing at Creighton. Next up: the big Wed game in Marquette and a Saturday game against DePaul.

23. Baylor (12-5) returns to my pick here after a week-long absence after enduring a three-game losing streak to win at WVU and beat Oklahoma State. Baylor, who beat UCLA and Gonzaga earlier this season, appears to have rectified. Next up: Tuesday at Texas Tech and Saturday at Oklahoma.

24. Rutgers (13-5) cracks my ballot here after winning at Northwestern and beating Ohio State in OT. Rutgers also won at Purdue this month. Next up: an intriguing game Thursday in Michigan State.

25. For this last spot, I took a close look at Auburn, Illinois and Saint Mary’s. But in the end, I chose to put New Mexico (16-2) back on my ballot after a week-long absence after the Lobos bounced back from back-to-back losses to beat Oral Roberts and win at San Diego State. The Lobos now have road wins against Saint Mary’s and San Diego State, so they deserve 25th place. Next up: Tuesday against San Jose State and Friday against Boise State.

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