Purdue takes first place, Alabama moves up to 2nd, Houston falls angrily with Temple

Weekend losses until then no. 1 Houston and then no. 2 Kansas shook up college basketball as Purdue and Alabama are among teams to go head-to-head for the No. 1 four in the 2023 NCAA tournament. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish reflected the weekend’s wild action in his top 25 and 1 rankings, where the Boilermakers took first place with the Crimson Tide in 2nd place. Houston dropped to No. 6 while Kansas fell all the way down to No. 8.

Parrish’s rankings point to a potentially tough battle over the next two months at the top of the NCAA tournament selection committee’s S-curve. Kansas State, for example, is another team that has surged recently and is now ranked No. 3 in Parrish’s rankings with a record 17-2 overall in the robust Big 12. No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 Texas – both very strong Play for the No. 1 seed – round out Parrish’s top five.

Houston lost a stunner at home to Temple while Kansas lost both games to K-State and TCU last week. Purdue has a 2-1/2 game lead over the Big Ten as of Monday afternoon thanks to a six-game winning streak, and Alabama has taken control of the SEC with a league-game unbeaten record. Tennessee at No. 7 and Auburn at No. 17 remain just a game behind The Tide, but star freshman Brandon Miller showed no signs of letting up in his pursuit of National Player of the Year honors by averaging 45 points against Vanderbilt and Missouri scored.

With March Madness slated to begin in just a few weeks, the Big 12 has established itself as college basketball’s top conference, with six teams in Parrish’s top 16: K-State, Texas, Kansas, No. 11 Iowa State, no. 12 TCU and No. 16 Baylor. There are also a healthy number of mid-range representatives, including No. 19 Florida Atlantic, No. 23 Saint Mary’s, No. 25 New Mexico, and No. 26 Boise State.

However, Gonzaga is a team outside of traditional power conferences that has slipped recently. The Bulldogs, accustomed to finishing a No. 1 nearly every year, sit 15th in Parrish’s standings amid unusually uneven play in the West Coast Conference, including a shocking home loss to Loyola Marymount last week.

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It’s worth noting that this may not be a strong year for the bluebloods given where things are at the end of January. Parrish ranks the No. 21 duke in the country while North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan State are nowhere to be found. CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm is currently predicting that the Tar Heels, Wildcats and Spartans will make up the field of 68, but all three are looking more like NCAA tournament bubble squads than legitimate top-25 for most of the season teams out.

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