AP Top 25 Men's Basketball Poll: Houston Cougars climb to No. 2 thanks to UConn's 1st loss of season

Houston has matchups against SMU and is on the road against Cincinnati to begin the 2023 portion of its schedule.

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Monday, January 2, 2023
UH Cougars climb to No. 2 to begin stretch run toward March Madness
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The Coogs tipped off the conference portion of their schedule with back-to-back wins, including a scare against Central Florida on New Year's Eve.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Cougars earned their highest ranking since their first loss of the season four weeks ago after opening American Athletic Conference play with back-to-back victories last week.

The Associated Press Top 25 and coaches' polls ranked UH at No. 2 after Kelvin Sampson's crew dispatched Tulsa and University of Central Florida before the new year. Just like their loss against Alabama, the Coogs had to go down to the wire with UCF on New Year's Eve to pull out a 71-65 win.

Tramon Mark, a junior guard out of Dickinson, led UH with 19 points, including 17 in the first half, which was good enough to earn him a spot in this week's AAC Honor Roll.

Houston (14-1) was partially helped by last week's No. 2-ranked team, UConn Huskies, who lost for the first time this season against Xavier.

The Purdue Boilermakers retain the top spot in both polls after cruising in their latest two wins and improving to 13-0.

The Coogs maintain the top spot on the Men's College Basketball Power Index, which works on scheduling and ranking strengths to best predict a team's performance going forward. The BPI currently gives Houston an index-high 32% chance to hoist up the national championship in NRG Stadium this coming April.

Houston has matchups at home against SMU and on the road against Cincinnati this week. The SMU game is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. inside Fertitta Center.