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College basketball Top 25: Purdue breaks through to No. 1; plus, my ballot

The Boilermakers have so much size, shooting, slashing, ball handling and depth, it’s a perfectly legit ranking.

Iowa v Purdue
Jaden Ivey with the flush in a Big Ten opening win against Iowa.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Well, well, get a load of good ol’ Purdue. The Boilermakers are — for the first time in school history — No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

And you know what that means: They’ll lose their next game. When is it, anyway? Ah, yes: Thursday at Rutgers.

But I kid. Sort of. The Boilermakers are an absolutely wonderful team. They have so much size, shooting, slashing, ball handling and depth, this is a legitimate ranking. There’s no question at this point they’re the best team in the Big Ten. Really, it’s not even close. Still, early-season No. 1 teams go down all the time.

Just ask Gonzaga, which has been beaten twice — by Duke and Alabama — already. Or Duke, which coughed up a big second-half lead in a loss at Ohio State.

Ninety-seven days to Selection Sunday and counting …

AP Top 25

1. Purdue, 2. Baylor, 3. Duke, 4. UCLA, 5. Gonzaga, 6. Villanova, 7. Texas, 8. Kansas, 9. Alabama, 10. Kentucky, 11. Arizona, 12. Arkansas, 13. Tennessee, 14. Houston, 15. Connecticut, 16. USC, 17. Iowa State, 18. Auburn, 19. Michigan State, 20. Florida, 21. Ohio State, 22. Wisconsin, 23. Seton Hall, 24. BYU, 25. LSU.

(Click here to see the poll in more complete list form.)

My ballot

1. Purdue, 2. Baylor, 3. Duke, 4. Kansas, 5. Kentucky, 6. Alabama, 7. Gonzaga, 8. UCLA, 9. Villanova, 10. Arkansas, 11. Arizona, 12. Iowa State, 13. Texas, 14. Tennessee, 15. Houston, 16. USC, 17. Connecticut, 18. Auburn, 19. Xavier, 20. Michigan State, 21. Oklahoma, 22. Florida, 23. Wisconsin, 24. Ohio State, 25. Colorado State.

(Click here and then on “all voters” to see each voter’s individual ballot.)

Five things

• Alabama is the big riser after beating the Zags 91-82 in Seattle. Man, these guards — Jaden Shackelford, Jahvon Quinerly, JD Davison, Keon Ellis — can get up and down the floor and score like it’s nothing. Watch out for the Crimson Tide at what clearly is a basketball school.

• Memphis has left the building. The Tigers join Michigan as the most disappointing teams in the nation thus far. As coaches, Anfernee Hardaway and Juwan Howard sure were great players.

• I just can’t vote for Illinois yet, though its performance against Rutgers was topnotch. It still feels, though, like the Illini are well behind where they hoped to be.

• I thought about Loyola at No. 25, but it would’ve been a homer vote. The Ramblers were outstanding in their loss to Michigan State and really tough down the stretch in the win over DePaul, but I’ll let ’em get hot before I start ranking them. I think they’ll get there.

• Oklahoma, on the other hand, crashed my top 25 for the first time. Nice going, Porter Moser. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Colorado State also moved into it. Colorado State? The Rams are 9-0 and leading the nation with 53.6% shooting from the field.