Alabama climbs to No. 2 in men’s basketball poll, highest ranking in 20 years

Alabama men’s basketball climbed to No. 2 in Monday’s Associated Press poll, the program’s highest ranking in more than 20 years.

The Tide received 23 first-place votes, the first time the program has received first-place votes in the AP poll since it was ranked No. 1 is Dec. 30, 2002.

Purdue received 39 first-place votes and moved into the AP poll’s top spot Monday after previous No. 1 Houston lost Sunday to Temple, and previous No. 2 Kansas lost twice last week.

Alabama’s No. 2 ranking in the AP poll is the highest in program history after New Year’s. The only other time Alabama has been ranked higher than No. 3 was during the month of December 2002, when it was twice ranked No. 2 and twice ranked No. 1.

The coaches poll will be released later Monday. Alabama was No. 4 in last week’s coaches poll and received one first-place vote.

Alabama (17-2, 7-0 in SEC) has won eight consecutive games and continues the program’s best start since 1976-77, when it began 19-2.

Alabama remains No. 3 in the NCAA’s NET rankings behind Houston and Tennessee, but has the nation’s fourth-hardest strength of schedule by NET.

Alabama hosts Mississippi State on Wednesday night before playing Saturday afternoon at Oklahoma as part of the SEC/Big 12 challenge.

AP top 25 (Jan. 23):

1. Purdue (39)

2. Alabama (23)

3. Houston

4. Tennessee

5. Kansas State

6. Arizona

7. Virginia

8. UCLA

9. Kansas

10. Texas

11. TCU

12. Iowa State

13. Xavier

14. Gonzaga

15. Auburn

16. Marquette

17. Baylor

18. College of Charleston

19. UConn

20. Miami

21. FAU

22. St. Mary’s

23. Providence

24. Clemson

25. New Mexico

Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.

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