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Arizona men’s basketball rises to 5th in Associated Press Top 25

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-associated-press-top25-rankings-pac12-tennessee-ucla-2023 Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The chaos and uncertainty of college basketball worked against Arizona earlier this month, but now it’s helping the Wildcats climb back up the national rankings.

The UA has moved back to No. 6 in the latest Associated Press Top 25, up one spot from a week ago and one place shy of its top ranking of the season. The Wildcats (19-3, 8-3 Pac-12) were No. 4 going into December before losing their conference opener at Utah.

Arizona pulled off a road sweep this past weekend, winning 63-58 at Washington State (to avenge a home loss to the Cougars) and then blowing out Washington 95-72. The Wildcats have won four straight, while other highly ranked teams have been dropping like flies of late.

Alabama (18-3) dropped from second to fourth after a blowout loss at Oklahoma on Saturday, while Kansas State (18-3) slipped from fifth to seventh due to a loss at Iowa State. In addition to allowing Arizona to climb, those teams’ losses cleared the way for Tennessee (18-3)—whom the Wildcats have beaten—to move up to No. 2, right behind No. 1 Purdue (21-1), while Houston (20-2) remained at No. 3.

UCLA, the only other ranked Pac-12 team, dropped from No. 8 to No. 9 after falling at USC for its second consecutive loss. Arizona is only a half-game behind the Bruins (17-4, 8-2) in the Pac-12 standings.

The UA is back in action Thursday at home against Oregon, giving it another chance to avenge an earlier loss.