AP basketball top 25: Buzzer-beater lifts Houston in finale as Alabama, Kansas lose final games

It’s conference tournament week, marking one last chance for teams to make a push for the NCAA tournament ahead of Selection Sunday.

Here’s everything you missed in Week 17 of the season, and the latest Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

[Free bracket contests for men's & women's tourneys for shot at $25K]

Houston survives scare as Alabama, Kansas slip in finales

Houston almost entered the postseason on a tough note.

Thanks to Jamal Shead, however, the Cougars survived a scare from Memphis on Sunday at FedExForum.

With the game tied in the final seconds, Shead weaved through several Tigers and pulled up from the top of the key to hit a game-winning bucket and lift the Cougars to the 67-65 win.

As a result, Houston held on to its No. 1 ranking in the poll this week, and will enter the AAC tournament on Friday as its No. 1 seed. The Cougars have won 11 straight since their stunning loss to Temple in January, and seem poised to make a deep tournament run — something that was cut short last year in the Elite Eight. Memphis, which received three votes in the poll this week, is the No. 2 seed in the AAC tournament.

Houston beat Memphis on Sunday on a buzzer-beater at FedExForum. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Houston beat Memphis on Sunday on a buzzer-beater at FedExForum. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

While the Cougars made it out safe, both Alabama and Kansas fell on Saturday. The Crimson Tide, after beating Auburn last week to clinch the SEC, lost to Texas A&M, 67-61. Kansas then lost to Texas by 16 points in Austin, which snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Jayhawks.

As a result, Alabama dropped to No. 4 in this week’s poll. Kansas stayed at No. 3. That moved UCLA, which hasn’t lost since late January, to No. 2 this week. The Bruins closed out their regular season on a 10-game win streak, and beat Arizona by nine on Saturday to end the year. Texas A&M, after its win over Alabama, moved up six spots to No. 18.

Tennessee is too unpredictable at the worst time

It’s hard to know how good Tennessee actually is, which isn’t something you want to say at this point in the season.

The Volunteers picked up back-to-back big wins, first with a 40-point win over South Carolina and then an 18-point victory over Arkansas on Tuesday. In theory, those blowouts should be reassuring on the heels of consecutive losses.

But then Tennessee turned around and fell to Auburn, 79-70, on Saturday. They didn’t score in the final six minutes of the game, either.

The Volunteers have now lost six of their last 10 games of the season, and will enter the SEC tournament as the No. 5 seed. They fell five spots to No. 17 this week in the poll.

Saturday was huge for Auburn, which is trying to make a push to sneak into the NCAA tournament. But for Tennessee, which is trying to find its footing after losing Zakai Zeigler for the season, it was a terrible sign headed into the conference tournament. If the team is going to make it out of the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament, something it hasn’t done since 2019, a good showing at the SEC tournament feels much-needed.

Games to watch this week

Saturday, March 11
Big 12 championship game | 6 p.m. ET | ESPN
Big East championship game | 6:30 p.m. ET | Fox
ACC championship game | 8:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Pac-12 championship game | 10:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

Sunday, March 12
SEC championship game | 1 p.m. ET | ESPN
Big Ten championship game | 3:30 p.m. ET | CBS

Full AP Top 25

The full AP Top 25 poll from Monday, March 6:

  1. Houston (29-2)

  2. UCLA (27-4)

  3. Kansas (25-6)

  4. Alabama (26-5)

  5. Purdue (26-5)

  6. Marquette (25-6)

  7. Texas (23-8)

  8. Arizona (25-6)

  9. Gonzaga (26-5)

  10. Baylor (22-9)

  11. UConn (24-7)

  12. Kansas State (23-8)

  13. Virginia (23-6)

  14. Miami (24-6)

  15. Xavier (23-8)

  16. Saint Mary's (25-6)

  17. Tennessee (22-9)

  18. Texas A&M (23-8)

  19. Indiana (21-10)

  20. San Diego State (24-6)

  21. Duke (23-8)

  22. TCU (20-11)

  23. Kentucky (21-10)

  24. Creighton (20-11)

  25. Missouri (23-8)

Others receiving votes: Oral Roberts 54, Florida Atlantic 53, Utah State 32, Providence 26, Iowa State 23, Northwestern 16, West Virginia 15, Toledo 10, Pittsburgh 10, Charleston 9, Michigan State 9, VCU 8, Boise State 7, Iowa 5, USC 5, Vanderbilt 3, Maryland 3, Memphis 3, Arkansas 2, North Texas 1, Drake 1