Purdue is No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll for the first time.
The Boilermakers were a unanimous No. 1 in the poll released Monday to move up from No. 2 last week. Reigning national champion Baylor moved up to No. 2, with Duke, UCLA and Gonzaga rounding out the top five.
Purdue (8-0, 1-0 Big Ten) reached No. 2 in consecutive seasons under Gene Keady from 1986-88 and matched its previous high last week, receiving nine first-place votes from a 61-person media panel.
The Boilermakers routed Florida State last week and opened Big Ten play with a 77-70 win over Iowa on Friday, sliding into the top spot after previous No. 1 Duke lost to an unranked Ohio State squad that is now No. 21. Until this week, Purdue had the second-most appearances in the AP poll — 379 weeks — for a school that had never been ranked No. 1 (Maryland, 434 weeks).
“They deserved to be No. 1,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after the loss to Purdue. “They can hurt in so many ways. They have depth, experience and size. It’s going to be a hard team to beat.”
Purdue missed the NCAA Tournament during the pandemic-altered 2020-21 season, but returned its top eight scorers, including all-conference forward Trevion Williams. The Boilermakers can challenge teams in variety of ways, from sophomore guard Jayden Ivey attacking off the dribble to dropping the ball in the post to 7-foot-4 sophomore Zach Edey.
Purdue is winning by an average of 25.6 points per game, the closest being the seven-point win over Iowa.
“You want to get in close games and win them,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “It really helps you through the season.”