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The Other Top 25: Pitinos jump in rankings

Undefeated New Mexico claims No. 3; Iona moves to brink of top 10

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico at Wyoming
Jaelen House leads New Mexico at 17.2 points per game. The Lobos are a perfect 14-0, which is the second-best start in school history.
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes in the college basketball world were on the Rick Pitino-Richard Pitino showdown last month when the elder Pitino brought his Gaels into the Pit to face his son’s Lobos. Richard claimed his first victory over his father, one of New Mexico’s 14 wins.

The Lobos are one of two unbeatens remaining in the sport along with Purdue. At 14-0, they have elevated to No. 3 in this week’s Other Top 25 ranking and have made their way into the AP Top 25 as well. This stretch marks the second longest winning streak to begin a season in program history behind the 1967-68 team, which started 17-0.

Sitting 18th in the NET rankings, New Mexico has already surpassed its win total from a season ago. It most recently pulled off a thrilling one-point victory at Wyoming. The Lobos trailed the majority of the first half, including by double figures on multiple occasions. The two teams traded the lead throughout an entertaining second half.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. put UNM on top for good with a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining to finish with a game-high 20 points. Josiah Allick was a force down low with 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Jaelen House registered a stat-sheet-stuffing performance with 16 points, five assists, five steals and three blocks.

House paces the team with 17.2 points per game. Mashburn Jr. and Morris Udeze follow close behind with 16.9 points apiece.

Meanwhile, Iona jumped up to No. 11. It sits tied atop the MAAC standings after a wire-to-wire victory over last year’s March Madness darling Saint Peter’s yesterday. The Gaels scored 11 of the game’s first 13 points and never looked back as they claimed their 20th straight victory at home. That marks the fourth time in program history the Maroon & Gold have won at least 20 consecutive games in New Rochelle.

Iona dominated in the post. The Gaels owned the glass against the conference’s best rebounding team with an 11-board advantage. Nelly Junior Joseph thrived with 16 points, including knocking down 10-of-14 from the free throw line. He pulled down 14 rebounds, notched four blocks and three assists. He was credited with drawing nine fouls.

Fellow big Osborn Shema poured in a career-high 14 points. Walter Clayton Jr. led the Gaels’ offense with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including 4-for-6 from 3-point land. He leads the team in scoring with 16.1 points per game.

Houston and Gonzaga remained in the top two spots in the ranking. San Diego State and Saint Mary’s rounded out the top five.

James Madison, Yale, Nevada, UNC Wilmington, BYU and Saint Louis joined the ranking. They replaced San Francisco, Toledo, Drake, Marshall, Davidson and Richmond.

The Other Top 25: Jan. 2, 2023

Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points Record Previous
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points Record Previous
1 Houston (2) 50 14-1 1
2 Gonzaga 48 12-3 2
3 New Mexico 46 14-0 4
T-4 San Diego State 41 11-3 3
T-4 Saint Mary's 41 12-4 T-5
6 Charleston 35 14-1 9
7 UAB 34 12-2 8
8 Florida Atlantic 33 12-1 12
9 Memphis 31 11-4 T-5
10 Utah State 30 12-2 14
11 Iona 27 10-4 20
12 Kent State 26 10-3 11
13 North Texas 24 11-3 10
14 Sam Houston State 22 11-3 16
15 Boise State 21 10-4 13
16 Santa Clara 19 13-4 21
17 UNLV 18 11-3 7
18 UCF 16 10-4 T-23
T-19 James Madison 15 11-4 NR
T-19 Dayton 15 10-5 18
T-21 Yale 11 10-4 NR
T-21 Nevada 11 12-3 NR
23 UNC Wilmington 8 12-3 NR
T-24 BYU 6 12-5 NR
T-24 Saint Louis 6 9-5 NR

Others Receiving Votes:

Toledo 5; Marshall 4; Hawaii 3; UC Santa Barbara 3; Oral Roberts1

Dropped from Ranking:

San Francisco; Toledo; Drake; Marshall; Davidson; Richmond