Villanova rises to third in Associated Press poll, Temple to 15th

Posted: January 26, 2010

Villanova and Temple each have moved up a spot in the Associated Press (media) basketball poll.

The Wildcats (17-1), who won at Rutgers and St. John's last week, went to third after top-ranked Texas (17-2) lost twice on the road and fell to sixth.

Temple (17-3), the only team to beat Villanova, is now 15th after beating Xavier at home and winning at Fordham.

The lone remaining unbeaten, Kentucky (19-0), is your new No. 1, followed by Kansas (18-1). The Wildcats, under first-year coach John Calipari, swept all 65 first-place votes. This is the third team Calipari has taken to the top spot. He got Massachusetts there in 1994-95 and '95-96, then did it with Memphis in 2007-08. He is 40-5 when coaching No. 1. Kentucky is at South Carolina tonight.

It's Kentucky's 89th week at No. 1. Only UCLA (134), Duke (111) and North Carolina (105) have more. The Tar Heels (12-7), who have lost four of their last five, got no votes and fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since January 2006. The defending champs were sixth in the preseason.

Villanova, 7-0 in the Big East for the first time, has matched its fastest start. In 1950-51, the Wildcats won 18 of their first 19 before losing the next three. They would finish 25-7.

Villanova reached No. 2 twice, in December 1995 and February 2006. This is the highest Temple has been ranked since it was fifth in the final 1999-2000 ballot.

The Wildcats host Notre Dame (15-5) at the Wachovia Center tomorrow night. The Owls, the only unbeaten team in the Atlantic 10, will be at Charlotte (14-5).

Temple is the A-10's only ranked team; Xavier (13-6) is the only other that received votes.

The Big East also has No. 4 Syracuse (19-1), No. 7 Georgetown (15-3), No. 9 West Virginia (15-3), No. 17 Pittsburgh (15-4) and No. 19 Connecticut (13-6), which just beat Texas. Villanova still has to play Syracuse, Georgetown, West Virginia and Pitt on the road, and UConn in South Philly.

Michigan State (17-3) was No. 5, first in the poll among four Big Ten teams. Duke (16-3) was eighth. The only other ACC team was No. 22 Georgia Tech (14-5).

The Big 12, with No. 11 Kansas State (16-3) and No. 24 Baylor, also has four. As does the Southeastern Conference, with No. 14 Tennessee, No. 18 Mississippi (15-4) and No. 21 Vanderbilt (15-3).

Brigham Young (20-1) is 12th, its highest ranking since being 11th in February 1988. The Cougars visit No. 23 New Mexico (18-3) tomorrow. *

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