Kansas No. 10, Wichita State. No. 22 in latest AP poll

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Villanova, Virginia and Purdue are making themselves comfortable atop the AP Top 25. And with the way they’re playing, they might stay there for a while longer, too.

The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in Monday’s latest poll, followed by the second-ranked Cavaliers and the third-ranked Boilermakers. It marked the fourth straight week that with the trio sitting 1-2-3 in the poll as they continue extended winning streaks while avoiding the upsets that hit national powers Duke, Kansas, Arizona and Kentucky last weekend.

Villanova (22-1, 9-1 Big East) has won nine straight and hasn’t lost in the 2018 calendar year.

Virginia (22-1, 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won 14 straight games and leads the rest of the tradition-rich league by at least three games in the loss column. Its defense ranks No. 1 nationally in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency rankings (82.2 points allowed per 100 possessions), and the Cavaliers are coming off a game in which they held Syracuse to 44 points — the Orange’s lowest output ever in the Carrier Dome.

“The guys are playing at a high level, for sure,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said afterward. “They understand how they have to play. … I like what our guys are doing.”

Then there’s Purdue (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten). The Boilermakers have the nation’s longest winning streak at 19 games with the only hiccups coming in a two-day blip in November’s Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

“If there is a better team inside and out in the country, I haven’t seen them yet,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said after his team’s Saturday overtime loss to the Boilermakers.

TOP-10 CHANGES

Several teams reached first-time-in-years perches in the top 10.

Cincinnati (21-2) followed No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Xavier, reaching No. 6 for its highest ranking since January 2004. Next came No. 7 Texas Tech (19-4), which reached its highest ranking since hitting No. 7 in March 1996. And eighth-ranked Auburn (21-2) has its highest ranking since January 2000.

Ninth-ranked Duke and No. 10 Kansas rounded out the top 10, each sliding along with fellow national powers Arizona (No. 13) and Kentucky (No. 24) after losses in an upset-filled weekend.

HIGH MARKS

St. Mary’s (23-2) is rolling along with 18 straight wins behind high-scoring forward Jock Landale (24.5 points per game). Now the Gaels have their highest ranking in program history at No. 11, surpassing a two-week stay at No. 12 last season.

And No. 18 Rhode Island (19-3) also claimed its highest ever slot in the AP Top 25.

VOLS’ CHARGE

Tennessee (17-5) has won five straight games — the last two by a combined 56 points — to reach No. 15, the program’s highest mark since hitting No. 7 in December 2011.

TOP RISERS

Rhode Island joined No. 16 Clemson and No. 20 Michigan in making the week’s biggest climbs of four spots each.

LONGEST SLIDES

No. 22 Wichita State (17-5) had the week’s biggest fall of six spots after losing in overtime at Temple. Duke fell five spots after losing to a St. John’s team that was 0-11 in the Big East, while No. 17 Oklahoma also fell five spots after losing to Texas.

NEWCOMERS

No. 23 Nevada and No. 25 Miami were new to this week’s poll, though both have been ranked multiple weeks this season.

SLIDING OUT

Florida fell out from No. 23 after two losses to unranked teams, while Arizona State fell out from No. 25 in what has been a big decline after a strong start. The Sun Devils went from unranked in the preseason all the way to No. 3 in December, but stand at just 5-6 in the Pac-12.
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RecordPtsPrv
1. Villanova (48) 22-1 1608 1
2. Virginia (16) 22-1 1572 2
3. Purdue (1) 23-2 1500 3
4. Michigan St. 22-3 1407 5
5. Xavier 21-3 1350 6
6. Cincinnati 21-2 1305 8
7. Texas Tech 19-4 1182 10
8. Auburn 21-2 1138 11
9. Duke 19-4 1075 4
10. Kansas 18-5 1015 7
11. Saint Mary’s (Cal) 23-2 895 13
12. Gonzaga 21-4 851 14
13. Arizona 19-5 816 9
14. Ohio St. 20-5 747 17
15. Tennessee 17-5 739 18
16. Clemson 19-4 720 20
17. Oklahoma 16-6 636 12
18. Rhode Island 19-3 486 22
19. West Virginia 17-6 457 15
20. Michigan 19-6 331 24
21. North Carolina 17-7 304 19
22. Wichita St. 17-5 295 16
23. Nevada 20-4 205 –
24. Kentucky 17-6 133 21
25. Miami 17-5 76 –

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25