NCAA

Villanova takes top spot in new AP Poll, but West Virginia is climbing

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Villanova takes top spot in new AP Poll, but West Virginia is climbing

Villanova's unbeaten start now includes a No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25 , while Arizona State is making a rapid rise into the top 10 under third-year coach Bobby Hurley.

After a tumultuous week in which unanimous No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Kansas lost, the Wildcats (10-0) earned 41 of 65 first-place votes to hop over Michigan State and reach the top for the third straight season.

Villanova and Michigan State were the favorites to take over at the top after the Blue Devils' weekend loss at Boston College, though there was far less certainty for voters about who was now the nation's top team. The Spartans (9-1) earned 19 first-place votes to climb from third to second, while the other five first-place votes went to the Sun Devils -- who leapt 11 spots to No. 5 after Sunday's win at Kansas.

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Arizona State (9-0) is off to its best start since the 1974-75 season. Now the Sun Devils — who also have a win against Xavier this season — have their highest ranking since reaching third during the 1980-81 season.

Wichita State climbed three spots to No. 3, followed by Duke and Arizona State. Unbeaten Miami climbed four spots to No. 6, followed by North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Xavier to round out the top 10.

Villanova helped itself with an impressive win against No. 12 Gonzaga last week in New York, though the Wildcats had to fight to the final minute Sunday to close out a La Salle team that entered at 5-5.

"It's always an honor to be ranked No. 1," Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. "It's great for the Nova Nation and we appreciate the respect of the writers. We know it's early, though, and we need to get a lot better."

West Virginia made one of the biggest jumps this week in the poll, climbing seven spots to No. 11 from No. 18 last week. Virginia — following its 68-61 loss to West Virginia — dropped one spot to No. 16. 

Although it's not quite in the mix yet, Virginia Tech received 15 votes this week, and Georgetown — which grabbed a few votes last week — is no longer in the mix, despite remaining undefeated with the best record in the Big East.

KANSAS' FALL

The Jayhawks (7-2) slid 11 spots to No. 13 after two losses last week, the first coming against Washington in Kansas City, Missouri, before losing to the Sun Devils in Allen Fieldhouse.

SHUFFLE UP

Only two teams — No. 8 Kentucky and No. 12 Gonzaga — stayed in the same spot. Thirteen teams rose in the poll, while four of the seven teams that fell slid at least eight spots.

TOP RISERS

Arizona State's leap was the biggest, though No. 11 West Virginia (9-1) moved up seven spots after beating then-No. 15 Virginia. No. 14 TCU (10-0) climbed six spots after a win against a then-ranked Nevada team.

Miami, UNC, No. 15 Seton Hall, No. 17 Purdue and No. 20 Tennessee all climbed four spots.

LONGEST SLIDES

While Kansas' losses stood out, No. 22 Florida had the biggest fall of the week.

The Gators (6-3) slid 17 spots after home losses to Florida State and to Loyola Chicago — a game in which they led for all of 93 seconds. Florida salvaged a win against Cincinnati in the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, New Jersey, to avoid a four-game skid.

No. 18 Notre Dame (8-2) fell nine spots after an upset loss to Ball State, while the No. 25 Bearcats (7-2) slid eight spots.

NEWCOMERS

There were three newcomers to this week's poll, though one is more of a welcome back.

The list included No. 19 Florida State (9-0) and No. 24 Texas Tech (7-1), while Arizona returned to the rankings at No. 23.

Arizona's 0-3 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas made the Wildcats the first team in three decades to go from No. 2 in the AP Top 25 to unranked in a week. But four straight wins have the preseason Final Four favorite back in the poll.

SLIDING OUT

Minnesota (No. 14 last week), Nevada (No. 22) and Southern California (No. 25) all fell out of the poll.

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.

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George Washington tops George Mason in Revolutionary Rivalry

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George Washington tops George Mason in Revolutionary Rivalry

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- Yuta Watanabe scored 19 points, Terry Nolan Jr. had 18 points, six steals and six assists and George Washington beat George Masson 80-68 Wednesday night in the Revolutionary Rivalry.

Nolan started the scoring with a 3-point play, Watanabe made back-to-back layups and George Washington (9-10, 2-4 Atlantic 10) began with an 11-2 run. The lead swelled to 22-10 before the Patriots reduced the deficit to 29-28 with a 3-pointer from Javon Greene with 4:20 left before halftime. Ian Boyd scored seven points during the 18-7 run. George Washington closed out the half with a 15-7 run and led 44-29 at the break.

Jaire Grayer and Greg Calixte made back-to-back jumpers and the Patriots closed to 56-48, Goanar Mar had a 3 to make 68-60, but the Colonials led by double figures most of the second half.

Bo Zeigler scored 18 and missed just 2 of 11 shot attempts and Jair Bolden scored 16 for George Washington.

Mar led George Mason (9-10, 3-3) with 17 points, Justin Kier 13, Grayer 11 and Boyd had 10. The Patriots fell to 0-9 against George Washington since joining the conference.

Virginia Climbs to No. 2 in Latest AP Top 25 Poll

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Virginia Climbs to No. 2 in Latest AP Top 25 Poll

Duke was the ACC's preseason favorite and North Carolina the defending national champion.

The conference leader and highest-ranked team so far: Virginia.

Picked to finish sixth in the ACC preseason poll, the Cavaliers (15-1, 4-0) have been the conference's most consistent team so far this season behind their still-stifling defense.

Virginia (15-1, 4-0 ACC) moved up a spot to No. 2 and received a first-place vote in the AP Top 25 released on Monday, its highest ranking since reaching No. 2 in the 2014-15 season.

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The Cavaliers, No. 1 in KenPom.com's defensive efficiency rankings, beat Syracuse and North Carolina State last week.

"They've taken care of business, so they're in this spot," Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said of his players. "Our pillar in our program is all about humility. It just means knowing who you are. I've said this before. They're very clear on how they have to play. They do it together."

Villanova remained at the top spot for the second straight week, receiving 63 of 65 first-place votes from a media panel. The Wildcats (16-1, 4-1 Big East) moved atop the poll for the second time this season after Michigan State's loss to Ohio State last week and stayed there after wins over No. 10 Xavier and St. John's .

Purdue had the other No. 1 vote and moved up two spots to No. 3, its highest ranking since reaching No. 3 in 2009-10 after extending its winning streak to 13 games with victories over Michigan and Minnesota . Matt Painter's Boilermakers (17-2, 6-0 Big Ten) are off to their best start since 1987-88 and best in the Big Ten since winning the first eight games of 1989-90.

"They're playing with a great purpose," Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. "They coach themselves. Matt's a terrific coach, but you can tell they're coaching each other."

Oklahoma and star freshman Trae Young continued their rise through the poll, moving up five spots to No. 4. The Sooners (14-2, 4-1 Big 12) have their highest ranking since reaching No. 1 in 2015-16, when they reached the Final Four.

Duke moved up two spots to round out the top 5. West Virginia dropped four spots to No. 6 after losing to No. 8 Texas Tech.

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WILD BIG 12

The Big 12 has the best RPI of any conference and eight teams in the KenPom top 50. Its teams also have been beating up on each other since the conference season started just after Christmas.

West Virginia (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) reached its highest ranking since 1959 a week ago, only to lose to the Red Raiders 72-71 in Lubbock. Texas Tech lost to Oklahoma on Tuesday, creating a logjam at the top of the Big 12 between those three teams and No. 10 Kansas, which moved up two spots this week following wins over Iowa State and rival Kansas State.

No. 24 TCU remained in the AP Top 25 despite losing to Texas in double overtime and by five to Oklahoma last week. The Horned Frogs (13-4, 1-4) have lost four Big 12 games by a combined 11 points.

RISING AND FALLING

Oklahoma, No. 15 North Carolina and No. 17 Auburn had the biggest jumps in the poll, moving up five spots each.

TCU had the biggest fall, losing eight spots, followed by No. 25 Miami's seven-place drop to No. 25 following a loss to No. 20 Clemson. Arizona State dropped five spots to No. 16 after splitting games against the Pac-12's Oregon schools.

MOVING IN

No. 22 Ohio State is ranked for the first time since reaching No. 12 during the 2014-15 season after victories over Maryland and Rutgers last week. The Buckeyes also knocked Michigan State from the No. 1 ranking with an 80-64 victory on Jan. 7.

Michigan moved into the poll for the first time this season at No. 23 after beating Michigan State on Saturday.

DROPPING OUT

Creighton dropped out of the poll from No. 25 after a loss to No. 10 Xavier. Florida fell out from No. 23 after losing to Louisville.

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