No. 2 Wildcats, No. 9 Bears set to gain from top-10 turmoil
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) The top of the AP Top 25 looks set for a major shuffle, from a new No. 1 to another team that could make a big jump for the second straight week.
Four Top 10 teams – top-ranked Kentucky, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 6 Virginia and No. 7 Xavier – lost this week for the first time. That has reigning national champion Villanova set to climb from No. 2 to top Monday's new poll, while No. 9 Baylor added another marquee win to a nonconference resume that will stand up against anyone come March.
The Wildcats (8-0) held the No. 1 ranking last season for the first time in program history. They're set to go back after beating Big 5 programs Penn and St. Joseph's by blowout margins this week, including Saturday's 88-57 win against the Hawks that had home fans chanting ''No. 1! No. 1!'' after learning of Kentucky's home loss to No. 11 UCLA.
''It's definitely a nice problem to have, but at the end of the day, we're not really worried about that,'' guard Josh Hart said after the win, adding: ''I don't really think there's a crazy difference being ranked 1, 2, 3 or even 25 this early in the year.''
The Bears (8-0) beat the Musketeers 76-61 on Saturday for a third win against a top-10 opponent. And that makes four against ranked teams overall, including then-No. 4 Oregon (Nov. 15) along with wins against then-No. 10 Louisville and then-No. 24 Michigan State en route to winning the Battle 4 Atlantis title in the Bahamas.
Baylor has gone from getting zero votes in the first two polls to No. 20 after the Oregon win and then No. 9 after the Battle 4 Atlantis.
''Whatever rankings say, that's what they say,'' Baylor forward Johnathan Motley said after the Xavier win in Waco, Texas. ''I guarantee you every day, every game, we're going to come out with the same intensity. … We're all in, and it results in Ws.''
The Wildcats (7-1) had rolled through their schedule with ease, including a 115-69 win against Arizona State in the Bahamas on Monday night. Coach John Calipari had talked about the need to find out how his team would respond in a close game, only to see his team lose 97-92 at home to UCLA on Saturday.
That loss snapped a 42-game winning streak at Rupp Arena, with Calipari calling it afterward ''a lesson for us.''
North Carolina was discussed as possibly the nation's best team after winning the Maui Invitational, but lost at No. 13 Indiana 76-67 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday night.
The Tar Heels beat Radford 95-50 on Sunday behind a career-best 19 points from sophomore Kenny Williams III. They lost point guard Joel Berry to a sprained left ankle early in the second half, though coach Roy Williams didn't seem overly worried about the injury and said he hoped Berry could practice before Wednesday's game against Davidson.
In addition, versatile swingman and top perimeter defender Theo Pinson – yet to play due to a preseason foot injury – said he feels healthy and will be re-evaluated Monday.
In addition to UCLA, No. 8 Gonzaga and No. 25 West Virginia should get a bump Monday. The Zags beat No. 16 Arizona 69-62 , while the Mountaineers upset No. 6 Virginia 66-57 Saturday to snap the Cavaliers' 24-game home winning streak in Charlottesville.
No. 21 Rhode Island could be on its way out of the AP Top 25 after losing to unranked opponents Valparaiso and Providence on the road this week.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
Hard to top this transition dunk from Kentucky in Monday's win against Arizona State to start the week, featuring an off-target outlet pass, a one-handed redirection and a reverse dunk.
Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden have finally played a college game for Duke.
The two five-star freshmen made their debuts in Saturday's 94-55 home win against Maine. The 6-foot-8 Tatum had been out since spraining his foot during an October practice in front of NBA scouts, but had 10 points on 2-for-8 shooting but pulled down eight rebounds in 20 minutes.
The 6-11 Bolden had been out with a leg injury. He scored seven points on 3-for-5 shooting with five rebounds in 12 minutes.
They're part of Scout.com's No. 1-ranked recruiting class, through the highest-rated prospect – 6-10 Harry Giles – has yet to play after having an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in October.
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