Ranked matchups in ACC, Big Ten headline week in AP Top 25
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) It didn’t take long for races in both the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference to offer some unexpected outcomes. Now each league has a pair of matchups between ranked members to highlight the week ahead in the AP Top 25 .
No. 13 Wisconsin appears in both of the Big Ten’s matchups, first visiting No. 25 Indiana on Tuesday then visiting No. 20 Purdue on Sunday. And in the ACC, No. 9 Louisville visits No. 23 Notre Dame on Wednesday while No. 12 Florida State hosts No. 21 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
That follows an opening week in which both leagues had ranked teams stumble, most notably in the ACC – where Louisville, No. 8 Duke, and No. 14 North Carolina all lost league openers and FSU won at No. 11 Virginia over the weekend days after the Cavaliers had beaten the Cardinals.
Virginia Tech’s win against the Blue Devils put the Hokies into the poll at No. 21 and gave the ACC seven ranked teams in the month of January for the first time in its history. It’s also the first time Virginia Tech, which visits North Carolina State on Wednesday night, has been ranked since November 2010.
”The first thing I said to our team when we walked into the locker room was `Welcome to the ACC,”’ Virginia coach Tony Bennett said after the FSU loss. ”I said, `If you are not right, and you are not executing all of the way through, you will not be successful.’ … You are just going to have to be ready to play at home or away.”
In the Big Ten, No. 20 Purdue lost at home Sunday to Minnesota, while the Hoosiers lost their league opener last week at home against Nebraska .
STILL ON TOP: Reigning national champion Villanova certainly looks comfortable at No. 1.
The Wildcats (14-0, 2-0 Big East) stayed atop the AP Top 25 for a fifth straight week after winning at No. 10 Creighton over the weekend, setting the mark for the best start in program history as well as winning a program-record 20th straight game.
Villanova will get a second straight matchup against a ranked team, visiting No. 18 Butler on Wednesday night.
CLIMBING: No. 15 Oregon is moving up.
The preseason Pac-12 favorite started the year at No. 5, only to stumble to a 2-2 start as it waited for AP preseason All-American Dillon Brooks to return from offseason foot surgery. But the Ducks have won 11 straight, including handing then-No. 2 UCLA its first loss last week followed by a win against then-No. 22 Southern California.
Oregon (13-2, 2-0) jumped from No. 21 in Monday’s poll and visits Washington on Wednesday.
CONFERENCE RANKS: The ACC’s seven ranked teams led the way this week, though none are higher than No. 8. The Pac-12 and the Big East each have four ranked teams, while the Big Ten and Big 12 each have three – though all three of the Big 12’s are in the top 10 with No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Kansas and No. 7 West Virginia.
WATCH LIST: Minnesota was one of eight teams in a power-5 conference to lose at least 15 regular-season league games last year, but the Gophers (13-2, 1-1 Big Ten) are hanging just outside the AP Top 25. They visit Northwestern on Thursday then host Ohio State on Sunday.
The other team to watch is Clemson. The Tigers (11-2, 1-0 ACC) could play their way into the poll with a good week against a slate that includes a visit from No. 14 UNC on Tuesday followed by a trip to No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday.
Clemson has won nine straight games, the program’s longest streak since the 2008-09 season. The Tigers won their league opener at Wake Forest over the weekend, closing on a 15-0 run to erase a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes and win 73-68 .
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