AP Top 25 basketball: Villanova jumps to No. 1 for first time in 96-year history – Details

AP Top 25 basketball: Villanova jumps to No. 1 for first time in 96-year history

Villanova is on top of the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history.

The Wildcats (20-3 overall, 10-1 Big East) are ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, which were released Monday.

The only other time the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 was by USA Today/CNN after winning the NCAA title in 1985. The Wildcats were not ranked in either the final AP or United Press International (UPI) polls that year, both of which were released before the NCAA Tournament.

Villanova’s previous high in the AP poll was No. 2, which it achieved four times for a total of six weeks, according to Sports-Reference.com. The Wildcats were ranked second in the final AP poll last season. They were also ranked second for a week in 2009-10, for two separate weeks in 2005-06 and two consecutive weeks in 1995-96.

“We’re honored and humbled to have been voted No.1 by the writers in the Associated Press poll and the coaches in the USA Today Coaches poll,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement released by the university. “There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played and handling this will be another challenge for our team. We look forward to it.”

Villanova received 32 of 65 first-place votes to take over the top spot in the AP top 25. Maryland (21-3, 13 first-place votes) is No. 2, followed by Oklahoma (19-3, 7), Iowa (19-3, 11) and Xavier (21-2). Kansas (19-4) and Virginia (19-4) received one vote each. Villanova has 1,566 points to Maryland’s 1,499.

The Wildcats received 11 first-place votes, the same as Maryland, in the Coaches poll. However Villanova had 753 points overall to 749 for the Terrapins (21-3). In all, seven teams received first-place votes in the coaches poll. Oklahoma, Xavier and Iowa round out the top five.

The Wildcats (20-3 overall, 10-1 Big East) ascended to the top spot Monday on the strength of wins over Creighton and then No. 11 Providence combined with losses by No. 1 Oklahoma (to Kansas State) and No. 2 North Carolina (to Louisville and Notre Dame). Villanova has been nationally ranked for 47 consecutive weeks in the regular season, 49 if you include the preseason polls.

Villanova is the sixth team ranked No. 1 this season, the second most in the history of the poll and the seventh time at least six teams have held the top spot in one season. The only year with more was 1983 when seven teams were ranked No. 1 at one point in the season.

Oklahoma held the top spot for the last three weeks. Prior to that, Kansas was No. 1 for two weeks. The Jayhawks were preceded by Michigan State (four weeks), Kentucky (two weeks) and North Carolina (two weeks).

The Wildcats are the first Big East team to hold the No. 1 ranking since Louisville finished in the top spot in the final poll in 2012-13. Villanova is the first Philadelphia team at No. 1 since Saint Joseph’s was the top-ranked team in the next-to-last poll in 2004.

The Wildcats take on DePaul Tuesday night in Chicago and return home to play St. John’s Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sportact Editors and Wire Services