Kentucky is back at No. 1 in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Saint Louis is back in the Top 25 for the first time since 1993-94.
The Wildcats (6-0) replaced North Carolina, which had been No. 1 since the preseason poll, on Monday, receiving 46 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. The Tar Heels (5-1) dropped to fifth following their 90-80 loss to UNLV in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational.
Ohio State (6-0) moved up from third to second and had 17 first-place votes, while Duke (7-0), which won the EA Sports Maui Invitational, jumped from sixth to third and had the other two No. 1 votes.
Syracuse, North Carolina, Louisville, Baylor, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Florida rounded out the top 10.
UNLV (7-0) used the win over North Carolina to move in at 18th. The Runnin’ Rebels were ranked for four weeks last season.
Saint Louis (6-0), which beat Boston College, Villanova and Oklahoma to win the 76 Classic, moves in at No. 23, the Billikens’ first time in the poll in almost two decades.
"Being nationally ranked is a big deal, but we’re not going to practice any different or play any different," Saint Louis forward Cody Ellis said. "That’s what’s been keeping us successful."
North Carolina is at Kentucky on Saturday, a matchup that would have had No. 1 facing No. 2.
This is Kentucky’s 90th week at No. 1, fourth on the all-time list behind UCLA (134), Duke (122) and North Carolina (108).
Before the one-week appearance at No. 1 in 2009-10, the Wildcats’ last time on top of the rankings was the final poll of 2002-03.
Xavier moved up one place to 11th and was followed by Alabama, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, Marquette, Pittsburgh, UNLV, Gonzaga and Vanderbilt. The last five ranked teams were Mississippi State, Memphis, Saint Louis, California and Texas A&M.
Florida State (5-2) dropped out from 22nd following losses to Harvard and Connecticut in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Arizona (4-2) fell from No. 23 after a home loss to San Diego State.
Missouri had the week’s biggest jump, using easy wins over Notre Dame, California and Binghamton to move from 21st to No. 13. Memphis, which lost to Michigan and Georgetown in the Maui Invitational, had the biggest fall, dropping from No. 8 to 22nd.