CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — NCAA champion Villanova finally lost, Baylor positioned itself to reach No. 1 for the first time in program history and the winningest coach in men’s Division I history had to step away to have back surgery.
Clearly, it was an eventful week for teams in the AP Top 25.
Top-ranked Villanova’s loss at No. 18 Butler on Wednesday night opened the door for the second-ranked Bears to take the final step Monday in a remarkable climb through the first two months of the season.
“Big picture, we know no one is going to remember who is ranked No. 1 the first week of January,” coach Scott Drew said. “So we’re on to other things and trying to control what we can control.”
Baylor (15-0) went from getting zero votes in the first two polls to No. 20 after a win against a ranked Oregon team, then jumped to No. 9 after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Now the Bears stand alongside No. 5 Gonzaga as the only unbeaten teams in the poll after beating Iowa State and Oklahoma State this week by a combined six points. And they have four wins against ranked opponents this year.
They’ll get another chance to add to that total this week. Their next game is at current No. 7 West Virginia.
“It’s great to be No. 1,” junior forward Terry Maston said, “but it’s kind of hard to really appreciate knowing we have to go to West Virginia (on Tuesday.”
Villanova (15-1) had won 20 straight games dating to last year’s run to the NCAA title. Jay Wright’s team was also off to the best start in program history before the Butler loss.
Villanova rebounded with a weekend win against Marquette and hosts No. 16 Xavier in a key Big East matchup.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
As Duke brought back preseason All-American Grayson Allen from a suspension, Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski stepped away from the team to have back surgery.
Krzyzewski coached Wednesday’s win against Georgia Tech before having surgery Friday to remove a fragment of a herniated disk from his lower back. He’s expected to miss about four weeks, with associate head coach Jeff Capel taking over in his absence — starting in Saturday’s win against Boston College.
Allen was suspended for the loss at No. 21 Virginia Tech after being caught tripping an opponent for the third time in a year, but he returned against Georgia Tech.
The preseason No. 1 Blue Devils visit No. 12 Florida State on Tuesday.
No. 3 Kansas (14-1) hasn’t lost since the opener against Indiana after beating Kansas State and Texas Tech this week, while No. 15 Oregon — which started the year at No. 5 — has won 13 straight games after a 2-2 start entering next weekend’s game against Oregon State.
Virginia Tech had plenty of momentum after an upset of Duke, but they stumbled twice in the past week. First the Hokies lost 104-78 at North Carolina State on Wednesday, with Wolfpack star freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. posting a triple-double, then they fell at FSU 93-78 as the Seminoles improved to 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time.
Bad weather caused some problems for a couple of Top 25 teams this week.
Gonzaga’s game at Portland scheduled for Saturday was postponed until a later date.
In addition, No. 14 North Carolina’s home game set for that night with rival North Carolina State ended up being pushed to Sunday afternoon due to a winter storm that made for icy driving conditions. Facing a team that had just beaten Virginia Tech by 26, the Tar Heels won 107-56 in what stands as the Wolfpack’s second-worst margin of defeat in program history.
And No. 9 Louisville had travel delays ahead of its 65-50 win Saturday at Georgia Tech.
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