Villanova on top of AP men's poll for 4th straight week

Villanova's head coach Jay Wright, center, huddles his team after they beat Central Florida 67-57 Nov. 20 in the NCAA college basketball game at the Charleston Classic at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. Villanova starts its fourth week as the No. 1 team in The Associated Press Top 25 released on Monday, Dec. 26.

Photo by Associated Press.

Villanova's head coach Jay Wright, center, huddles his team after they beat Central Florida 67-57 Nov. 20 in the NCAA college basketball game at the Charleston Classic at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. Villanova starts its fourth week as the No. 1 team in The Associated Press Top 25 released on Monday, Dec. 26.

Villanova starts its fourth week as the No. 1 team in The Associated Press Top 25 and the ranked teams stay the same from the last poll except for Florida, which replaces fellow Southeastern Conference member South Carolina.

The Wildcats (12-0) received 56 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel to maintain its big lead over UCLA (13-0), which received three No. 1 votes.

Kansas (11-1) was third, followed by Baylor (12-0), which got the other six first-place votes.

Duke remained fifth while Louisville jumped from 10th to sixth following its 73-70 victory over Kentucky last week.

Gonzaga is seventh followed by Kentucky, North Carolina and Creighton.

West Virginia is again No. 11, followed by Virginia, Butler, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Xavier, Arizona, Saint Mary's and Florida State.

The last five ranked teams are Oregon, Southern California, Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Florida.

Florida (9-3) returns to the Top 25 after two weeks out of the rankings. The Gators come back in off a 94-71 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in their first game in the renovated O'Connell Center. They had played their first 11 games on the road or at neutral sites.

South Carolina (9-2) was ranked for four weeks, reaching as high as No. 16. The Gamecocks lost 62-60 last week to instate rival Clemson.

Kansas is ranked for the 150th consecutive poll, a streak that started on Feb. 3, 2009. The second-longest current streak is 86 polls by Arizona. The all-time record is 221 consecutive polls by UCLA from 1966-80.

With the start of conference play this week, there are six games featuring two ranked teams.

On Wednesday, No. 2 UCLA is at No. 21 Oregon and No. 6 Louisville hosts No. 12 Virginia. On Friday, No. 21 Oregon hosts No. 22 Southern California.

On Saturday, Villanova puts the No. 1 ranking on the line by visiting No. 10 Creighton. The others are No. 6 Louisville hosting No. 16 Indiana and No. 20 Florida State is at No. 12 Virginia.