RALEIGH, N.C. — Villanova, Virginia and Purdue are making themselves comfortable atop the AP Top 25. And with the way they're playing, they might stay there for a while longer, too.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in Monday's latest poll, followed by the second-ranked Cavaliers and the third-ranked Boilermakers. It marked the fourth straight week that with the trio sitting 1-2-3 in the poll as they continue extended winning streaks while avoiding the upsets that hit national powers Duke, Kansas, Arizona and Kentucky last weekend.
Villanova (22-1, 9-1 Big East) has won nine straight and hasn't lost in the 2018 calendar year.
Virginia (22-1, 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won 14 straight games and leads the rest of the tradition-rich league by at least three games in the loss column. Its defense ranks No. 1 nationally in KenPom's adjusted efficiency rankings (82.2 points allowed per 100 possessions), and the Cavaliers are coming off a game in which they held Syracuse to 44 points — the Orange's lowest output ever in the Carrier Dome.
"The guys are playing at a high level, for sure," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said afterward. "They understand how they have to play. ... I like what our guys are doing."
Then there's Purdue (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten). The Boilermakers have the nation's longest winning streak at 19 games with the only hiccups coming in a two-day blip in November's Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.
"If there is a better team inside and out in the country, I haven't seen them yet," Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said after his team's Saturday loss to the Boilermakers.
Several teams reached first-time-in-years perches in the top 10.
Cincinnati (21-2) followed No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Xavier, reaching No. 6 for its highest ranking since January 2004. Next came No. 7 Texas Tech (19-4), which reached its highest ranking since hitting No. 7 in March 1996. And eighth-ranked Auburn (21-2) has its highest ranking since January 2000.
Ninth-ranked Duke and No. 10 Kansas rounded out the top 10, each sliding along with fellow national powers Arizona (No. 13) and Kentucky (No. 24) after losses in an upset-filled weekend.
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The Huskies (22-0) were still the unanimous No. 1 by the 32-member national media panel Monday. They routed No. 7 South Carolina on Thursday and then blew out Cincinnati on Sunday.
The first five teams were unchanged in the poll with Mississippi State, Baylor, Louisville and Notre Dame following UConn. The Bulldogs (23-0) host the Gamecocks on Monday night in a key Southeastern Conference clash.
Texas moved up two spots to sixth while UCLA, Oregon and Maryland round out the first 10 teams in the poll. The Ducks dropped three places after losing to then-No. 24 Stanford on Sunday night.
The 17th-ranked Cardinal made the biggest jump in the Top 25, moving up seven spots.
N.C. State entered the poll at No. 23 and Arizona State came in at 25 while West Virginia and California dropped out.