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Villanova at No. 1 in AP Top 25 poll, Gonzaga stays at No. 8

Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins blows past Arizona guard Rawle Alkins,Dec. 3, 2016, in the Staples Center in Los Angles, Calif. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins blows past Arizona guard Rawle Alkins,Dec. 3, 2016, in the Staples Center in Los Angles, Calif. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Jim O’Connell Associated Press

Reigning national champion Villanova is No. 1 in the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll for the second time in school history.

The Wildcats (8-0), who were No. 1 for three weeks in February last season, moved up one spot from last week with 57 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel on Monday.

UCLA (9-0), which beat No. 1 Kentucky 97-92 on Saturday, jumped from 11th to second with two first-place votes. Kentucky, which dropped to sixth, had been No. 1 for the past two weeks. Duke is the other team to be No. 1 this season, for two weeks.

Villanova was playing Saturday afternoon when the Kentucky game ended. During the latter stages of their 82-57 victory over Saint Joseph’s, the Villanova students started chanting “No. 1! No. 1!” They have their wish.

Kansas moved from fourth to third and Baylor (8-0) jumped from ninth to No. 4 and received the other six first-place votes.

Gonzaga (8-0) remained at the No. 8 spot after beating Arizona (6-2), which fell from No. 16 to No. 20. The Bulldogs are followed by Indiana and Creighton.

Kentucky dropped to sixth, Duke held fifth and was followed by Kentucky and North Carolina.

Louisville is 11th, followed by Saint Mary’s, Xavier, Virginia and West Virginia, which made the jump from 25th to 15th after winning at Virginia, dropping the Cavaliers from sixth to No. 14.

Butler is 16th followed by Wisconsin, Purdue, South Carolina and Arizona. The last five ranked teams are Florida, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Oregon and Iowa State.

Cincinnati (7-1), which won at Iowa State last week, moved back into the Top 25 after being out for three weeks. Notre Dame (8-0) is the week’s other newcomer. The Fighting Irish come in having scored at least 91 points in their last three games.

Rhode Island dropped out from 21st after losing to Valparaiso and Providence last week. Syracuse, which was 22nd, fell out after losing to Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

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