Men’s Basketball AP Top 25 Rankings: Takeaways From Week 5 Poll

    The newest edition of the college basketball AP Top 25 rankings was released Monday. Here are some instant takeaways from the Week 5 poll.

    December 5, 2016

    The newest edition of the college basketball AP Top 25 rankings was released Monday. Here are some instant takeaways from the Week 5 poll. 

    Villanova is back on top of the AP Top 25 thanks to a team few expected to be immediately behind it – at least this soon.

    UCLA’s impressive 97-92 victory over Kentucky on Saturday in Lexington resulted in the defending champion Wildcats moving up to No. 1. The younger Wildcats from the Bluegrass State slipped down to No. 6, which seems like a steep penalty for that defeat.

    The Bruins, meanwhile, jumped nine spots to No. 2, after improving to 9-0 and knocking Kentucky out of the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive season. They also received two first-place votes, but that’s only the third-most in the poll.

    Baylor got six first-place votes while moving up five spots to No. 4 after a 76-61 victory over Xavier, which fell from No. 7 to No. 13.

    Here’s a look at some other takeaways from the newest edition of AP Top 25.

    Westwood Rising

    Everyone fawned over Kentucky and Duke’s recruiting classes, that became the first two teams to sit atop this season’s AP Top 25. Few gave Steve Alford’s group of freshman the same respect, but the list of doubters certainly has grown smaller.

    UCLA began the season at No. 16 despite highly touted prospects Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, who both have been studs to this point. Ball leads the nation averaging 9.3 assists per game and finished with 13 points, six rebounds and seven assists against Kentucky. Leaf was even more impressive, scoring 17 points while adding 15 rebounds and three assists.

    Although the freshmen will receive most of the accolades, they’re in reality great complements to the veterans on the roster. Isaac Hamilton is averaging a team-high 18.1 points after netting 19 against Kentucky, and fellow senior Bryce Alford, is averaging 15.3 points per contest.

    Sure, UCLA’s schedule prior to Saturday wasn’t exactly impressive. But it’s safe to say the Bruins have everyone’s attention now.

    Movin’ On Up

    UCLA’s nine-spot jump wasn’t even the biggest from Week 5. That belongs to West Virginia, which shot up 10 spots to No. 15 with Saturday’s 66-57 win over Virginia. The Mountaineers forced 14 turnovers – not quite the school-record 40 in its previous victory – and improved to 6-1, while the Cavaliers fell from No. 6 to No. 14.

    Baylor’s big move was followed by Indiana’s four-spot leap to No. 9 after it beat North Carolina in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Hoosiers bounced back from a shocking defeat at the hands of IPFW to knock off the Tar Heels, which is No. 7 after falling four places. No. 11 Louisville and No. 21 Florida both moved up three spots from last week.

    Syracuse dropped out of the poll after losing to No. 17 Wisconsin and beating North Florida by only six, while Rhode Island also slipped out after losing to rival Providence. That paved the way for Cincinnati and Notre Dame to enter at Nos. 22 and 23, respectively.

    Looking Ahead

    Florida’s matchup with No. 5 Duke on Tuesday is the only ranked-vs.-ranked game of the week before Cincinatti visits No. 18 Butler on Saturday. There are some other intriguing matchups, though.

    • No. 18 Purdue will have to deal with Arizona State’s trio of Tra Holder, Torian Graham and Shannon Evans II on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden prior to the Duke-Florida game. All three average at least 17 points per game.
    • IPFW already shocked one Indiana school. Can it shock another? The Mastadons vs. No. 23 Notre Dame on Tuesday night.
    • No. 13 Xavier faces another tough road game Wednesday when it travels to face Colorado. The Buffaloes are off to a 6-2 start.
    • No. 8 Gonzaga gets to find out how good Washington freshman Markelle Fultz is Thursday night. However, the Huskies are just 4-3.
    • Former Big East foes from the older edition of the conference square off Saturday when Notre Dame visits top-ranked Villanova.

    MORE: Five-Star Power Forward Billy Preston Commits To Kansas


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