by Craig Dimitri
Even before they took the Wachovia Center hardwood, with the customized Block V at center court, the Wildcats had already risen in the two major polls. Previously ranked sixth in both polls, Villanova vaulted all the way to #4, in both polls released yesterday. The Wildcats have been ranked continuously, since January 2005.
In Week 13, both polls agreed on an identical top six:
National Rankings for Week 13 (released Monday, January 30)
Villanova (15-2) #4, 1,548 points, up from (13-2) #6 (one 1st-place vote), 1,429 points.
Villanova gained two spots and 119 points in the AP poll, despite losing the support of the single writer who had given them a first-place vote in Week 12. The Wildcats sufficiently impressed the voters, despite their narrow wins at South Florida and Notre Dame (who have only one Big East victory between them, although both have suffered many tough losses), over the course of the last week.
Villanova jumped over previous #4 Texas, who had beaten them on January 14 in Austin. The Longhorns dropped all the way to #7, after losing @ Oklahoma immediately after VU's win @ ND. The Longhorns' support fell from 1,541 points to 1,355 points.
The Wildcats also leapt over previous #5 Florida (whom VU pounded in the second round in last year's NCAA tournament), which fell to #8. The Gators had 1,530 points in Week 12, but dropped down to 1,287 points in Week 13.
Villanova (15-2) #4, 657 points, up from (13-2) #6, 606 points.
Villanova gained two spots and 51 points, again surpassing the same two Sunbelt schools. However, in the latter poll, the positions of Florida and Texas had been reversed, so previously #4 Florida dropped from 677 points to #7, 582 points, and previously #5 Texas fell from 654 points to #8, 577 points. Logically - just as they had in the AP poll - each also fell three spots in this survey: thus, Florida is now #7 and Texas #8.
As of the most recent update (early Tuesday, January 31), Villanova is ranked #3, behind only Duke and Memphis. Moreover, the Wildcats' strength-of-schedule ranking is a powerful #13, which will only rise as more and more Big East games are played.
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