by Craig Dimitri
Both major polls were released on Monday, as always. Last week, Villanova was ranked #8 in the Associated Press media poll (the more reliable of the two), and #7 in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
Villanova's pair of victories last week, over Seton Hall and then-#20 Syracuse, impressed the voters. The 13-2 Wildcats are now the sixth-ranked team in both polls, leaping two spots in the AP and one spot in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Best of all, Villanova received a first-place ballot in the AP poll.
Associated Press - #6 (1 first-place vote) ranking, 1,429 points, up from #8, 1,350 points.
Villanova leapfrogged Illinois, which fell from #7 to #8, due to a loss to Indiana. The Wildcats also jumped over Gonzaga, which fell from #6 to #7, despite two victories - the Zags escaped USD with a one-point victory and it cost them some votes as a result.
ESPN/USA Today - #6 ranking, 606 votes.
Villanova moved ahead of the Illini, who tumbled from #7 to #5.
CollegeRPI.com - #4 ranking, #13 strength-of-schedule. (As of Wednesday, January 18, the most recent update.)