ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona basketball moves up 5 spots in AP Top 25 Poll

Nov 18, 2019, 11:09 AM | Updated: 12:13 pm
New Mexico State forward C.J. Bobbitt (13) drives on Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji in the first half o...
New Mexico State forward C.J. Bobbitt (13) drives on Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Wildcats made the second-biggest leap in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, jumping five spots to No. 14 with its 4-0 start to the men’s basketball season.

Arizona is coming off a 30-point victory over New Mexico State on Sunday and is being paced by freshman big man Zeke Nnaji, who is averaging 21.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 84.6% from the field.

Over two victories for the Wildcats last week over NMSU and San Jose State, Nnaji went a perfect 15-of-15 from the floor.

Atop the AP Poll, Duke is back at No. 1, moving up a spot following a pair of victories last week.

The Blue Devils can thank Evansville for the jump.

Duke moved to No. 1 for the first time this season, receiving 52 first-place votes from a 65-member media panel in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll released Monday.

The Blue Devils climbed a spot after unranked Evansville pulled off the 2019-20 season’s biggest surprise so far by knocking off previous No. 1 Kentucky.

“Our sport is more prone to upset than any because there are just five people out there, so there’s age, athleticism, maturity, depth and a lot of things where people can make up differences,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “That’s why there are a lot of so-called upsets in our sport. A lot of people can win and you have to be ready to play all those people.”

Duke (4-0) crushed Central Arkansas 105-54 last Tuesday and beat Georgia State 74-63 Friday behind Tre Jones’ career-high 31 points.

No. 2 Louisville received eight first-place votes and No. 3 Michigan State, the preseason No. 1, had four.

Kansas and North Carolina rounded out the top five, with No. 7 Virginia receiving the final first-place vote, one spot behind Maryland.

Kentucky was the overwhelming pick at No. 1 last week, receiving all but one first-place vote after knocking off previous No. 1 Michigan State in its opener.

The Wildcats dropped to No. 9 this week with the 67-64 loss to Evansville in Lexington.

“This was a great lesson for all of us, including me,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “I mean, we could say they got outplayed and I could tell you I got out-coached.”

TOP 10 SHUFFLE

Kentucky’s loss caused a shift in the top 10.

Every team behind the Wildcats moved up a spot except for Gonzaga, which held at No. 8.

No. 10 Ohio State cracked the top 10 for the first time since reaching No. 8 in 2017-18, coach Chis Holtmann’s first season. The Buckeyes climbed six spots after crushing then-No. 10 Villanova.

RISING

Ohio State had the biggest jump in this week’s poll, followed by No. 14 Arizona’s five-spot climb.

Auburn moved up three places from No. 22.

FALLING

Kentucky’s eight-place fall was the biggest of the week. Villanova was next, losing seven spots to No. 17 and No. 25 Washington fell five places.

MOVING IN

Three teams moved into the AP Top 25 this week.

No. 20 Tennessee is ranked for the first time this season after knocking off Washington.

No. 21 Virginia Commonwealth, the preseason No. 25, is back in the poll following a two-point win over LSU and a rout of Jacksonville State.

Texas moved in at No. 22 with wins over California Baptist and Prairie View. The Longhorns are ranked for the first time this season.

MOVING OUT

Florida had a precipitous drop after losing to Connecticut, falling out of the poll from No. 15.

LSU was out from No. 23 following its loss to VCU and Saint Mary’s dropped out from No. 18 after losing to Winthrop at home.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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