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Villanova comes flying into AP Top 25

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Breaking down this week's Associated Press college basketball poll:

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JUMPING IN: Villanova's wins over Kansas and Iowa on the way to the Battle 4 Atlantis championship were a boost to the Wildcats, moving from unranked to No. 14 in the AP poll.

That's an impressive jump into the poll, but it's far from the best.

In November 1989, Kansas went from unranked to No. 4 after beating No. 2 LSU, No. 1 UNLV and No. 25 St. John's in the NIT Season Tip-Off, which was known then as the Preseason NIT.

The second-best improvement was by Connecticut in November 2010 when the Huskies went from unranked to No. 7 after beating No. 2 Michigan State and No. 8 Kentucky on the way to winning the Maui Invitational.

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NEWCOMERS: Villanova wasn't the only newcomer to this week's poll.

San Diego State used its wins over Creighton and Marquette en route to the championship run of the Wooden Legacy to arrive at No. 24. The Aztecs were ranked in 12 of the first 13 weeks last season.

It's been a longer time for Dayton, appearing at No. 25 following its third-place finish at the Maui Invitational. The Flyers beat then-No. 11 Gonzaga in the opening round, lost to then-No. 18 Baylor in the semifinals when a last-second shot didn't fall and beat California for third place. The Flyers' last appearance in the Top 25 was the first two weeks of 2009-10.

Villanova and San Diego State are the only teams this season with two wins over ranked teams.

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SO LONG: Three teams dropped out of the poll this week, with North Carolina's fall from No. 16 the biggest exit.

The Tar Heels were 12th in the preseason poll and the first poll of the regular season. Their home loss to Belmont dropped them to No. 24. North Carolina turned that drop around the next week when the upset of then-No. 3 Louisville moved it to No. 16.

That wasn't enough of a cushion to keep the Tar Heels from falling out after the 63-59 loss to UAB on Sunday.

The others to fall from the ranks of the ranked this week were Big East members who both lost two games. Creighton fell from 20th after losses to San Diego State and George Washington in the Wooden Legacy. Marquette dropped from No. 25 after losing at Arizona State and to San Diego State in the Wooden Legacy.

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LEAGUE LOOK: There were no changes at the top of the conference race in the Top 25 with the Big Ten still having five teams, followed by the Big 12 with four.

The Pac-12 and American Athletic Conference both stayed with three ranked teams. The Atlantic Coast Conference dropped to two teams with the loss of North Carolina and it is tied with the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic 10, which added Dayton to Massachusetts this week.

The Big East had both its teams from last week - Creighton and Marquette - fall out but Villanova moved in to keep it in the standings tied with the Missouri Valley (Wichita State), Mountain West (San Diego State) and West Coast (Gonzaga) conferences.

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DOUBLE-RANKED GAMES: After a week with several matchups between ranked teams because of the holiday tournaments, there are just three double-ranked games this week.

No. 15 Florida visits No. 12 Connecticut on Monday night and No. 22 Michigan heads to No. 10 Duke the next day in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

On Friday, things will be big Texas-style when No. 3 Kentucky faces No. 20 Baylor at AT&T Stadium near Dallas, the site of this season's Final Four.

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RISE AND FALL: Memphis and Syracuse used wins in holiday tournaments to make the week's biggest moves in the Top 25.

The Tigers won the Old Spice Classic, beating then-No. 5 Oklahoma State 73-68 in the championship game to move from 21st to No. 16. It was an impressive win, considering Memphis lost 101-80 at Oklahoma State two weeks earlier.

Syracuse beat Minnesota, California and then-No. 18 Baylor to win the Maui Invitational. The Orange moved from No. 8 to fourth with the three wins.

Gonzaga, which lost Dayton in the opening round at the Maui Invitational before beating Chaminade and Arkansas in the consolation bracket, had the week's biggest fall from 11th to No. 19.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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