There is no doubt so far about Kentucky’s standing as the unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 poll.
The Wildcats (12-0) got every first-place vote for the third week in a row Monday, the latest balloting coming two days after their 83-44 romp against UCLA. Kentucky scored the game’s first 24 points and led 41-7 at halftime in the matchup of teams with the most NCAA championships (UCLA with 11, Kentucky with eight).
“Obviously, they’re one of the best teams in the country, if not the best team in the country right now,” UCLA guard Bryce Alford said. “They took our confidence out of us right at the beginning of the game.”
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The Wildcats’ only remaining game before opening Southeastern Conference play is Saturday at No. 4 Louisville (10-0). Kentucky has won six of the past seven meetings between the instate rivals.
“I’m in a grind and I’m staying in the moment,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “The one thing I’m doing is really enjoying these guys. We can all talk about defense and blocking shots and playing hard, but you’ve got 10 guys, 11 guys sharing minutes. You have two point guards that are two of the best point guards in the country, both of them, and sharing minutes. You have big guys sharing minutes.”
And all are winning big together.
With No. 22 Baylor and No. 25 TCU making their Top 25 debuts Monday, the Big 12 has a poll-high seven ranked teams. Five ACC teams are ranked.
Baylor, an NCAA Sweet 16 team last year, has now made it into the rankings in eight consecutive seasons.
TCU has gone from 0-18 in Big 12 games last season to the best start in school history — 11-0 after an 88-57 win against UTSA on Saturday night. The Horned Frogs are ranked for the first time since January 1999.
Billy Tubbs was their coach the last time the Frogs were in the poll, when they were 24th the last week of January 1999. That was a season after TCU’s last NCAA tournament appearance.
The Big 12’s other ranked teams are No. 9 Texas, No. 10 Kansas, No. 12 Iowa State, No. 18 West Virginia and No. 19 Oklahoma.
Colorado State (No. 24, 11-0) and TCU, the remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division I basketball going into Monday, made it into the new poll.
Colorado State was ranked for two weeks in February 2013, but before that hadn’t been in the poll since 1954.
Northern Iowa (10-1) returned to the poll after a one-week absence, getting back in at No. 23 and giving the Missouri Valley Conference two ranked teams (No. 11 Wichita State is the other).
Falling out were Miami, San Diego State, Butler and Michigan State.