Kentucky unanimous No. 1, Boise State makes first appearance at No. 25

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Kentucky is on the cusp of making history in The Associated Press poll.

An undefeated season, which would be the first since 1976, is still on the table for the Wildcats, but that’s still three weeks and nine games from coming to fruition.

More immediate is a chance at becoming the first team to go wire to wire in The Associated Press Top 25 since the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV did it in 1990-91.

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The Wildcats (31-0) were the unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 for the sixth consecutive week on Monday, when they received all 65 first-place votes from a media panel after completing the first undefeated regular season in program history.

Kentucky was the preseason No. 1 and if it can stay there in next week’s final poll, it will become the eighth team to go wire to wire in the AP poll.

Before the Wildcats can get there, they have a tough week ahead in the Southeastern Conference championship, which starts Wednesday in Nashville.

Kentucky has a double bye into the quarterfinals and has beaten every team in the conference, but still figures to face some challenges getting through the bracket.

The Wildcats will open the tournament against the winner between Alabama and Florida on Friday. The closest game against those two teams was a seven-point victory over the Gators, so that one figures to be easy.

Get through that and Kentucky will likely face either Texas A&M or LSU. The Wildcats needed double overtime to beat the Aggies on Jan. 10 and clipped the Tigers by two on Feb. 10.

Kentucky’s potential championship game opponents include No. 21 Arkansas or Georgia, which had a nine-point second-half lead over the Wildcats before losing 72-64 Tuesday night.

The Wildcats have taken every team’s best shot all season and it figures to ramp up during the SEC tournament, where most of the teams they’ll face are fighting for NCAA Tournament berths.

“Every game seems to be an event,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

TOP 10 SHAKEUP

The top 10 of the poll had a shakeup for the second consecutive week.

Duke climbed a spot to No. 2 after beating Wake Forest and No. 19 North Carolina. The Blue Devils moved ahead of Virginia, which dropped to No. 3 after losing to No. 14 Louisville.

Villanova, Arizona, Wisconsin and Gonzaga all remained in place, but Wichita State dropped four spots to No. 12 after losing to Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference semifinals.

No. 10. Northern Iowa, which beat Illinois State in the title game, was back in the top 10 after dropping out last week. Maryland moved up two spots to No. 8 and Kansas dropped one to No. 9 after losing to No. 15 Oklahoma.

BUSTING BRONCOS

Boise State’s surprising run in the Mountain West Conference has the Broncos in new territory: The AP poll.

Boise State debuted in the poll at No. 25 this week after closing out the Mountain West regular-season title with a 71-52 win against Fresno State on Saturday.

The Broncos were picked to finish fourth in conference and started 0-3 in league play, but won 14 of their final 15 games to earn the No. 1 seed in this week’s conference tournament.

RISING AND FALLING

Iowa State had the biggest climb in this week’s poll, up four spots to No. 13.

Wichita State and Utah, which dropped to No. 17, had the biggest falls, dropping four places each.

IN AND OUT

Georgetown moved back into the poll at No. 23 this week and Davidson is No. 24, its first time in the poll since 2008.

Providence, Murray State and Ohio State all dropped out after losses last week.

This article was written by John Marshall from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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