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AP Top 25 Poll: Surging

UNC jumped 7 spots in the latest AP Poll after two big rivalry wins.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 10 North Carolina at NC State Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is more fun, no? The Tar Heels are fresh off their best week of the 2017-18 season, tallying two big conference wins over...c'mon, you know who they beat and hopefully you're still riding as high about it as we all are. But Carolina's huge week was just a small part of the total havoc that was wreaked on college basketball over the last seven days.

Just think: Virginia is now the #1 team in America for the first time since Ralph Sampson wore the Cavalier uniform, and they achieved that ranking after LOSING at HOME to an UNRANKED OPPONENT. That's what happens when the previous #1 (Villanova) loses at home to St. John's, a team that had been 0-11 in the Big East coming in.

Here is the latest AP Top 25, which is a little different from the one we saw last week:

  1. Virginia (30) 23-2
  2. Michigan State (21) 24-3
  3. Villanova (9) 23-2
  4. Xavier (5) 23-3
  5. Cincinnati 23-2
  6. Purdue 23-4
  7. Texas Tech 21-4
  8. Ohio State 22-5
  9. Gonzaga 23-4
  10. Auburn 22-3
  11. Clemson 20-4
  12. Duke 20-5
  13. Kansas 19-6
  14. UNC 19-7
  15. St. Mary's 24-3
  16. Rhode Island 20-3
  17. Arizona 20-6
  18. Tennessee 18-6
  19. Wichita State 19-5
  20. West Virginia 18-7
  21. Texas A&M 17-8
  22. Michigan 20-7
  23. Oklahoma 16-8
  24. Nevada 21-5
  25. Arizona State 19-6

Where is UNC?

The Tar Heels raced back up the polls this week, settling at #14. After a rough three-game stretch, they are back in a strong position for tournament seeding with three strong wins in a row. The ACC Regular Season title is long gone, but the Tar Heels were listed as a 3-seed in the NCAA Selection Committee's Top 16 projection. A strong finish to conference play and a good showing in the ACC Tournament would have them climb even higher.

Biggest Winners

HEELS! UNC made the biggest leap of any team in the field, gaining seven spots. Besides the boys in Carolina blue, the other big winner was Ohio State, whose comeback win on the road at Purdue is one of the signature wins of the season. The Buckeyes jumped six spots into the top 10 and are now in pole position in the Big Ten title race.

Other big winners were Texas A&M, who knocked off conference contenders Auburn and Kentucky to join the rankings at #21 and Clemson, who didn't choke against Pitt and watched a bunch of other teams ahead of them take losses to reach #11.

Credit also should be given to Virginia, loss to Virginia Tech notwithstanding. This Cavalier team is not nearly as talented as some of the others that have recently come through Charlottesville, but they have done what no other Wahoo squad has done in over 35 years by reaching #1.

Biggest Losers

Oklahoma again! The Sooners (who have been playing more like the Laters lately, heheh) dropped two more conference games, continuing their nosedive seven more spots down to #23. Evidently trying to win one on five is proving ineffective.

Joining the Sooners is another familiar culprit: Arizona. The Wildcats are one of the three most talented teams in America but are utterly inept defensively (sound familiar? coughs Duke). The Wildcats took a home loss to UCLA and fell four more spots. Their defensive woes are unlikely to be punished in a cupcake Pac-12 but the Cats have to be concerned their frequent slip-ups may cost them on Selection Sunday.

Top Games This Week

Tuesday, February 13th

#7 Texas Tech vs. #23 Oklahoma

Thursday February 15th

#17 Arizona @ #25 Arizona State

Saturday, February 17th

#3 Villanova @ #4 Xavier

#13 Kansas vs. #20 West Virginia

Sunday, February 18th

#8 Ohio State @ #22 Michigan

#5 Cincinnati vs. #19 Wichita State

#11 Clemson vs. #12 Duke

Conference Breakdown

ACC: 4

American: 2

Atlantic: 1

Big East: 2

Big Ten: 4

Big 12: 4

Mountain West: 1

Pac-12: 2

SEC: 3

West Coast: 2