— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) February 12, 2018
The Virginia men’s basketball program had not been ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Associated Press since the 1982-1983 season, when Ralph Sampson and company opened as the AP preseason No. 1 and held onto the distinction for the first four weeks of regular season play. Before today, that is.
Yes, Virginia fans, your Wahoos sit atop the newly-released AP Top 25.
After opening the season outside of the preseason AP Top 25 for the first time since the 2011/2012, the Cavaliers have amassed a 23-2 record, including a 12-1 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play, on its march to number one. Prevailing thought was that Virginia Tech had spoiled UVA’s chance to be AP No. 1 after the Hokies’ 61-60 overtime decision at John Paul Jones Arena last Saturday, but the writers voted Virginia up despite the loss.
The Cavaliers, ranked No. 2 by the AP the previous four weeks, received 30 of 65 first-place votes to edge out No. 2 Michigan State for the top spot. Villanova, which headed into last week as the no. 1 team in the nation before losing at home to St. John’s, is No.3 and received nine first place votes. Xavier, which picked up five first-place votes, and Cincinnati round out the top five.
The Atlantic Coast Conference boasts four teams inside the AP Top 25. All four are in the top 15 – No. 1 Virginia, No. 11 Clemson, No. 12 Duke, and No. 14 North Carolina.
Virginia has only one game this week, but it’s a tough road contest against Miami, which was the AP No. 25 team last week before splitting two games last week (a home win over Wake Forest and a road loss to Boston College). The Hurricanes host the Hoos at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13. ESPN will televise.
“Sure [being number one] would’ve been great for everybody, but that’s a small thing,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said following the Virginia Tech loss, responding to a question about the loss presumably costing his team a chance at number one. “It’s about your quality and how you play and continuing on in a conference race.”