The Kentucky Wildcats are on the rise in the newest AP Top 25 Poll.
After beating Texas A&M and Vanderbilt last week, the Cats limbed up to the No. 18 spot in this week’s AP Poll, which had a lot of movement throughout the top 25.
Villanova is still No. 1, but the top five now includes Virginia (2), Purdue (3), Oklahoma (4) and Duke (5). West Virginia fell all the way to No. 6 after their close road loss at No. 8 Texas Tech.
The highest-ranked SEC team is Auburn at No. 17. Tennessee (21) is the only other SEC team in the ranking.
Here is the entire AP Top 25 Poll:
18 Kentucky Wildcats
Elsewhere, the new ESPN power rankings have UK checking in at No. 21.
21. Kentucky Wildcats
Last week: 24
John Calipari has been preaching about a lack of toughness and leadership to his young team, but maybe the Wildcats are starting to listen. They pulled out wins over Texas A&M and Vanderbilt last week despite some late-game miscues. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been terrific in Quade Green’s place, hitting at least 16 points in five of six games.
21 feels too low, but the Cats are still a major work in progress and without two key players in Quade Green and Jarred Vanderbilt. If UK can get everyone back and in rhythm, there won’t be 20 teams in college hoops that are better than these Cats.