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AP basketball Top 25: Virginia shines after tough week while Kentucky falls twice in early tests

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After a rather slow start to the year last week, there has been a lot of excitement in the college basketball world. This is bound to continue as a number of holiday tournaments kick off in the coming days.

Here’s everything you missed in the second week of the season and the latest Associated Press poll.

Virginia bounces back after an emotional Las Vegas championship

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It’s been a tough week in Charlottesville, but Tony Bennett and Virginia have picked up a couple of big wins in Las Vegas.

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First, just days after a mass shooting on campus killed three members of the Cavaliers football team, Virginia knocked out Baylor to start the second half in her first game at the main event of the Continental Tire. The Cavaliers then beat Illinois 70–61 on Sunday to win the four-team tournament at T-Mobile Arena to finish the season 4–0.

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“It’s great at the moment, but now we know what’s really important,” Bennett said after an emotional week via The Associated Press. “When you have such an instant holiday, it allows you to enjoy it, and it seems important, but in general it is not.”

The Las Vegas Championship lifted Virginia 11 places in this week’s poll to 5th. The Cavaliers will host Maryland Eastern this week and will play Michigan and Florida State next week.

UCLA, on the other hand, struggled through the first real challenge of the season. The Bruins, who entered the tournament at number 8, lost games to Illinois and Baylor last weekend. They dropped to 19th in this week’s poll.

Virginia beat Illinois and Baylor to win the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Virginia beat Illinois and Baylor to win the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Kentucky falls twice in the first real Tests of the season

It’s been a tough week for John Calipari and Kentucky.

The Wildcats, who opened the season at No. 4, have lost their first real Tests twice this year.

While both losses came to very strong opponents, one of which came in double overtime, it’s not a great start for a team with legitimate title aspirations.

First, Kentucky lost a tight match against Michigan State in the Champions Classic, which saw the debut of star forward Oscar Chibwe. The Wildcats then crossed over to Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington on Sunday night. They looked terrible in the first half of that game as well, shooting only 25% from the field and scoring 0 of 10 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes.

The losses, which were split by a crushing victory over South Carolina State, saw Kentucky drop to 15th in this week’s poll.

Now the good news for Kentucky is that Chibwe looked great. He had 22 points and 18 rebounds against the Spartans and had 20 points on 15 rebounds against Gonzaga. While he certainly needs help, Chibwe is already well on his way to supporting his Naismith Prize-winning campaign last season.

Full AP Top 25

complete AP Top 25 poll from Monday, November 21:

1. North Carolina (4-0)

2. Houston (5-0)

3. Kansas (4-0)

4. Texas (3-0)

5. Virginia (5-0)

6. Gonzaga (3-1)

7. Baylor (4-1)

8. Duke (3-1)

9. Arkansas (3-0)

10. Creighton (4-0)

11. Indiana (4-0)

12. Michigan State (3-1)

13. Auburn (4-0)

14. Arizona (3-0)

15. Kentucky (3-2)

16. Illinois (4-1)

17. San Diego State (3-0)

18. Alabama (4-0)

19. UCLA (3-2)

20. Yukonn (5-0)

21. Texas Tech (3-0)

22. Tennessee (2-1)

23. Maryland (5-0)

24. Purdue (3-0)

25. Iowa (3-0)

Others who received votes: TCU 82, St. Mary 59, Ohio State 56, Michigan 24, Xavier 22, Charleston 17, Toledo 16, Miami 10, Dayton 9, Villanova 7, Arizona State 5, Virginia Tech 5, St. Louis 5 , UNLV 5 , Oregon 4, West Virginia 3, Texas A&M 2, Utah 1, Pennsylvania 1, Mississippi 1


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