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Kentucky falls out of AP Top 25 poll for 1st time since 2014

  • Kentucky coach John Calipari gestures to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Lexington, Ky. Florida won 66-64. (AP Photo/James Crisp) James Crisp

  • Connecticut's Terry Larrier, left, guards Villanova's Mikal Bridges during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) Jessica Hill

  • Virginia's Nigel Johnson (23) dunks against Wake Forest during the second half of an NCAA basketball game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) Chuck Burton

  • Purdue forward Matt Haarms celebrates during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Charlie Neibergall



Associated Press
Monday, January 22, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. – Kentucky is out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in nearly four years while another bunch of Wildcats – Villanova – maintained their hold on No. 1.

Kentucky slid out of Monday’s latest poll from No. 18 after losses to South Carolina and Florida, snapping a 30-game home winning streak for the Wildcats in Southeastern Conference play. That dropped coach John Calipari’s Wildcats out for the first time since March 2014 and snapped a 68-week stretch in the poll.

“I’m not panicked,” Calipari said Monday. “I coach at Kentucky, I always have young guys. I don’t have them this young, but they’re really young. They’re learning to trust each other. I’ve got to get them to trust each other on both sides of the ball and it just might take more time.”

The top three of Villanova, Virginia and Purdue remained the same, with the Wildcats (18-1) remaining firmly in place by collecting 63 of 65 first-place votes. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (18-1) and the Boilermakers (19-2) have combined to win 25 straight games, 19 by double-digit margins, and split the remaining first-place votes.

Duke inched up a spot to No. 4, while Kansas jumped five spots to No. 5 after winning at West Virginia. Michigan State, West Virginia, Xavier, Cincinnati and reigning national champion North Carolina rounded out the top 10, which saw three teams – Oklahoma, Wichita State and Texas Tech – each lose twice last week to take big tumbles.

Kentucky (14-5, 4-3 SEC) started the year at No. 5 and remained in the top 10 until Christmas Day, but the Wildcats have lost three of five overall and are 0-2 against ranked teams this year.

They also rank outside the top 25 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive and defensive national rankings through Sunday’s games. Calipari’s teams in Lexington have finished outside the top 25 in both categories only once before: the 2012-13 season that ended with 12 losses and a first-round NIT loss to Robert Morris.

Then again, the last Kentucky team to fall out of the AP poll in 2014 went from being a 10-loss disappointment to playing for the NCAA championship in the span of weeks.