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OK, humor me

1/23/2010

So in approximately four hours, Kentucky will either be standing atop the national rankings for the first time since 2003 or licking its wounds after its first loss of the season. Good money says it will be the former. Courtney Fortson helps lessen the long odds for Arkansas, but at Rupp Arena John Pelphrey better have packed some of his old magic along with his red jacket to steal a victory.

But let's just play make believe and say the Wildcats lose. Who would be No. 1? Likely Kansas again or Texas, presuming the Jayhawks beat Iowa State and the Longhorns top Connecticut.

But even if KU and Texas win, I'd like to make a case for the other Wildcats, the ones from the Main Line in Philadelphia. Villanova just beat St. John's, 81-71, rallying from a sloppy defensive first half and an 11-point deficit to roll its record to 18-1. The lone loss is to Big 5 rival and current No. 16 team in the nation, Temple. Not exactly a crummy loss.

Villanova also is 7-0 in the Big East, the lone undefeated in a league that has six teams in the top 25.

I know Villanova hasn't played the hardest schedule in the country -- it's currently ranked 41st -- but the Cats have disposed of Georgetown, won at Louisville in a foul festival, beat Ole Miss and Dayton early and most of all: They haven't lost since December, stringing together nine wins in a row.

Outside of Kentucky, no one really is hotter right now. So why not? Why, if one pack of Wildcats lose, couldn't another pack ascend to No. 1?