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Arizona moved up one spot to No. 1 in The Associated Press poll on Monday, the Wildcats' first top ranking since 2003.
Arizona (9-0) was a runaway choice at No. 1, receiving 63 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel to earn the school's first No. 1 ranking without Lute Olson as coach.
Current coach Sean Miller views the ranking as validation for the direction the program has taken in his five years in the desert.
"There's tremendous satisfaction, no question," Miller said. "Embracing the fact that we're No. 1 is something I'm doing, our staff is doing and really our team is doing. It's an honor a lot of teams would love to have. It's something where no matter what happens the rest of the season, at some point we were ranked No. 1 in the country."
This is the sixth season in which the Wildcats have reached No. 1. The first time was a six-week stint in 1987-88, and the Wildcats went on to reach the Final Four for the first time. Their longest run at the top was 13 weeks in 2002-03, a season in which the Wildcats were never ranked lower than fourth and finished No. 2 in the final poll with a 28-4 record.
The Wildcats were sixth in the preseason Top 25, and their climb has been highlighted by wins over San Diego State and Duke.
Syracuse, which got the other two first-place votes, and Ohio State moved up two places to second and third, and Wisconsin jumped four spots to fourth.
Michigan State, which had been No. 1 for three weeks, dropped to fifth after losing 79-65 at home to North Carolina. The other two times Michigan State has reached No. 1 -- in 1978-79 and 2000-01 -- it was there for two weeks.
North Carolina's victory extended the Tar Heels' NCAA record for knocking off No. 1 teams. The win was North Carolina's 13th over a top-ranked team, three more than Maryland and UCLA.
The Tar Heels continued their up-and-down early season. They were 12th in the preseason poll and fell to No. 24 after losing to Belmont at home. A neutral-court win over then-No. 3 Louisville moved them up to No. 16, but a loss to UAB had them out of the poll.
Louisville is now No. 6, followed by Oklahoma State, Duke, Connecticut and Villanova.
Kentucky and Kansas had the largest drops this week. The Wildcats fell eight spots to No. 11 after losing to No. 20 Baylor at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Baylor moved up to No. 14 with the win. The Jayhawks fell seven spots to No. 13 after losing at Colorado on a last-second 3-pointer.
No. 21 Colorado and No. 24 Missouri are in the Top 25 for the first time this season. Both were ranked last season -- Colorado for two weeks and the Tigers for all but six weeks.
UCLA, Michigan and Dayton fell out of the rankings.
Michigan, which was No. 7 in the preseason poll, fell out from 22nd with its third defeat of the season. The Wolverines lost 79-69 at Duke. Their other losses were 77-70 to Iowa State and 63-61 to Charlotte.
The Wolverines were ranked for the past 44 weeks, a streak that started with the preseason poll in 2011-12, the sixth-longest current streak. Duke has the longest streak, 122 weeks starting with the preseason poll in 2007-08.
UCLA, which fell to 8-1 with an 80-71 loss at Missouri, was No. 22 in the preseason poll and reached as high as 18th, its ranking before falling out.
Dayton's first Top 25 appearance in four years lasted one week. The Flyers beat Delaware State 56-46 and lost at Illinois State 81-75 last week.
With Michigan falling out of the Top 25, the Big Ten lost its lead among the conferences in ranked teams. The Big Ten is now tied with the Big 12 with four teams each in the rankings. The Pac-12, which lost UCLA but gained Colorado; the American Athletic Conference; the Atlantic Coast Conference; and the Southeastern Conference, which added Missouri this week, are tied with three teams each.
There will be three games this week between ranked teams. On Tuesday, No. 13 Kansas is at No. 19 Florida. On Friday, it's an in-state battle when No. 23 Iowa visits No. 17 Iowa State. On Saturday, No. 11 Kentucky is at No. 18 North Carolina.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.