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NCAA basketball rankings 2016: Villanova is at No. 1 again as UCLA-Oregon showdown looms



By Ricky O’Donnell

Villanova is No. 1 for the fourth straight week on the final poll before conference play.

College basketball’s non-conference schedule established that the blue bloods are back, the freshman class is loaded, and the race for the national championship should feature contenders from all over the country. With Christmas behind us, it’s finally time for conference play.

The opening week is packed with some outstanding matchups.

Villanova remains at No. 1 for the fourth straight week, followed by UCLA, Kansas, Baylor, and Duke. Kentucky fell from No. 6 to No. 8 after losing to Louisville, while the Cards jumped from No. 10 to No. 6.

This week is highlighted by some big-time matchups in the ACC, Pac-12, and Big Ten. Louisville will be tested again against No. 12 Virginia on Wednesday, while UCLA gets its toughest challenger in the Pac-12 in No. 21 Oregon. Iowa gets No. 15 Purdue to open Big Ten play while No. 16 Indiana faces Nebraska.

Here’s a full look at the last poll before conference play kicks off in full:

  1. Villanova
  2. UCLA
  3. Kansas
  4. Baylor
  5. Duke
  6. Louisville
  7. Gonzaga
  8. Kentucky
  9. North Carolina
  10. Creighton
  11. West Virginia
  12. Virginia
  13. Butler
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Purdue
  16. Indiana
  17. Xavier
  18. Arizona
  19. St. Mary’s
  20. Florida State
  21. Oregon
  22. USC
  23. Cincinnati
  24. Notre Dame
  25. Florida

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