Cincinnati had another breakthrough yesterday in its impressive season, moving into the top 10 of the Associated Press poll at No. 7, the Bearcats’ highest ranking in 10 years.
They have won 14 in a row since a lopsided loss to crosstown rival Xavier. Their 21-2 mark represents their best start in 12 years, and they’re in control of the American Athletic Conference with a 10-0 mark, in line to win its first regular-season title.
“We’re not done yet,” senior forward Justin Jackson said after a 50-45 win over South Florida on Sunday, which helped Cincinnati move up from No. 13. “We want to be on the big stage come March. That’s our focus: when we come to March to have a good seed and do what we need to do.”
The Bearcats haven’t been ranked this high since the 2003-04 season, when they made it to No. 6.
Last season, Cincinnati started 12-0 and rose to No. 8 but went 10-12 the rest of the way.
No. 1 Syracuse 61, Notre Dame 55: Trevor Cooney scored a career-high 33 points, matching a school record with nine three-pointers, and host Syracuse (22-0, 9-0) beat Notre Dame (12-11, 3-7) in the Atlantic Coast Conference on the same day it moved into the top spot in the polls. Cooney hit five three-pointers in the first half as the Orange built a 13-point lead and hung on.
No. 6 Villanova 81, Xavier 58: James Bell hit six three-pointers and scored 27 points for host Villanova (20-2, 8-1) in beating Xavier (15-7, 5-4) in the Big East. Semaj Christon had 17 points for the Musketeers.
No. 16 Iowa State 98, No. 19 Oklahoma State 97, 3OT: DeAndre Kane had 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to help visiting Iowa State (17-4, 5-4) outlast Oklahoma State (16-6, 4-5) in the Big 12.
Le’Bryan Nash scored 26 points to lead the Cowboys.