LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Being No. 1 has not been a safe haven for men’s college basketball teams this season. Maybe the University of Louisville can hold the top spot longer than Michigan State, Kentucky or Duke.
Less than a month into the season, the Cardinals (7-0) became the fourth team to ascend to the top spot in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, replacing Duke, which was dumped for losing to Stephen F. Austin last week.
The Cards received 48 of 65 possible first-place votes, putting them ahead of No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Maryland.
It’s the first time since Jan. 14, 2013 as well as the third time in program history that Louisville has been ranked first in the AP poll. The Cards were also ranked No. 1 prior to the start of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals will be challenged to hold the position longer than Duke (the last two weeks), Michigan State (pre-season No. 1) or Kentucky (which followed the Spartans).
Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center, the Cardinals will host Michigan, which soared from unranked to No. 4 as a reward for beating Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga to win the Bad Boy Mowers Battle for Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas last week. The Wolverines earned nine first-place votes, more than any team other than Louisville.
Former Michigan star Juwan Howard has coached the Wolverines to seven straight wins in his first season replacing John Beilein. The Cards and Wolverines are matched in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which will be televised on ESPN.
Louisville prepped for the Wolverines by defeating Western Kentucky, 71-54, in Nashville last Friday.
Kentucky moved up one spot from nine to eight. Indiana received 13 poll votes for the first time this season, leaving the Hoosiers with the No. 36 ranking. IU will play No. 17 Florida State Tuesday at 9 p.m. in Bloomington.
The complete poll results: