It’s been almost a decade since Arizona was the No. 1 team in college basketball. Here’s hoping the Wildcats’ return to the top spot doesn’t portend the same bad luck as last time.

Arizona (7-0) has risen to No. 1 in the latest Associated Press Top 25, moving up one place after Purdue’s loss at Northwestern on Friday night. It is the first time being No. 1 since Jan. 27, 2014, the last of a school-record eight consecutive weeks atop the poll.

The Wildcats began that season 21-0, the best start in school history, before a foot injury to Brandon Ashley came during their first loss. The UA would go on to finish 33-5, losing to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight.

Ironically, Wisconsin is Arizona’s next opponent, as the Badgers (6-2) come to McKale Center on Saturday. They jumped into the rankings at No. 23 after beating then-No. 3 Marquette at home.

The UA earned 59 of 63 first-place votes, with No. 2 Kansas getting one and No. 3 Houston the other three. Purdue, whom the Wildcats play Dec. 16 in Indianapolis, dropped to 4th.

It’s the 38th time the UA has been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, which is ninth-most in Division I history. Just ahead of the Wildcats is Gonzaga, with 42 No. 1 rankings.

Most of those were during the 20-year span that Tommy Lloyd was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs, giving him plenty of experience being part of the hunted. He also thinks it’s not something to downplay or not consider a big deal.

“I think we got to get comfortable being in this position,” Lloyd said after Saturday’s 82-55 win over Colgate. “We’re not going to get big heads or make it too big of a deal. But I know when I came to this program, my dream was to make it one of the best in the country. And if you’re one of the best in the country, you’re going to stumble into being No. 1 once in a while. So you know what? Handle it, and that’ll be the message, and hopefully our guys will handle it well.”

Arizona is 52-10 as the No. 1 team in college basketball, winning 12 in a row the last time before the Cal loss. The Wildcats have never lost their first game immediately after moving to No. 1.


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