The week before Christmas can be a minefield in college basketball, and this past week saw several power-conference team get upset at home in games they should have won easily.
Arizona had two such potential trap games but had no problem, beating Montana State and Morgan State by a combined 46 points. But since none of the teams around it in the Associated Press Top 25 had any slip-ups, the Wildcats have stayed at No. 5 in the latest poll.
It marks the 161st time the UA (12-1) has been in the Top 5, seventh-most among Division I schools, and third this season. The Wildcats rose to as high as No. 4 in late November before suffering their lone loss, Dec. 1 at Utah.
Arizona is one of two Pac-12 squads in the poll, with No. 11 UCLA (11-2) the other. ASU (11-2) had been ranked 25th last week but fell out after losing 97-60 at San Francisco last Wednesday, preventing the New Year’s Eve clash between the Wildcats and Sun Devils in Tempe from being a battle of ranked teams.
Also worth noting is the arrival at No. 22 of Xavier, led by former Arizona coach Sean Miller.