Villanova falls to third place

02 January 2018 05:32:58 GMTPlus11

The Villanova Wildcats lost their first game of the season over the weekend and with it the top spot in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll as they slipped to third in the nation.

The 101-93 loss to the Butler Bulldogs at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis was not exactly unexpected as the hosts are not only a good side, but also defeated the Wildcats last year when Villanova was ranked first.

Butler was an impressive and efficient 15-of-22 from long range, while shooting 60 per cent overall from the floor. Kelan Martin's 24 points paced the Bulldogs, while Jalen Brunson's game-high 31 was not enough for the visitors.

The Wildcats get most of the week off before facing Marquette on Saturday. With Xavier to follow, Villanova will do well not to overlook a Golden Eagles side who played the Musketeers close before falling 91-87 a couple of days after Christmas.

Meanwhile, Xavier, ranked #5 by the AP this week, welcomes in Butler on Tuesday before heading to Providence later in the week.

With Villanova no longer the top dog, that place goes to the Spartans of Michigan State. Tom Izzo's side lost early to Duke on a neutral court, but has since strung 13 victories together and appears to be a genuine national contender with wins already over North Carolina and Notre Dame.

The Spartans have finished with their non-conference schedule and now move exclusively into Big Ten play starting with the arrival of the Maryland Terrapins on Thursday.

On paper it's a down year overall for the Big Ten and the biggest issue for Michigan State will be complacency.

Michigan State are 3001.00 to win the NCAAB Championship, with Xavier 3001.00 and Villanova 1.90.

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