Virginia shines after a tough week and Kentucky falls twice in the opening tests

After a relatively slow start to the year, there was plenty of excitement last week in the college basketball world. That will certainly continue as well, as several holiday competitions will begin in the coming days.

Here’s everything you missed in Week 2 of the season, and in the latest Associated Press poll.

Virginia jumps up after emotional championship run in Las Vegas

It was a tough week in Charlottesville, but Tony Bennett and Virginia picked up a pair of wins in Las Vegas.

First, just days after a mass shooting on campus killed three members of the Cavaliers football team, Virginia hit Baylor with a huge run to start the second half of its opening game at the Continental Open. Then on Sunday, the Cavaliers beat Illinois 70-61 to win the four-team contest at T-Mobile Arena and go 4-0 on the season.

“It feels great right now, but more than that, we know what’s really important,” Bennett said after an emotional week, via The Associated Press. “When you have a moment of celebration like this, it allows you to enjoy it and it seems important, but in the big picture, it’s not.”

The championship run in Las Vegas Virginia jumped 11 spots in this week’s poll to No. 5. The Cavaliers will host Eastern Maryland this week before matchups with Michigan and Florida State next week.

UCLA, on the other hand, struggled in its first real test this season. The Bruins, who entered the tournament at No. 8, games to Illinois and Baylor last weekend. They have fallen to No. 19 in this week’s poll.

Virginia defeated Illinois and Baylor to win the main event of the Continental Tire Event in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Kentucky falls twice in the first real tests of the season

It’s been a rough week for John Calipari and Kentucky.

The Wildcats, who opened the season at No. 4, twice in their first real tests of the year.

While both losses came to very strong opponents, one of which came in double overtime, it’s not a great start for a team with legitimate title aspirations.

First, Kentucky fell in a tight game to Michigan State in the Champions Classic, which featured the debut of star Oscar Tshiebwe. Then on Sunday night, the Wildcats fell to Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington. They also looked awful in the first half of that game, shooting just 25% from the field and going 0-of-10 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes.

The losses, which were split up with a blowout win over South Carolina State, dropped Kentucky to No. 15 in this week’s poll.

Now the good news for Kentucky is that Tshiebwe looks great. He had 22 points and 18 rebounds against the Spartans, and added 20 points and 15 rebounds against Gonzaga. While he undoubtedly needs help, Tshiebwe is already on his way to back up his Naismith Award-winning campaign from last season.

Total AP Top 25

The complete AP Top 25 poll from Monday, November 21:

1. North Carolina (4-0)

2. Houston (5-0)

3. Kansas (4-0)

4. Texas (3-0)

5. Virginia (5-0)

6. Gonzaga (3-1)

7. Baylor (4-1)

8. Duke (3-1)

9. Arkansas (3-0)

10. Creighton (4-0)

11. Indiana (4-0)

12. Michigan State (3-1)

13. Auburn (4-0)

14. Arizona (3-0)

15. Kentucky (3-2)

16. Illinois (4-1)

17. San Diego State (3-0)

18. Alabama (4-0)

19. UCLA (3-2)

20. UConn (5-0)

21. Texas Tech (3-0)

22. Tennessee (2-1)

23. Maryland (5-0)

24. Purdue (3-0)

25. Iowa (3-0)

Others receiving votes: TCU 82, St. Mary’s 59, Ohio State 56, Michigan 24, Xavier 22, Charleston 17, Toledo 16, Miami 10, Dayton 9, Villanova 7, Arizona State 5, Virginia Tech 5, Saint Louis 5, UNLV 5, Oregon 4, West Virginia 3, Texas A&M 2, Utah State 1, Penn State 1, Mississippi State 1

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