Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma won't be coming home to Norristown, where he grew up, for the holidays.

But he will be nearby on Jan. 3, at Villanova for the Big East opener at 7 p.m. And when he arrives with his Huskies, he'll likely be bringing the No. 1 team in the nation.

Connecticut (9-0) took over the top spot in the Associated Press poll for the first time since Feb. 23, 2004. Tennessee, which is no longer playing the Huskies in the regular season, had something to do with it.

The Volunteers (10-1) were upset at then-No. 5 Stanford, 73-69, in overtime late Saturday night after holding the No. 1 slot since the preseason poll.

The Cardinal (10-1), who beat Tennessee for the first time in 11 years, moved up to No. 2 and earned one first-place vote. Connecticut collected the other 49 first-place votes from a nationwide media panel.

Connecticut beat Stanford in the Virgin Islands last month, although the 12-point margin was the closest any opponents have come to the Huskies.

Connecticut's only concern involves last week's loss of Kalana Greene, whose season-ending knee injury put a dent in a deep roster. That group will be enhanced next year with the addition of Wilmington's Ellena Della Donne, the top high school prospect in the nation, and Germantown Academy's Carolyn Doty.

The Huskies also have the nation's top freshman this season in Maya Moore, who has become a starter in Greene's absence.

Before the visit to Villanova, the Huskies on Saturday will host Hartford, whose coach, Jen Rizzotti, is a former UConn star. They will also host Army on Monday.

Connecticut, incidentally, has now been at the top of the poll 95 times, exceeded only by Tennessee's 111 appearances at No. 1.

Tennessee fell to third this week, followed by North Carolina (12-1), Maryland (14-1), and Rutgers (8-2), which began the season at No. 3.

The Scarlet Knights, who lost to Stanford at the buzzer at home in the season opener, can make up for lost ground. Rutgers will travel to Tennessee and play Connecticut at least twice. Temple will visit the Knights on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Atlantic Ten favorite George Washington (9-3) reentered the poll at No. 22.

Colorado (8-2) also cracked the poll at No. 25, its first ranking since the final vote of 2003-04.

The Buffaloes are coached by Kathy McConnell-Miller, a former Virginia teammate of Temple coach Dawn Staley.

Her sister, Suzie McConnell-Serio, is a former Penn State star who is in her first season coaching Duquesne.

Arizona State (6-5) and Michigan State (8-4) dropped out for the first time in several years.

Michigan State's exit leaves No. 17 Ohio State (9-2), coached by Philadelphia native Jim Foster, as the only Big Ten team in the rankings. It's the first time the Big Ten has been reduced to one representative since Jan. 20, 1997.

Contact staff writer Mel Greenberg at 215-854-5725 or mgreenberg@phillynews.com. Read his blog at go.philly.com/womhoops.