Villanova picked up its reward for an impressive weekend on Monday.
After beating Southern Cal, then-No. 2 Kansas and Iowa to win the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, the Wildcats moved into the Associated Press rankings at No 14.
Villanova is in the AP poll for the first time since the week of Feb. 28, 2011, when it was ranked 19th.
The Wildcats (7-0) are ranked 19th in this week's USA Today coaches poll.
"It is great for the school, great for the Big East and really for us, though it is a really different challenge," coach Jay Wright said Monday before practice. "Now you deal with all the attention that comes with that."
Of course, it beats the alternative.
"I would much rather deal with that [national ranking] than people not thinking you are good - because that is a challenge," Wright said.
"It's an honor to be ranked," said James Bell, the 6-foot-6 senior who was MVP of the tournament. "We are playing very unselfish basketball, playing together, and all of our hard work is paying off and other people are seeing it."
Bell was named the Big East and Big Five player of the week. He averaged 15.6 points in the three tournament games.
Things weren't always so rosy for the Wildcats. Villanova struggled in an 84-80 home win over Delaware on Nov. 22, the final game before the tournament.
"That was a good game to see where we were as a team," Bell said.
To a man, the Wildcats vowed that they would not dwell much on the national ranking. Sophomore point guard Ryan Arcidiacono said the team's only goal is to prepare for Wednesday's Big Five game at home against Penn.
"We know we can't have a letdown," Arcidiacono said. "Everybody is happy we won the tournament and now we have to get back to practice and get ready for a good Penn team on Wednesday."