Villanova joined an exclusive club Monday.
The Wildcats are now among the 57 schools to have been ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll.
The Wildcats (20-3) made the jump from third following then-No. 1 Oklahoma's loss to Kansas State and then-No. 2 North Carolina's losses to Louisville and Notre Dame.
The Wildcats had been ranked No. 2 seven times — last time the final poll of last season — but had never made that one step up.
"There's still a lot of basketball left to be played and handling this will be another challenge for our team,"Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We look forward to it."
There are eight schools to have held the top spot for one — and only one — week. The most recent was Tennessee in 2007-08 and Wisconsin the year before.
UCLA is the all-time leader with 134 weeks at the top — the last in 2006-07 — and Duke is next at 127, the last in 2012-13.
The only other schools to have spent over 100 weeks at the top are Kentucky (115) and North Carolina (113).
As far as the most weeks spent at No. 2 without reaching No. 1 is this week's No. 2, Maryland. The Terrapins are in the runner-up spot for the 26th time. The only other school in double figures is Purdue at 10 weeks. Dayton and Saint Bonaventure, both at seven weeks, were the only other schools above Villanova on the list.
Villanova becomes the sixth school to hold the No. 1 spot this season, just one off the record.
North Carolina and Kentucky were both No. 1 for two weeks. Michigan State held it for three, Kansas two and Oklahoma three.
There were seven teams ranked No. 1 in 1982-83: Houston, Indiana, Memphis, UNLV, North Carolina, UCLA, Virginia.
There have been six No. 1s in five other seasons, the last in 2008-09: North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Duke, Connecticut, Louisville.
Villanova received 32 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel. Maryland received 13 No. 1 votes.
Oklahoma, which had been No. 1 for the last three weeks, dropped to third and received seven first-place votes. Iowa, which got 11 first-place votes, is fourth and is followed in the top 10 by Xavier, Kansas, Virginia, Michigan State, North Carolina and West Virginia.
Kansas and Virginia both received one first-place vote.