The Panthers wasted a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, losing to the Bulldogs, 79-67, at Athens, Ga.
Second-ranked Pittsburgh (9-1) has never been No. 1 in the Associated Press poll. The 1987-88 team also reached No. 2, the only other time the Panthers have been ranked that high.
No. 1 Alabama lost at Utah on Monday night, opening the way for Pittsburgh to move up.
"I don't think it was a big deal," Howland said. "The good thing about college basketball is that there's going to be a national champion that's decided in the NCAA tournament. It's not like football."
Ezra Williams scored 20 points for the Bulldogs (8-3), who won their seventh in a row.
West led all scorers with 28 points and reserve Keith Jackson scored 17 points and made the inbound pass to West for the shot that put Xavier (9-2) ahead.
Tyler McKinney's off-balance three-point shot went high off the backboard at the buzzer as Creighton (10-1) lost for the first time.
The Bluejays had won 10 in a row for only the fifth time in school history and the first time since the 1942-43 season.
Wright scored 13 points during a four-minute stretch and finished with 31 points to lead the Hoosiers (9-2) at Muncie, Ind.
With Coach Mike Davis serving a one-game suspension for his outburst against Kentucky on Dec. 21, Treloar took over the Hoosiers and said few words to the officials during the game in front of a sellout crowd of 11,500.
The Cardinals (5-5) were led by Cameron Echols' 24 points.
LeTania Severe added 21 points for the Fighting Irish (8-2), who rallied from a 39-31 deficit early in the second half.
Marquette (6-3), which had its five-game winning streak end, was led by Katie Alsdurf with 18 points.
In other games:
No. 11 North Carolina (10-1) closed the first half with a 24-2 run and defeated American, 80-42, at Chapel Hill, N.C. ... Chantelle Anderson scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half to lead No. 12 Vanderbilt (8-2) to a 66-43 victory over Charlotte at Nashville.... Petra Ujhelyi scored 18 points and tied a career-best with 15 rebounds as No. 16 South Carolina (11-1) won its 14th consecutive home game, beating South Carolina State, 85-42, at Columbia, S.C. ... No. 25 Colorado (9-1) rallied from a six-point deficit in the final 90 seconds of regulation then beat Syracuse, 78-75, in overtime at Syracuse.