Carolina Still Unanimous No. 1 In AP Top 25
Dec. 15, 2008
By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
There weren't many changes in The Associated Press' college basketball poll on Monday as most schools took a break last week for final exams. Things could look a lot different in next week's Top 25.
North Carolina, Connecticut and Pittsburgh held on to the top three spots in the rankings and the only newcomer to the poll was Clemson, which replaced defending national champion Kansas at No. 25.
More changes may be in store next week because Saturday features five games between ranked teams, including two between teams in the top 10.
North Carolina (9-0), which beat Oral Roberts 100-84 in its only game last week, remained the unanimous No. 1 as it has been since the preseason poll. The Tar Heels received all 72 first-place votes from the national media panel.
Oklahoma, Texas and Duke all moved up one spot to fourth through sixth, respectively, while Xavier made the jump from 10th to seventh, the Musketeers' highest ranking since they were No. 7 on Dec. 9, 1997.
Gonzaga, which lost 69-64 to Arizona on Sunday, dropped from fourth to eighth and was followed in the top 10 by Louisville and Wake Forest.
Connecticut (8-0) is at Gonzaga (7-1) in one of the top 10 matchups Saturday, while Duke (8-1) and Xavier (9-0) meet the same day at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
The other games involving ranked teams Saturday have Syracuse at Memphis, Davidson at Purdue and Michigan State at Texas. The week's other double-ranked game has Marquette at Tennessee on Tuesday.
Syracuse was 11th followed by Notre Dame, Purdue, UCLA, Georgetown, Tennessee, Ohio State, Villanova, Michigan State and Arizona State.
The last five ranked teams were Baylor, Davidson, Memphis, Marquette and Clemson.
The No. 23 ranking for Memphis (5-2), which lost 79-70 in overtime at Georgetown on Saturday, is its lowest since the Tigers returned to the poll in the preseason voting in 2005-06.
Clemson is off to a 10-0 start for the fourth straight season and this is the third straight season it has been ranked after a seven-year stretch without cracking the Top 25.
The Tigers, who were ranked 22nd in last season's final poll, opened this season by beating Hofstra, TCU and Temple to win the Charleston Classic and their most recent win was a 90-63 victory over South Carolina State on Saturday.
Clemson opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule on Sunday at Miami.
Kansas (7-2) dropped out of the rankings for the second time this season following a 61-60 loss to Massachusetts in Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks were out for one week following a loss to Syracuse in the championship game of the CBE Classic, and returned at No. 25 last week.
The Big East has a record eight teams in the Top 25 for a third straight week. The addition of Clemson moved the ACC into second place with four teams while the Big 12 and Big Ten have three each.
The ACC (North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest) and Big East (Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Louisville) both have three teams ranked in the top 10.