Monday , Mar , 15 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Cardinal back on top in men’s poll

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Saint Joseph’s stay in the top spot lasted
just one week, as Stanford reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the Associated
Press men’s college basketball poll entering the NCAA Tournament.

The Cardinal (29-1) rebounded from a loss to Washington last Saturday and won
the Pac-10 Tournament. In the process, Stanford avenged its loss with a
victory over Washington in the final.

Saint Joseph’s dropped from first to fifth in the poll after getting hammered
to the tune of a 20-point defeat by Xavier in the Atlantic 10 Tournament
semifinals. The Hawks (27-1) had their undefeated season come to an end, which
kept them from becoming the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the NCAA
Tournament unbeaten.

Kentucky (26-4) vaulted into the No. 2 spot after capturing the SEC
Tournament. The Wildcats are also the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament,
followed by Duke, ranked sixth in the new rankings, Stanford and Saint
Joseph’s.

Utah State (25-3), which tied with Boston College for the final position in
the poll, was not selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies,
who finished tied for the Big West regular season title, lost in the
semifinals of their conference tourney to Cal-State Northridge.

Stanford received 55 first-place votes and 1,771 points from the national
media panel. Kentucky then followed with nine first-place votes and 1,621
points, moving up from eighth to second. Gonzaga, which remained third,
picked up two first-place votes, Oklahoma State four and St. Joseph’s one.

Duke, which dropped from fifth to six, did not have any votes for the top
spot. Connecticut (27-6), though, did get one first-place vote as they moved
up from ninth to seventh.

Mississippi State (25-3), Pittsburgh (29-4) and Wisconsin (24-6) round out the
top 10.

The Panthers could play Wisconsin in a second-round contest in Milwaukee if
each win their respective first-round game. The Badgers are a six seed in the
East Rutherford region.

Cincinnati was No. 11, trailed by Texas, Illinois, Georgia Tech, North
Carolina State, Kansas, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Maryland and Syracuse.
The Terrapins moved into the poll after defeating Wake, NC State and Duke to
capture the ACC Tournament title.

Providence, Arizona, Southern Illinois, Memphis, Boston College and Utah
State completed the poll.

Air Force (22-6), which was ranked for the first time in school history last
week, fell from the rankings.