Monday , Jan , 03 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Illinois and Kansas top poll; Big East knocks out ACC

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Illinois and Kansas remained the top teams in
the Associated Press men’s college basketball poll for the fifth straight
week, but the Atlantic Coast Conference’s run of seven teams in the rankings
came to close Monday.

Two unbeaten teams from the Big East — West Virginia and Boston College —
moved into the poll, replacing ACC members North Carolina State and Virginia.

Illinois (14-0), meanwhile, strengthened its grip on the top spot with three
victories last week, including a 67-45 romp over previously unbeaten
Cincinnati in Las Vegas. The Fighting Illini received 62 first-place votes,
seven more than last week, and a total of 1,787 points from the nationwide
media panel.

Kansas (9-0), the preseason No. 1 team, kept its hold of the second spot
thanks to a 70-68 overtime win over Georgia Tech on New Year’s Day. The
Jayhawks garnered the other 10 first-place votes, three fewer than last week,
and 1,724 points.

The ACC triumvirate of North Carolina, Wake Forest and Duke completed the top
five, each moving up a slot after Oklahoma State fell from third to seventh
following its 78-75 loss to Gonzaga.

Syracuse moved up one spot to sixth and was followed by Oklahoma State,
Kentucky, Georgia Tech and Connecticut. Georgia Tech’s loss at Kansas did not
cost the Yellow Jackets a spot in the poll, while defending national champion
Connecticut moved up one spot into 10th.

Pittsburgh had the biggest drop, falling from 10th to 16th after a surprising
69-66 home loss to Bucknell on Sunday. The Panthers had a 48-game home winning
streak against non-conference opponents stopped with their first loss of the
year.

The second 10 is comprised of Gonzaga, Washington, Arizona, Iowa, Texas,
Pittsburgh, Louisville, Mississippi State, Alabama and Michigan State. West
Virginia, Maryland, Cincinnati, George Washington and Boston College rounded
out the poll.

West Virginia (10-0) beat a pair of ranked teams last week, knocking off
George Washington at home before pulling off an 82-69 triumph at NC State on
Sunday.

Boston College (11-0) has not played a ranked team yet this season, but will
get that chance on Wednesday with a visit to Connecticut in Big East play.

Other games involving a pair of ranked teams against each other this week
include an ACC matchup between Maryland and North Carolina on Saturday in
Chapel Hill and a heavyweight non-conference showdown Sunday featuring Kansas
at Kentucky.

The additions of West Virginia and Boston College gave the Big East five teams
in this week’s poll, matching the ACC’s total. The Big 12, Big Ten and SEC
each have three ranked teams.

In addition to the loss to West Virginia, North Carolina State, which had been
ranked 17th, also looked bad in a 63-45 setback against St. John’s at Madison
Square Garden. Virginia, meanwhile, was 25th last week, but dropped an 89-70
decision at home on Sunday against Wake Forest.