Illini still unanimous No. 1; Pacific and Texas Tech join poll
New York, NY (Sports Network) – Illinois remained the top-ranked team in the
Associated Press men’s college basketball poll for the 10th straight week and
was a unanimous choice for the second week in a row, while Pacific and Texas
Tech joined the rankings for the first time this season.
The Fighting Illini (23-0) received all 72 first-place votes and a total of
1,800 points from the national media panel. Illinois won a pair of games last
week, passing a tough test at Michigan State on Tuesday before a convincing
victory against Indiana on Sunday.
The 10-week run at the top is the longest for a school since Connecticut’s 10-
week stay in 1998-99.
Pacific and Texas Tech, ranked 24th and 25th respectively, replaced a pair of
Atlantic Coast Conference schools in this week’s poll. Maryland, a two-time
loser last week on the heels of a stunning win at Duke, and Georgia Tech each
fell from the rankings.
The poll spot is the first-ever for Pacific (18-2), which has won 14 straight
games and is 12-0 in the Big West Conference. The Tigers, whose lone losses
this season came at Kansas and against San Francisco, were a 12-seed in last
year’s NCAA Tournament and posted an upset of Providence in the first round.
Texas Tech (14-5), meanwhile, has won six of its last seven, including an
88-81 triumph at Oklahoma this past Saturday. The Red Raiders are coached by
the legendary Bob Knight.
After Illinois, North Carolina (19-2) and Kansas (18-1) remained second and
Boston College (20-0), the only other unbeaten team in Division I, moved up a
spot to fourth. The Eagles survived another close game this past Saturday at
Seton Hall to become the first Big East team to ever open a season with 20
Kentucky and Wake Forest each moved up a spot to fifth and sixth, while Duke
fell from fourth to seventh after a loss at Wake Forest last week.
Syracuse, Louisville and Oklahoma State round out the top 10, while the second
10 consists of Washington, Arizona, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Utah, Oklahoma,
Alabama, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Wisconsin.
Alabama had the biggest drop inside the poll, falling from 11th to 17th after
an 85-54 loss at Florida on Saturday, while Utah had the biggest rise from
21st to 15th.
Cincinnati, Villanova, Texas, Pacific and Texas Tech complete the poll.
Texas Tech gives the Big 12 five ranked teams, joining the Big East for the
most in the poll. The ACC now has just three ranked teams after having as many
as seven in the poll for five weeks earlier this season.
A big week of rivalry games this week features a number of ranked teams
against each other, tipping off Monday with Connecticut at Syracuse and
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State.
On Wednesday, North Carolina and Duke hook up at Cameron Indoor Stadium for
the first of two scheduled meetings this season.
Saturday’s slate features Syracuse at Villanova and Wisconsin at Illinois,
while North Carolina visits Connecticut on Sunday.