Monday , Dec , 04 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

UCLA strengthens hold of top hoops spot

New York, NY (Sports Network) – UCLA has strengthened its hold of the top spot
in the latest Associated Press college basketball poll.

The Bruins (6-0) received 55 first-place votes, 19 more than last week, and a
total of 1,781 points from a nationwide media panel to keep the top spot for
the second straight week.

Pittsburgh (8-0) remained the second-ranked team in the nation, earning 15
first-place votes and 1,713 points, while North Carolina vaulted four places
to third. The Tar Heels (6-1) knocked off previously-unbeaten Ohio State in
last week’s marquee matchup and picked up two first-place votes in the

Alabama (7-0) moved up two spots into fourth and was followed by Ohio State,
Texas A&M, Duke, Florida, LSU and Wichita State.

The Buckeyes fell just two spots after the 98-89 loss at Chapel Hill, and on
Saturday gained the services of highly-touted freshman Greg Oden. The seven-
foot center had been recovering from wrist surgery performed in June.

Texas A&M vaulted three spots and Duke moved into a tie with Florida for
seventh after wins against Indiana and Georgetown. The defending national
champion Gators lost for the second time this season, dropping a 70-66
decision to Florida State on Sunday.

Wichita State had the biggest leap in the poll, moving up seven places into
10th after its 64-61 win at Syracuse on Saturday.

Wisconsin, Kansas, Washington, Arizona, Butler, Memphis, Marquette, Gonzaga,
Connecticut and Nevada comprised this week’s second 10.

Kansas dropped seven places to 12th after a 64-57 loss at DePaul, while
Marquette plummeted nine spots to 17th after a stunning 64-60 home loss to
North Dakota State.

Syracuse’s loss to Wichita State dropped the Orange six spots to 21st. Jim
Boeheim’s squad will face another test against a ranked team on Tuesday
against Oklahoma State in New York City.

The 9-0 Cowboys were one of two newcomers to this week’s poll, debuting at No.
22, ahead of Maryland, Xavier and Georgia Tech.

Xavier (6-1) also entered the rankings for the first time this year, while
Maryland and Georgia Tech stayed in the poll despite losses on Sunday. The
Terrapins lost to Notre Dame and the Yellow Jackets fell at Miami-Florida.

Georgetown, which lost to Oregon in addition to its setback at Duke, fell out
of the rankings, as did Virginia. The Cavaliers lost to Purdue last week
before beating North Carolina State on Sunday.

In addition to the Syracuse/Oklahoma State game, Tuesday will also feature a
top-10 matchup between Texas A&M and LSU in Baton Rouge. The Aggies will then
head to Anaheim for a Saturday matchup with top-ranked UCLA, while two other
battles of top-25 squads that day pits Wisconsin against state rival Marquette
in Milwaukee and Washington against Gonzaga in Spokane.