Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Arizona still #1

Alabama continues to fall

By Jim O'Connell
The Associated Press

Arizona's comeback victory at Kansas helped the Wildcats stay atop the AP men's college basketball poll Monday, while Alabama dropped further from the top spot it held just a month ago.

The Wildcats (15-1) rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat then-No. 6 Kansas 91-74 on Saturday. They received all but one first-place vote from the 72-member national media panel.

Arizona is No. 1 for the second straight week and for the eighth poll this season. It received 1,799 points, 102 more than Pittsburgh (15-1), which remained second after beating Georgetown 65-64 on Saturday.

Texas (13-2) and Florida (16-2), which got the other first-place vote, each moved up one place. Duke (13-2) lost 80-71 to North Carolina State on Wednesday and dropped from third to fifth.

Oklahoma, Kentucky and Louisville moved up one place, and are ranked sixth through eighth. Oklahoma State and Maryland rounded out the Top 10.

Alabama (12-5) took over the No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history on Dec. 23 and held it for another week. But it dropped from 15th to No. 23 this week after losses to Mississippi and Kentucky.

The Crimson Tide has lost three straight games and four of five in dropping an average of 5.4 places each of the last four weeks.

This is the third time in four seasons a team ranked No. 1 has fallen out of the Top 20.

Arizona was the preseason No. 1 and held the top spot for the first two polls of the 2000-01 season, but the Wildcats dropped to No. 21 on Jan. 8. They returned to finish fifth in the final poll.

In 1999-00, Connecticut was No. 1 in the preseason poll but the Huskies dropped to 22nd on Feb. 21. They never fell out of the Top 25 and were No. 20 in the final poll.

Notre Dame was 11th this week and was followed by Kansas, Illinois, Connecticut, Georgia, Creighton, Wake Forest, Marquette, Indiana and California.

The last five ranked teams were Mississippi State, Oregon, Alabama, Syracuse and Missouri.

Syracuse (13-2) moved back into the rankings after a one-week absence. The Orangemen beat Seton Hall 83-65 and Miami 54-49 last week and they have a rematch on Saturday with Pittsburgh, which snapped their 11-game winning streak two weeks ago.

Auburn (15-4) moved into the poll for the first time this season last week at No. 24, but the Tigers fell out following losses to Kentucky and Georgia.

Creighton (17-2) moved into to the Top 10 last week for the first time in school history, but the Bluejays dropped six spots to No. 16 after going 2-1, losing 74-66 at Evansville on Thursday.

Connecticut, Arizona and Alabama are the only No. 1s to fall out of the Top 20 since the poll expanded to 25 teams for the 1989-90 season.

Before that, six No. 1 teams fell out of the rankings, the last time in 1979-80, when both Duke and Indiana did it.

AP Top 25

1. Arizona (71)15-11,7991
2. Pittsburgh15-11,6972
3. Texas13-21,6394
4. Florida (1)16-21,5935
5. Duke13-21,4253
6. Oklahoma13-31,3707
7. Kentucky15-31,3578
8. Louisville14-11,2989
9. Oklahoma St.16-11,18913
10. Maryland12-41,12412
11. Notre Dame16-396216
12. Kansas13-58566
13. Illinois14-383218
14. Connecticut12-382711
15. Georgia12-477419
16. Creighton17-277110
17. Wake Forest13-255017
18. Marquette13-353220
19. Indiana14-448214
20. California14-241625
21. Mississippi St.12-437122
22. Oregon14-434323
23. Alabama12-522215
24. Syracuse13-2203-
25. Missouri11-412621
Others: Xavier 123, Cincinnati 79, Saint Joseph's 68, Butler 61, NC State 59, Michigan 41, Auburn 40, Dayton 40, Purdue 33, Utah 17, Fresno St. 15, Wisconsin 14, Iowa 13, Gonzaga 11, Texas Tech 10, Kent St. 7, Wyoming 5, Memphis 2, Mississippi 2, Manhattan 1, N.C.-Wilmington 1.

USA Today/ESPN Top 25

1. Arizona (31)15-17751
2. Pittsburgh15-17372
3. Texas13-27084
4. Florida16-26575
5. Duke13-26443
6. Oklahoma13-36147
7. Kentucky15-355810
8. Louisville14-149514
9. Maryland12-448611
10. Notre Dame16-345112
11. Oklahoma State16-144717
12. Connecticut12-34038
13. Kansas13-54006
14. Illinois14-336415
15. Creighton17-23569
16. Marquette13-328419
17. Georgia12-424422
18. Wake Forest13-223618
19. Oregon14-421721
20. Indiana14-421516
21. Alabama12-512713
22. Mississippi State12-411423
23. Xavier14-411324
24. California14-2102-
25. Missouri11-48120

Others: Syracuse 43, Butler 36, Cincinnati 36, Texas Tech 26, Purdue 25, Dayton 19, St. Joseph's 15, Auburn 10, NC State 9, So. Illinois 5, Fresno St. 4, Kent St. 4, Tulsa 4, Utah 4, Memphis 2, BYU 1, Gonzaga 1, Iowa 1, Wisconsin 1.

RPI Ratings

1. Georgia124.72131.6855
2. Arizona151.594533.6692
3. Oklahoma St.151.591137.6649
4. Louisville141.573950.6617
5. Texas132.611122.6606
6. Notre Dame163.616919.6560
7. Duke132.605625.6538
8. Florida162.573152.6514
9. Kentucky153.591336.6448
10. Oklahoma133.616620.6440
11. Cincinnati133.598730.6414
12. Maryland124.628914.6384
13. Pittsburgh151.542383.6357
14. Missouri114.64128.6348
15. Purdue124.618118.6341
29. Xavier144.557663.6115

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