Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Arizona, Kentucky 1-2 for third straight week

By Jim O'Connell
The Associated Press

Arizona and Kentucky held the first two spots in The Associated Press college basketball poll for a third straight week Monday. Wisconsin returned to the rankings for the first time since November.

Arizona widened its lead over its fellow Wildcats from last week by one first-place vote.

Arizona (23-2) won its 10th Pac-10 regular-season title in coach Lute Olson's 20 seasons after last week's sweep of a Bay area road trip. The Wildcats are the third team to go unbeaten on the road in the conference since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79. The wins at California and Stanford extended Arizona's winning streak to eight games.

Arizona received 59 first-place votes and 1,787 points from the national media panel. Kentucky had 13 first-place votes and 1,737 points,

Kentucky (24-3) ran the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games with victories over Tennessee and Georgia. The Wildcats can wrap up an undefeated Southeastern Conference season by beating Vanderbilt and Florida.

The Gators, who host Kentucky on Saturday, and Texas each moved up one place to third and fourth. Oklahoma, which lost at Missouri last week, dropped from third to fifth.

Kansas moved from seventh to No. 6 - making it three Big 12 schools in a row in the rankings - and was followed by Pittsburgh, Marquette, Wake Forest and Duke.

The Blue Devils' 72-71 loss at St. John's on Sunday dropped them from sixth to No. 10, their lowest ranking of the season. They remained one of five teams to be in the Top 10 all season along with Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and Pittsburgh.

Xavier, which has won 13 consecutive games, was No. 11 and was followed by Syracuse, Maryland, Illinois, Louisville, Notre Dame, Stanford, Memphis, Creighton and Oklahoma State.

The last five ranked teams were Dayton, California, Mississippi State, Wisconsin and Georgia.

Wisconsin (21-6) moved into the poll for the first time since being ranked 23rd and 22nd for consecutive weeks in November. The Badgers have won three straight, including victories over Michigan and Minnesota last week, and 11 of 13 overall. Wisconsin hosts Illinois on Wednesday and a victory would give the Badgers the Big Ten title.

Utah (21-5) dropped out from 22nd after beating BYU 71-64 last Monday in a matchup of the top two teams in the Mountain West Conference, then losing 76-69 at New Mexico on Sunday.

Memphis beat TCU and Cincinnati last week, and the Tigers' jump from No. 24 to No. 18 was the week's biggest. The biggest fall was Notre Dame's drop from No. 9 to No. 16. The Fighting Irish lost at home to Connecticut and at Rutgers.

AP Top 25

1. Arizona (59)23-21,7871
2. Kentucky (13)24-31,7372
3. Florida24-41,6334
4. Texas20-51,5285
5. Oklahoma20-51,4663
6. Kansas22-61,4537
7. Pittsburgh21-41,3828
8. Marquette22-41,27110
9. Wake Forest21-41,13512
10. Duke20-51,1166
11. Xavier22-41,08313
12. Syracuse21-499615
13. Maryland19-794314
14. Illinois20-586418
15. Louisville20-577211
16. Notre Dame21-76899
17. Stanford22-753719
18. Memphis20-546124
19. Creighton25-443817
20. Oklahoma St.20-734416
21. Dayton21-529725
22. California20-624023
23. Mississippi St.18-720620
24. Wisconsin21-6204-
25. Georgia17-819821
Others receiving votes: Saint Joseph's 134, Utah 118, Connecticut 113, Missouri 98, S. Illinois 58, Butler 50, Weber St. 10, Boston College 6, Gonzaga 6, Kent St. 6, Oregon 6, Purdue 6, Troy St. 3, Penn 2, BYU 1, Holy Cross 1, N.C.-Wilmington 1, Seton Hall 1.

USA Today/ESPN Top 25

1. Arizona (29)23-27731
2. Kentucky (2)24-37462
3. Florida24-46904
4. Texas20-56706
5. Oklahoma20-56443
6. Kansas22-65937
7. Pittsburgh21-45908
8. Marquette22-453611
9. Duke20-55125
10. Wake Forest21-448312
11. Xavier22-441813
12. Maryland19-741514
12. Syracuse21-441515
14. Illinois20-537916
15. Louisville20-53619
16. Notre Dame21-734810
17. Stanford22-724119
18. Oklahoma State20-720517
19. Creighton25-418718
20. California20-613721
21. Mississippi State18-712020
22. Dayton21-59625
23. Utah21-58923
24. Wisconsin21-676-
25. Georgia17-87322
Others receiving votes: Memphis 72, Connecticut 66, Saint Joseph's 59, Missouri 36, Butler 12, Southern Illinois 11, Brigham Young 8, Oregon 4, Fresno State 3, Central Michigan 2, Weber State 2, Boston College 1, Cincinnati 1, Troy State 1.

RPI Ratings

1. Arizona232.590023.6640
2. Kentucky243.584828.6562
3. Texas205.63063.6555
4. Oklahoma205.62046.6484
5. Florida244.568651.6375
6. Georgia178.65191.6367
7. Marquette224.576341.6365
8. Kansas206.61218.6364
9. Syracuse214.580634.6347
10. Notre Dame217.62184.6347
11. Wake Forest214.575642.6337
12. Louisville205.583229.6317
13. Duke205.582431.6283
14. Utah205.590521.6273
15. Oklahoma St.197.60899.6259
16. Stanford227.592120.6217
17. Missouri187.605812.6199
18. Pittsburgh214.550465.6198
19. BYU197.608610.6191
20. Xavier224.545578.6189
21. Dayton215.556758.6158
22. Illinois205.549767.6117
23. Maryland197.581432.6104
24. Cincinnati169.62045.6075
25. Miss. St.187.579936.6074

Arkansas St. 85, Fla. International 65
Creighton 86, Wichita State 60
Kansas 65, Texas Tech 56

Georgetown 69, West Virginia 67

Bradley 77, Drake 67
E. Michigan 88, Buffalo 78
Evansville 77, Indiana St. 69
S. Illinois 78, Illinois St. 62
SW Missouri St. 52, N. Iowa 51

Coppin St. 70, Bethune-Cookman 65
Delaware St. 59, Howard 56
Florida A&M 69, Morgan St. 56
Grambling St. 99, MVSU 92
N. Carolina A&T 61, Norfolk St. 54
N.C.-Wilmington 60, William & Mary 49
Southern U. 77, Morris Brown 49

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