Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Kentucky closes gap on No. 1 Arizona



By Jim O'Connell
The Associated Press

The Wildcats are gaining on the Wildcats. Arizona and Kentucky were 1-2 in The Associated Press men's rankings for the fourth straight week Monday, but the gap narrowed with one more poll remaining this season.

Arizona (25-2), the regular-season champions of the Pac-10 Conference, received 51 first-place votes and 1,779 points from the national media panel. Kentucky (26-3), which finished unbeaten in winning the Southeastern Conference, was No. 1 on 21 ballots and had 1,749 points.

Last week, Arizona led the first-place vote count 59-13.

Duke, which lost to St. John's and North Carolina on consecutive Sundays, dropped from No. 10 to No. 12, the first time the Blue Devils have been out of the Top 10 since Dec. 13, 1999. They were in the Top 10 for 68 consecutive polls and were No. 1 in 22 of those, including two this season.

Texas, which ended Oklahoma's 37-game home winning streak Saturday, moved up one place to third. Kansas and Pittsburgh improved two places to fourth and fifth, respectively.

Oklahoma dropped from fifth to sixth and was followed by Florida, which fell from third to No. 7 after losses to Georgia and Kentucky last week. The loss to Kentucky snapped the Gators' 19-game home winning streak and extended the Wildcats' national-best winning streak to 20 games.

Marquette, Wake Forest and Xavier rounded out the Top 10.

Syracuse was No. 11 and was followed by Duke, Illinois, Maryland, Stanford, Memphis, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Creighton and Louisville.

Completing the Top 25 were Georgia, Dayton, Oklahoma State, California and Saint Joseph's.

These are the highest rankings for Wake Forest and Syracuse this season. Wake Forest won the Atlantic Coast Conference outright for the first time since 1962, and Syracuse ended a perfect home season with a win Sunday over Rutgers.

Xavier, which has won 15 straight games, moved back into the Top 10 for the first time since the preseason poll.

Saint Joseph's (22-5) was the week's only newcomer, returning to the rankings after a three-week absence. The Hawks have won four of their last five, the only loss to Xavier in overtime.

Mississippi State (19-8) fell out of the poll from 23rd, the first time this season the Bulldogs have not been ranked. They have lost three of their last five games but beat Auburn 67-45 Saturday to clinch the SEC West Division.

The final poll of the season will be released next Monday.

College Basketball

AP Top 25

RecordPtsPv
1. Arizona (51)25-21,7791
2. Kentucky (21)26-31,7492
3. Texas22-51,6304
4. Kansas24-61,5466
5. Pittsburgh23-41,4257
6. Oklahoma21-61,3635
7. Florida24-61,3593
8. Marquette23-41,3568
9. Wake Forest23-41,2739
10. Xavier24-41,17911
11. Syracuse23-41,13112
12. Duke21-689410
13. Illinois21-677114
14. Maryland19-874713
15. Stanford23-773517
16. Memphis22-565318
17. Notre Dame22-854616
18. Wisconsin22-654524
19. Creighton28-453319
20. Louisville21-652715
21. Georgia19-837725
22. Dayton21-534921
23. Oklahoma St.21-823320
24. California20-713122
25. Saint Joseph's22-5109-
Others receiving votes: Mississippi St. 106, S. Illinois 88, Utah 71, Butler 55, Connecticut 53, Missouri 18, Weber St. 16, Gonzaga 13, BYU 8, Kent St. 7, Penn 6, Troy St. 5, Holy Cross 3, Michigan St. 3, Colorado 2, LSU 2, Arizona St. 1, Boston College 1, Cent. Michigan 1, N.C.-Wilmington 1.

USA Today/ESPN Top 25

RecordPtsPv
1. Arizona (26)25-27701
2. Kentucky (5)26-37492
3. Texas22-57084
4. Kansas24-66576
5. Pittsburgh23-46027
6. Oklahoma21-65915
7. Florida24-65863
8. Marquette23-45848
9. Wake Forest23-454610
10. Xavier24-447911
11. Syracuse23-447213
12. Duke21-64109
13. Illinois21-637114
14. Stanford23-732717
15. Maryland19-832212
16. Louisville21-625315
17. Creighton28-424919
18. Wisconsin22-624824
19. Notre Dame22-824316
20. Oklahoma State21-815418
21. Dayton21-514122
22. Georgia19-811525
23. California20-710320
24. Memphis22-5101-
25. Mississippi State19-88721
Others receiving votes: Utah 63; Saint Joseph's 45; Connecticut 32; Missouri 12; Butler 11; Southern Illinois 11; Brigham Young 10; Purdue 8; Central Michigan 4; Gonzaga 3; Oregon 2; Troy State 2; Weber State 2; Arizona State 1; Cincinnati

RPI Ratings

WLRatingRankRPI
1. Arizona252.594220.6652
2. Kentucky263.583826.6576
3. Texas225.62653.6569
4. Oklahoma216.62036.6427
5. Kansas226.61227.6417
6. Georgia198.64781.6406
7. Marquette234.580031.6397
8. Wake Forest234.578633.6380
9. Syracuse234.576935.6362
10. Ntre Dme228.62085.6298
11. Florida246.576637.6269
12. Stanford237.597117.6255
13. Xavier244.552661.6243
14. Louisville216.579332.6237
15. BYU227.602810.6235
16. Pittsburgh234.547668.6225
17. Utah226.585825.6214
18. Duke216.577034.6203
19. Oklhm St.208.600313.6182
20. Dayton215.553658.6136
21. Illinois216.559750.6103
22. Wisconsin226.557753.6094
23. Missouri189.60878.6075
24. Cincinnati1710.62344.6053
25. Creighton284.5099124.6020
26. Miss. St.198.575538.6012
27. Memphis225.5237100.5998
28. St. Jsphs225.528892.5993
29. Purdue189.587324.5974
30. California207.549066.5966
31. Maryland198.565546.5958
32. Arizona St.1810.595219.5955
33. Alabama1710.592621.5945
34. Mchgn St.1811.598915.5916
35. Butler244.4953163.5896
36. Seton Hall1611.60539.5868
37. S. Illinois245.5036144.5868
38. Gonzaga237.524698.5849
39. Auburn1810.572539.5832
40. Cnnctct198.542773.5830
41. Lsn St.199.551562.5823
42. Colorado1910.559051.5806
43. Indiana1811.568845.5788
44. UNLV199.546670.5775
45. Weber St.234.4806197.5771
46. Bstn Cllg1710.572340.5758
47. Saint Louis1512.602011.5753
48. Texas Tech1611.569943.5723
49. C. Mchgn206.5026147.5716
50. Tennessee1710.545672.5714
51. UW-Mlwk227.5140115.5714
52. DePaul1611.569844.5714
53. Oregon209.527696.5711
54. Nrth Crlna1614.599114.5701
55. Wyoming199.533583.5694
56. UNC Wlgtn236.4935166.5679
57. Providence1512.589723.5664
58. Manhattan226.4826191.5637
59. Michigan1712.561749.5634
60. Texas A&M1413.597916.5625
61. Holy Cross244.4548257.5611
62. N. Cr. St.1611.554457.5610
63. Minnesota1611.554856.5605
64. Pnnslvn215.4678233.5604
65. W. Kntck218.5041141.5588
66. Villanova1514.591822.5587
67. Grgia Tch1413.580728.5569
68. Troy St.255.4582248.5567
69. Tulsa199.5181110.5553
70. Ohio St.1413.582027.5552
71. Fresno St.208.5002151.5547
72. Charleston227.4845189.5535
73. Lsn-Laf.199.5144114.5523
74. Ill. Chicago218.4861186.5506
75. Astn Py207.4834190.5504
76. Virginia1414.571141.5477
77. Sth Crln1215.596218.5473
78. St. John's1512.540279.5448
79. W. Mchgn189.5043139.5447
80. Richmond1512.550164.5441
81. Fairfield1910.5109118.5440
82. Kent St.188.4868183.5435
83. Florida St.1314.580429.5431
84. Drexel1810.5216104.5427
85. Rhd Islnd1710.5109120.5421
86. Charlotte1315.580230.5416
87. Hawaii1710.5139116.5396
88. Valparaiso199.4902173.5393
89. Rice179.4955162.5388
90. Clemson1512.529689.5383
91. Sn Dg St.1412.540978.5381
92. Iowa St.1412.533184.5364
93. San Diego1611.5188109.5361
94. Mississippi1314.556355.5355
95. Utah St.198.4783201.5351
96. Arkansas918.63102.5338
97. Wst Vrgn1414.546071.5335
98. Baylor1413.531686.5317
99. Clrdo St.1413.537381.5314
100. Vndrblt1017.601412.5312




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