Wake leads the way, gets firmer grasp on No. 1

Updated: November 29, 2004, 5:45 PM ET
Associated Press

Virginia moved into The Associated Press' men's college basketball Top 25 on Monday, giving the Atlantic Coast Conference a record-tying seven teams in the poll.

Wake Forest extended its lead at No. 1, the Cavaliers were No. 24, and there were five other conference schools in between, matching the feat accomplished twice by the Big Ten and once by the ACC.

The Demon Deacons (5-0) used their Preseason NIT championship to pull away from No. 2 Kansas (2-0). Wake Forest had 40 first-place votes and 1,737 points from the national media panel, while the Jayhawks were No. 1 on 18 ballots and had 1,678 points.

Last week, Wake Forest received 25 first-place votes, one fewer than Kansas, and had 19 more points.

The other ranked ACC teams were No. 4 Georgia Tech, No. 9 North Carolina, No. 10 Duke, No. 12 Maryland and No. 16 North Carolina State.

The Big Ten had seven teams ranked for one week in January 1993 and for four weeks in January 1999. The ACC did it for two weeks in December 1997.

No. 3 Syracuse and Georgia Tech switched places from last week. The Orange (5-0) had four first-place votes, while Georgia Tech (3-0), which beat Illinois-Chicago 60-59 and Arkansas-Little Rock 79-54, was No. 1 on seven ballots.

Illinois, Oklahoma State, Connecticut and Kentucky held spots five through eight from last week. Illinois got one first-place vote, Oklahoma State had two.

North Carolina, which won the Maui Invitational, moved up from 11th, while Duke dropped one spot.

Michigan State was 11th, followed by Maryland, Pittsburgh, Washington, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Louisville, Texas, Florida and Notre Dame.

The last five ranked teams were Arizona, Alabama, Iowa, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Virginia (4-0) beat then-No. 11 Arizona 78-60 on Nov. 21 and defeated Appalachian State and Richmond this week. The Cavaliers were last ranked in December 2002.

Iowa (3-1) moved in at No. 23 off an impressive Maui Invitational. The Hawkeyes, who were ranked for one week in December 2003, played three Top 15 teams in Hawaii, beating Louisville and Texas before losing to North Carolina in the championship game.

Gonzaga and Memphis dropped out of the Top 25.

The Bulldogs (3-1) lost 89-72 to Illinois, ending a run of 22 consecutive poll appearances. Gonzaga was ranked every week last season, reaching a school-best No. 3 in the last two polls of the season.

Memphis (4-2) lost 84-61 to Maryland in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic. The Tigers, who were ranked at the end of last season, also lost to Syracuse in the final of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Washington used its championship run in the Great Alaska Shootout to have the week's biggest jump. The Huskies, who beat Alabama 79-76 in the title game, moved from No. 22 to No. 14.

The biggest drop of the week was shared by Louisville and Wisconsin. The Cardinals fell from 12th to 17th after finishing fifth at Maui. Wisconsin dropped from 20th to 25th after a 75-61 loss at Pepperdine.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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