Only UCLA has had a better run than Duke in The Associated Press
college basketball poll.
The Blue Devils were No. 1 for the seventh straight week on
Monday. That extended their streak of consecutive poll appearances
to 173 -- second only to UCLA's run of 221 from 1966 to 1980.
While Duke extended its streak -- which includes preseason
rankings -- Arizona's regular-season run ended. The Wildcats dropped
out of the Top 25 after being ranked in 312 polls.
The Wildcats (5-3) had been ranked in every poll since the start
of the 1987-88 season except for the preseason polls in 1995 and
2002. Arizona was in 329 of 331 polls in that span, including 28
weeks at No. 1.
"Obviously we're disappointed," Wildcats coach Lute Olson
said. "We feel like we've played a tough schedule to this point,
and we'll just have to work on starting another streak."
The Wildcats' losses were to No. 2 Connecticut and No. 10
Michigan State in the EA Sports Maui Invitational and at Houston.
Arizona, which beat Utah 73-43 in its only game last week,
played Sam Houston State on Monday night in the opening round of
the Wildcats' Fiesta Bowl Classic.
Tennessee and Ohio State moved into the rankings for the first
time this season, while Louisville and Texas dropped seven and nine
Duke (10-0), which beat Valparaiso 104-77 in its only game last
week, received 66 first-place votes and 1,793 points from the
national media panel. Connecticut (8-0) and Villanova (7-0) held
second and third, receiving five and one No. 1 votes, respectively.
Memphis moved up one spot to replace Louisville at No. 4, and
Florida jumped from seventh to fifth, passing Texas.
Louisville (6-1) lost 73-61 to Kentucky on Saturday and dropped
to 11th, while the Longhorns (8-2) were beaten 95-78 by Tennessee
in their first game since the 97-66 loss to Duke. Texas dropped
from second to sixth after the first loss and to 15th after the
Illinois moved from ninth to No. 6 and was followed by Oklahoma,
Gonzaga, Washington and Michigan State.
Following Louisville were UCLA, George Washington, Boston
College, Texas, Maryland, North Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky and
The last five ranked teams were North Carolina State, Wake
Forest, Tennessee, Ohio State and Iowa.
Duke's run started with the preseason poll in 1996-97 and is one
week longer than North Carolina's streak from the preseason voting
of 1990-91 through Jan. 17, 2000. UCLA's record run went from the
preseason poll of 1966-67 through Jan. 8, 1980. The AP started its
poll in the 1948-49 season.
Kentucky has the second-longest current streak at 86 polls, a
run that started on Feb. 12, 2001.
Tennessee (6-0) is ranked for the first time since late in the
2000-01 season. The Volunteers' victory at Texas certainly garnered
"We'll see whether it was lightning in a bottle or something we
can build on," first-year Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said Monday.
"The stars were aligned for us and Texas was still hung over from
the game with Duke. That game was circled on our calendar all along
as a big game and Texas has so many big games.
"For our players at this point, being ranked is a recognition
of being off to a good start, but it's not how you start but how
Ohio State coach Thad Matta expressed a similar thought as the
Buckeyes moved into the poll for the first time since the end of
the 2001-02 season.
"Of course I want to be there at the end," Matta said Monday.
"I do think with what this team and all these guys have been
through it is truly amazing.
"Anything starting to shed positive light on our program is
important to us. These players and this program have had a crazy
couple of years."
The Buckeyes were kept out of the postseason in 2004-05 by a
self-imposed ban over violations the school said were committed by
former coach Jim O'Brien. A trial is under way with O'Brien suing
the university for $3.5 million in back pay and benefits for what
he says was an improper dismissal in June 2004.
Houston (4-2), which lost to South Alabama 66-62 on Saturday,
dropped out from 25th. The Cougars were ranked for just one week,
the same span they were in the poll last, in January 1993.