Duke, North Carolina make jump in poll in time for rivalry meeting
Just in time to lend added juice to Wednesday's rivalry game between Duke and North Carolina: Their steps forward to Nos. 2 and 3 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.
The top five teams in the ESPN/USA Today poll:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. For complete AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, click here.
Memphis, the only undefeated team in Division I men's college basketball, remained No. 1 for a third straight week Monday. The Tigers held off Conference USA foes Houston (89-77) and UTEP (70-64) last week to improve to 21-0.
No. 2 Duke (19-1) was ranked 11th in the preseason poll but has made steady progress -- 10th, to eighth, to seventh, to fifth, to third -- in the rankings in the last six weeks.
The Blue Devils also are 7-0 in the ACC standings, a half-game ahead of No. 3 North Carolina (21-1, 6-1). The two meet in Chapel Hill (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET).
The Tar Heels are waiting for a determination on whether point guard Ty Lawson will be available against Duke, Lawson, who is averaging 14.1 points and 6.0 assists, injured his left ankle four minutes into Sunday's overtime victory at Florida State.
Coach Roy Williams said he wouldn't know Lawson's status for Wednesday night's game until after practice Tuesday.
UCLA (20-2) held firm at No. 4 while Kansas fell from second to fifth after a week marked by a rash of losses involving a dozen Top 25 teams. The Jayhawks (21-1) were 20-0 entering last Wednesday's game against No. 24 Kansas State but lost 84-75, ending a 24-year run of victories on the Wildcats' home court.
The top three were a match for The Associated Press poll. Kansas was ranked fourth in the AP Top 25 and UCLA fifth.
Georgetown (18-2) remained sixth, Tennessee (19-2) moved up one spot to seventh and two newcomers joined the top 10 -- Wisconsin at No. 8 (from 13th) and Stanford at No. 9 (from 14th). Both are 18-3.
Michigan State (19-3), previously seventh, fell to 10th following its stunning loss at Penn State on Saturday.
Horizon leader Butler (19-2) headlined the next 10 in the poll, followed by Texas (17-4), Indiana (18-3), Xavier (18-4), Drake (20-1), Marquette (16-4), Washington State (17-4), Texas A&M (18-4), previously unranked Connecticut (16-5) and Vanderbilt (18-4).
Washington State, Texas, Indiana and Vandy were among the dozen poll teams to lose in the last seven days.
Drake has won 19 in a row after losing its second game of the season, to Saint Mary's in November.
Notre Dame (16-4) debuted this week at No. 21, followed by Florida (18-4), Saint Mary's (18-3), Kansas State (15-5) and Pittsburgh (17-5). Mississippi (No. 22) and Mississippi State (No. 25), which lost twice last week, fell out of the Top 25.
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