SEC-leading Vols ascend to fourth in coaches' poll
Losses last week by four of the top 10 teams in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll were of significant benefit to Tennessee and Stanford, two movers in the Top 25 who landed at Nos. 4 and 7, respectively, in the rankings released Monday.
The top five teams in the ESPN/USA Today poll:
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The rankings are a season best for the Vols (21-2), who have the Southeastern Conference's best record at 8-1, and the Cardinal (20-3), who are tied with UCLA (9-2) for the Pac-10 lead following the Bruins' stunning loss at Washington on Sunday.
Tennessee moved up three spots from seventh, while Stanford -- after rising from 20th, to 14th, to ninth in the last three weeks -- jumped two spots.
Memphis (23-0), the only undefeated team in Division I men's college basketball, held down the No. 1 ranking for a fourth straight week after lopsided victories over SMU and Central Florida. The Tigers, who again received all 31 first-place votes, play Houston, UAB and Tulane before their Feb. 23 showdown against the Vols.
No. 2 Duke (21-1) fortified its position after beating then-No. 3 North Carolina in Chapel Hill by 11 points and stopping upset-minded Boston College at home.
Big 12 leader Kansas (23-1) moved up two spots to No. 3 in advance of Monday night's conference game at No. 11 Texas (19-4).
Tennessee was followed by two teams who scrambled after losses -- North Carolina (22-2) at No. 5 and UCLA (21-3) at No. 6. Both fell two spots in the poll, the Bruins as a result of their surprising loss at 13-11 Washington.
Rounding out the top 10 after Stanford was No. 8 Georgetown (19-3), beaten by Louisville on Saturday, No. 9 Michigan State (20-3) and Horizon League leader Butler (21-2), which moved up a spot to 10th.
The first eight were the same in The Associated Press writers' poll.
After the 11th-ranked Longhorns, the rest of the second 10 looked like: Indiana (20-3), Xavier (20-4), Wisconsin (19-4, tumbling six spots from eighth after losing to Purdue), Drake (22-1, winner of 21 straight), Texas A&M (20-4), Connecticut (18-5), Notre Dame (18-4), Vanderbilt (20-4) and Washington State (18-5).
Saint Mary's (20-3), Kansas State (17-5), Big Ten leader Purdue (19-5), Pittsburgh (18-5) and Marquette (16-6) rounded out the Top 25.
The Boilermakers, whose 10-1 conference record leads Indiana by a half-game, replaced Florida (No. 22 last week) in the rankings. Purdue has won its last nine games.