Not even top dog in its conference, Connecticut nonetheless is the nation's new No. 1 men's college basketball team.
UConn on Monday became the fifth team to be ranked No. 1 this season in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, receiving 28 of 31 first-place votes, with the other three going to No. 2 Oklahoma.
The Huskies (21-1 overall, 10-1 Big East) got a big conference win Monday night, 68-51 over seventh-ranked Louisville (17-4, 8-1). Marquette (19-2, 8-0) is now the only Big East team with an unbeaten conference records.
UConn's climb in the coaches' poll marks the most changes at No. 1 since the top spot changed hands seven times during the 2003-04 season. UConn is No. 1 for the first time since March 2006 and, given that the UConn women are a unanimous No. 1 in both the coaches' and media polls, it is the sixth occasion that a school has had both programs ranked No. 1 at the same time.
Incidentally, UConn and Oklahoma are first and second in the men's and women's coaches' polls.
The only loss by the UConn men's team came against Georgetown on Dec. 29.
Big 12 leader Oklahoma (21-1, 7-0) moved up three spots from last week's rankings, while Duke (19-2) -- last week's No. 1 -- checked in at No. 3. The combination of Duke's last-second loss to Wake Forest and UConn's rout of Providence set the stage for the shakeup at No. 1.
North Carolina and Pittsburgh, both 19-2, finished off the top five. This week's rankings complete a first so-called "full house" at No. 1 this season -- three representatives from one conference (ACC -- North Carolina, Wake and Duke) and two from another (Big East -- Pittsburgh and UConn). It's only the second time since the creation of the ESPN/USA Today poll for the 1997-98 season that two conferences had multiple teams ranked No. 1 in the same season. In 2000-01, the ACC (Duke, North Carolina) and Pac-10 (Stanford, Arizona) each had two.
After sixth-ranked Wake (17-2), Louisville and Marquette held their ground at 7 and 8, with No. 9 Xavier (19-2) and No. 10 Clemson (18-2) both moving up one notch from last week's rankings.
Butler (19-1) moved to within a shout of the top 10 at No. 11, with UCLA (17-4, three spots) and Purdue (17-4, four) making strong strides. The rest of the top 20: Michigan State (17-4), Memphis (18-3), Villanova (17-4), Texas (15-5), Gonzaga (16-4), Minnesota (18-3) and Syracuse (17-5).
Illinois (18-4), previously unranked Utah State (21-1), Arizona State (16-5), last year's NCAA champion Kansas (17-4) and Washington (16-5) complete the rankings. Saint Mary's (18-3), Notre Dame (12-8) and Georgetown (12-8) fell out of the Top 25.