UConn reclaims No. 1 in coaches' poll

Updated: March 2, 2009, 4:09 PM ET
ESPN.com

Connecticut reclaimed the top spot in the ESPN/USA Today men's college basketball poll, but four of the 31 head coaches who make up the voting membership gave their No. 1 nods to Memphis.

UConn was No. 1 for three consecutive weeks prior to last week. In an interesting twist (as it turns out), a loss to Pittsburgh put the Panthers back atop the poll. A day later, Pitt was upset at Providence, fueling yet another changing of the guard at No. 1 on Monday.

The Huskies (27-2), also ranked No. 1 this week in The Associated Press media poll, wrap up their regular season Saturday with a visit to No. 4 Pitt (26-3), in a game that would decide the Big East regular-season title with a UConn victory.

Without the benefit of a first-place vote, ACC leader North Carolina (25-3) bounced three spots upward in the rankings to No. 2. After a visit to Virginia Tech on Wednesday, the Tar Heels will renew their rivalry with No. 7 Duke (24-5, one game behind UNC in the ACC) on Sunday in Chapel Hill to complete the regular season.

Memphis' run of success might have been too difficult for the aforementioned four voters to ignore. The Tigers (26-3), last year's NCAA runner-up to Kansas, have won 20 straight, the nation's longest streak, and 56 consecutive Conference USA games (including the postseason).

After Pitt, Oklahoma (26-3) came in at No. 5, a two-spot tumble due in part to a home loss to Kansas that came with Naismith Player of the Year contender Blake Griffin sidelined because of the effects of a concussion.

Louisville (23-5) held firm at No. 6 after knocking off Marquette and remaining a half-game behind UConn (15-2) in the Big East. Then came Duke (24-5); Michigan State (23-5), which won a share of the Big Ten title by beating Illinois on Sunday, at No. 8; Big 12 leader Kansas (24-5), after a week that included an upset of the Sooners and a 25-point win over highly regarded Missouri, at No. 9; and Wake Forest (22-5) at No. 10 -- a four-spot jump for the Demon Deacons.

LSU (25-4), the best team the SEC has to offer, moved from 18th to the brink of the top 10 after winning its 10th straight game Saturday. Missouri (24-5) fell from eighth to 12th because of its lopsided defeat at Kansas. Washington (22-7) made the biggest jump in the poll, moving up eight spots to 13th, and was followed by Gonzaga (23-5), Marquette (23-6), Villanova (23-6), UCLA (22-7), Xavier (23-5), Clemson (22-6) and Purdue.

Arizona State (21-7), Butler (25-4), Illinois (23-7), Florida State (22-7) and Syracuse (21-8) round out the Top 25. Syracuse's return to the poll pushed Texas from the rankings.