UConn stays unanimous atop AP poll; South Dakota St. at No. 25

Updated: December 22, 2008, 6:23 PM ET
Associated Press

South Dakota State is ready to step into the national spotlight.

The Jackrabbits earned the first ranking in school history when they came into The Associated Press poll at No. 25 on Monday.

UConn was No. 1 for the 113th time in school history, surpassing Tennessee which had 112 weeks at the top spot.

South Dakota State (12-1) became the first school from the Summit League (formerly the Mid-Continent Conference) to be ranked since Northern Illinois was 25th in the final poll in 1993.

"It's wonderful for the university to go from a regional institution to a national one," coach Aaron Johnston said. "It's a great opportunity and will open up some doors and other scheduling opportunities."

UConn remained an unanimous No. 1 for the fourth straight week.

"Whenever I'm reminded of things like that, and it's likely a character flaw of mine, is that I always think, along with what is, about what could have been," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said of the record after winning the Caribbean Classic on Sunday. "All I can think about is all those times we were No. 1 in the polls and had the best team in the country and didn't come away with the national championship."

North Carolina stayed at No. 2. Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma each moved up a spot after then-No. 3 Stanford lost at Duke and Tennessee.

The Blue Devils rose to sixth and Baylor remained in seventh, giving the Big 12 four of the top seven teams.

The Bears were supposed to play No. 13 California on Monday night, but Baylor was stranded in Portland after beating Oregon on Saturday night. The game most likely won't be able to be rescheduled with both teams starting conference play soon.

"I hate that we can't play them as you always want to play good teams," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "Go on the road and see how good you are. We can't get to their area to play. What's most important is the safety of our basketball team."

A week after seeing its streak of 211 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 end, Tennessee climbed back to No. 8.

Auburn and Louisville flipped places to round out the first 10.

Stanford fell all the way to No. 11 after losing at Duke and in overtime to Tennessee. Notre Dame and California switched places and Maryland and Rutgers swapped as well.

Virginia, Ohio State, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt were the next five. Florida beat Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Arizona State, and South Dakota State rounded out the poll.

After a very successful stint in Division II, the Jackrabbits made the move to Division I. This is the first season that South Dakota State will be eligible for the NCAA tournament. The Jackrabbits' lone loss this season came against then-No. 10 Maryland in the Cancun Caribbean Challenge.

TCU was the lone team to fall out. The Horned Frogs lost their only game this week to then-No. 4 Texas A&M.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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