Archive for Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Spartans ascend to No. 1; Jayhawks reach No. 7

December 26, 2000

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Michigan State waited 21 years between national championships. It took a little longer for the Spartans to become No. 1 in the Associated Press college basketball poll a second time.

On Monday, the defending national champions became the third team to hold the top ranking this season, joining Duke, which was No. 1 the last four weeks until losing to Stanford last Thursday, and Arizona, which was the preseason No. 1 and stayed there for the first two weeks of the regular season.

The Spartans (9-0), who beat Seton Hall in their only game last week, became No. 1 for the first time in school history on Jan. 3, 1979, and stayed there for one more week.

That team was led by sophomore guard Magic Johnson and went on to win the only other national championship in school history.

Duke (10-1) dropped from first to third and was one of seven schools that last week lost for the first time this season.

Arizona's drop from 10th to No. 12 ended the longest consecutive run of weeks in the Top Ten. The Wildcats (6-3), who beat LSU in their only game last week, were in the Top Ten all 19 polls last season and the first seven this season.

The longest Top Ten run now belongs to No. 2 Stanford, which was in there every poll of last season except the preseason and all eight this season.

Michigan State, which has won 20 straight games dating to last season, received 46 first-place votes and 1,605 points from the national media panel to move up one place. Stanford (9-0), which was No. 1 on the other 19 ballots and had 1,579 points, also moved up one spot after beating Duke 84-83 in the Pete Newell Classic.

Wake Forest and Florida each moved up two spots to fourth and fifth, while Tennessee dropped two spots to sixth after losing to Virginia before beating Syracuse.

Kansas moved from ninth to No. 7, while Virginia had the week's biggest jump from No. 14 to eight. The Top Ten appearance is the first for the Cavaliers (8-0) since they were No. 7 on Jan. 18, 1993.

Illinois, which beat Missouri in overtime before losing at Texas, dropped from fifth to No. 9, while Connecticut moved up one place to round out the Top Ten.

Seton Hall dropped three places to lead the Second Ten and was followed by Arizona, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Syracuse, Southern California, Oklahoma, Maryland, Cincinnati and Alabama.

The last five ranked teams were Georgetown, Notre Dame, Iowa, Mississippi and Iowa State.

In addition to Duke, the other teams to lose for the first time last week were Tennessee, Syracuse, Southern California, Alabama, Iowa and Mississippi.

Iowa State (10-1) moved into the rankings for the third time this season after winning the Yahoo! Sports Invitational, including a 73-68 victory over Mississippi in the championship game. The Cyclones were 25th in the preseason poll, dropped out for three weeks, then returned at No. 25. A loss to Iowa knocked them out the next week and they returned this week after being out the last two.

Arkansas (7-3) dropped out from 25th after losing 88-79 in overtime to Oklahoma.

Illinois' fall from fifth to No. 9 and Iowa's drop from 19th to No. 23 tied for the week's biggest drop.

Michigan State's first game as No. 1 will be Wednesday in Auburn Hills, Mich., against Bowling Green. The Spartans then play Wright State at home on Saturday. The Raiders stunned Michigan State last season, beating the then-No. 8 Spartans 53-49.




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