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Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Arizona enters poll at No. 8

November 20, 2001

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Without playing a game, Duke strengthened its hold on the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press college basketball poll, while Arizona used three impressive wins to make a grand entrance into the rankings.

The defending national-champion Blue Devils received 67 of 70 first-place votes from the national media panel Monday, compared with 61 of 72 they had in the preseason poll.

Illinois, which beat Gonzaga 76-58 in its season opener on Friday, got the other three first-place votes in moving up one spot to second.

UCLA and Kansas were third and fourth, moving up from fifth and seventh, respectively.

Duke, UCLA and Kansas all opened their seasons Monday at the Maui Invitational. Duke beat Seton Hall, 80-79. Kansas lost 93-91 to Ball State, becoming the fifth preseason Top Ten team to lose this season.

Missouri (2-0) moved from eighth to fifth, while Maryland (2-1), one of other Top Ten teams in the preseason poll to lose, dropped from second to sixth.

Florida (2-1) dropped one spot to seventh and was followed by Arizona (3-0), which made the second-most dramatic entrance into the rankings since the poll expanded to a Top 25 for the 1989-90 season.

The Wildcats, who lost four starters from last season's national runner-up, beat Maryland and Florida to open the season in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York on Nov. 8-9. They followed that with an 88-74 victory at then-No. 23 Texas on Saturday.

The only team to make a bigger jump into the rankings was Kansas at the start of the 1989-90 season. The Jayhawks went from unranked to No. 5 after winning the Preseason NIT with the last three victories coming over No. 1 UNLV, No. 2 LSU and No. 25 St. John's. Kansas went on to be ranked No. 1 for four weeks that season.

Iowa (3-0) stayed No. 9, while Kentucky, which lost to Western Kentucky at home last week, dropped from fourth to 10th.

Virginia again led the Second Ten, followed by Memphis, Michigan State, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Georgetown, Boston College, Syracuse, Saint Joseph's and Indiana.

The last five teams were Western Kentucky, Alabama, Fresno State, Southern California and Temple.

Saint Joseph's was the fourth Top Ten team to lose, and the defeat to Eastern Washington dropped the Hawks from 10th to No. 19.

Western Kentucky (2-0) and Fresno State (2-0) joined Arizona as this week's newcomers. Fresno State was ranked for five weeks last season, but the impressive win at Kentucky got Western Kentucky into the Top 25 for the first time since the last two weeks of the 1994-95 season.

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