Archive for Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Duke men, women ascend to No. 1 in hoops polls

January 7, 2003


Duke jumped to No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 Monday, joining the Blue Devils' women atop the rankings. Connecticut is the only other school to have held the top spots simultaneously.

Another milestone for Duke's men: This is the sixth consecutive season they have reached No. 1. Only UCLA's dynasty of the 1960s and 1970s had a longer run of seasons with at least one appearance atop the men's poll -- 12 straight.

"We don't really pay attention to our No. 1 ranking," Duke forward Dahntay Jones said. "We just make sure we get better on a weekly basis, and whatever you rank us is whatever you rank us."

The Blue Devils moved up from No. 3, taking advantage of losses last week by the teams ahead of them, Alabama and Pittsburgh.

Duke (9-0), which beat Fairfield and Clemson, received 54 first-place votes and 1,778 points from the national media panel.

Arizona (9-1), No. 1 in the preseason poll and for the first five weeks of the regular season, moved from fourth to second. The Wildcats, who won at Oregon and Oregon State, were No. 1 on 15 ballots and had 1,714 points.

Connecticut (9-0) climbed two spots to No. 3 -- the same spot its women's team holds -- and received one first-place vote.

Alabama (10-1), No. 1 the last two weeks, dropped to fourth after a 51-49 loss at Utah. Notre Dame went from sixth to fifth, while Pittsburgh dropped from second to sixth because of a 79-67 loss at Georgia.

Mississippi State (10-1) had the two other first-place votes and was No. 7. Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois rounded out the Top 10.

While Duke's women never had been No. 1 before this season -- they have been atop the AP poll since the preseason -- the men's team now has 91 weeks in the top spot, second only to UCLA's 128.

That Duke is No. 1 is even more impressive considering underclassmen Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer all left for the NBA. This year's team has four freshmen in key roles.

"I know what the rankings are, but in some respects for us it's a little bit of a popularity contest," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We just can't get concerned with that, we just have to keep getting better. Our schedule will put us in that situation."

Duke and Kansas (from the 1992-93 season to 1996-97) were tied for second-most consecutive seasons reaching No. 1. UCLA's record ran from 1963-64 through 1974-75, during which the Bruins won 10 national championships.

UConn's men's and women's teams were both No. 1 for one week in February 1995, six weeks early in the 1998-99 season, and in the preseason poll for 1999-00.

In this week's men's poll, Florida was 11th, followed by Oregon, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Creighton, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Louisville and Georgia.

Maryland and Xavier tied for 21st, while Texas Tech, Marquette and Michigan State completed Top 25.

Georgia (9-3) was the only newcomer this week, replacing LSU, which it beat 89-63 Sunday. Georgia was 16th in the preseason poll and was ranked for the first two weeks of the regular season before falling out for five weeks.

"We'd better be in the Top 25. I would hope so, anyway," Georgia's Jarvis Hayes said Sunday. "It's not that big a deal, really, but we'd like to be in there."

LSU, which beat then-No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 21, had a seven-game winning streak snapped by Georgia. The Tigers were ranked for two weeks, getting as high as No. 21 last week.

Wake Forest (9-0) -- other than Duke and Connecticut, the only unbeaten Division I men's team -- had the week's biggest jump, moving from 23rd to No. 17.

Marquette (24th) and Michigan State (25th) both lost two games last week and dropped 11 places each.

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