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Archive for Tuesday, February 7, 2006

North Carolina back in Top 25

February 7, 2006

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North Carolina rejoined the Top 25 in the Associated Press college basketball poll Monday after a two-week absence while the top five teams remained the same.

Connecticut, which beat two ranked teams last week, was a runaway No. 1 for the third straight week. The Huskies (20-1), who beat Pittsburgh and Indiana last week, received 68 first-place votes and 1,796 points from the national media panel.

Duke (21-1), which beat Boston College, 83-81, and Florida State, 97-96, in overtime, held second and was No. 1 on three ballots, receiving 1,723 points. Memphis (21-2), Villanova (17-2) and Gonzaga (18-3) were third through fifth. Villanova received the other first-place vote.

Texas and Florida each moved up one place to sixth and seventh, respectively, while George Washington and West Virginia were Nos. 8 and 9, an improvement of two spots for both.

Illinois, whose 33-game home winning streak was snapped by Penn State on Saturday, dropped from sixth to 10th, the Illini's lowest ranking in two months.

Tennessee jumped up two places to 11th and was followed by Michigan State, UCLA, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, North Carolina State, Boston College, Iowa, Ohio State and Oklahoma. The last five ranked teams were Washington, Michigan, North Carolina, Indiana and Northern Iowa.

North Carolina (14-5) was the lone newcomer to the poll. The Tar Heels had been ranked for seven straight weeks before falling out last month following a loss to Virginia and a one-point win over Florida State. The defending national champions returned to the rankings having won four of their last five games, including victories last week over Maryland and Clemson.

The Tar Heels weren't ranked in the preseason poll after losing their top seven scorers from the team that beat Illinois in April to win the school's fourth national championship.

LSU (15-6) dropped out after a one-week run following a 67-62 loss at Alabama. The Tigers also had a quick stop in the poll earlier in the season, again falling from the rankings after one week.

Iowa (18-5) had the week's biggest jump, moving from 23rd to No. 18 after beating Purdue 77-68 and Michigan 94-66. The Hawkeyes are alone atop the Big Ten standings with a 7-2 record.

Pittsburgh and Washington both fell five places.

The 14th-ranked Panthers (17-3) lost 80-76 to Connecticut and 61-58 to Georgetown last week and have dropped three of their last five with all the losses coming on the road.

Washington (16-5) fell to 21st after losing 77-64 to Washington State on Saturday, the Huskies' third straight Pac-10 loss. This is Washington's lowest ranking since entering the poll at No. 25 in the second week of the regular season. The Huskies were ranked as high as seventh last month.

There are seven games between ranked teams this week, and West Virginia and Ohio State are in two each.

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