Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Florida steals first-place vote

January 17, 2006

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Duke still was No. 1 in the Associated Press' college basketball poll Monday, as it has been all season. This week, however, the Blue Devils weren't a unanimous choice.

One of three unbeaten teams in Division I, Duke (16-0) received all but one first-place vote from the 72-member national media panel. The other No. 1 nod went to No. 2 Florida (16-0) after a week in which 11 ranked teams lost, two of them twice.

Duke, which defeated Maryland and Clemson last week, and Florida, which beat Mississippi State and Auburn, held the top two spots for a second straight poll.

John Kaltefleiter of The Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald switched his No. 1 vote from Duke to Florida.

Florida, which lost its top three scorers from last year's Southeastern Conference tournament champions, started the season unranked and has climbed to No. 2 with a lineup of one junior and four sophomores.

"There is no big man running the floor right now as well as Joakim Noah, and Lee Humphrey can shoot. He may not be (Duke's) J.J. Redick, but he can shoot," Kaltefleiter said. "This may be one of Billy Donovan's closest-knit teams as far as chemistry, and I think Duke will lose before they do. Florida was very, very impressive. I thought there would be more people who would switch. I was surprised I was the only one."

Arizona and Cincinnati, the two ranked teams to lose two games last week, dropped out of the Top 25. They were replaced by Syracuse and Iowa, two schools which were ranked earlier in the season.

With Syracuse replacing Cincinnati, the Big East still has six ranked teams, but Iowa coming in gives the Big Ten the same number. The record is seven, set twice each by the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten. The ACC did it last season. The ACC has five ranked teams this week.

Connecticut and Memphis both moved up one spot from last week to third and fourth. Texas used its win over Villanova on Saturday to jump from No. 8 to No. 5.

Gonzaga and Illinois held sixth and seventh, while Villanova dropped five spots to No. 8.

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