Bulldogs Move Up To 14th In ESPN/USA Today Rankings

Jan. 11, 2010

McLEAN, Va. - Gonzaga is 14th in this week's ESPN/USA Today men's college basketball poll, moving up four spots in a topsy-truvy week among the Top 25 teams.

The Bulldogs will put their new ranking on the line with a pair of West Coast Conference road games this week, Thursday at Saint Mary's and Saturday at San Diego. Gonzaga opened WCC play in search of a 10th straight regular-season title with an 81-78 win at Portland last Saturday.

For the first time this season, Kansas is not the top-ranked team in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. And that's not the only major change in the rankings released Monday.

The poll's top 10 underwent somewhat of an overhaul after four of those teams lost this weekend and six in all from the previous week.

At the top, the previously unbeaten Jayhawks (14-1) gave way to Big 12 rival Texas. The Longhorns (15-0) received 30 of 31 first-place votes, the other going to No. 2 Kentucky (16-0). The Longhorns and the Wildcats are the only remaining undefeated teams in Division I.

Texas and Kentucky also were 1-2 in The Associated Press Top 25 released Monday.

"I think for the program it is a compliment, I don't think there's any question about that," Longhorns coach Rick Barnes said Monday during a Big 12 conference call. "But, it's like I told our guys, I cannot honestly tell you who the No. 1-ranked team was in the country two weeks into January a year ago. I don't know. But, I do know who won the national championship."

Like Barnes, Kentucky coach John Calipari did not watch the Kansas-Tennessee game. But when he heard about the outcome, Calipari said he wasn't surprised.

"I've said this for years, that you're going to have five bad games, but you hope that they're against teams you can beat anyway," Calipari told ESPN.com's Andy Katz by phone from Lexington on Sunday. "We haven't played well the last couple of games."

Kansas, which had ruled the rankings since preseason, fell to third after losing 76-68 to short-handed Tennessee on Sunday. Their only other game last week was a struggle -- they held Cornell in the final minute for a 71-66 home victory.

 

 

Purdue, Duke, West Virginia, North Carolina and Kansas State also lost in the last week, which enabled Big East members Villanova (14-1) and Syracuse (15-1) to rise two spots each to fourth and fifth, respectively, and for Michigan State and Tennessee to join the top 10.

The Boilermakers (14-1), after suffering their first defeat to Wisconsin, fell from fourth to sixth and Duke (13-2) fell from fifth to seventh. Michigan State (13-3), which plays one of Division I's most difficult schedules, jumped from 11th to eighth, West Virginia (12-2) fell one spot to ninth and Tennessee (12-2) make a five-spot leap to 10th.

The Vols picked apart Kansas without four key players -- senior forward Tyler Smith, who was dismissed from the team Friday following his Jan. 1 arrest on misdemeanor gun and drug charges, and Cameron Tatum, Melvin Goins and Brian Williams. The three were arrested along with Smith and are suspended indefinitely.

Georgetown (12-2) led off the second 10 in the poll at 11th after beating Connecticut on Saturday. Kansas State (13-2) fell two spots to 12th and North Carolina's tumble left it at 13th after the Tar Heels began last week with a loss to the College of Charleston.

Filling out the top 20 are No. 14 Gonzaga (12-3), UConn (11-4), Wisconsin (13-3), BYU (16-1), Georgia Tech (12-3), Clemson (13-3) and Pittsburgh (13-2), which enters the rankings on a six-game winning streak.

Temple (13-3), Butler (12-4), Mississippi (12-3), poll newcomer Baylor (13-1) and Florida State (13-3) complete the Top 25. New Mexico (14th last week) and Washington (22nd) fell out of the rankings.

The USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Top 25 college basketball
coaches' poll, with number of first-place votes and record
in parentheses, total points and previous ranking:
(Records through January 10, 2010)
    TEAM                                   PTS   PVS
    ----                                   ---   ---
 1. TEXAS (30) (15-0)                      774     2
 2. KENTUCKY (1) (16-0)                    745     3
 3. KANSAS (14-1)                          697     1
 4. VILLANOVA (14-1)                       681     6
 5. SYRACUSE (15-1)                        641     7
 6. PURDUE (14-1)                          625     4
 7. DUKE (13-2)                            578     5
 8. MICHIGAN ST (13-3)                     556    11
 9. WEST VIRGINIA (12-2)                   471     8
10. TENNESSEE (12-2)                       463    15
11. GEORGETOWN (12-2)                      439    12
12. KANSAS ST (13-2)                       375    10
13. NORTH CAROLINA (12-4)                  362     9
14. GONZAGA (12-3)                         345    18
15. CONNECTICUT (11-4)                     293    13
16. WISCONSIN (13-3)                       289    20
17. BYU (16-1)                             285    23
18. GEORGIA TECH (12-3)                    261    17
19. CLEMSON (13-3)                         213    21
20. PITTSBURGH (13-2)                      201    NR
21. TEMPLE (13-3)                          151    25
22. BUTLER (12-4)                          106    24
23. OLE MISS (12-3)                         90    16
24. BAYLOR (13-1)                           66    NR
25. FLORIDA ST (13-3)                       65    19
Dropped Out: No. 24 BUTLER, No. 14 NEW MEXICO
Others Receiving Votes: NORTHERN IOWA 62, NEW MEXICO 54,
UNLV 26, SAINT MARYS CA 25, OKLAHOMA ST 21, TEXAS A&M 17,
CORNELL 16, DAYTON 16, UAB 14, MIAMI FL 8, WAKE FOREST 8,
RHODE ISLAND 7, MISSISSIPPI ST 6, ARIZONA ST 5, TEXAS TECH
4, WILLIAM & MARY 4, MISSOURI 3, MARQUETTE 2, MINNESOTA 1,
NOTRE DAME 1, SAN DIEGO ST 1, VANDERBILT 1, WASHINGTON 1

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