Gonzaga Continues Top 10 Climb In ESPN/USA Today Poll

Jan. 25, 2010

McLEAN, Va. - Gonzaga University climbed two more spots to eighth in the ESPN/USA Today men's basketball Top 25 as a rash of upsets hit the Top 25 this past week.

The Bulldogs, 16-3 overall and 5-0 in the West Coast Conference, are riding an 8-game winning streak heading into their Bay Area trip this week with games Thursday at Santa Clara University and Saturday at the University of San Francisco.

The No. 8 ranking is the highest for the Bulldogs since Dec. 22, 2008, when Gonzaga was ranked seventh.

Kentucky and North Carolina, two of college basketball's most illustrious programs, became a study in contrasts within the new ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

The Wildcats (19-0), the only undefeated Division I men's team, settled into the No. 1 ranking for the first time in six seasons, while the Tar Heels fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since January 2006. The reigning NCAA champion Heels (12-7) have lost three straight and four of their last five.

Kentucky received all 31 first-place votes and 775 points in the poll, 36 more than No. 2 Kansas (18-1). The Wildcats, who whipped Arkansas by 31 points in their only game last week, also are a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press media poll.

With previous No. 1 Texas suffering its first and second losses of the season in a six-day stretch, Kentucky coach John Calipari joined Frank McGuire (North Carolina, South Carolina and St. John's) as the only coaches in college basketball history to get three schools to the top of the polls. Calipari also coached Memphis and Massachusetts to No. 1 status.

"I'm just trying to tell our guys it's not a burden, it's a badge of honor. It's something to take pride in, but now there's a bigger bull's-eye," Calipari said Monday in an interview on "SportsCenter".

Big East members Villanova (No. 3, 18-1) and Syracuse (No. 4, 19-1) remained the class of the conference, moving up one spot each. Their only meeting comes Feb. 27 at Syracuse.

 

 

Following Michigan State's (17-3) two-spot jump to fifth after a pair of narrow Big Ten victories, the Longhorns (17-2) fell into place at No. 6 after road losses to Kansas State and Connecticut.

Texas became the third top-ranked team to lose twice in one week since the inception of the coaches' poll began in the 1997-98 season.

The top 10 was rounded out by Duke (16-3), which lost to NC State at the start of last week; Gonzaga (16-3); West Virginia (15-3), which moved up from 12th in its return to the top 10; and BYU (20-1), whose 15-game winning streak is the second longest active behind Kentucky's 19.

Georgetown (15-3), which continued its bid to return to the top 10, moved up three spots to 11th ahead of Monday night's game against Syracuse (ESPN, 7 ET).

Purdue (16-3) is 12th this week, and Kansas State (16-3), Tennessee (15-3), Temple (17-3), Wisconsin (16-4), Pittsburgh (15-4), Butler (16-4), UConn (13-6) and Mississippi (15-4) round out the rest of the second 10.

Clemson (15-5), Georgia Tech (14-5), newcomer Vanderbilt (15-3), Ohio State (14-6) and Northern Iowa (17-2) complete the Top 25.

Kansas, Villanova, Michigan State, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt are the only teams in power conferences that are still undefeated in conference play. Kansas visits unranked rival Missouri (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET) on Monday, with the Tigers riding a 31-game home winning streak.

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 24, 2010)
    TEAM                                   PTS   PVS
    ----                                   ---   ---
 1. KENTUCKY (31) (19-0)                   775     2
 2. KANSAS (18-1)                          739     3
 3. VILLANOVA (18-1)                       714     4
 4. SYRACUSE (19-1)                        680     5
 5. MICHIGAN ST (17-3)                     627     7
 6. TEXAS (17-2)                           613     1
 7. DUKE (16-3)                            555     6
 8. GONZAGA (16-3)                         533    10
 9. WEST VIRGINIA (15-3)                   506    12
10. BYU (20-1)                             485    13
11. GEORGETOWN (15-3)                      483    14
12. PURDUE (16-3)                          420    15
13. KANSAS ST (16-3)                       409     9
14. TENNESSEE (15-3)                       385     8
15. TEMPLE (17-3)                          339    17
16. WISCONSIN (16-4)                       282    19
17. PITTSBURGH (15-4)                      267    11
18. BUTLER (16-4)                          213    20
19. CONNECTICUT (13-6)                     199    21
20. OLE MISS (15-4)                        151    24
21. CLEMSON (15-5)                         112    16
22. GEORGIA TECH (14-5)                    105    18
23. VANDERBILT (15-3)                       71    NR
24. OHIO ST (14-6)                          62    25
25. NORTHERN IOWA (17-2)                    60    22
Dropped Out: No. 20 BUTLER, No. 16 CLEMSON, No. 22
NORTHERN IOWA
Others Receiving Votes: FLORIDA ST 50, CORNELL 38, NEW
MEXICO 38, BAYLOR 37, WAKE FOREST 23, UAB 18, MISSOURI 16,
OKLAHOMA ST 16, SAINT MARYS CA 11, MISSISSIPPI ST 9,
MARYLAND 6, UNLV 6, SIENA 4, TEXAS A&M 4, LOUISIANA TECH 3,
XAVIER 3, OLD DOMINION 3, NOTRE DAME 2, CALIFORNIA 2, NORTH
CAROLINA 1

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