Gonzaga Moves Back Into USA Today/ESPN Top 25

Jan. 26, 2009

A member of the Atlantic Coast Conference still lays claim to the No. 1 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. It's just not Wake Forest.

In another shakeup at the top, Duke (18-1) rose to No. 1 in this week's ESPN/USA Today poll. The Blue Devils received 30 of 31 first-place votes.

The top ranking changed hands for the third consecutive week as Duke supplanted Wake at No. 1. The Blue Devils (18-1) received 30 of 31 first-place votes, with the other vote going to No. 2 Connecticut (18-1). The Demon Deacons, also 18-1, fell to fourth after losing for the first time, 78-71 to Virginia Tech in their only game last week.

Duke visits Wake Forest on Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils have been ranked No. 1 in nine seasons since 1997-98, most of any school. Duke also is the third ACC team (North Carolina and Wake) to be ranked No. 1 this season; since ESPN's association with the coaches' poll began with the 1997-98 season, no conference has had three teams ranked No. 1 in a single season. Pittsburgh, which held the poll's No. 1 spot three weeks ago, moved up to third while Oklahoma maintained its hold at No. 5. North Carolina (17-2), which lost to Wake three weeks ago but has now won three straight, remained sixth.

Louisville (15-3) represents the poll's biggest shaker after settling in at No. 7, a leap of five spots. The Cardinals, ranked third in the preseason, have won seven in a row and share the lead in the Big East with No. 8 Marquette (17-2). Both are 6-0 in the conference.

Michigan State (16-3) fell two spots to ninth after losing to Northwestern last week, while Xavier (17-2), riding an eight-game winning streak, popped into the top 10 from 13th.

Clemson was one of two teams this week to fall out of the top 10, the Tigers (17-2, ninth last week) landing at No. 11 after losing by 24 to North Carolina as part of a 1-1 week. Syracuse (17-4) descended seven spots to 15th after losing by double digits to both Pitt and Louisville.

The rest of the top 20: Texas (14-4) at No. 12, followed by Butler (18-1), Arizona State (16-3), the Orange, UCLA (15-4), Purdue (15-4), Saint Mary's (18-1), Memphis (16-3) and Illinois (17-3).

 

 

Big East members Villanova (15-4), Notre Dame (12-6) and Georgetown (12-6), and Minnesota (17-3) and Gonzaga (14-4) round out the Top 25. The Zags' return marked Baylor's fall from the rankings. Gonzaga and Saint Mary's will meet Thursday on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. PST in a battle of 5-0 West Coast Conference co-leaders. Gonzaga is back in after a three-week absence, the Bulldogs reaching as high as No. 4 this season.

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 25, 2009)
    TEAM                                   PTS   PVS
    ----                                   ---   ---
 1. DUKE (30) (18-1)                       774     2
 2. CONNECTICUT (1) (18-1)                 733     3
 3. PITTSBURGH (18-1)                      706     4
 4. WAKE FOREST (16-1)                     666     1
 5. OKLAHOMA (19-1)                        663     5
 6. NORTH CAROLINA (17-2)                  636     6
 7. LOUISVILLE (15-3)                      547    12
 8. MARQUETTE (17-2)                       538    10
 9. MICHIGAN ST (16-3)                     475     7
10. XAVIER (17-2)                          458    13
11. CLEMSON (17-2)                         425     9
12. TEXAS (14-4)                           402    15
13. BUTLER (18-1)                          384    17
14. ARIZONA ST (16-3)                      378    16
15. SYRACUSE (17-4)                        321     8
16. UCLA (15-4)                            311    11
17. PURDUE (15-4)                          267    18
18. SAINT MARYS CA (18-1)                  212    22
19. MEMPHIS (16-3)                         193    24
20. ILLINOIS (17-3)                        181    24
21. VILLANOVA (15-4)                       113    21
22. NOTRE DAME (12-6)                       97    19
23. GEORGETOWN (12-6)                       92    14
24. MINNESOTA (17-3)                        84    20
25. GONZAGA (14-4)                          60    NR
Dropped Out: No. 23 BAYLOR
Others Receiving Votes: FLORIDA 59, UTAH ST 56, KENTUCKY 50,
BAYLOR 42, WASHINGTON 41, CALIFORNIA 31, MISSOURI 22, DAYTON
18, DAVIDSON 14, KANSAS 13, BYU 6, FLORIDA ST 3, UNLV 2,
VIRGINIA TECH 1, WEST VIRGINIA 1.

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