Gonzaga Jumps Seven Spots In USA Today/ESPN Poll

Feb. 2, 2009

MCLEAN, Virginia (Ticker) -- Connecticut is back atop the national rankings after a hiatus of nearly three years. The Huskies hope to remain No. 1 a little longer than their recent predecessors.

Riding a nine-game winning streak, UConn received the top ranking in the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, which was released Monday.

The Huskies (20-1) had not held the No. 1 ranking since the end of the 2005-06 regular season, when they were upset by Syracuse in the second round of the Big East Conference Tournament.

"It's just a number," Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun said after Saturday's victory over Providence. "But if there are 343 teams in the country and at some point in the season somebody says you're the best team in the country, it's nice." It marked the fourth time in the last five weeks that the No. 1 ranking changed hands. Duke held the top spot last week but lost at Wake Forest, which owned the No. 1 ranking the previous week. Pittsburgh and North Carolina also lost as the nation's top-ranked team last month.

The Huskies look to avoid a similar fate Monday night when they visit red-hot Louisville, which also has won its last nine games.

"No. 1 hasn't panned out for a lot of teams this year," UConn guard A.J. Price said. "But we haven't been there yet. We have a tough game coming up on Monday." UConn received 28 out of a possible 31 first-place votes and 772 overall points from a panel of Division I coaches.

Oklahoma (21-1) climbed four spots to second and was given the other three first-place votes. Duke (19-2) dropped two spots to third, followed by North Carolina (19-2) and Pittsburgh (19-2).

Wake Forest (17-2) is sixth while Louisville (17-3), Marquette (19-2), Xavier (19-2) and Clemson (18-2) rounded out the top 10.

Butler (19-1) climbed two spots to 11th, followed by UCLA (17-4), Purdue (17-4), Michigan State (17-4), Memphis (18-3), Villanova (17-4), Texas (15-5), Gonzaga (16-4), Minnesota (18-3), Syracuse (17-5) and Illinois (18-4).

 

 

Utah State (21-1) entered the poll for the first time this season at No. 22 while Arizona State (16-5) fell nine spots to 23rd. Kansas (17-4) and Washington (16-5), both new to this week's rankings, were 24th and 25th, respectively.

Saint Mary's, Notre Dame and Georgetown all were dropped from the poll.

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 February 2, 2009)
    TEAM                                   PTS   PVS
    ----                                   ---   ---
 1. CONNECTICUT (28) (20-1)                772     2
 2. OKLAHOMA (3) (21-1)                    729     5
 3. DUKE (19-2)                            682     1
 4. NORTH CAROLINA (19-2)                  670     6
 5. PITTSBURGH (19-2)                      663     3
 6. WAKE FOREST (17-2)                     609     4
 7. LOUISVILLE (17-3)                      604     7
 8. MARQUETTE (19-2)                       586     8
 9. XAVIER (19-2)                          529    10
10. CLEMSON (18-2)                         487    11
11. BUTLER (19-1)                          456    13
12. UCLA (17-4)                            400    16
13. PURDUE (17-4)                          369    17
14. MICHIGAN ST (17-4)                     356     9
15. MEMPHIS (18-3)                         309    19
16. VILLANOVA (17-4)                       298    21
17. TEXAS (15-5)                           274    12
18. GONZAGA (16-4)                         201    25
19. MINNESOTA (18-3)                       197    24
20. SYRACUSE (17-5)                        162    15
21. ILLINOIS (18-4)                        126    20
22. UTAH ST (21-1)                         106    NR
23. ARIZONA ST (16-5)                      104    14
24. KANSAS (17-4)                          100    NR
25. WASHINGTON (16-5)                       78    NR
Dropped Out: No. 18 SAINT MARYS CA, No. 22 NOTRE DAME, No.
23 GEORGETOWN
Others Receiving Votes: DAYTON 69, MISSOURI 30, DAVIDSON 27,
UNLV 19, SAINT MARYS CA 18, USC 15, PENN ST 13, LSU 10,
SOUTH CAROLINA 8, FLORIDA 6, WEST VIRGINIA 5, NOTRE DAME 4,
BAYLOR 3, GEORGETOWN 3, KENTUCKY 3, BYU 2, UTAH 2, BOSTON
COLLEGE 1.

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