Bulldogs Return To USA Today/ESPN Rankings

March 3, 2008

MCLEAN, Virginia (Ticker) -- North Carolina is at full strength and back to No. 1 as the postseason approaches.

The Tar Heels (27-2), who have point guard Ty Lawson back in the lineup, regained the top ranking in the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll released Monday.

Gonzaga also returned to the rankings this week, checking in at No.23.The Bulldogs have not been ranked since mid-December when they were ranked 20th proir to a loss to Oklahoma.

Lawson returned for Saturday's 90-80 victory over Boston College, playing 21 minutes off the bench. The Tar Heels went 5-1 without him, losing only to Duke.

North Carolina, which was No. 1 for nine weeks earlier in the season, received 19 of 31 first-place votes and 763 points. The Tar Heels face Duke on Saturday for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title.

Tennessee (26-3), which spent last week at No. 1 for the first time in school history, fell three spots to No. 4. After handing Memphis its first loss of the season, the Volunteers fell at Vanderbilt, 72-69, but then rebounded to beat Kentucky, 63-60, on Sunday.

UCLA (26-3), which meets Stanford on Thursday for the Pac-10 Conference title, climbed one spot to No. 2, collecting six first-place votes and 718 points.

The Bruins garnered one more point than Memphis (28-1), which remained third and secured the remaining six first-place votes.

No. 5 Duke (25-3), Kansas (26-3), Stanford (24-4), Wisconsin (24-4), Texas (24-5) and Georgetown (24-4) complete the top 10.

The Hoyas are one of five Big East Conference teams in the poll for the second straight week. They are joined by No. 13 Louisville (24-6), No. 14 Connecticut (23-6), No. 19 Notre Dame (22-6) and No. 20 Marquette (21-7).

Xavier (25-4) starts the second 10 and is followed by Butler (27-6), Louisville, Connecticut, Purdue (23-6), Vanderbilt (24-5), Indiana (24-5), Michigan State (23-6), Notre Dame and Marquette.

Vanderbilt followed up its win over Tennessee with a 78-73 loss at Arkansas.

 

 

No. 21 Drake (25-4), No. 22 Washington State (22-7), No. 23 Gonzaga (23-6), No. 24 Brigham Young (23-6) and No. 25 Mississippi State (20-8) complete the poll. Gonzaga and Mississippi State were not not ranked last week.

Dropping out were No. 23 Saint Mary's and No. 25 Kent State, who both lost on Saturday.

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 March 2, 2008)
    TEAM                                   PTS   PVS
    ----                                   ---   ---
 1. NORTH CAROLINA (19) (27-2)             763     2
 2. UCLA (6) (26-3)                        718     4
 3. MEMPHIS (6) (28-1)                     717     3
 4. TENNESSEE (26-3)                       695     1
 5. DUKE (25-3)                            621     6
 6. KANSAS (26-3)                          618     7
 7. STANFORD (24-4)                        572     8
 8. WISCONSIN (24-4)                       535     9
 9. TEXAS (24-5)                           533     5
10. GEORGETOWN (24-4)                      521    10
11. XAVIER (25-4)                          492    11
12. BUTLER (27-3)                          383    13
13. LOUISVILLE (24-6)                      368    18
14. CONNECTICUT (23-6)                     356    16
15. PURDUE (23-6)                          314    19
16. VANDERBILT (24-5)                      305    14
17. INDIANA (24-5)                         287    12
18. MICHIGAN ST (23-6)                     283    15
19. NOTRE DAME (22-6)                      246    17
20. MARQUETTE (21-7)                       141    21
21. DRAKE (25-4)                           116    20
22. WASHINGTON ST (22-7)                   102    22
23. GONZAGA (23-6)                          99    NR
24. BYU (23-6)                              94    25
25. MISSISSIPPI ST (20-8)                   44    NR
Dropped Out: No. 23 SAINT MARYS CA, No. 24 KENT ST
Others Receiving Votes: CLEMSON 43, SAINT MARYS CA 29,
DAVIDSON 27, PITTSBURGH 7, USC 6, UNLV 6, BAYLOR 5, KENTUCKY
4, SOUTH ALABAMA 3, ARIZONA ST 1, WKU 1.

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