Gonzaga 27th In AP Preseason College Basketball Poll
Nov 5, 2001
By JIM O'CONNELL
Duke and Maryland were 1-2 Monday in The Associated Press' preseason college basketball poll, just the second time two teams from the same conference have held the top spots.
The other time also involved two schools from the Atlantic Coast Conference, when Georgia Tech and North Carolina were 1-2 before the 1985-86 season.
Gonzaga is ranked 27th if the poll was carried out. The Bulldogs received 131 points. The University of Oklahoma is 25th with 204 points. The University of Cincinnati was the first team also receiving votes with 138 points.
Illinois, looming as Gonzaga's opener Nov. 16 in Champaign, is ranked third and received two first-place votes. St. Joseph's, who the Bulldogs visit Dec. 31, is ranked 10th. Two other teams the Bulldogs could play in the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout are also in the Top 25 - Indiana at No. 22 and Texas one spot behind at 23. Tennessee, also in the Great Alaska Shootout, received votes, as did Fresno State, who will face the Bulldogs in the Fab Four Dec. 6 at The Forum in Los Angeles.
Duke, the defending national champion, were the runaway No. 1 choice by the national media panel. The Blue Devils, who return three starters from the team that went 35-4 last season, received 61 first-place votes and 1,787 points.
Maryland, which lost to Duke in its first Final Four appearance, had six first-place votes and 1,634 points to match the school's highest ranking ever.
Duke and Maryland are scheduled to play twice this season - at Duke on Jan. 17, and a month later at Maryland.
The preseason No. 1 ranking is the fifth for Duke and first since before the 1998-99 season. The Blue Devils, who were No. 2 in last year's preseason poll, have been ranked in the top 10 before each of the last 12 seasons, except for 1995-96. Since the preseason poll began for the 1961-62 season, Duke has been ranked in the top 10 23 times.
"It's always an honor and very nice to be ranked No. 1," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, playing down the preseason ranking for a team that lost consensus national player of the year Shane Battier and fifth-year senior Nate James. "Experience means so much. Fortunately, this group has that."
Illinois, which received two first-place votes, was third and was followed by Kentucky, which was No. 1 on three ballots, The rest of the Top 10 was UCLA, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Saint Joseph's.
Virginia, another member of the ACC, led the Second Ten and was followed by Memphis, Stanford, Georgetown, Michigan State, Temple, Boston College, Oklahoma State, North Carolina and Southern California.
The last five teams in the preseason poll were Syracuse, Indiana, Texas, Alabama and Oklahoma.
The preseason Top 25 came from eight conferences, with the Big 12 leading the way with five teams - Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas and Oklahoma. The ACC, which also had North Carolina, and the Big Ten - Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Indiana - were next with four teams each.
This is third straight preseason poll and fourth in the last five that has two teams from the same conference in the top five.
The ACC did it last season with Duke and No. 5 Maryland, and so did the Pac-10 with No. 1 Arizona and No. 4 Stanford.
Arizona, which lost to Duke in last season's national championship game, returns only guard Jason Gardner from its starting lineup. The Wildcats were not in the preseason Top 25, snapping the longest current consecutive streak of poll appearances.
Arizona had been in every Top 25 since the preseason poll of the 1995-96 season, a run of 108 consecutive polls. The longest run now belongs to Duke and Stanford, which have been in each poll since the preseason poll of the 1996-97, a run of 91 consecutive polls.
Eight teams in last year's preseason poll weren't in the final Top 25, including Tennessee and Seton Hall, which were Nos. 9 and 10, respectively, in the preseason voting.
Duke was No. 1 in the final poll last season for the third straight year matching UCLA's record set from 1971-73.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' men's preseason college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2000-01 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last season's final ranking:
Others receiving votes: Cincinnati 138, GONZAGA 131, Connecticut 124, Fresno St. 117, Mississippi 70, Arizona 66, Tennessee 48, Wake Forest 41, Utah 31, Notre Dame 16, Providence 16, Xavier 16, W. Kentucky 15, Wyoming 15, Purdue 13, Auburn 12, Tulsa 11, Saint Louis 10, Arkansas 9, California 9, Kent St. 7, LSU 6, Louisville 4, Butler 2, South Carolina 2, Holy Cross 1, South Florida 1, St. John's 1, UAB 1.
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