Cincinnati Remains No. 1 In Associated Press Poll

By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer

Nov. 23, 1999

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Now that Maryland is back in the AP college basketball poll looking up at No. 1 Cincinnati, the next challenge facing the young Terrapins is to stick around in the Top 25.

``We're real excited being ranked,'' freshman guard Steve Blake said. ``We're going to go out and prove to everybody that we should be in the top 25.''

No. 24 Maryland, which spent all last season ranked seventh or higher, celebrated its return to the poll by defeating Fairleigh Dickinson 104-45 on Monday night.

The game served as a tuneup for Wednesday's game against No. 11 Kentucky in the semifinal round of the Preseason NIT. The Wildcats, who moved from 14th to No. 11, represent a decided step up in competition for a Maryland team that does not have a senior starter.

``I'm looking forward to it. They beat us last year and that really hurt us,'' forward Mike Mardesich said. ``It's a big pride game.''

The Terrapins (3-0) struggled in victories over San Francisco and Tulane in the Preseason NIT before dispatching the overmatched Knights. Maryland bolted to a 23-1 lead and went on to record the eighth-biggest rout in school history.

``We're inexperienced, so every game is a contest for us,'' Maryland coach Gary Williams said. ``But I have a sneaking suspicion we'll play well against a team we think is very good.''

Maryland lost to Kentucky 103-91 last season, and is 0-4 against the Wildcats since the 1957-58 season.

``They don't have the same team as last year. They lost a lot of key players just as we did,'' Williams said. ``If we can contain their inside people, that's going to be a big part of whether we win or not.''

Cincinnati, which beat Youngstown State 94-67 on Saturday, received 31 first-place votes and 1,604 points from the national media panel to hold the No. 1 spot for the second straight week.

Gonzaga remained 25th after a 76-61 season-opening win at Montana. The Bulldogs face the top-ranked Bearcats Dec. 4 at the Rock-N-Roll Shootout in Cleveland, OH.

Auburn, which opened the season last week with victories over Alabama-Birmingham and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Michigan State, which opened its the season Monday night by beating Toledo 78-33, switched places from last week. Second-ranked Auburn had 10 first-place votes and 1,552 points, two more than the Spartans, who were No. 1 on 21 ballots.

North Carolina, Temple, Florida and Connecticut each moved up one spot in the rankings. Arizona, which moved up two spots, Stanford, which stayed at No. 9, and Kansas, which advanced two spots, rounded out the Top Ten.

Temple and Stanford each had two No. 1 votes, while North Carolina and Florida received one each.

No. 11 Kentucky was followed by Ohio State, UCLA, Syracuse, Illinois, Duke, Tennessee, DePaul, Utah and Texas.

The last five teams in the rankings were Oklahoma State, Purdue, Iowa, Maryland and Gonzaga.

Maryland was ranked No. 2 for two weeks last season but lost three starters to the NBA and wasn't ranked in the preseason poll.

``Just because we're younger doesn't mean we're not good,'' sophomore center Lonny Baxter said. ``We're learning something new every day.''

The week's biggest drop in the rankings was Ohio State, which dropped from No. 4 to 12th following the season-opening home loss to Notre Dame on a buzzer-beater by David Graves.

Two of this week's tournaments have three ranked teams playing, so there should be shuffling in the poll next week.

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' men's college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 21, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and previous ranking:

                         Record   Pts  Pv 

1. Cincinnati (31) 1-0 1,604 1

2. Auburn (10) 2-0 1,552 3

3. Michigan St. (21) 0-0 1,550 2

4. North Carolina (1) 0-0 1,404 5

5. Temple (2) 1-0 1,365 6

6. Florida (1) 1-0 1,349 7

7. Connecticut 2-1 1,284 8

8. Arizona 2-0 1,252 10

9. Stanford (2) 3-0 1,233 9

10. Kansas 1-0 1,030 11

11. Kentucky 2-0 923 14

12. Ohio St. 0-1 878 4

13. UCLA 0-0 872 12

14. Syracuse 2-0 798 13

15. Illinois 1-0 673 17

16. Duke 1-2 593 18

17. Tennessee 0-0 517 19

18. DePaul 1-0 475 20

19. Utah 2-1 455 16

20. Texas 1-0 342 21

21. Oklahoma St. 2-0 282 23

22. Purdue 0-0 237 24

23. Iowa 2-1 236 22

24. Maryland 2-0 205 ?

25. Gonzaga 1-0 197 25

Others receiving votes: Miami 168, Notre Dame 160, St. John's 159, Wake Forest 96, Oklahoma 61, Georgia Tech 27, Dayton 15, Indiana 14, Valparaiso 12, Louisville 9, Fresno St. 7, Murray St. 7, Oregon 7, Akron 6, Arkansas 6, Detroit 5, Siena 5, Virginia 4, California 3, Delaware 3, Georgetown 3, Bradley 2, George Washington 2, Iowa St. 2, SW Missouri St. 2, Tulsa 2, UNLV 2, Xavier 2, Louisiana Tech 1, N.C. Charlotte 1, N.C. State 1.


 

 

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