Bulldogs Jump To 7th In AP Poll Following Close Loss To No. 2 UConn

Dec. 22, 2008

Tubby Smith is used to coaching Top 25 teams. He'll be doing it again in just his second season at Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers moved into The Associated Press' college basketball poll Monday, their first appearance in the rankings since December 2002.

"It's a good way to start the holiday season," Smith said Monday. "I'm sure the kids are excited about it, you can tell in their disposition. We've got a great group of kids and this will help the school, help recruiting. At Kentucky, we were ranked year in and year out so this is a different dynamic for this program and how we handle it will be critical."

The win that sent Minnesota (10-0) into the rankings had some Kentucky connections for Smith.

The Golden Gophers, off to their best start since opening 11-0 in 1976-77, beat Louisville 70-64 on Saturday in a game pitting Smith against Rick Pitino, his former boss at Kentucky. Smith succeeded Pitino at Kentucky.

"That was a good win over a solid ballclub but it's always bittersweet going against a friend, but someone's got to win and this program needed it more than Louisville," said Smith, who like Pitino led Kentucky to a national title in his 10 seasons there.

Also moving into the poll for the first time this season were No. 24 Michigan (8-2) - last ranked in February 2006 - and No. 25 Missouri (9-1), which returned to the poll for the first time since December 2003.

The top four teams in the poll held their places from last week.

North Carolina (11-0) was again a unanimous No. 1 as it has been since the preseason poll, receiving all 71 first-place votes from the national media panel.

Connecticut (10-0), Pittsburgh (12-0) and Oklahoma (11-0) remained second through fourth. Then came the changes as four teams ranked in the top 10 last week - Texas, Xavier, Gonzaga and Louisville - lost.

Duke, which beat Xavier 82-64, moved up one place to fifth, while Wake Forest jumped from 10th to No. 6. Gonzaga moved up one spot to seventh despite its 88-83 overtime loss to Connecticut. Notre Dame moved up four spots to No. 8 and Texas, which lost 67-63 to Michigan State, fell from fifth to No. 9. Purdue rounded out the top 10.


 

 

Michigan State was 11th, followed by Georgetown, UCLA, Xavier, Ohio State, Tennessee, Syracuse, Villanova, Louisville and Arizona State.

Baylor, Clemson and the three newcomers rounded out the Top 25.

Davidson, Memphis and Marquette, who were ranked 22nd through 24th and all lost to another ranked team last week, dropped out of the poll.

Memphis had been ranked every week since the preseason poll of 2005-06, including last season's run where the Tigers never dropped below No. 3.

The loss to Minnesota saw Louisville (7-2) take the week's biggest drop, falling 10 places to No. 19.

Michigan entered the poll on a three-game winning streak that began with a win over Duke, the Wolverines' second win this season over a team ranked No. 4. They beat UCLA in November.

Missouri has won seven straight since its only loss to Xavier in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Davidson (8-2) dropped out from No. 22 after a 76-58 loss at Purdue, while Memphis (6-3) fell out from 23rd after a 72-65 home loss to Syracuse.

Marquette (9-2) was 24th last week, but the Golden Eagles lost 80-68 to Tennessee, ending the Big East's three-week run of a record eight teams in the Top 25.

The Big East's seven teams still lead among conferences while the addition of Minnesota and Michigan moved the Big Ten into second place with five, one more than the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12.

The Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll, with
number of first-place votes and record in parentheses, total
points and previous ranking:
(Records through December 22, 2008)
    TEAM                                   PTS   PVS
    ----                                   ---   ---
 1. NORTH CAROLINA (71) (11-0)           1,775     1
 2. CONNECTICUT (10-0)                   1,693     2
 3. PITTSBURGH (12-0)                    1,618     3
 4. OKLAHOMA (11-0)                      1,580     4
 5. DUKE (10-1)                          1,486     6
 6. WAKE FOREST (10-0)                   1,294    10
 7. GONZAGA (8-2)                        1,154     8
 8. NOTRE DAME (8-2)                     1,108    12
10. PURDUE (9-2)                         1,083    13
11. MICHIGAN ST (8-2)                      907    19
12. GEORGETOWN (8-1)                       880    15
13. UCLA (8-2)                             873    14
14. XAVIER (9-1)                           861     7
15. OHIO ST (8-0)                          766    17
16. TENNESSEE (8-2)                        758    16
17. SYRACUSE (11-1)                        742    11
18. VILLANOVA (10-1)                       594    18
19. LOUISVILLE (7-2)                       521     9
20. ARIZONA ST (9-1)                       477    20
21. BAYLOR (9-1)                           466    21
22. CLEMSON (12-0)                         462    25
23. MINNESOTA (10-0)                       198    NR
24. MICHIGAN (8-2)                         183    NR
25. OLE MISS (7-4)                          71    NR
Dropped Out: No. 5 TEXAS, No. 22 DAVIDSON, No. 23 MEMPHIS,
No. 24 MARQUETTE
Others Receiving Votes: MEMPHIS 70, MARQUETTE 69, DAVIDSON
66, BUTLER 40, DAYTON 25, SAINT MARYS CA 25, ILLINOIS 20,
BYU 18, MARYLAND 16, TEXAS A&M 11, KANSAS 11, FLORIDA ST 8,
FLORIDA 8, STANFORD 8, MIAMI FL 6, WISCONSIN 5, GEORGE MASON
1, UNLV 1, WKU 1, WEST VIRGINIA 1.

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