UConn Men Fall To 15 In AP Poll
By JIM O’CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
Breaking down this week’s Associated Press college basketball poll:
TOP TEN TIME: Wichita State, which beat Alabama and North Carolina Central last week, moved up one place in The Associated Press college basketball poll, cracking the top 10 for the first time since 2006.
The Shockers (12-0) were ranked No. 8 for consecutive weeks in late December 2006 but a visit to Las Vegas ended that run.
Losses to New Mexico and Southern California in the Las Vegas Classic dropped the Shockers to No. 16 and a third straight loss _ Northern Iowa at home _ had them out of the Top 25 for the rest of the season.
The No. 8 ranking is still Wichita State’s highest since being No. 2 for one week in late December 1981.
The Shockers reached the Final Four last season but were ranked for just five weeks with the highest being 15th for one week in January.
HOLY TOLEDO: There are nine undefeated Division I teams and eight of them are ranked in the top 14. The other unbeaten isn’t even in the Top 25.
Toledo (11-0) is the only team yet to lose that doesn’t have a number in front of its name. The Rockets’ best win of the season has been a 95-92 victory over Boston College, the only team they have played from one of the major conferences. One impressive number, however, is that five of the wins, including Boston College, have been on the road.
Next up for the Rockets is Coppin State at home on Saturday and two days they are back on the road for a game at No. 15 Kansas. A win in that one would almost guarantee the Rockets their first Top 25 appearance since the final poll of 1978-79.
FIRST LOSS: The number of unbeaten Division I teams took a big hit last week with five teams losing for the first time.
The biggest of the losses was Saint Mary’s of California’s 77-71 defeat to South Carolina in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic. Massachusetts lost 60-55 to Florida State.
The others were very close. Connecticut lost 53-51 to Stanford, Pittsburgh lost 44-43 to Cincinnati and Missouri lost to Illinois 65-64.
Tennessee State escaped the ranks of the winless with a 108-85 victory over Fisk. Two teams _ Cornell (0-11) and Grambling State (0-6) _ have yet to win a game this season.
EXTRA TIME: The teams ranked 12th through 14th last week all won a game in overtime.
No. 12 Baylor beat Northwestern State 91-84, No. 13. Oregon beat BYU 100-96 and No. 14. North Carolina beat Davidson 97-85, all in overtime.
Eight ranked teams have gone to overtime this season and their record is 7-1 with the only loss being Iowa’s 88-83 defeat to Villanova, a win that started the Wildcats on their ride to No. 8 this week. Oregon, with wins over Mississippi and BYU, and Iowa, with the loss to Villanova and a win over Xavier, are the only ranked teams to play in more than one overtime game this season.
DOUBLE-RANKED GAMES: The week’s only double-ranked games have some history behind them.
In a matchup of unbeatens, No. 8 Villanova is at No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday, a game that used to be a Big East Conference staple. The Wildcats are still in the Big East but Syracuse has moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Last January, in Philadelphia, the unranked Wildcats beat then-No. 3 Syracuse 75-71.
The other big game on Saturday needs no explanation on why it’s important: No. 6 Louisville is at No. 18 Kentucky. There may be more important things going on in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that day, but for two hours or so in the afternoon it’s doubtful.
ROARING TWENTIES: It wasn’t a good week to be ranked in the low 20s in the AP poll last week: No. 20 Colorado lost to No. 7 Oklahoma State; No. 21 Gonzaga lost to Kansas State; No. 22. UMass lost to Florida State; and No. 23 Missouri lost to Illinois 65-64.
The all stayed in the poll this week, however, as the three teams just outside the Top 25 last week _ UCLA, Pittsburgh and Saint Mary’s, Calif. _ all lost as well.