UNC still at helm after holiday slate
By: By JIM O’CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer
The many holiday tournaments didn’t cause any changes at the top of The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball poll.
The bottom of the Top 25, however, was another matter after 13 ranked teams lost a game last week.
North Carolina held its slim lead over No. 2 UCLA on Monday as the top five teams stayed the same from last week.
Five schools fell out of the Top 25 while others made significant jumps and falls.
The Tar Heels (5-0), who beat South Carolina State, Old Dominion and BYU last week, received 28 first-place votes — two more than last week — and 1,725 points from the 72-member national media panel.
UCLA (6-0), despite losing one first-place vote from last week’s 26, was again nine points behind North Carolina.
The Bruins beat Maryland, Michigan State and Yale last week.
Memphis (5-0), which beat Arkansas State in its only game last week, was No. 1 on 18 ballots, one less than last week, and had the same total of 1,689 points.
The Tigers hope that their non-conference schedule — provided they defeat the top tier oppononents they have on it — can help power them to a top ranking.
Kansas (5-0), which beat Arizona 76-72 in overtime on Sunday, and Georgetown (3-0), which won at Ball State and again received the only other first-place vote, held fourth and fifth.
Then came the changes.
Washington State, Duke, Texas and Texas A&M jumped to take sixth through ninth, while Michigan State stayed No. 10.
Washington State (6-0) beat Montana, Mississippi Valley State and Air Force to jump from ninth, while Duke (6-0) rode its title in the Maui Invitational to jump six spots to No. 7.
Texas (5-0) and Texas A&M (6-0) won the Legends Classic and NIT Season Tip-Off, respectively, and both moved up seven places.
The five newcomers move in as a block from 20th through 24th: Wisconsin, BYU, Southern California, Xavier and North Carolina State.
Teams that fell out were Southern Illinois, Villanova, Syracuse, Virginia and Florida.
Tennessee, which lost to Texas 97-78 in the Legends Classic final, dropped four spots to 11th and was followed by Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Butler, Oregon, Clemson, Gonzaga and Wisconsin.
The Volunteers are hoping to rebound from that loss to the new-look Longhorns.
The last five ranked teams were BYU, Southern California, Xavier, North Carolina State and Kansas State.
The biggest drops were by Indiana and Kansas State, which both fell seven places.
Indiana (4-1) dropped to 15th after an 80-65 loss to Xavier, while Kansas State (5-1) fell to 25th after losing its first round game in the Old Spice Classic, 87-77, to George Mason.
Louisville, which started the week with the news senior center David Padgett would miss significant time with a knee injury, dropped to 12th after a 78-76 loss to BYU.
Southern Illinois and Villanova both lost in tournament championship games, the Salukis to Southern California in the Anaheim Classic and the Wildcats to North Carolina State at the Old Spice Classic.
Thus, dropping both teams from the Top 25.
Villanova was just one point shy of 25th despite the team’s most recent defeat.
Syracuse lost to Ohio State in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off, Virginia lost to Seton Hall and two-time defending national champion Florida fell to Florida State.
Of the five newcomers, only Wisconsin didn’t beat a ranked team.
The Badgers (5-0) had easy wins over Colorado and Georgia last week.
Southern California and North Carolina State both returned after a week out of the AP’s Top 25 rankings.
The other three newcomers were all ranked at some point last season.
Vanderbilt comes in at 27th with 109 points with the Commodores hoping for an acceleration in the team’s rebuilding project.
There are six games this week between ranked teams: Wisconsin at Duke; North Carolina State at Michigan State; Oregon at Kansas State; Indiana at Southern Illinois; Kansas at Southern California; and Texas at UCLA.