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Texans bask in MNF spotlight

Texans bask in MNF spotlight

Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 5:46 pm
By: By CHRIS DUNCAN, AP Sports Writer

The Big East was considered the country’s deepest conference this season, and it was proven Monday.
Syracuse moved into the Top 25, giving the Big East a record eight teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll.
North Carolina (7-0) remained the unanimous No. 1 selection of the 72-member national media panel, while No. 2 Connecticut and No. 3 Pittsburgh started the Big East’s collection of ranked teams.
Also ranked from the 16-member league were No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 11 Louisville, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Villanova, No. 20 Georgetown and No. 25 Marquette.
The Big East had seven teams in the preseason poll and the first two Top 25s this season, tying its own record shared with the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference.
“It’s frightening,” Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said Monday. “And I’ve always said our league is great for fans and the media, but it’s a brutal league for coaches to keep on winning. Now I think everybody will be taking a shot at us because so much has been written about our league. But the great thing is there is a tournament to decide a national champion at the end of the year.”
A week of early season tournaments saw quite a few changes in the rankings with Baylor moving in at No. 24 while defending national champion Kansas and Wisconsin fell out.
The rest of the top 10 was Duke, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas, Purdue and Tennessee.
North Carolina won the EA Sports Maui Invitational last week, defeating Notre Dame 102-87 in the championship game behind reigning national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough, who had been battling leg injuries.
Connecticut (6-0) won the Paradise Jam with a 76-57 win over Wisconsin, while Pittsburgh (7-0) won the Legends Classic with a 57-43 victory over Washington State.
Pittsburgh moved up one spot to replace Louisville (2-1), which fell to No. 11 following a 68-54 loss to Western Kentucky.
Duke, which beat Duquesne in its only game last week, jumped three places to No. 4, while Gonzaga moved up four spots after winning the Old Spice Classic with an 83-74 victory over Tennessee.
Oklahoma, which beat Purdue 87-82 in overtime in the title game of the NIT Season Tip-Off, jumped five places to No. 6 Notre Dame, which beat Texas before losing to North Carolina at Maui.
Texas dropped two places to eighth, while Purdue moved up one spot to ninth and Tennessee still improved one place to round out the Top Ten.
Louisville was 11th followed by UCLA, Michigan State, Xavier, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Villanova, Memphis, Arizona State and Georgetown.
The last five ranked teams were Miami, Davidson, Florida, Baylor and Marquette.
Michigan State’s fall from fifth to 13th followed its 80-62 loss to Maryland in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic, while Marquette’s drop from 15th to No. 25 came after an 89-75 home loss to Dayton.
Syracuse (6-0), which was ranked for one week last season, won the CBE Classic, beating Florida in the semifinals and Kansas in the title game.
Tranghese said when the conference expanded to 16 teams many felt there would be a ceiling on how many teams it could get in the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor (6-1) was ranked for two weeks last season, the school’s first poll appearance since 1968-69.
It beat Arizona State in the 76 Classic semifinals then lost 87-84 to Wake Forest in the title game.
Kansas (4-1), which lost all but two players from the team that won it all in April, fell out from No. 22 after the overtime loss to Syracuse in the championship game in Kansas City.
Wisconsin (5-1) bounced back from the loss to Connecticut with a 67-46 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee but still dropped out from No. 25.
The ACC was next with four teams, while the Big 12 had three.
There will be three games between ranked teams this week — Duke at Purdue and North Carolina at Michigan State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge and UCLA visits Texas.

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