Record-Tying Seven Teams Move Into College Hoops' AP Top 25

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

NEW YORK (AP) -- Only once before has The Associated Press college basketball poll changed as much as it did Monday.

Only once before has Portland been in the Top 25.

The Pilots were among a record-tying seven teams to move into the rankings Monday, their first appearance in the poll since February 1959.

"I heard that team was quite a squad," Portland coach Eric Reveno said with a laugh, "it's been a while."

Kansas, which had two easy wins last week, was No. 1 for the fourth straight poll, this time falling just two votes of being unanimous, while Texas and Villanova both moved up one spot to second and third.

The Jayhawks (5-0) had 63 first-place votes from the national media panel, while Texas (5-0), which matched the highest ranking in school history, and No. 8 Syracuse (6-0) both were No. 1 on one ballot.

Texas has been ranked No. 2 for a total of six weeks, the last time early in 2005-06.

This the first time the Big 12, which started in 1996-97, has had the top two ranked teams. The last time it happened to the Big Eight was March 6, 1990, when Oklahoma was No. 1 and Kansas was No. 2.

It happened twice last season -- the Big East had Pittsburgh and Connecticut and the Atlantic Coast Conference had Wake Forest and Duke.

Purdue moved from sixth to fourth and was followed by Kentucky, Duke, West Virginia, Syracuse, Michigan State and North Carolina.

Michigan State (5-1), which had been No. 2 in the previous polls, dropped to ninth after losing 77-74 to Florida. At No. 13, the Gators were the highest ranked of the seven newcomers.

The only time seven new teams entered the poll was Dec. 13, 1955, when it was still a Top 20.

Florida, No. 17 Gonzaga and No. 21 Florida State were all ranked last season, while No. 19 Texas A&M was last rated in 2007-08, No. 24 UNLV in 2006-07 and No. 22 Cincinnati in 2005-06. Then there was Portland's long absence.

The Pilots (5-1) burst onto the national scene with a 74-47 dismantling of UCLA in the first round of the 76 Classic that was followed by a 61-56 semifinal win over then-No. 22 Minnesota and an 84-66 loss to West Virginia in the title game.

"I felt like we could compete. I know and still know our team is very solid and can compete with a lot of talented teams and this weekend was no different," Reveno said. "I also knew we could have competed and not win games, so to really play well against UCLA and get them out of sorts was a great start."

Having a number in front of their name isn't going to change the Pilots much, according to their coach.

"It definitely is something that can be distracting but we have a veteran team and they know what it took to get here and it won't take much to remind them what it takes to stay successful," Reveno said.

"This basically just confirms the progress we're making, It's not an accomplishment in and of itself," he said. "This is definitely a milepost if you want to be a team that can compete in the West Coast Conference and be an NCAA tournament team. This is a marker you should see along the journey."

Tennessee was 11th followed by Washington, Florida, Connecticut, Ohio State, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Clemson, Texas A&M and Louisville. The last five ranked teams were Florida State, Cincinnati, Butler, UNLV and Portland.

Michigan, which fell from 15th after losing to Marquette and Alabama in the Old Spice Classic, was the highest ranked team to drop out of the poll. The others were ranked from 20th through 25th: Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Oklahoma. All the teams that fell out lost two games last week except Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, which lost one each.

Gonzaga and Portland give the WCC two ranked teams just as it for one week last season when Gonzaga and Saint Mary's were in the poll together.

"It shows our conference is getting the respect it deserves," Reveno said. "Gonzaga has been the powerhouse in our conference that we all sort of look to be. But the depth in our league is sometimes underrated. ... I think is getting us on the radar earlier than usual because it usually doesn't happen until late in the season."

The seven teams that moved into the poll in December 1955 were: No. 9 Vanderbilt, No. 11 Temple, No. 14 Cincinnati, No. 16 North Carolina, No. 17 Saint Louis, No. 18 Kansas and No. 19 Indiana.


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