Kentucky and UCLA Rejoin Top 25

Monday, February 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

While North Carolina remained No. 1 in The Associated Press poll for the second straight week Monday, two of college basketball's other premier programs re-entered the Top 25.

Kentucky and UCLA, both dropped from the rankings 11 weeks ago, came in this week at Nos. 22 and 24.

North Carolina (21-2), which extended the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games with victories over Wake Forest and Maryland last week, received 62 first-place votes and 1,742 points from the national media panel.

Stanford (22-1), which got the other eight No. 1 votes and 1,659 points, and Duke (22-2) remained second and third.

Illinois, which beat Michigan State last week in the only regular-season meeting between the Big Ten's top two teams, jumped from seventh to fourth, while the Spartans dropped one spot to fifth.

Kansas dropped one spot to sixth after losing to Iowa State last week, a victory that jumped the Cyclones from 12th to seventh.

Arizona, Boston College and Syracuse rounded out the Top Ten. Boston College jumped from 17th to ninth, the Eagles' first appearance in the Top Ten since they were sixth on Dec. 20, 1983.

Florida dropped three spots to No. 11 and was followed in the Second Ten by Virginia, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Mississippi, Maryland, Georgetown, Wisconsin and Fresno State.

The last five ranked teams were Alabama, Kentucky, Wake Forest, UCLA and Iowa.

Kentucky (15-7) dropped from the rankings in late November after a loss to Penn State left the Wildcats 1-3. Consecutive losses to Georgia Tech and Michigan State gave Kentucky a 3-5 mark, but since then it has won 12 of 14 games, including the last five in a row. The Wildcats' 8-2 Southeastern Conference record gives them a two-game lead over Florida in the league's East Division.

UCLA (15-6) fell from the rankings after a stunning home loss to Cal State-Northridge left the Bruins 1-2. They re-entered the Top 25 on a three-game winning streak, all on the road, and the first two were over Stanford — the Cardinal's first loss of the season — and crosstown rival Southern California.

The 85-76 loss to UCLA knocked the Trojans (16-6) out of the rankings from 22nd. It is their first time out of the poll this season, after being as high as 12th.

Xavier (18-4) fell out from 24th after one week in the rankings. The Musketeers lost to St. Joseph's last week before beating Temple.

The biggest jump of the week was Mississippi's rise from 25th to No. 16 after SEC wins over LSU and Tennessee. The biggest drop of the week was Iowa's fall from 14th to No. 25 after the Hawkeyes, playing without injured guard Luke Recker, lost Big Ten games to Ohio State and Northwestern.

Tennessee (18-6), which also lost a conference game to Arkansas last week, dropped from 10th to No. 15, the Volunteers' first appearance this season out of the Top Ten.