Illinois one shy of unanimous No. 1

Monday, January 24th 2005, 2:20 pm
By: News On 6

Illinois' eighth consecutive week as the No. 1 team in The Associated Press' college basketball poll was its first without Kansas as No. 2.

The Illini (19-0) received all but one of the 72 first-place votes from the national media panel Monday. Duke (15-0) received the only other No. 1 nod and moved up two spots to second, replacing Kansas (14-1), which dropped to sixth following its 83-62 loss at Villanova on Saturday.

Utah (16-3) was the lone newcomer to the poll this week, moving in at No. 25 and replacing Marquette, which lost two games last week.

Illinois, which beat Iowa at home in overtime in its only game last week, will play at No. 18 Wisconsin on Tuesday night. The Badgers (13-3) have the nation's longest home winning streak at 38 games. That is one of six games involving two ranked teams this week.

The last unanimous No. 1 team was Duke, which did it nine times in a 10-week span in 2001-02. The Blue Devils are now one spot from reaching No. 1 for an eighth straight season. That would be four behind UCLA's record that started in 1963-64.

Duke received 1,704 points, 95 behind Illinois and 130 more than North Carolina, which jumped from sixth to third.

Syracuse moved from seventh to fourth, one spot in front of Wake Forest, which fell two places following its overtime loss at Florida State.

Kansas was No. 1 in the preseason poll and the first Top 25 of the regular season, then was No. 2 for nine straight weeks.

Kentucky was seventh, while Boston College (16-0), the only other unbeaten in Division I beside Illinois and Duke, was eighth, up one place from last week.

Oklahoma State, which lost at Texas early last week, dropped four spots to No. 9. Washington was 10th for the second straight week, the Huskies' first appearances in the Top Ten since December 1984.

Arizona led the second 10 and was followed by Louisville, Oklahoma, Alabama, Michigan State, Texas, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

The last five ranked teams were Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Mississippi State and Utah.

Utah (16-3) was last ranked for two weeks in 2002-03. The Utes, playing under first-year coach Ray Giacoletti, have won 11 straight since losing at Arizona on Dec. 11. The other losses were to Washington and Utah State, both on the road.

Marquette (14-4), which was ranked for two weeks, lost Conference USA games to DePaul and Charlotte last week.

Oklahoma's win over Texas last week was its second against a ranked team in as many weeks (Connecticut) and continued the Sooners' three-week rise from their entrance at 25th to No. 18 to this week's 13th.

Alabama, which beat Mississippi State 98-49 and Mississippi 66-58, had the week's biggest jump, moving from 22nd to No. 14.

The biggest drop was Georgia Tech falling from 12th to No. 22. The Yellow Jackets (11-5) lost 70-69 at home to Virginia Tech in its only game last week, their third straight loss.

In addition to Illinois-Wisconsin, the other double-ranked games this week are: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma on Monday; Wake Forest at Georgia Tech and Washington at Arizona on Thursday; and Syracuse at Pittsburgh and Texas at Kansas on Saturday.