Florida unanimous No. 1
Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 10:16 am
By: News On 6
The Florida Gators are No. 1 for the fourth straight week. This time, there's no doubt about it.
Florida became the first unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll in nearly two years, garnering all 72 first place votes Monday.
The Gators had 45 first place votes last week, but the defending national champions benefited from losses by then-No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 3 North Carolina. The last unanimous No. 1 was Illinois in the final poll of 2004-05. The Illini were unanimous in six of the final seven polls that season.
``We're very honored to be voted a unanimous No. 1 in the nation. I realize it doesn't happen very often,'' said Florida coach Billy Donovan. ``At the same time, we're aware that a lot of that has to do with what other teams have done around us. There's still a long way to go and we're just trying to get better each day, but it's certainly always flattering to be No. 1 in the nation.''
Florida (21-2) beat then-No. 24 Vanderbilt 74-64 and Tennessee 94-78 last week.
UCLA moved up three spots to No. 2 after beating Oregon 69-57 and routing Oregon State 82-35 on Saturday. The Bruins finished two points ahead of Ohio State, followed by Wisconsin and North Carolina.
Completing the top 10 were No. 6 Texas A&M, followed by Pittsburgh, Memphis, Kansas, and Butler. Texas A&M moved up four spots after a thrilling 69-66 win at Kansas on Saturday.
``We just hung in there. We played play after play down the stretch,'' said Aggies coach Billy Gillispie. ``I guess that is how you win games on the road. It's a great win for us.''
The victory left the Aggies (19-3, 7-1 Big 12) all alone in first place just three years after stumbling 0-16 through the conference season.
Marquette starts the second 10 in the rankings, followed by Nevada, Oregon, which dropped four spots after being swept by UCLA and USC, Washington State and Air Force.
Duke took the biggest fall of teams still in the poll, dropping eight spots to No. 16 after losing in the final seconds to Virginia and Florida State this week. It is the Blue Devils' lowest ranking since the 2000 season.
The Blue Devils face rival North Carolina on Wednesday night and will try and avoid their first three-game losing streak since 1999 _ when Duke lost its last game of the 1998-99 season and dropped the first two in 1999-00.
``We've lost a couple in a row, and no matter who it is, we're going to be ready to play,'' Duke guard Greg Paulus said.
Oklahoma State fell five spots to No. 17 after losing at Colorado 89-77 on Saturday. Alabama moved up one spot to 18th.
USC re-entered the poll at No. 19 after beating Oregon State and Oregon.
``We've been in so many close games. They understand close games and know how to win,'' Trojans coach Tim Floyd said. ``We're showing great poise when we need poise, and we're showing attack when we need to attack.''
The Trojans were followed by Kentucky, Southern Illinois and Georgetown _ all of whom were new to the Top 25 this week.
The Wildcats, who were last ranked in week 10, beat Arkansas 82-74 on Saturday.
The Hoyas came back into the media poll for the first time since week 3. They routed Cincinnati and St. John's.
Southern Illinois has won five straight and came into the poll for the first time since the end of the 2003-04 season.
``Its a nice reward for our players, who have worked extremely hard to achieve this level of success,'' said Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery. ``At the same time we can't become complacent because we're in the heart of our conference schedule right now and every game is critical.''
Vanderbilt, Arizona and Stanford round out the Top 25.
Virginia Tech fell out of the poll after being ranked No. 16 last week. The Hokies lost to N.C. State and Boston College. Texas, Notre Dame and Clemson also left the Top 25.
There are five games between ranked teams this week, and two are on Wednesday: USC at UCLA and North Carolina at Duke; Florida at Kentucky, Marquette at Georgetown and Arizona at Oregon are on Saturday.