Duke remains atop poll; MU falls to No. 8

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Duke was a unanimous No. 1 in the AP college basketball poll Monday for the third straight week, the longest such stretch since the Blue Devils did it 10 seasons ago.

Florida moved up one place to No. 4, the highest ranking in school history.

The Blue Devils (9-0), who have been No. 1 all season, received all 70 first-place votes and 1,750 points from the national media panel. Maryland (8-1) had 1,655 points and moved up one place to No. 2, the same spot the Terrapins held in the preseason poll.

When Duke was a unanimous No. 1 last week, it matched Kansas in 1996-97 and Stanford last season for the longest run since the 1991-92 season. Those Blue Devils, who like this year's team were defending the national championship, were a unanimous No. 1 for three weeks on the way to repeating.

The longest stretch before that was the previous year, when UNLV was a unanimous No. 1 for the last six weeks of the season.

Kansas and Florida were third and fourth, while Virginia, Oklahoma State and Kentucky each moved up two places, to fifth through seventh.

Missouri, which fell 83-65 to Iowa on Saturday for its first loss of the season, dropped from second to eighth and was followed in the Top Ten by Illinois and Boston College.

Arizona, which lost 74-60 at Michigan State on Saturday, dropped from sixth to 11th to lead the Second Ten and was followed by Iowa, Stanford, Marquette, Saint Joseph's, Georgetown, Michigan State, Syracuse, UCLA and Wake Forest.

The last five ranked teams were Ball State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Gonzaga and Cincinnati, the week's only newcomer.

Duke and Kentucky will play Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic, one of two Top Ten matchups this week; Illinois plays Missouri on Saturday. There are two other double-ranked games: Virginia at Georgetown on Thursday and Maryland at Oklahoma on Friday.

Cincinnati (7-1) moved in at No. 25 after beating Xavier 75-55 on Friday for its seventh straight victory. The Bearcats' only loss was at Oklahoma State in the season opener. Cincinnati was ranked for the first nine polls last season before falling out of the Top 25. This marks the 11th straight season the Bearcats have been ranked.

Indiana (6-3) lost at Miami 58-53 Saturday and fell out of the rankings from No. 21.

The biggest move of the week was Michigan State's climb from 23rd to No. 17. The Spartans' win over Arizona was their 50th straight at home, the nation's longest current streak.

Missouri's fall from No. 2 to No. 8 was the biggest drop of the week, just ahead of Arizona going from sixth to 11th and Syracuse falling from 13th to 18th after losing 96-80 at Georgia Tech on Sunday. It was the Orangemen's second straight loss after opening the season 9-0 and their third game under interim coach Bernie Fine while Jim Boeheim recovers from surgery. Boeheim is expected to miss one more game and return to the bench Dec. 29.

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