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February 4, 2014

After 8 weeks at No. 2, Syracuse is new No. 1

Breaking down this week’s Associated Press college basketball poll:   

UNANIMOUS ONE: Syracuse is the first unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll since Duke had a six-week run with all the first-place votes in 2010-11.

The Orange are on top of the poll for the first time since they were No. 1 for six weeks in 2011-12.

This is the 15th week all-time Syracuse has been No. 1 and that ties the Orange for 17th place with DePaul and Massachusetts. UCLA is the record holder with 134 weeks at No. 1.

Syracuse is the fourth team to hold the No. 1 ranking this season. Kentucky was on top for the preseason poll and one in the regular season while Michigan State was No. 1 for three weeks and Arizona for the last eight.

WELCOME BACK: Virginia, Connecticut and Gonzaga returned to the rankings this week at 21st through 23rd. All three were ranked in the preseason Top 25.

Virginia, 24th in the preseason poll, stayed in the Top 25 for the first two weeks of the regular season and dropped out until this week. The Cavaliers have won five straight, including Sunday’s buzzer-beating win at Pittsburgh, and are alone in second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind Syracuse.

Connecticut was No. 18 in the preseason poll and stayed in the rankings for the next nine weeks reaching as high as No. 9. The Huskies have won six of seven since losing consecutive road games to Houston and SMU.

Gonzaga, 15th in the preseason Top 25, stayed in the poll for 10 weeks with the Bulldogs reaching as high as No. 11. They have won five straight and already have a three-game lead in the West Coast Conference.

SEE YA: Two of the three teams that fell out of the poll this week had been ranked every week of the season and both reached as high as No. 3.

Ohio State, which was 11th in the preseason poll and had a five-week run at No. 3, dropped out of the poll having lost five of seven after starting the season 15-0. The Buckeyes had been ranked in the last 80 polls, the third-longest current streak behind Duke (130) and Kansas (98). Ohio State’s run started in January 2010.

Wisconsin was 20th in the preseason poll and the Badgers spent five weeks at No. 4 and one at No. 3, compiling a 16-0 record before their current run of having lost five of six. Wisconsin had been in the last 19 polls.

Massachusetts, which had reached as high as 13th, dropped out having lost three of four.

CONFERENCE COUNT: The Big 12 stayed on top of the conference race with five ranked teams, but there was change after that.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and American Athletic Conference both gained one team this week and they are tied with four teams each in the poll. The Big Ten lost Wisconsin and Ohio State and fell to fourth with three ranked teams.

LONGHORN LEAP: Texas made the biggest jump inside the Top 25 this week moving from 25th to No. 15.

The Longhorns (17-4) are on a six-game winning streak and the last four games have been over teams that were ranked at the time: No. 8 Iowa State, No. 22 Kansas State, No. 24 Baylor, No. 6 Kansas. Add in their early season win over then-No. 14 North Carolina and the Longhorns have five wins over ranked teams.

Kansas leads this season with six wins over Top 25 teams. Iowa State is tied with Texas with five ranked wins.

All three leaders in ranked wins are from the Big 12.

DOUBLE-RANKED GAMES: There are four games between ranked teams this week and two newcomers are involved.

On Monday, No. 16 Iowa State is at No. 19 Oklahoma State. On Thursday, No. 22 Connecticut, which returned to the poll this week, visits No. 7 Cincinnati.

On Saturday, No. 23 Gonzaga, which moved back into the Top 25, is at No. 24 Memphis while No. 10 Michigan visits No. 17 Iowa.

 

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