Syracuse takes over No. 1 in coaches' poll

Feb. 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM
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MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Syracuse becomes the fourth team ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' basketball poll, pulling in all 32 first-place votes in Monday's update.

The Orange improved to 21-0 -- the best start in school history -- with a thrilling 91-89 overtime victory Saturday over Duke. That, combined with Arizona's loss to California, boosts Syracuse, which was seventh in the pre-season poll, up one place to No. 1.

Arizona had held the top spot for eight weeks, displacing Michigan State. The Spartans had been atop the poll for three weeks after taking over from pre-season No. 1 Kentucky, whose stay as the top-ranked team lasted two weeks into the regular season.

Arizona was among 16 Top 25 teams that lost last week and four dropped two games. One of those that lost once was Duke, which still posted a five-place gain this week since the loss was to Syracuse and the Blue Devils had a win over No. 17 Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati and Creighton both jump eight places this week and St. Louis is up six as the other big gainers.

Those that lost twice paid dearly in the poll. Wisconsin plummets 11 spots to 24th while Oklahoma States dives from 10th to No. 19 and Pittsburgh goes from 17th to 22nd. The fourth team was Massachusetts, which falls from the Top 25.

Also out of the rankings is Memphis, leaving space for Texas and Virginia to be ranked for the first time this season. The Longhorns debut at an impressive 18th and the Cavaliers are No. 21.

Wichita State (23-0), along with Syracuse the only unbeaten team, moves up one place to second and Arizona (21-1) slips just two spots to third. That leaves Florida (19-2) in fourth and San Diego State (19-1) at No. 5.

Villanova (19-2) improves three places to sixth, coming ahead of Cincinnati (21-2) at No. 7. Michigan State (19-3) and Kansas (16-5), both down two, are eighth and ninth, respectively. Louisville (18-4), tied for seventh with Kansas last week, is No. 10.

Duke (17-5) jumps up to 11th and Creighton's (18-3) big gain has it at No. 12. Iowa (17-5) drops a notch to 13th with Kentucky (16-5) taking 14th and St. Louis (20-2) up six to No. 15.

Michigan (16-5) is down to at No. 16 ahead of the Big 12 trio of No. 17 Iowa State (16-4), 18th-ranked Texas (1704) and No. 19 Oklahoma State (16-56). Gonzaga (20-3) completes the Top 20.

Virginia (17-5) enters the rankings at 20th followed by No. 21 Pittsburgh (18-4) and 23rd-ranked Oklahoma (17-5) Big Ten rivals Wisconsin (17-5) and Ohio State (17-5) are 24th and 25th.

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