AP Poll: Memphis, Tennessee set up No. 1 vs. No. 2

Monday, February 18, 2008


AP Basketball Writer

Get ready for No. 1 vs. No. 2.

Memphis survived its closest game of the season to remain the lone unbeaten and a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press' college basketball poll Monday.

Losses by Duke and Kansas last week allowed Tennessee to make the jump from fourth to No. 2, setting up the 38th career matchup of the top two teams in the rankings.

Tennessee (23-2) is at Memphis (25-0) on Saturday, the first 1-2 meeting since No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 1 Wisconsin 49-48 on Feb. 25, 2007. Both have games Wednesday night: Memphis is at Tulane and Tennessee hosts Auburn.

The No. 2 team has won five of the last six meetings with the top-ranked team since 1994. The lone win for No. 1 was Duke's 97-66 victory over Texas on Dec. 12, 2005.

Memphis beat UAB 79-78 on Saturday, erasing a seven-point deficit over the final two minutes and waiting for a final shot by the Blazers to be ruled after the buzzer by officials.

Tennessee also survived a road scare on Saturday, beating Georgia 74-71. But the 1-2 Volunteer State Showdown wasn't decided until Duke lost 86-73 at Wake Forest on Sunday night.

Memphis received all 72 first-place votes and 1,800 points from the national media panel to be No. 1 for a fifth straight week, the last three unanimously. Tennessee had 1,699 points to reach the highest ranking in school history. The Volunteers were third four weeks ago.

North Carolina (24-2), which has managed to go 3-1 without injured point guard Ty Lawson, moved up two spots to third, while Kansas (24-2), which lost at Texas on Monday then cruised past Colorado on Saturday, dropped one place to fourth.

Duke (22-2), which had a 12-game winning streak snapped by the Demon Deacons, dropped from second to fifth and was followed by UCLA, Texas, Butler, Stanford and Xavier.

Butler (24-2) continued its climb to uncharted poll territory, moving up one spot to eighth, its highest ranking ever. Xavier (21-4) jumped from 12th to crack the top 10 for the first time since the next-to-last poll of 2002-03.

Wisconsin moved up four places to 11th and was followed by Georgetown, Connecticut, Purdue, Indiana, Drake, Washington State, Louisville, Michigan State and Vanderbilt.l

The last five teams were Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Saint Mary's, Calif., Kansas State and Marquette.

Marquette moved back into the poll after a one-week absence. The Golden Eagles (18-6), who were ranked as high as 10th this season, fell out after consecutive losses to Louisville and Notre Dame. But an 89-64 victory at Seton Hall and a 72-54 win over Pittsburgh had them back in at No. 25.

Pittsburgh (19-6) dropped out for the first time this season following the loss to Marquette. The Panthers reached No. 6 following an overtime win over Duke in December, and were able to stay ranked until this week despite injuries to starters Mike Cook and Levance Fields.

Purdue (21-5), which beat Michigan State and Northwestern last week to hold first place in the Big Ten, jumped from 19th to No. 14 to match its highest ranking since the Boilermakers were also 14th in the poll of Jan. 26, 1999.

The week's biggest drop was Michigan State's fall from No. 10 to No. 19. The Spartans (20-5), who lost to Purdue and Indiana last week, had been ranked as high as sixth this season. Their previous low was No. 12 in the first poll of the regular season.

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