Florida maintains top spot in men's hoops poll
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Florida remained the top team in the latest Associated Press men's basketball poll.
The Gators ascended to the top spot last week for the first time since 2007 and extended their winning streak to 21 games with a pair of victories last week to cement their No. 1 ranking.
Florida received 46 first-place votes -- one fewer than last week -- and a total of 1,606 points from a nationwide media panel to outdistance unbeaten Wichita State.
The Shockers are the first team to finish a regular season undefeated since Saint Joseph's in 2003-04 and will head to the Missouri Valley Tournament as the top seed on Friday. Wichita State again earned 14 first-place votes.
Arizona, which owned the top spot earlier this season, picked up the remaining five first-place votes and held steady at No. 3, while Duke, Virginia and Villanova all moved up after another Syracuse loss. The Blue Devils rose two places from sixth, while Virginia vaulted seven spots from 12th after thumping Syracuse on Saturday to claim the outright regular-season ACC title for the first time since 1981.
Syracuse, which was the top-ranked team for three weeks, tumbled three spots from fourth. The Orange have lost three of their last four after a 25-0 start.
Kansas, Wisconsin and San Diego State round out the top 10. Kansas dipped three places from fifth after Saturday's loss at Oklahoma State, while Wisconsin moved up five spots from 14th.
The second 10 consists of Louisville, Michigan, Creighton, North Carolina, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Saint Louis, SMU, Connecticut and Memphis. North Carolina entered Monday's action with an 11-game winning streak and rose five spots from 19th, while Saint Louis plummeted seven spots from 10th after losing to Duquesne and VCU last week.
New Mexico, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Iowa and Kentucky are the last five teams ranked. Kentucky fell eight spots from 17th after losing to Arkansas and South Carolina last week.
Connecticut and Oklahoma, both previously ranked this season, are back in the poll. Texas and Ohio State dropped out.
The final week of the regular season in the power conferences brings more than a few ranked matchups.
The American Athletic Conference saved its best for last as Louisville travels to SMU on Wednesday and Memphis makes the trip to Cincinnati on Thursday. Also, SMU visits Memphis and Louisville hosts Connecticut on Saturday.
A Big Ten battle Thursday pits Iowa at Michigan State, while Saturday's loaded slate includes the second matchup between ACC powerhouses Duke and North Carolina, this time in Durham, as well as another tussle between Mountain West heavyweights New Mexico and San Diego State.
Florida, if it can win at South Carolina on Tuesday, will try to complete a perfect SEC regular season on Saturday against visiting Kentucky.