Kentucky returns to top spot in men's hoops poll

Kentucky is back at the top of the Associated Press men's college basketball poll.

It's the second time the Wildcats have ascended to the No. 1 spot this season. They had a two-week stay as the top-ranked team -- earning the position for the last week of November and the first week of December before a one-point loss at Indiana on December 10.

Kentucky moved up one spot after Syracuse suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday at Notre Dame. The Orange, who had been No. 1 for six straight weeks, dropped two spots to third, just behind Missouri, which vaulted three spots from fifth to second after winning at Baylor on Saturday.

Each of the top three teams have just one loss and each received first-place votes this week. Kentucky earned 61 and a total of 1,620 points from a nationwide media panel, while Missouri and Syracuse each picked up two No. 1 votes.

Ohio State, Kansas, Baylor, North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown and Michigan State round out this week's top 10. Duke tumbled four spots from fourth after Saturday's 76-73 loss to Florida State that ended a 45-game home winning streak.

The second 10 consists of Murray State, UNLV, San Diego State, Florida, Creighton, Indiana, Marquette, Mississippi State, Virginia and Michigan. Murray State is the lone unbeaten team in Division I men's basketball.

Saint Mary's, Kansas State, Florida State, Connecticut and Wisconsin are the last five teams ranked this week. Florida State, after its stunning win at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and Wisconsin, which won at Illinois on Sunday, are this week's newcomers.

Florida State, which was ranked for two weeks in November, has had an up-and- down season. The Seminoles have lost to Harvard -- a top-25 squad for a time this season -- and Princeton, but have also beaten the ACC heavyweights in Duke and North Carolina.

Wisconsin had been ranked all season until two weeks ago. The Badgers dropped out of the January 9 poll after a three-game losing streak, but have won four straight since.

Illinois was ranked 22nd last week, but dropped out after a one-week stay. The Illini also lost at Penn State before the 67-63 home setback to Wisconsin.

Louisville also dropped out after being a ranked team all season. The Cardinals were a preseason No. 9 and rose as high as fourth after opening with 12 straight wins, but they've gone 3-5 since and a 74-63 loss at Marquette last week knocked Rick Pitino's squad out from 23rd.

This week's matchups of ranked teams includes a Thursday Big Ten tussle between Indiana and Wisconsin in Madison. Saturday's slate features an SEC battle between Mississippi State and Florida in Gainesville, while Michigan and Ohio State will square off Sunday in Columbus.