College basketball: Connecticut gains top spot in AP polls
Connecticut returned to No. 1 in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll Monday after one week out of the top spot.
The Huskies (27-2) had their three-week stint at No. 1 end with a loss to Pittsburgh that dropped them to second. But wins over Marquette and Notre Dame last week, along with the Panthers’ loss to Providence, meant a runaway return to the top for Connecticut. The Huskies received 67 first-place votes from the 72-member national media panel.
North Carolina (25-3) moved from fourth to second and was No. 1 on three ballots. Pittsburgh (26-3) fell to third and received one first-place vote.
Oklahoma fell one place to fourth. Memphis (26-3), which has the nation’s longest winning streak at 20 games, received one first-place vote and remained fifth. Louisville and Duke stayed sixth and seventh. Wake Forest moved from No. 13 to 10th.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee’s chances to win the SEC East seemed slim at best a week ago after an embarrassing loss to Kentucky.
Instead of giving up, the Volunteers grabbed back-to-back wins against Mississippi State and Florida. They are now in a two-way tie with South Carolina atop the division.
The Vols (18-10, 9-5 SEC) will face the Gamecocks on Thursday in Columbia.
“Obviously I’m proud of my team for bouncing back and for staying in the race,” coach Bruce Pearl said. “A team with lesser talent and less character could have packed it in.”
GREENSBORO ó Gerald Henderson of Duke has been named ACC player of the week, while Soloman Alabi of Florida State is the conference rookie of the week.
Henderson averaged 20 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in leading the seventh-ranked Blue Devils to road victories over Maryland and Virginia Tech.
In earning rookie honors for the second time in four weeks, Alabi averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Seminoles fell at Boston College but won against No. 18 Clemson.
GREENSBORO ó Maryland and Virginia each placed two women’s basketball players on the all-ACC first team.
The team was led by Terrapins stars Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver. Joining them on the first team were Cavaliers standouts Lyndra Littles and Monica Wright as well as Duke center Chante Black.
Four-time-defending tournament champion North Carolina had three players honored but placed no players on the first team. Jessica Breland and Rashanda McCants were named to the second team, and point guard Cetera DeGraffenreid was a third-team pick.
Joining Breland and McCants on the second team were the Seminoles’ Jacinta Monroe, N.C. State’s Shayla Fields (Salisbury) and Boston College’s Carolyn Swords.
The ACC tournament begins Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum.