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Monday, December 20, 2004
Illinois still No. 1

Associated Press

Oklahoma State received its highest ranking in over 12 years, moving up one spot Monday to No. 3 in The Associated Press college basketball poll while Illinois and Kansas were the top two teams for the third straight week.

The Cowboys were No. 2 for two weeks in February 1992. In the latest poll, Oklahoma State replaced Georgia Tech, which dropped to ninth following its first loss of the season.

Illinois (10-0), which beat Valparaiso 93-56 in its only game last week, received 50 first-place votes and 1,727 points from the national media panel to hold on to No. 1.

Kansas (7-0) beat South Carolina 64-60 in its only game last week. The Jayhawks were No. 1 on 15 ballots and had 1,658 points.

Oklahoma State (8-0) beat UNLV 79-67 last week and received the other five first-place votes.

North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Syracuse and Kentucky all moved up one place from last week and were ranked fourth through eighth.

Georgia Tech, which lost 85-73 to Gonzaga at Las Vegas, had the week's biggest drop, falling six spots.

Pittsburgh and Connecticut held 10th and 11th, the only teams besides the top two to be in the same spot from last week.

Washington and Gonzaga, which were 12th and 13th, had the week's biggest jumps after knocking off unbeaten teams over the weekend.

Washington (8-1) moved from 18th to No. 12 after beating North Carolina State 68-64 on Sunday. It is the Huskies' highest ranking since they were 11th in December 1984.

Gonzaga (8-1) jumped from 22nd to 13th with the win over Georgia Tech. The only loss for the Bulldogs, who were a school-record third in the final poll of last season, was 89-72 to Illinois on Nov. 27, in the Wooden Tradition at Indianapolis.

Arizona was 14th and was followed by Texas, North Carolina State, Iowa, Louisville, Alabama and George Washington.

The last five ranked teams were Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Maryland and Virginia.

This was the fourth straight week the Atlantic Coast Conference had a record-tying seven ranked teams -- North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Maryland and Virginia.