Monday, March 9, 2009
UNC nudges Pitt as coaches' No. 1
After completing a regular-season sweep of Duke on Sunday, Roy Williams, while talking about how much this year's North Carolina basketball team means to him, struggled to control his emotions.
After an eight-week run at the top to start the season, North Carolina (27-3) returned to No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, up from No. 2 after beating Duke for the second time in 2009.
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More reason for the coach to gush (or turn to mush): On Monday, North Carolina regained the No. 1 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. The Tar Heels, whose 79-71 win over the Blue Devils secured the ACC regular-season title and top seed in the conference tournament, had been tops the preseason and for the first seven weeks of the regular season.
UNC (27-3) received 23 of 31 first-place votes for 767 points, 40 points ahead of No. 2 Pittsburgh. The Panthers (28-3), fresh off their second win over Connecticut in 19 days, received five first-place votes to move up two spots.
North Carolina also was No. 1 in the new Associated Press media poll on Monday and No. 1 in the latest ESPN/USA Today baseball poll.
Memphis (28-3) collected three such votes -- one fewer than last week -- and remained third while riding a 22-game winning streak.
UConn (27-3) checked in at No. 4, one spot ahead of Big East regular-season champion Louisville. The Cardinals (25-5, 16-2 Big East) secured the top seed in the conference tournament by beating West Virginia 62-59 on Saturday.
Big Ten champion Michigan State (25-5) moved up two spots to sixth. Oklahoma (27-4) fell two spots to seventh after losing to Missouri last week. Duke (25-6) fell one spot to eighth; Wake Forest (24-5) checked in at ninth, one spot better than last week; and Pac-10 regular-season champion Washington (24-7) made a three-spot jump to 10th.
Defending NCAA champion Kansas (25-6) fell two spots to 11th after a week that started with an upset loss at Texas Tech but culminated in a home win over Texas that gave the Jayhawks their fifth straight Big 12 regular-season championship.
Gonzaga (25-5) moved up two spots to 12 and was followed by Villanova (25-6), UCLA (24-7), Missouri (25-6), LSU (25-6), Butler (26-4), Clemson (23-7), Xavier (24-6) and Syracuse (23-8).
No. 21 Marquette (23-8), Florida State (23-8), Arizona State (22-8), Purdue (22-9) and Illinois (23-8) round out the Top 25.