Duke keeps finding its way back to No. 1.
The Blue Devils reclaimed the top spot in Monday’s AP Top 25, the third time this season they’ve reached No. 1. Duke earned 58 of 64 first-place votes to climb one spot and replace Tennessee, which had spent four weeks at No. 1 but fell to fifth after Saturday’s loss at Kentucky.
Duke has spent nearly half of the season’s polls (seven of 16) at No. 1, and hasn’t been ranked lower than fourth since the preseason. The Blue Devils (23-2) — who start four freshmen in RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones — haven’t lost a game at full strength since falling to Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational championship game.
Gonzaga (25-2) earned the remaining six first-place votes and moved up a spot to No. 2, followed by Virginia and head coach John Calipari’s Wildcats — who have made a long climb back after falling from No. 2 following the Duke loss to as low as No. 19 in mid-December.
Nevada, Michigan, UNC, Houston and Michigan State rounded out the top 10.
Briefly: Michigan State forward Nick Ward had surgery on his broken left hand and is expected to be out at least a few weeks. Ward is the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.1 points a game and third-leading rebounder at 6.7 per game. The 6-foot-9 junior returned to school after putting his name in the NBA draft last year. … Former Arizona head coach Lute Olson has been hospitalized after enduring a minor stroke over the weekend. Banner University Medical Center said in a news release that the 84-year-old Hall of Famer is in good condition.
History for Rice:
1st time in poll
Tina Langley had a vision when she took over Rice’s women’s program four years ago.
The Owls have been steadily improving every season and can add a Top 25 appearance to their achievements.
Rice, which has won 15 straight games, entered the AP women’s poll for the first time in school history at No. 25 on Monday.
“I’m so grateful to the student-athletes and coaches that have come here and poured their heart and soul into the program,” said Langley, who spent seven years as an assistant and associate head coach under Brenda Frese at Maryland before coming to Rice.
Baylor remained the top team in the country, receiving 26 of the 28 first-place votes from a national media panel. Oregon moved up to second, getting the other two No. 1 ballots. UConn was third, and Louisville slipped to fourth after losing to Miami on Sunday. The Hurricanes made the biggest jump, moving up six spots to 14th.
Notre Dame was fifth. Mississippi State, Stanford, Maryland, North Carolina State and Iowa rounded out the top 10.
Stanford’s Smith honored: Stanford’s Alanna Smith has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week for her performances in the Cardinal’s road sweep of UCLA and USC. It’s the Australian forward’s fourth career weekly conference honor and her third of the season.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Tennessee-loss-puts-Duke-men-back-at-No-1-in-13626123.php.