The Big East Conference provides
the 1-2 punch in the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll
Connecticut (27-2) took advantage of two losses by Duke and rose
to No. 1, receiving 30 of the 31 first-place votes and 773
Villanova (24-3) slipped two spots last week to No. 4 after
losing at Connecticut, 89-75, on Feb. 26. But two wins this
past week coupled with the losses by Duke and a loss by Memphis
elevated the Wildcats back up to No. 2 with 733 points.
Connecticut and Villanova tied for the regular-season Big East
title with 14-2 records and may meet in the conference
tournament championship game on Saturday. If that happens, the
winner of the title game likely will take a No. 1 ranking into
the NCAA Tournament.
Duke (27-3) regained the top spot in the coaches' poll two weeks
ago but slipped to No. 3 after suffering back-to-back Atlantic
Coast Conference losses to Florida State and North Carolina.
The Blue Devils received 676 points, just 11 ahead of Gonzaga
(26-3), which advanced to the West Coast Conference tournament
North Carolina (21-6) made a huge impression with its 83-76 win
at Duke on Saturday. The Tar Heels received the remaining
first-place vote and elevated five places to No. 10.
Memphis (27-3) had a 15-game winning streak snapped last
Thursday at UAB and slipped two spots to No. 5. The Tigers
bounced back from that loss and clinched the regular-season
Conference USA title with a win over Houston on Saturday.
George Washington (26-1) extended its NCAA-best winning streak
to 18 games, but remains sixth.
Ohio State (23-4) clinched the regular-season Big Ten Conference
crown with a win Sunday against Purdue and moved up one spot to
Texas (25-5) slipped one spot to No. 8 and Illinois (25-5)
rose to ninth.
Boston College (24-6) is 11th, followed by UCLA (24-6),
Washington (24-5), Florida (24-6), Tennessee (21-6), Pittsburgh
(21-6), Louisiana State (22-7), Kansas (22-7), Oklahoma (20-7)
and Iowa (22-8).
West Virginia (20-9), North Carolina State (21-8) and Georgetown
(19-8) each lost once and dropped three spots, standing at 21,
22 and 23, respectively.
Nevada (24-5) and UAB (22-5) each cracked the poll, taking the
last two places.
Big Ten schools Michigan State (20-10) and Wisconsin (19-10)