Wildcats 8th Again in AP Poll

Illinois and Kansas were 1-2 in The Associated Press' college basketball poll for a fourth straight week Monday, and the 25 teams in the rankings were the same for the third consecutive week. Kentucky is eighth again this week.

The Illini (11-0) beat Missouri in their only game last week and received 55 first-place votes and 1,779 points from the national media panel. This is Illinois' third appearance at No. 1 and the others - in 1952 and 1989 - each lasted only one week, though the Illini did reach the Final Four both years.

Kansas (8-0) played its first game since preseason All-America Wayne Simien underwent surgery on his left thumb and beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Jayhawks, who were the preseason No. 1, don't expect to have the senior power forward back for at least a month. Kansas received 13 first-place votes and 1,699 points.

The top 11 teams stayed the same from last week. Oklahoma State (9-0), which received the other four first-place votes, was third and was followed by North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Syracuse, Kentucky, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.

Connecticut was No. 11 for the third straight week and was followed by Gonzaga, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Iowa, North Carolina State, Alabama, Louisville and George Washington.

The last five ranked teams were Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Maryland and Virginia. No one in the Top 25 lost last week but that won't be the case this week with four ranked matchups on the schedule. On Tuesday, No. 12 Gonzaga plays No. 3 Oklahoma State in Oklahoma City.

On Friday, No. 22 Cincinnati faces No. 1 Illinois in Las Vegas. On Saturday, No. 9 Georgia Tech is at No. 2 Kansas in a rematch of last season's St. Louis regional final, which Georgia Tech won 79-71 in overtime. The last of the ranked matchups is Sunday when No. 5 Wake Forest is at No. 25 Virginia in an Atlantic Coast Conference game.

The ACC has seven ranked teams for the fifth straight week, again matching the record for most schools from one league in the Top 25. Besides the two playing Sunday, the other ACC teams are North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Maryland.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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