Tennessee remains at No. 1 in AP poll, ahead of Duke

  • Tennessee coach Rick Barnes talks with forward Grant Williams (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 73-61. (AP photo/Wade Payne) Wade Payne

  • Duke's Zion Williamson, left, RJ Barrett (5) and Cam Reddish celebrate the team's 81-71 victory over Virginia during an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Mark Gormus/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP) MARK GORMUS/TIMES-DISPATCH

  • Baylor center Kalani Brown, right, scores over TCU center Jordan Moore, left, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 89-71. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte) Rod Aydelotte

  • Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, left, Satou Sabally, center, and Ruthy Hebard celebrate in the last minute against Stanford during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) Tony Avelar

Associated Press
Published: 2/11/2019 8:25:13 PM

The NCAA Division I Basketball Committee slated Duke as the No. 1 overall seed in its initial tournament rankings over the weekend. Voters in the AP Top 25 stuck with Tennessee as their top team.

The Vols received 40 of 64 first-place votes from a media panel in the poll released Monday, remaining ahead of Duke for fourth straight week. The No. 2 Blue Devils had 24 first-place votes.

No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 4 Virginia, the other top seeds in the NCAA’s initial rankings on Saturday, rounded out the top five with Kentucky.

Tennessee (22-1, 10-0 SEC) moved to the No. 1 spot in the AP poll after Duke (21-2, 9-1 ACC) lost to Syracuse on Jan. 14.

The Vols continued winning, stretching their school-record streak to 18 games with wins over Missouri and Florida last week.

Committee chair Bernard Muir said the decision for the top overall seed was close, but Blue Devils edged the Vols based on strength of schedule.

Tennessee was No. 1 in the South Region.

“I want these guys to enjoy what they’re doing and I’m probably not the easiest guy to let that happen because I’m always thinking of ways we can get better, and I want to do it right now,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said. “I appreciate how hard they’re competed and the fact that they want to get better.”

Duke won both of its games last week, rolling over Boston College by 25 before winning a rematch with Virginia 81-71 on Saturday. The Blue Devils beat the Cavaliers by two points the first meeting and shot them out of the gym in the second, making 13 of 21 from the 3-point arc.

“We were just in our zone and it’s great to see when our team is like that,” said Duke’s R.J. Barrett, who had 26 points and was 6 for 10 on 3s.

Virginia dropped one spot from No. 3 after losing to the Blue Devils.

South Dakota ranked for first time in school history

South Dakota has been on the rise since moving up to Division I in 2008.

Now the Coyotes can add an appearance in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll to their achievements.

Riding a nine-game winning streak, coach Dawn Plitzuweit’s team entered the AP Top 25 at No. 25 on Monday for the first time in school history.

“Certainly it’s an exciting day for our team and program, our fans and our university,” Plizuweit said. “It speaks volumes to the hard work our young ladies have done to get to this point. It’s certainly not the end goal of our program.”

The Coyotes (22-3), who are off to their best start as a DI school, have five consecutive 20-win seasons. The team is 74-19 in Plizuweit’s three years at the school. She took over a team that won the WNIT title in 2016.

“When you receive a ranking like this it speaks volumes to the young ladies and coaches that have been there before and what they did to build the program.” She said

The Coyotes’ first game as a ranked team will be on Saturday at Western Illinois. The team was off practice Monday.

“Today we can celebrate it without focusing on being on the court then get back to work,” Plizuweit said. “This group is really hungry and on a mission right now to be the best they can be.”

South Dakota already has win this season over Iowa State and Missouri when the Tigers were ranked.

Notre Dame fell out of the first five for the first time in 31 weeks. The Irish were last out of the top group on Nov. 20, 2017, when they were also sixth.


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