UNC strengthens hold on No. 1 after five top 8 teams lose

By R.L. Bynum

North Carolina stayed atop the AP Top 25 poll and gained first-place votes while there was shuffling below them after five of the top 8 teams in last week’s poll lost — two of them falling twice.

The Tar Heels (4–0) have 47 first-place votes compared to 44 the previous week, with a 38-vote lead over new No. 2 Houston (5–0) after they led Gonzaga by 30 votes a week earlier. The biggest riser was Virginia (4–0), which jumped 11 spots to No. 5 after two wins in Las Vegas.

With Carolina’s women ranked No. 8 in the latest poll, it’s the first time since Jan. 3, 2011, that Carolina’s men’s and women’s teams have both been ranked in the top 10. The Tar Heels men were No. 9 and the women were No. 8 in that 2011 poll. The combined ranking of nine this week is the best since they had a combined ranking of 10 on Nov. 16, 2010, when the women were No. 4 and the men were No. 6.

The next-highest combined ranking for any other school in this week’s polls is Indiana at 17, with the men No. 11 and the women No. 6. Both UNC teams play at Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, with the men’s game on Nov. 30 and the women’s game on Dec. 1.

Only 11 schools are ranked in both polls, and UNC is the only one with both in the Top 10. No other ACC school is ranked in both polls.


Schools ranked in both AP Top 25 polls

UNC men 1 and women 8 — 9
Indiana 11 and 6 — 17
Texas 4 and 19 — 23
UConn 20 and 3 — 23
Creighton 10 and 16 — 26
Baylor 7 and 21 — 28
Arizona 14 and 15 — 29
Iowa 25 and 9 —34
Maryland 23 and 14 — 37
UCLA 19 and 20 — 39
Tennessee 22 and 23 — 45


In the USA Today Coaches Poll, UNC stayed No. 1 and also increased its lead in first-place votes, going from a 22–7 lead last week over Gonzaga to a 23–7 edge over Houston.

Carolina’s men head to Portland for the Phil Knight Invitational this week. The Tar Heels meet Portland (4–2) at 1 p.m. Thursday (ESPN), either Iowa State (3–0) or Villanova (2–2) at 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. Friday and either No. 12 Michigan State (3–1), No. 18 Alabama (4–0), No. 20 UConn (5–0) or Oregon (2–2) on Sunday.

Houston (5–0) slid up a spot in the AP poll after it won three times last week (83–45 over Oral Roberts, 83–48 over Texas Southern and 66–56 over Oregon), and Gonzaga (3–1) split two games. The Zags slipped from No. 2 to No. 6 after losing to Texas 93–74 but beating Kentucky 88–72.

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That Kentucky loss, coupled with an 86–77 double-overtime defeat against Michigan State, dropped the Wildcats (3–2), who also beat South Carolina State 106–63, from No. 4 to No. 15.

Baylor (4–1) fell from No. 5 to No. 7 after losing to Virginia 86–79 but beating UCLA 80–75 in a tournament in Las Vegas. The No. 5 Cavaliers, who got one first-place vote, won that Las Vegas event with that win over Baylor and a 70–61 victory over Illinois. UCLA (3–2) fell from No. 8 to No. 19 after losses to Illinois (79–70) and Baylor (80–75) in Las Vegas.

Duke (3–1) slipped from No. 7 to No. 8 after losing 69–64 to Kansas but beating Delaware 92–58.

Indiana (4–0) moved up one spot to No. 11 after wins over Xavier (81–79) and Miami of Ohio (86–56).

Michigan (4–1), which Carolina plays in Charlotte on Dec. 21, fell from No. 20 to unranked after losing to Arizona State 87–62. The Wolverines beat Pittsburgh 91–60 and Ohio 70–66.

All three North Carolina-based voters have UNC No. 1. C.L. Brown, the UNC beat writer for The News & Observer, has Virginia No. 4 and Duke No. 11. Jordan Crammer of WNCN has Virginia No. 4 and Duke No. 8. David Thompson of the Fayetteville Observer has the Cavaliers No. 5 and the Blue Devils No. 8.

Ranking the Tar Heels the lowest at No. 5 were Brian Holland of WVLA and WGMB in Baton Rouge, La., Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register and David Jones of Penn Live in Dowington, Pa. In the previous poll, Holland had UNC the lowest at No. 9, Jones had the Heels No. 5 and Leistikow had them No. 1.

Three voters have the Tar Heels No. 4, three have them No. 3 and seven have them No. 2.

AP Top 25

RankTeamChangePoll points
(first-place votes
1North Carolina (4–0)1,541 (47)
2Houston (4–0)+11,499 (9)
3Kansas (4–0)+31,396 (1)
4Texas (3–0)+71,377 (5)
5Virginia (4–0)+111,279 (1)
6Gonzaga (3–1)-41,273
7Baylor (4–1)-21,102
8Duke (3–1)-11,057
9Arkansas (3–0)1,038
10Creighton (4–0)1,004
11Indiana (4–0)+1932
12Michigan State (3–1)825
13Auburn (4–0)737
14Arizona (3–0)725
15Kentucky (3–2)-11685
16Illinois (4–1)+3673
17San Diego State (3–0)601
18Alabama (4–0)510
19UCLA (3–2)-11506
20UConn (5–0)+5298
21Texas Tech (3–0)+2275
22Tennessee (2–1)238
23Maryland (5–0)223
24Purdue (3–0)215
25Iowa (3–0)132

Others receiving votes: TCU 82, Saint Mary’s 59, Ohio State 56, Michigan 24, Xavier 22, Charleston 17, Toledo 16, Miami (FL) 10, Dayton 9, Villanova 7, Arizona State 5, Virginia Tech 5, Saint Louis 5, UNLV 5, Oregon 4, West Virginia 3, Texas A&M 2, Utah State 1, Penn State 1, Mississippi State 1. Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first-place votes.


UNC season statistics


DateMonth/dayTime/scoreOpponent/event
(current ranking)
LocationTV/record
October
28FridayW, 101–40Johnson C. Smith HomeExhibition
November
7MondayW, 69–56UNCWHome1–0
11FridayW, 102–86College of CharlestonHome2–0
15TuesdayW, 72–66Gardner-WebbHome3–0
20SundayW, 80–64James MadisonHome4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 89–81First round: PortlandPortland5–0
25FridayL, 70–65Semifinals:
Iowa State
Portland5–1
27SundayL, 103–101,
4 OTs
Consolation:
No. 18 Alabama
Portland5–2
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
30Wednesday9:15 No. 11 IndianaBloomington, Ind.ESPN
December
4Sunday3 p.m.Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.ACCN
10Saturday3:15Georgia TechHomeESPN
13Tuesday7 p.m.The CitadelHomeESPN2
CBS Sports Classic
17Saturday3 p.m.Ohio StateNew YorkCBS
Jumpman Invitational
21Wednesday7 MichiganCharlotteESPN
30 Friday TBAPittsburghPittsburghACCN
January
4Wednesday9 p.m.Wake ForestHomeACCN
7Saturday11:30 a.m.Notre DameHomeESPN2
10Tuesday9 p.m.No. 5 VirginiaCharlottesvilleESPN or ESPN2
14Saturday2 p.m.LouisvilleLouisville, Ky.ESPN
17Tuesday7 p.m.Boston CollegeHomeRSN
21Saturday5 p.m.N.C. StateHomeACCN
24Tuesday9 p.m.SyracuseSyracuse, N.Y.ESPN
February
1Wednesday7 p.m.PittsburghHomeACCN
4Saturday6:30No. 8 DukeDurhamESPN
7Tuesday7 p.m.Wake ForestWinston-SalemESPN or ESPN2
11Saturday2 p.m.ClemsonHomeESPN or ESPN2
13Monday7 p.m.MiamiHomeESPN
19Sunday1 p.m.N.C. StateRaleighESPN
22Wednesday9 p.m.Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.ESPN or ESPN2
25Saturday6 or 8No. 5 VirginiaHomeESPN
27Monday7 p.m.Florida StateTallahassee, Fla.ESPN
March
4Saturday6 or 6:30No. 8 DukeHomeESPN
ACC Tournament
7–11Tuesday-SaturdayTBATBAGreensboroTBA
If tickets for home games are available, you can purchase them here. ACCN means the game airs on ACC Network. RSN means the game airs on regional sports networks (in many cases, Bally Sports but also MASN, NESN and Yes Network.)

Photo via @UNC_Basketball

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