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Arkansas featured in AP top 25 story

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas featured in AP top 25 story

Arkansas has the most wins in the country, and now it’s getting some votes. The Lady Razorbacks, one of only three unbeaten teams, joined The Associated Press rankings Monday at No. 25.

Connecticut held the top spot for the second straight week. The Huskies received 49 of the 50 first-place votes. Stanford, which received the other first-place vote, held the No. 2 position.

The Lady ‘Backs lead the nation with 14 victories after winning the 2007 Blue Sky Classic on Sunday. UConn and Georgia are the only other unbeaten teams.

“Not many people realize that we’re off to a 14-0 start,” Arkansas coach Tom Collen said. “The difference between 26th and 25th is a huge gap. People know who you are when you’re in the Top 25. A lot of it has to do that we don’t have a signature win against a Top 25 team.”

The Lady Razorbacks, who were last in the Top 25 on Jan. 8, 2007, don’t play until Saturday when they host Texas Tech in the final nonconference game on their schedule.

“I was hoping it would be a Top-25 matchup for both schools,” said Collen, who has now led three different teams to the Top 25 (Colorado State and Louisville). “Texas Tech is similar to us in that they go out and play hard and have that lack of exposure. They are a good team.”

Arkansas opens its SEC season on Jan. 10 against LSU.

After almost four years away from the top spot, UConn fared better in its first game as No. 1 than its last appearance.

The Huskies (10-0) last reached the top spot on Feb. 23, 2004, and promptly lost to Villanova in their next game.

This time, Connecticut routed Hartford 70-24 Saturday in its first game as the top team, then blew out Army 82-33 Monday afternoon. Coach Geno Auriemma said the ranking has given his team a boost.

“The guys that we have right now, they’re not exactly the most confident guys in the world to begin with,” Auriemma said. “So, something like this probably makes them feel like they are 10 feet tall.

“If that’s what it does, then, great,” he said. “They’ve never been there and that is something they’ve aspired to, and the fact that they are there can only help them.”

There was no movement among the top seven teams. Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland, Rutgers and Georgia all held their spots after Connecticut and Stanford.

The top seven cruised this week, winning by an average of 35 points. Georgia (12-0) was the only team that had a tough contest, beating Florida State in overtime Saturday night in the Florida International University Sun & Fun Classic.

Oklahoma, Baylor and California moved up a spot, passing LSU, which fell to No. 11 after splitting a pair of games without All-American Sylvia Fowles. She is sidelined after having knee surgery Dec. 21 and is expected back in a few weeks.

It’s the first time that California has ever been ranked in the top 10.

Duke and Texas A&M each climbed one place, while Notre Dame jumped two spots. DePaul fell three places to No. 15 after suffering its first loss, a 91-81 defeat to Texas on Friday night at the Maggie Dixon Surf ‘N Slam Classic.

The Longhorns moved up three places to 16. They were followed by West Virginia, Auburn, Old Dominion and George Washington. The Lady Monarchs made the biggest leap, moving up four spots after beating then-No. 20 Vanderbilt 80-65 on Sunday.

Ohio State, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma State and Arkansas held the final five spots.

Vanderbilt was the only team to fall out of the poll this week.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)