Spartans No. 1 for first time since 2000-01
Michigan State is No. 1 in The Associated Press' college basketball poll for the first time in 13 years.
Michigan State is No. 1 in The Associated Press poll for the first time in 13 years.
The Spartans moved up one spot Monday after beating top-ranked Kentucky in Chicago last week. They took the No. 1 spot by a wide margin, receiving 51 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.
"I think it's a privilege," coach Tom Izzo said Monday, several hours before Michigan State was to host Portland. "If we handle it well, we'll see how long we can hang on. And if we don't, we'll learn something from that. We don't get a banner or a ring for this, but it's good for our program. It's also good for the guys on this team to add to their collection of accomplishments."
This is Michigan State's first time leading the rankings since a two-week run in 2000-01, when the Spartans reached the Final Four. Their only other time at No. 1 was a two-week stint in 1978-79, the season Magic Johnson carried the Spartans to the national title.
"Being No. 1 now gives us a chance to see how we'll handle our goal of being No. 1 at the end of the season," Izzo said. "We have to learn how to deal with the pressure and status of being where we are right now. But I don't think by any means this will be like playing with a 40-pound weight on our shoulders."
Kansas, which beat Duke in the nightcap of Tuesday's Champions Classic at the United Center, moved from fifth to second and received seven first-place votes. Louisville stayed third and drew the other seven first-place votes.
"We've been in the top five a lot, but we haven't won a big game early quite like we did last week," Izzo said. "We've earned this, but I know Kansas or Louisville could be No. 1 right now. Duke and Kentucky are really good, too."
VCU is making the school's first appearance in the top 10. The Rams jumped four spots this week after beating then-No. 25 Virginia and Winthrop. VCU, which reached the Final Four in 2011, came close to the top 10 when it finished 11th in the final poll of the 1984-85 season. The Rams weren't ranked again until 2012-13.
The Cyclones, who beat then-No. 7 Michigan last weekend, are in the rankings for the first time since a one-week appearance in 2011-12. The Wolverines fell to No. 14.
Creighton, which made the move this season from the Missouri Valley to the Big East, was ranked for all but four weeks last season, reaching as high as No. 11.
Notre Dame and Virginia dropped out of the poll. The Fighting Irish, who lost to Indiana State, had been ranked for nine straight weeks dating to last season. Virginia had been ranked for the preseason Top 25 and first regular-season poll.
The ACC had five teams in last week's Top 25, the most of any league, but with those two teams falling out, the ACC dropped into a tie for third among conferences in the poll. The Big Ten and the Big 12 are tied for first this week with four teams each.
A look just outside the Top 25 shows two more Big Ten teams -- Iowa and Indiana -- sitting at Nos. 26 and 27. The Hawkeyes haven't been ranked since 2005-06.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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