Monday, February 23, 2009

Pittsburgh Regains #1 Status in Latest AP Poll

On the strength of their road win over the UConn Huskies last week, the Pitt Panthers (25-2, 12-2) received 69 first place votes and reclaimed the #1 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 poll.

The Panthers look like good to maintain that position into the next poll, as they play Big East underlings, Providence and Seton Hall on the 24th and 28th, though both games are on the road.

After that, the Panthers will really be put to the test as they close out the Big East regular season with home games against #8 Marquette and #2 Connecticut. If Pitt can manage four wins, they are a near-lock to be a #1 seed and possibly the #1 overall seed for the NCAA tournament, despite having to navigate through the rugged Big East tourney first.

As they say, there's still a lot of ball to be played. Pitt benefited from other top 5 teams losses. Besides UConn, Oklahoma and North Carolina also lost during the week. The Sooners checked in at #3, and the Tar Heels, #4. Memphis filled out the top 5, followed by #6 Louisville, #7 Duke, #8 Marquette, #9 Michigan State and #10 Villanova, placing four Big East teams in the top 10 for the first time since November 24.

Pittsburgh has been ranked in the top 5 all season, and held the #1 position in the January 5 and January 12 polls. Since then, Wake Forest, then Duke, held the top spot, until Connecticut took it over on February 2.

North Carolina and Oklahoma have also been highly-regarded all season, though the Sooners have not been ranked #1 yet. North Carolina was top-ranked through the first 8 weeks of the season, through December 29.

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