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Volume 3, Issue 4                                    University of Houston

Stanford pulls an ace in AP shuffle; 
Cincinnati dropped from poll

AP Top 25

Keenan Singleton

Dick Vitale, ESPN commentator and "Mr. NCAA Basketball," best sums up the men's college basketball season so far with this usual Vitalian statement: "It's upset city, baby."

One after another, NCAA's top-ranked teams are being upset or taken to the wire to give the still young season some of its most exciting finishes.

After perennial powerhouse Duke fell to now-No.1 Stanford, the top five spots underwent a bit of a shuffle.

Last season's national champ, Michigan State, was on a roll with 23 consecutive wins dating back to last year. But a last-second three-pointer by Indiana's Kirk Haston, knocked the Spartans off the hill after a brief appearance.

After receiving its first No. 1 ranking in school history last season, the Stanford Cardinal is trying to make it an annual tradition. The Cardinal was the bridesmaid for a few weeks until the Spartans were stripped of their No. 1 ranking.

Stanford, 13-0, is one of four undefeated teams in NCAA Division I basketball.

Other surprises this season include "the nation's most talented team," Arizona, way down at No. 21 in the rankings.

Tough losses, silly suspensions and the tragic loss of head coach Lute Olson's wife, Bobbi, have hurt the Wildcats.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has replaced the Big 10 as the toughest league.

Duke is at No. 2; blow out wins over top 10 schools Kansas and Virginia have Wake Forest at No. 6; last season's Final Four participant North Carolina is at No.9; and Virginia rounds out the deck at No. 10.

Conference USA

Last season was a dream for the Cincinnati Bearcats until consensus National Player of the Year Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the conference championship and dashed their best hopes for a ring.

This year's hopes may not come true if Conference USA's most dominant team in its brief five-year history doesn't start growing up -- fast.

Cincinnati was ranked as high as No. 15, but fell out of the poll completely following a loss to Toledo on Dec. 30.

Its fall from grace not only hurts the school, but the entire conference as well.

Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu.

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