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Monday, February 18, 2008

Poll puts extra oomph into Tigers-Vols showdown Saturday

Poll puts extra oomph into Tigers-Vols showdown Saturday
Updated: February 18, 2008, 7:57 PM ET

It's not a stretch to make that argument when No. 1 is 25-0 Memphis and the week's new No. 2 is 23-2 Tennessee -- and the fact the two square off Saturday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) on the Tigers' FedExForum home court.

Memphis and Tennessee, their campuses separated by 383 miles, will be the first 1-vs.-2 matchup in the coaches' poll since last Feb. 25, when No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Wisconsin 49-48 in Columbus.

The two also are 1-2 in The Associated Press Top 25, also released Monday.

The Tigers, the only undefeated team in Division I men's college basketball and No. 1 for a fifth straight week, again received all 31 first-place votes in the poll despite Saturday's scare at UAB, a 79-78 down-to-the-wire victory thanks to Chris Douglas-Roberts' three-point play with 6.5 seconds left.

The Vols, who have the Southeastern Conference's best mark at 10-1, beat Arkansas and Georgia last week to make the jump from No. 4 in the poll.

In the run-up to Saturday's showdown, both have games on Wednesday; Memphis visits 15-9 Tulane while Tennessee plays host to Auburn, loser of five of its last six.

North Carolina (24-2) made the step up from fifth to third this week, while No. 4 Duke (22-2) and No. 5 Kansas (24-2) fell back two spots after losses to Wake Forest and Texas, respectively.

UCLA (22-3) held put at No. 6, while the Longhorns (21-4) made a four-spot jump to seventh, Butler (24-2) shifted from 10th to eighth, Stanford (21-4) fell from seventh to ninth and Wisconsin (21-4) re-emerged in the first 10 at No. 10.

Stanford trails UCLA by a half-game for the Pac-10 lead.

The second 10 looked like: Big East co-leader Georgetown (20-4), Xavier (21-4), Connecticut (20-5 and winner of nine in a row), Indiana (21-4), Big Ten leader Purdue (21-5, 12-1), Vanderbilt (22-4), Michigan State (20-5), Drake (23-2), Washington State (20-5) and Saint Mary's (22-3). The Hoyas (eighth last week) and Michigan State (ninth) fell out of the top 10.

Notre Dame (19-5), Texas A&M (20-5), poll newcomer Louisville (20-6), Marquette (18-6) and Kansas State (18-6) round out the Top 25. Pittsburgh, 24th last week, fell from the rankings.

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