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College basketball

Tide rises to the top for the first time

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 24, 2002

Alabama is No. 1 in that other sport.

The school that has won six national football championships moved to the top of the AP basketball poll Monday for the first time.

The Crimson Tide moved up one spot after Arizona's loss at LSU on Saturday night, giving the Top 25 a No. 1 team other than the Wildcats for the first time this season.

Alabama, which beat Providence 69-61 in its only game last week, beat Morehead State 82-64 Monday to improve to 9-0.

"There are a lot of capable teams around the country," Crimson Tide coach Mark Gottfried said. "I do feel like our team is one of them. I'm proud of our players and proud of our coaches. I told the seniors today I'm proud of them. they came to Alabama when our program was a long way from where it is now. They've laid the foundation for us."

The highest Alabama had been ranked before this season was No. 3 for two weeks in 1976-77.

Pittsburgh, which beat Ohio State and Rhode Island last week, moved from fourth to second, matching its highest ranking. The Panthers were No. 2 for two weeks in 1987-88.

Duke, which beat North Carolina A&T in its only game last week, stayed third. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

The Wildcats were No. 1 in the preseason poll and for the first five weeks of the regular season before losing to LSU, which moved into the poll at No. 24.

LSU entered after its second win over a No. 1 team. The Tigers last were ranked in 1999-2000 when they were in the Top 25 for the last seven weeks of the season.

Wake Forest, at No. 25, was the week's other newcomer after an 84-72 win over St. John's.

Stanford dropped out from No. 17 after losing consecutive home games to Montana and Richmond, then rebounding for wins over UC Irvine and UNLV.

Minnesota, which returned to the poll last week at No. 25 after a one-week absence, fell out after a 90-81 loss at Oregon.

ALCORN ST.: Point guard Jeff Cammon was ruled out for the season because the NCAA said he did not meet requirements for another year of eligibility. Cammon, a senior, is a former walkon who was ineligible to play as a freshman. He could have earned a fourth season of eligibility by earning his degree in four years.

MIAMI: Tickets for opening night at the Convocation Center are on sale. The Hurricanes host No. 22 North Carolina in the $48-million arena's inaugural game, 7 p.m. Jan. 4. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN. For information or to purchase tickets, contact the Hurricane ticket office at 1-800-GO-CANES.

MICHIGAN: LaVell Blanchard became the sixth player in school history with 1,500 career points and 700 rebounds. He has 1,503 and 708.

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