Top 45 countdown

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Like a lot of fans who like the traditional Wednesday-Saturday (or, at worst, Wednesday-Sunday afternoon) schedule, I’ve never been a big fan of the ACC’s Sunday night basketball television package.

But I say that as a writer who would prefer an afternoon tip to an evening start time.

Anyway, there is one thing worse than the ACC’s Sunday night games. And those are the Pac-10 Sunday night games, because they ensure my duties as an AP voter are extended into the night.

Fortunately, tonight’s game didn’t go into overtime, and Arizona State completed the home sweep of the two L.A. schools. And since just about everyone lost, a 2-0 week meant the Sun Devils climbed a bit on this ballot.

For the most part, it was a week to reward teams that didn’t lose but not punish those that did stumble all that much. I actually dropped Gonzaga a spot after a 2-0 week, but had the Bulldogs a little high to begin with. It had more to do with a miscalculation last week than two tight victories against Saint Mary’s and San Francisco.

Another team from the Left Coast also fell a bit – UCLA. The faith in the Bruins should probably not be as high as it once was at this point. While there’s no shame losing at Arizona and Arizona State, there comes a time a team is going to have to show it’s as good as the hype.

UCLA is 6-5 away from Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins are 7-6 against the top 100 in the RPI. That’s nice, but it’s bottom-of-the-top-25 nice – hence UCLA’s spot at No. 25 on this week’s ballot.

1. Connecticut (24-1)
2. North Carolina (23-2)
3. Oklahoma (25-1)
4. Pittsburgh (23-2)
5. Michigan State (20-4)
6. Louisville (19-5)
7. Memphis (22-3)
8. Duke (20-5)
9. Villanova (20-5)
10.Wake Forest (19-4)
11. Clemson (20-4)
12. Xavier (21-4)
13. Missouri (22-4)
14. Arizona State (20-5)
15. Kansas (20-5)
16. Marquette (21-4)
17. Gonzaga (19-5)
18. Syracuse (19-7)
19. Washington (19-6)
20. Illinois (21-5)
21. Purdue (19-6)
22. Louisiana State (21-4)
23. Butler (22-3)
24. Texas (17-7)
25. UCLA (19-6)

26. Dayton (23-3)
27. West Virginia (17-8)
28. California (19-6)
29. Arizona (18-8)
30. Ohio State (17-6)
31. Utah State (24-2)
32. Utah (18-7)
33. Tennessee (16-8)
34. Davidson (22-4)
35. Florida State (19-6)
36. South Carolina (18-5)
37. Wisconsin (16-9)
38. Florida (19-6)
39. Siena (20-6)
40. Boston College (19-8)
41. Minnesota (19-6)
42. Brigham Young (19-5)
43. Kentucky (18-7)
44. Kansas State (17-8)
45. Cincinnati (17-9)

Patrick Stevens

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