Last week, the Syracuse Orange earned two solid Big East victories and the former No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils lost. That meant an opportunity for the Orange to move up in the weekly college basketball rankings. SU (18-0, 5-0) did just that moving from No. 4 to No. 3. The Ohio St. Buckeyes earned the nation's top spot in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls while the Big East Conference had nine teams earn Top-25 spots in the AP poll.
Last week, SU beat the St. John's Red Storm, 76-59, Wednesday then defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats, 67-52, on Saturday. Duke, which is ranked No. 4 in the AP poll and No. 5 in the USA Today/Coaches poll, lost to the unranked Florida St. Seminoles Wednesday but beat the Virginia Cavaliers Sunday.
The rankings shift, which has Kansas at No. 2 in both polls, the Pittsburgh Panthers No. 5 in the AP poll but No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll; sets up a intriguing Big Monday, Big East showdown between No. 3 Syracuse and No. 5/4 Pittsburgh (7:30 on ESPN). Syracuse will also host the No. 7 Villanova Wildcats on Saturday (noon on ESPN). If the Orange can, somehow, earn two victories against Top-10 squads in the same week. One has to think that SU will have a shot at the No. 1 spot come next Monday. But here's to wishful thinking.
Pittsburgh (17-1, 5-0) beat both No. 23 Georgetown Hoyas and the Seton Hall Pirates with ease last week. However, Pitt's currently seven-game win streak, which features beating opponents by an average of 15.7 points, wasn't enough for them ahead of Duke in the AP poll.
'Nova, which beat the No. 19 Louisville Cardinals and non-conference opponent the Maryland Terps, stayed at No. 7 in both polls. The No. 8 Connecticut Huskies moved up two slots in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and one spot in the AP poll.
After that both polls went almost in completely opposite directions when it comes to Big East teams.
The AP poll had: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (No. 16), Louisville (19), West Virginia Mountaineers (21), Georgetown Hoyas (23) and Cincinnati (25) all ranked in the Top 25. That's NINE league teams in the Top 25!
However, the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll just had Louisville (15) ahead of Notre Dame (16); and Georgetown (23) -- only seven teams in the Top 25.
The St. John's, which lost to Syracuse but collected a convincing victory against the Fighting Irish on Sunday, was ranked No. 36 in the AP poll but was left out of the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.