For the first time since January of 2001 the Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball program is ranked in the college basketball polls, as the Pirates (14-2, 3-1 Big East Conference) were voted No. 24 in the AP Poll, released Monday afternoon. The announcement of the college polls was a much anticipated one for Seton Hall basketball fans, who witnessed their program last Tuesday upset No. 17 (last week No. 8) Connecticut Huskies, 75-63, down the Providence Friars, 66-57, Saturday.
The pair of victories extended Seton Hall's current winning streak to three games, all coming in league play, and were enough to help the Pirates sneak into the AP's top 25.
"This is cause for celebration among the Pirate faithful," wrote Jason Guerette of SB Nation's Seton Hall blog South Orange Juice Monday. "A return to the Top-25 is just the latest signal of how far this program has come in just a short time under Kevin Willard, and how much hard work and leadership really do pay off."
Unfortunately, the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll did not rank Seton Hall in the top 25. Last week, the Pirates received two votes in the AP rankings but couldn't crack the list.
As for the the unbeaten Syracuse Orange (17-0, 4-0), who manhandled the Pirates, 75-49, Dec. 28, they earned the No. 1 ranking in both polls for the fifth straight week. The Orange, who last week defeated Providence and No. 25 Marquette Golden Eagles, are closing in on the program's all-time record for consecutive weeks at No. 1, which currently stands at six -- set by the 1989-90 squad.
In the AP Poll, behind Syracuse is: Kentucky Wildcats, North Carolina Tar Heels and Baylor Bears, respectively. The Ohio St. Buckeyes sneaked into the top 5 after the Duke Blue Devils lost to the Temple Owls Tuesday and dropped to No. 8 in the AP and No. 6 in the Coaches.
Other notables in the top 10 are: No. 6/7 Michigan St. Spartans, No. 7/8 Indiana Hoosiers, No. 9 Missouri Tigers and No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks. Currently, Baylor (15-0) is the only other unbeaten team in the top 10.
Meanwhile, the Big East continues to have a solid mix of programs in the top 25, as Georgetown Hoyas was ranked No. 11/11, Louisville Cardinals (No. 14/15) and UConn (17/16). Marquette is ranked No. 25 in the Coaches Poll.
SB Nation's blog South Orange Juice has everything on the Pirates, while Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician is all about the Orange. For more on Big East basketball, visit the SB Nation blog Big East Coast Bias. If you're a college basketball nut, well, SB Nation's college basketball hub will solve your hoops cravings.