Louisville poised to take top spot in AP poll

January 14, 2013 

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UofL center Gorgui Dieng, left, grabs a rebound away from UK forward Nerlens Noel in the first half. The University of Louisville hosted the University of Kentucky, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at The Yum Center in Louisville . Photo by Jonathan Palmer

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  • NCAA TOURNAMENT

    Louisville vs. Wichita State/Kentucky winner

    When: TBA
    Where: Indianapolis
    Radio: WMKJ-FM 105.5 Lexington
    TV: TBA
    Records: Louisville 31-5 (15-3 AAC)

Louisville at No. 1? With both No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Michigan losing this week, third-ranked Louisville was poised to take over the top spot when the Associated Press poll is released on Monday.

The last time UofL was ranked No. 1 was in the final AP poll of the 2008-09 season. After receiving the No. 1 overall seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, the Cards lost to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.

The Cardinals, 15-1 and coming off a rout of South Florida on Saturday, won't have long to celebrate if they reach the top spot. They play Connecticut at 7 p.m. Monday (ESPN) in the XL Center at Hartford, Conn. It

It'll also be a short turnaround for Connecticut. The Huskies won 65-58 at Notre Dame on Saturday.

"They have the same thing," Pitino said of Connecticut's second game in three days. "It's only a hindrance when the other team doesn't do it and that's not the case. They're a great ball club. Obviously, they snapped the long winning streak of Notre Dame at home. They've got arguably one of the best backcourts in the nation (Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright)."

■ Peyton Siva reached the 1,000-point mark for his career in Louisville's win on Saturday.

No. 2 Michigan falls to No. 15 Ohio State

A ball that rattled around the rim and bounced out separated Michigan from its first No. 1 ranking in more than 20 years. Point guard Trey Burke's stepback jumper with 17 seconds went down, then came out, leaving No. 2 Michigan on the wrong side of a 56-53 loss to rival and 15th-ranked Ohio State on Sunday at Columbus, Ohio.

After No. 1 Duke lost to North Carolina State a day earlier, the Wolverines were in prime position to ascend to No. 1 for the first time since November 1992. Instead, they went home with their first loss, also depriving them of the best start in school history.

"Some go in and some don't," said Burke, a sophomore who just happens to be from Columbus and is friends with several of the Buckeyes. "I thought it was going in. It looked good. I think it went in and then came out."

Michigan (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) trailed 52-50 and had the ball as the seconds sifted away. Everyone in a hoarse, capacity crowd of 18,809 knew that Burke, a star at Columbus' Northland High School where he was a teammate of former Buckeye Jared Sullinger, would likely take the last shot.

Aaron Craft — whom Michigan Coach John Beilein said was as good as any defender he had ever seen — prevented Burke from driving. His path blocked, Burke jumped back and then launched the shot.

"We were up two, so that makes it a little more challenging for me," said Craft, selected as the Big Ten's top defender a year ago. "Fortunately enough for me, that shot he took rimmed in and out. I kind of turned around (and saw) we grabbed the rebound."

Lenzelle Smith Jr. grabbed the rebound. A moment later he was fouled again and hit two free throws for breathing room. Craft, who had struggled on offense most of the season, then made two more foul shots to more than offset Burke's circus three-pointer with a second left.

Women's highlights

No. 9 Tennessee 78, Florida 75 (OT): Meighan Simmons scored 27 points, Bashaara Graves added 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Tennessee beat Florida in overtime Sunday, snapping the Gators' 15-game winning streak at home.

Graves hit two clutch free throws with 8.4 seconds remaining. Those forced the Gators to take a three-pointer at the buzzer, and Kayla Lewis' shot clanged off the front of the rim.

The Gators (13-5, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) battled back from a nine-point deficit in the second half and took the lead on January Miller's jumper in the lane with 29 seconds remaining. But Graves drew a foul on the other end, and sent the game into overtime with a free throw. The Gators failed to get off a shot in the final possession of regulation.

Jaterra Bonds led Florida with 18 points. Leading scorer Jennifer George dislocated her right shoulder in the first half and did not return. Freshman Sydney Moss, a former Boone County standout, added seven points and nine rebounds.

No. 13 Georgia 42, No. 18 South Carolina 40: Jasmine Hassell scored 19 points as host Georgia outlasted South Carolina to post its lowest winning point total in school history. South Carolina managed only one field goal in the last 13 minutes.

No. 20 Texas A&M 78, Auburn 56: Kelsey Bone had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead host Texas A&M to a victory. Kristi Bellock had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies. It was Bone's fifth straight game in double figures in both categories, while Bellock has done it in three of her last four.

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