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Auburn Slips In Coaches Poll


After completing the first 16-0 season in Atlantic Coast Conference history, Duke retained its stranglehold atop the latest coaches poll.

The Blue Devils (29-1), who thumped archrival North Carolina on Saturday and extended their winning streak to 24 games, received all 30 first-place votes and 750 points from a nationwide panel of Division I coaches. Duke became the first team since the 1986-87 Tar Heels squad to run the table in conference play and is the top seed for the upcoming ACC tournament.

Michigan State (26-4), the Big Ten regular-season champion and Connecticut (25-2), the best in the Big East, each moved up one place to second and third, respectively. The Spartans lost at Connecticut earlier this season but have reeled off 15 straight wins. Auburn (26-2) slipped two places to fourth after a mid-week loss at Arkansas.

Maryland (25-4) and Stanford (24-5) held steady at fifth and sixth and Cincinnati (25-4) inched forward one spot to seventh. Utah (24-4), which has won 19 in a row and completed a perfect season through the Western Athletic Conference, vaulted four notches to eighth. St. John's (23-7) dropped two places to ninth and Big East rival Miami (21-5) climbed three rungs to 10th.

The second 10 starts with Arizona (20-6), which lost at California and Stanford. Ohio State (22-7) also tumbled two places to 12th, while UCLA (21-7) improved three spots to 13th. Kentucky (22-8) fell three places after its loss at Tennessee, and the Tar Heels (22-8) were bumped one place to 15th.

The College of Charleston (28-2), which wrapped up the Southern Conference title today and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, climbed two rungs to 16th. Big Ten schools Indiana (22-9), Wisconsin (21-8) and Iowa (18-8) occupy the 17th through 19th slots. Syracuse (19-10) remained 20th.

New Mexico (22-7), Texas (18-11), Florida (19-7), Minnesota (17-9) and Tennessee (20-7) complete the rankings, with the Volunteers joining the poll after their sweep of Kentucky en route to the East Division title of the Southeastern Conference. They replace Purdue, which lost two of three games this week.

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