A single loss or victory can have a major effect on the standings in the Associated Press college basketball poll. St. John's, UCLA and LSU all learned that lesson firsthand this week.
Unexpected losses by UCLA, 88-71 to Iowa, and by LSU, 102-96 to Illinois, cost those schools five spots in the standings. UCLA dipped to No. 10, LSU to No. 15.Meanwhile, St. John's won its only game of the week, beating Fordham 74-62, and used that victory to advance four places to No. 9.
The top spot - and nearly all the No. 1 votes - went to UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels walloped previously undefeated Princeton 69-35 and Florida State 101-69, and were rewarded with 62 first-place votes and 1,574 points to remain comfortably in front.
The only first-place vote that UNLV didn't get went to Syracuse, which stretched its winning streak to 11 games by beating Towson State 78-73 and Illinois-Chicago 110-66, and remained No. 3 with 1,423 points.
Squeezed between the Orangmen and UNLV is No. 2 Arkansas, which in its only game of the week squeezed by Oregon 71-68. The Razorbacks received 1,469 points.
Arizona remained No. 4 with 1,366 points after winning its only game of the week, 99-87 over Providence.
Taking advantage of UCLA's tumble were Indiana, Ohio State, North Carolina and Duke, all advancing one position.
Indiana beat No. 18 Kentucky 87-84 and Iowa State 87-76 to advance to No. 5. Ohio State whacked Tennessee State 103-66, then interrupted its string of blowouts to beat Georgtown by a more mortal 71-60 and moved up to No. 6.
North Carolina beat Purdue 86-74 in its only start and took over the No. 7 spot, ahead of Duke, which beat Harvard 103-61 and then ended Oklahoma's 51-game homecourt winning streak 90-85 to earn the No. 8 position. St. John's and UCLA, which beat Pepperdine 108-85 before losing to Iowa, complete the top 10.
Then come Pitt, South Carolina, Connecticut, Oklahoma, LSU, Georgetown, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, East Tennessee State, Southern Mississippi, Nebraska, Iowa, New Mexico State and Michigan State.
Iowa and New Mexico State are the newcomers this week, replacing Texas, No. 23 before losing to Georgia 79-71, and Princeton, which had been No. 25 before being battered by UNLV.