The Western Athletic Conference, often overlooked for national attention, placed two teams in United Press International's college basketball ratings Monday when Utah and Wyoming joined the Top 25.

Nevada-Las Vegas remained the unanimous No. 1 choice for the fifth straight week, while No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Indiana swapped positions from the previous poll.The WAC, spread from Hawaii to the Rockies, has become one of the most competitive leagues in college basketball. The conference receives little publicity but currently boasts two of the nation's hottest teams.

Utah, 15-1, entered the ratings in a tie for 22nd, while Wyoming, 13-2, came in at No. 25.

"They deserve to be ranked in the Top 20," Texas-El Paso Coach Don Haskins said. "If (Utah) were back East, they would be ranked third."

Until Monday, no WAC team had been listed among the Top 25 this season. The last WAC team to be ranked was Colorado State, which made a one-week stay at No. 16 last January. The last time two WAC teams were in the ratings was at the end of the 1987-88 season, when Wyoming and Brigham Young were listed.

WAC teams clearly are a factor come the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the conference placed three members in the 64-team field in what was supposed to be a down year for the league.

UNLV, 11-0, again earned all 42 first-place votes cast by the UPI Board of Coaches to finish with 630 points. Arkansas, 15-1, remained second with 574 points.

Ohio State, the only other undefeated team in the nation at 14-0, pulled ahead of Indiana into third, receiving 513 points to the Hoosiers' 509. Indiana, 14-1, was idle last week, while the Buckeyes beat Northwestern and Wisconsin.

No. 5 North Carolina, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 UCLA and No. 8 Syracuse remained unchanged from last week, despite losses by UCLA and Syracuse. The Bruins, 13-2, fell 82-77 at Arizona and Syracuse, 14-2, lost 93-79 to Pittsburgh.

No. 9 Duke moved up two positions and No. 10 St. John's remained unchanged despite a 74-62 loss to Seton Hall.

No. 11 Oklahoma improved one place and Connecticut fell three spots to 12th after a 72-59 loss to St. John's. No. 13 Nebraska, whose 14 straight wins tied a school record set in 1920-21, moved up one position.No. 14 Pittsburgh gained two places and No. 15 Virginia was unchanged. No. 16 East Tennessee State moved up one spot, No. 17 Louisiana State improved two places and No. 18 Georgetown fell five positions after losing to Providence.

No. 19 New Mexico State slid one spot, No. 20 Southern Mississippi jumped three places and Seton Hall entered the ratings at No. 21. South Carolina wound up tied with Utah for 22nd, while newcomers No. 24 New Orleans and No. 25 Wyoming completed the list.

Dropping out of the ratings were Iowa, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Georgia.

The Big East dominated the ratings by placing six members in the Top 25, while the Atlantic Coast Conference was represented by three schools.

Schools ineligible for Top 25 consideration because of NCAA sanctions are Illinois, Kentucky, Marshall, Maryland, Missouri, Northwest Louisiana and Robert Morris.

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(Additional information)

UPI Poll

NEW YORK (UPI)\ The United Press International Board of Coaches' Top 25 college basketball ratings, with first-place votes and records through Jan. 13 in parentheses, total points (based on 15 points for first place, 14 for second, etc.) and previous week's ranking:

1. UNLV (11-0) 630 1

2. Arkansas (15-1) 574 2

3. Ohio State (14-0) 513 4

4. Indiana (14-1) 509 3

5. North Carolina (13-1) 456 5

6. Arizona (13-2) 405 6

7. UCLA (13-2) 295 7

8. Syracuse (14-2) 257 8

9. Duke (12-3) 248 11

10. St. John's (11-2) 235 10

11. Oklahoma (13-2) 219 12

12. Connecticut (12-2) 100 9

13. Nebraska (16-1) 96 14

14. Pittsburgh (14-3) 93 16

15. Virginia (10-3) 70 15

16. East Tennessee St. (12-1) 67 17

17. Louisiana State (10-3) 55 19

18. Georgetown (10-3) 48 13

19. New Mexico State (11-1) 37 18

20. Southern Mississippi (8-1) 33 23

21. Seton Hall (10-3) 13 NR

22. (tie) Utah (15-1) 12 NR

22. (tie) S. Carolina (12-3) 12 21

24. New Orleans (13-2) 11 NR

25. Wyoming (13-2) 10 NR